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Mythbusting Part 2: The death of performance in the 1970s.

Old 08-01-2007, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by guionM View Post
The death of the Hemi was due more to economics and streetability as it did towards emissions. The Hemi (at least the "Street Hemi" that we're talking about) was never really a volume engine. Chrysler sold about 3000 Hemi powered cars in 1966 and just 1200 in 1967. Production went back up to about 2400 in 1968, and dropped back to just over 1700 in 1969 falling to a less than 500 made in 1971. Though the Hemi is famous, the streets weren't exactly crawling with them. It was infact very rare to come across one in the late 60s (during the heart of the muscle car era).

Hmm. I think emissions gets a full share. It was a low volume engine. The millions of dollars and resultant low performance after the rework was a direct result of the emission standards. That certainly would have played a part in their decision to kill it.

After you dropped it to 8.5:1 compression, put in a soft cam and EGR to reduce emissions, it would have been a shadow of its former self.

If not for the emission standards, they could have kept selling it with minimal development cost.
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Old 08-01-2007, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ProudPony View Post

I can cite Mustang examples galore... like the 71 Mustang which was specially designed in 1969 to accomodate the BOSS 429 engine which debuted in 1969. The engine was killed by NASCAR in 1970, so the 71 Mach 1 was offered with the similar-blocked 429-Super Cobra Jet. The 429SCJ was whacked in 1971, along with the Boss 351, yet the bodystyle carried on until the intro of the Mustang II in 1974. The '73 Mustang was stuck with a 200-six, a 250-six, a 302-2v, a 351C-2v, and a 351C-4v that was not a rocketship by any means (it had lots of potential, but was de-tuned, de-cammed, EGR'ed, and choked to wheezy levels at best - certainly not the 1/4-mile record-setting 351C in the Boss 351 2 years earlier )

But the "de-tuned, de-cammed, EGR'ed, and choked to wheezy levels at best" were a direct result of the emission standards. If not for emission standards, it would have been relatively simple to continue offering mid-hi performance engines in small volume (forget about the hemi, I'm talking about the 440-4v in Mopar-land or the hydraulic cam 429-CJ in Ford-land). But with the difficulty and cost of certification of those big engines to the new-at-the-time per-mile emission standards, it wasn't worth the trouble.

Plus, with the Cats coming in 1975, I don't think even mid-performance engines were possible. Now why am I going to put a lot of effort into an engine for 1973 when I know it will only last two years? Pontiac did that with the SD-455 (they were the only ones that bothered), but with all the trouble they had, I don't think they would have in hindsight.

Remember that the SD-455 was supposed to come out early in the 1973 model year, but it was delayed due to emissions certification problems, and they ended up having to drop it from 310 to 290hp.
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:31 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by robvas View Post
I know a couple guys that did the same thing, bought cars/bikes with deployment money, and in a year they're broke again.

Even regular enlisted guys that are stationed here in the US blow almost thier whole paychecks on new cars.

Actually, the guys I know did quite well. Money was tax free, 6 months with little to no expense, typical single E4-E5 coming back with at least 10 grand. Buying a new car was like buying a used. Financing only half was hardly an entire paycheck.

I bought a 1 1/2 year old Mustang LX in '87 without seapay, hazardous duty pay, ot tax free status. I assure you, anyone blowing their entire paycheck on cars or bikes from the military, at least the Navy (in the Coast Guard it was almost unheard of) is rare unless they're fresh into the service and never had a job.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:53 AM
  #34  
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hmmmm.......interesting facts and such.

Two issues I have:

AT one point you talk about how numbers were down for 1970 muscle cars versus 1969 -- and you are correct -- BUT -- you need to also look at what ALL car and truck sales were like in 1970-71.......because the United States was in a recession -- and as I recall, the Steel Industry had something to do with it....coupled with the UAW strike in the fall of 1970....which went from( again as I recall) September until December of 1970-- now -- I don't have the numbers in front of me -- but I think that a similar comparison needs to be made.

Second -- Oil Crisis of 1973 -- (fall to be exact -- ) The problem with being ancient like me is that while you can't remember what you did last night, you can remember the 70s like they were yesterday.
By the summer of 1974, gasoline prices had dropped back down -- and while people were hysterical in the later parts of 1973 -- trading in their large luxury sedans - they suddenly realized in the summer of 1974 that they didn't LIKE the smaller cars they'd bought -- and as a result, large cars took off........again! (which shows WHY we need an energy policy that looks past one or two years....)

Now - why do I remember this? Wellllllllll.........Butler Auto Auction was about 5 minutes down the road from our dealership -- and there were two things that stick in my mind about that auction:

1. A fellow by the name of Chester Bongiavanni was buying up every Cadillac/Lincoln/Chrysler/anything big like they were going out of style -- in the MIDDLE of the gas crisis --which would have been the late summer of 1973....- and he was buying them for dirt cheap....and we thought he'd lost his mind. He kept saying: "wait and see! " In August of 1974, he started to sell off the stockpile he'd built up -- HUNDREDS of luxury sedans -- and made a stupid amount of money.

2. GM stored a whole pile of Impala Sedans at the auction -- used company cars -- most were 1973 Impala sedans -- and in August of 1974, I spent well over a week working on getting the airpumps unfrozen -- (I still have scars on my knuckles......) because they'd sat from Summer of 1973 until the late summer of 1974 without being started.....and they sold like hotcakes into the fall of 1974......

Lastly -- In August of 1974 -- we couldn't FIND a Caprice or Impala or Bel Air in the Pittsburgh Area -- but we had Vegas and Novas piled on top of each other -- as people said "nope -- no more small cars for ME!" -- and that went for Ford and Chrysler as well.............

I think there's a LOT of issues that surround NOT ONLY why Muscle cars went away -- but WHY the Domestic Auto Industry hit the skids -- and it isn't easily explained in a one-hour documentary -- nor is it easily explained in a long post.....

.......BUT-- Guy - good job!!!!

Last edited by Fbodfather; 12-20-2007 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by guionM View Post
Actually, the guys I know did quite well. Money was tax free, 6 months with little to no expense, typical single E4-E5 coming back with at least 10 grand. Buying a new car was like buying a used. Financing only half was hardly an entire paycheck.

I bought a 1 1/2 year old Mustang LX in '87 without seapay, hazardous duty pay, ot tax free status. I assure you, anyone blowing their entire paycheck on cars or bikes from the military, at least the Navy (in the Coast Guard it was almost unheard of) is rare unless they're fresh into the service and never had a job.
I think if you're married with children and get deployed then you're probably going to struggle... but service can still work out well for single guys.

My nephew did 3 or 4 tours in Iraq (he wanted to go back again but they wouldn't let him). When he got back he plunked 60k down on a decent sized piece of land (he'd already bought a new truck), when he went into the Marines he didn't have two nickels to rub together.
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Old 04-26-2009, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave K View Post
I think if you're married with children and get deployed then you're probably going to struggle... but service can still work out well for single guys.

My nephew did 3 or 4 tours in Iraq (he wanted to go back again but they wouldn't let him). When he got back he plunked 60k down on a decent sized piece of land (he'd already bought a new truck), when he went into the Marines he didn't have two nickels to rub together.
No doubt, if you're married with a decent sized family and a wife that works a few hours a day in part time job in the exchange during school hours, and you live on base, you aren't exactly going to be driving around in in a Escalade or even a loaded Tahoe.

For someone married with a single kid and isn't an E1-E3, the military is very good. If you're single and can't afford a decent car (or even a good new one) you're spending too much money in bars.

The only people who I ever met in the military that are struggling are low grade members who decide to have families (even large families) without any regard whatsoever to their finances. Being a E6 or higher... or even an E5... with a wife and 1 or 2 kids is easily doable. Housing and bills are paid for, food is subsidized via the Exchange, and even clothing and household goods go for wholesale price. Add in Seapay, and separation pay, and although you aren't living in luxury, you're not hurting either.

As for single guys, to say the service works out well can be an understatement. Their pay is simply fun money. An 18 or 19 year old getting a 1 grand per month allowence after taxes sitting on a base is going to do well. That same 18-19 year old getting up 2 grand per month deposited into his or her account while spending months on deployment where he or she can't spend very much on anything is going to come back to a pretty healthy amount of money... and I'm talking single teenagers coming back from a 6 month ship deployment with 5 to 10 grand in a bank account!

But, it's all about priorities. If you spend it in a bar or supporting folks back home or on a family, that money can disappear pretty quickly.
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