By Nick Licata
For those old enough to remember, there was a time when video tape machines were cutting edge and also very expensive. When VCRs (videocassette recorders) were introduced to North America at the 1970 Consumer Electronics Show, they cost between $1,000 and $1,400 for a VHS (video home system). In 1975, Betamax players would set you back even more at just under $2,000 for a base model. But in a decade-long battle, VHS won the VCR war and became the standard of the industry. As time went on, prices came down and millions of Americans had at least one VCR in the house. This new-at-the-time technology spawned the opening of thousands of video rental stores across America. A typical Friday night meant a pizza and a trip to the video rental store hoping to nab a copy of the latest hot release. Kids these days will never experience the process of standing in the aisle contemplating between Beverly Hills Cop or Revenge of the Nerds as the night’s entertainment–an important decision, indeed.
As we continue on in the muscle car and hot rod world it looks like we are taking a little step back and doing a bit of “rewinding,” as retro-style builds are becoming just as popular today as Ralph Macchio was in the ’80s. The adage of “what goes around comes around” strands true (Editor’s note: See Cobra Kai). I wouldn’t go as far as to say modern-equipped classic muscle cars are on the decline in popularity or no longer cool, as that’s absolutely not the case. I get plenty of intel on shops working on classic muscle car builds coming together with the state-of-the-art components under the hood, and aftermarket suspensions that rival or surpass anything offered by the “Big Three’s” latest muscle cars.
As technology progresses in the Chevrolet engine arena, there is no shortage of car builders and owners who have a taste for cutting-edge powerplants that deliver huge amounts of horsepower combined with longlasting reliability, and excellent gas mileage—all characteristics of LS and LT engines.
With that said, there are those who prefer building cars a little more nostalgic—ones they remember seeing in old car magazines or maybe a car they owned during the first muscle car wave of the ’60s and ’70s. The return of cars sporting white-lettered tires (on the outside), 15-inch American Torq Thrust wheels, slotted mags, or Cragar five-spokes are all making their way back, and I, for one, am digging it.
To complete the vintage vibe, a small- or big-block engine dressed with the appropriate valve covers or air cleaner sitting on top of twin carbs, which may or may not be perched on top of a tunnel ram intake, complete the time-honored look.
To top it all off, a Muntz Stereo or Kraco 8-track player hanging under the dash with the sound of Led Zeppelin II cranking through a pair of Pioneer 5-inch coaxial speakers (cut in the door panels) along with a set of 6x9s mounted in the package tray complete the process.
See all my “Firing Up” Editions here!!!