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March Madness Mecum's Way Part 3: Meet MAJOR Muscle Cars In Missouri

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On: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 11:43AM | By: Andrew W Davis

March Madness Mecum's Way Part 3: Meet MAJOR Muscle Cars In Missouri

I’ve got to hand it to you, Supreme Being; you’ve got quite a sense of humor. You hard-wired us to impulsively run from things that want to eat us, yet you made us unable to resist cuddling them when they’re young. Similarly, you’ve instilled a sense of “know-better” when it comes to owning—and doing—extremely dangerous things. Case in point: the six vehicles I’ve selected from Mecum’s end-of-March sale in Kansas City, MO.

Now you’ve (hopefully) read my earlier features on Mecum’s fearsome creatures, from the article on some classic, practical vehicles from the 1940s and 1950s to the article on the more modern yet COMPLETELY impractical ones. Well, that’s all fine and good if you’re just into trucks. But what if you wanted to kill yourself in something that’s more “fast” than “four-by”?

Well, fear not, for I have just what you need. And if you think you’re missing out because you’re only getting one "car" feature, just check out the stats on this dirty half-dozen: 12 doors, 24 wheels, 48 cylinders and a (claimed) grand total of 4,612 horsepower. Sound good? Damn right! So what are you waiting for? Get to jumpin’!

Now your brain’s practical circuit says you should stay away from any 40-plus-year-old car stuffed with a 900 horsepower big block, especially on public roads. But—for whatever reason—there’s been a massive surge in the number of cars so-equipped, anyway, under names like “Pro Touring” and “Resto Mod.”

And as is the case with our seeing lion and tiger cubs—which we see as “cute” rather than as the “killers in training” we know them to be—we can somehow convince ourselves that something as exciting and cool-looking as one of these fearsome beasts couldn’t possibly be dangerous.

Here kitty kitty…

[Cars are listed in the order in which they will appear at the auction.]

T(hursday) 177: “1969 Chevrolet Camaro Drag Car 565/842 HP”

“All steel body with fiberglass hood; 565/842 HP, no nitrous, big block; Rossler terminator 3, 2-speed transmission; Strange Engineering 9 inch rear end with 4.57 ratio; complete MSD ignition system with rev limiter; 2 step delay box; Mid 9 second, 1/4 mile car; NHRA certified.”

The majority of people in our society would look upon a .50 caliber handgun as excessive, to say the least. And they would be absolutely right. But then they’d stray into “…so nobody should be allowed to have one” territory. And they would be absolutely… annoying! This is an NHRA-certified mid-9 second car! Know what that means? It means that this baby’ll wrinkle the pavement whenever you touch the throttle and cause time to reverse Superman-style when she hooks up on a full-throttle launch and counterspins the Earth! Just looking at this car causes exclamation points to spring up at the end of all your sentences! Look! You buy now!

F(riday) 192: “1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS 605/900 HP, Automatic”

“Real 1969 Camaro RS, all steel body with fiberglass hood; built to be a street dominator and show car winner; it has already accumulated 14 trophies; all trophies will go with the car; engine and transmission are new (installed late last year); the $40,000 605 CI pump gas engine delivers 900 HP; upgraded Turbo 400 automatic, Dana 60 with 4.11 gears; 4 wheel Wilwood disc brakes; Weld racing wheels with MT drag radials; power rack and pinion steering and Billet adjustable steering wheel; 1600 watt Sony speakers and subwoofers; keyless entry and alarm system; 16 gallon fuel cell; racing seats and an 8 point cage.”

Wow. What else can I say? What we have here is a Fabergé chamberpot or platinum-and-diamond cat litter scoop; it really doesn’t matter if it CAN do the job, the thing’s so finely-crafted—and expensive—that you’ll never subject it to the kinds of risk it would take to find out. So unless “street domination” can be accomplished from a protected parking stall, this’ll be a show car from now on. Sure, you could’ve spent a LOT less than they did by not stuffing this showmobile with all the right bits—including that the $40kengine!—for drag racing it will never see, but you could also have spent a LOT less on all the stuff that makes this dragmobile show-worthy rather than fast. Either way this car will be expensive, though the owner/builder will never see a high bid anywhere NEAR what this cost to build. Such is the case with supercar/race car/show car/customs…

F 218: “1965 Dodge Coronet 440 Station Wagon 451/720 HP, Automatic”

“451 CI big block Dodge with aluminum heads, Crane roller rockers, Crane 509 camshaft, Hemi aluminum water pump, sheet metal valve covers, ceramic coated headers, 9.5:1 TRW pistons, Six Pack rods, complete March serpentine belt system with Billet brackets, March power steering pump and components; Vintage heat and air, Chrysler 300 electric bucket seats; blueprinted big block with high performance components; manual shift valve body, Cheeta shifter, 3000 converter; 100% rust free Oregon car with new bumpers, moldings, most glass, and superstock hood scoop; paint is Hawaiian Orchid Pearl, 3 stage Dupont; everything done in Chrysler 300 Black leather; electric rear window, steering wheel center controls; new dash components with all new performance gauges; American Racing, salt flat SPL big window wheels (15x7 front, 15x9 rear with new 60 series big and little radials); front disc brake high performance conversion with dual cylinders and power booster.”

FINALLY! You have no idea how long I’ve waited for someone to go absolutely bonkers on a station wagon drag car. And while this wouldn’t be on my Top 100 list of cars to convert, it’s nice nonetheless. [I could do without the purple, too, but I’ll take whatever I can get.] Problem is, they didn’t really convert it for drag use, either. Just compare it to the ’63 Tempest I covered in an earlier auction/wagon/dragster article. Now THAT was a drag car, with nothing installed that didn’t make the car go quicker. Then again, that pure-race car ended up being a no-sale, so maybe having the inside of a mid ‘00s Chrysler 300 installed in your drag car isn’t a bad thing as the number of people looking for a sporty-yet-comfortable street car just HAS to be greater than that of those looking for a semi-racer they'll have to completely revamp for actual on-track use. I guess we'll all find out come sale time...

F 228: “1971 Chevrolet Camaro 502/650 HP, 4-Speed”

“502 with GM Performance aluminum heads, 650 HP, Eagle 4340 crank with 4.25 stroke, Isky cam, oversize push rods, H beam rods, Keith Black pistons, roller rockers; 4-speed Muncie; 3.42 rear aluminum radiator; custom paint, interior and high end stereo; Boyd Coddington wheels, steering wheel, Rapter tires; 4 wheel power disc brakes; Neon show lights; Pro touring Z28 badging.”

Purple. What’s with the purple?! Sure, there are LOTS of examples of show cars in other colors, but there’s a reason for that: popular SELLS. So if you’re building/having built your dream show car, you can select any color you want. So long as you NEVER INTEND TO SELL IT. See, there’s this “rule” about auctioning custom cars: if someone with your EXACT tastes isn’t in the crowd, you’ll get no bids. But it takes TWO such people to generate HIGH bids. Now I’m willing to put it out there that I like this paint color, and wouldn’t see it as a deal-breaker. But when it isn't the SOLE shade of purple, then we have a problem. Just look under the hood; there's at least THREE different shades in there, two of which are dangerously close to pink. Look, this is a beautiful car, beautifully-done, and outfitted with the right bits for street and show. But unless there are two lavender-/violet-/wisteria-loving fans in the crowd, the bids he gets will surely make the seller just one color: blue. (HA! See what I did there? Sweet....)

S(aturday) 9: “1969 Chevrolet Camaro Resto Mod LS1/700 HP, 6-Speed”

“LS1 single 71mm turbo 700 RWHP; complete 2002 floor pan, suspension and interior; shaved door handles; power opening trunk; Black with Charcoal SS stripes; power windows, locks and tilt; 6-speed manual; complete Resto Mod less than 1,500 miles.”

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “resto mod,” it usually refers to a vehicle that, during its RESTOration, gets stuffed with MODern go-fast bits but is left (relatively) “stock” in appearance. In this instance the modernization happened in the cabin, too, with the transplant of an interior that looks directly lifted from a late-model Camaro or Firebird. The engine could have been, too, though it’s nowhere near stock as it sits now. For anyone who does not know the term “RWHP” means “Rear-Wheel Horse Power,” indicating that the engine produces WAY more ponies than 700, but even after “driveline loss” and the like, 700 “real” hp is reaching the pavement. And apart from the too-new, formerly-Corvette alloy wheels and an exaggerated “drag rake” that has her rear end up too high, there’s little to fault about this understated bruiser. If you’re looking for the automotive equivalent of an “automatic-weapon-packing Russian gangster in an Armani tux,” this is your ride…

S 17: “1985 Ford Mustang GT 408/800 HP, 5-speed”

“Full interior street resto mod; newly rebuilt fully forged 408 CI blower motor, Dart block with all forged eagle internals (built by T&L), Aluminum dart pro 1 heads, Novi 2000 blower; 800 crank horsepower; Snow stage 3 meth injection; runs on pump gas (12 mpg); Ford 9" with Strange axles 3.73; TKO 600 5 speed; McLoud twin disc clutch; clutchless Detroit truetrac posi; Goodyear drag radials; interior replaced; top dollar brand new Black Cherry paint.”

OK, you’re not even trying. This thing is so clearly dangerous that I have a hard time believing it’s even street-legal. And as for the EPA-style MPG claim, that must be referring to what it gets at IDLE. Still, for as sketchy as it seems on first blush it’s a pretty nicely turned-out vehicle. The engine is BUILT, but not slathered in tacky chrome accessories. And apart from the tacky steering wheel and the giant—but clearly-necessary—gauge-blocking tach it’s pretty clean on the inside as well. Heck, other than that Tupperware hood, this would be a vehicle anyone could be proud to own. [Notice that I didn’t say DRIVE there. This is the car they show in the dictionary beside the definition of the term “widowmaker”…]

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