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Whats driving a muscle car like?

03-11-2010, 12:35 PM
I'm currently driving a 2000 impala it's a 3.8 liter V6. I'm 19 so I like to speed and race my friends. So I was looking into getting a classic muscle car of sorts. I know a guy selling a 66 doge charger with a 318 in3 (5.2 liter?) v8.

I like the idea of driving a classic muscle car but I've never actually driven one and I'd like to know if I'd be happier performance wise.

03-11-2010, 01:45 PM
Welcome aboard! Muscle cars have around them a "mystique" like no other class of car. Be sure to read the "definition" of muscle car Magic Rat has placed in a "sticky". The small block in the Dodge does not "qualify" (not enough engine).

All is not lost, though. The '66 Charger is a MAJOR "classic", though many were "put off" by the appearnace. I kinda like 'em. If you want to "make" it a true muscle car, a 383, 400, 413, 426 or 440 "Dodge" V8 will do it. In order to install the "big block" engine, the "K-frame" needs to be replaced. They're readily available from resto houses.

If you don't want to modify the chassis, the 360 small block is an excellent basis for a good performer. 400 HP and 450 lb. ft. of torque is not too much an "effort" to attain. Close attention to detail is called for. You will "hear" the 340 is the best one. For a "race" engine, I agree. For a street engine, torque is "king", not horsepower. 360 is better at that than 340.

Generally, a muscle car has tremendous low-speed response and power. The heavy car "moves" when you say "Move!". It will roast the tires on command. It will have mind-numbing accelleration. Some modern performance cars are actually much "quicker" but don't FEEL like it. It will also get between 8 and 12 MPG. In olden times, manual transmissions were the "standard". Only girls drove automatics... (:- Things have changed...

To make the Charger "safe" in traffiic (among modern cars), the brakes and suspension need some work. Stabilizer bars and disc brakes make all the difference. Stuff from a '71 or '72 should "bolt right in". Power steering box in the old Dodges leaves much to be desired (no "feel of the road"). There may be a modern one available to add that "feel". Maxwedge probably can fill you in better than I on that stuff. Engines is my "thing".

If you want the "classic look" and performance of a big V8, the Charger is a good one to do it with. IMO, what ever you decide to do to the car, be sure EVERYTHING is "bolt in" so no cutting or welding is required. Save ALL the parts you remove for future "resale value". Even if modified, a collector won't be nearly as "put off" if you have all the original stuff.

Most important? HAVE FUN!!


03-11-2010, 04:24 PM
Well I'm still undecided on what car I should get. But for the sake of knowlage how could I go about learning how to work on a car?

03-12-2010, 08:51 AM
Unfortunately, high schools around the country seldom offer "auto mechanics" classes like they did when I was in school (class of '72). There are some good vocational schools and lots of trade schools. The best way to be good at "cars" is to fully understand how they work, and in many ways, how they're made. While it may seem a bit excessive, this is the basis for the knowledge you're seeking.

Once you have some tech material under your belt and know what is happening "in there", the next step is to get your tools out and start unscrewing bolts. A good memory is important, or a video camera... When a good tech is finished with a job, only the "trained eye" can see that the thing has actually BEEN apart. It's important at this pioint to "get over" the fear of the "unknown". A car is nothing more than a pile of geometry, algebra cast or forged in iron, steel and aluminum, and held together by nuts and bolts. Men (humans, no "slight" to females) designed them, built them and drive them. If men can do that, you can certainly take it apart and put it back together... (:- Get an old POS and jump right in!

Working on your own vehicle is a "time-honored" pass time in America. With all the new technology in modern cars, it is rapidly becoming an extinct "art". Getting an older car without computerized ANYTHING is a good place to learn. Modern engine management systems do exactly the same thing old-time points, carbs, etc. do, just using electronics instead of mechanicals. As mechanical systems are less complex, the fundementals are easier to grasp.

Most important IMO, is to listen to the "right" people and NOT the "wrong" ones. For the most part, hobbyists are just knowledgeable enough to "get by". Bench-racers and magazine afficianados should always be avoided for anything aside from entertainment. The reality of the technology and depth of engineering is generally beyond they're scope, and many, their comprehension. Not that they can't learn it, but they're not motivated like a professional "in the business". It's our job!

Keep an open mind. Each car maker and engine "family" have their own advantages and disadvantages. Beware the Chevy crowd, as they're perhaps the most adamant that if it can't be done with a Chevy, it can't be done. If you LIKE a Chevy, by all means, get one! But if you like a Pontiac (my "pet" cars), don't fall for the line "You can't make a Pontiac run". It simply isn't true. Similar to my remark about 340 vs. 360. My point here is to investigate the technical specifics before making a decision. Education is the key!


03-12-2010, 12:35 PM
Well I was planning on picking up some books on car building and check out my local dump to see if I can find a Chevelle that rolls. I've got my black seal for stationary engineering (that's a boiler operator in NJ) so I'm very mechanically inclined and I assume "jumping right in" is the best way for me to go about this.

Do I sound completely insane or is this feasible?

03-12-2010, 01:40 PM
My dad always said "To try is to risk failure. Not to try, insures it!"

Like I said, men built 'em, so men can rebuild 'em. No time like the present!

If you get in "over your head", feel free to ask questions here!

One thing also to keep in mind: This is a HOBBY. Don't get TOO serious about it! HAVE FUN!!!


08-19-2010, 02:48 PM
I'm currently driving a 2000 impala it's a 3.8 liter V6. I'm 19 so I like to speed and race my friends. So I was looking into getting a classic muscle car of sorts.

Driving a muscle car is a lot of fun, but judging from your original post, you don't need one right now.

11-25-2010, 03:48 PM
Even a 383 would make a Charger MOVE, back in the day. Of course, we had high comnpression and 100 octane gas.

And we weren't used to little four cylinder cars that would go 0-60 in seven or eight seconds!

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