Origin of the American Muscle Car

Peter Bouchard - PontiacCars for the most part of been one of the world’s greatest inventions to date. It allows us to transport multiple people far faster than we ever would have been able to on foot. With the invention of cars came the innovation. In 1949, we were introduced to the American muscle car. It was at this time that people wanted faster cars and the muscle car delivered on that.

The first muscle car was brought to us by Oldsmobile, the Rocket 88. The car had a lightweight Oldsmobile body with a high compression overhead valve V8. The body is similar to the body of the Oldsmobile 76 which originally had a six cylinder engine. It was this combo that ultimately created the category of a muscle car.

A muscle car has a light body with heavy engine. At the height of the Rocket 88, it took NASCAR by storm in 1950. This ultimately had people thinking speed, speed, speed. This type of car was a long time coming, starting back in the 1920s. With prohibition taking place, moonshiners and bootleggers wanted a vehicle that could speed away from police vehicles. Moonshiners began modifying their cars and eventually racing to make money. It was these cars that gave inspiration for the Rocket 88.

Racing eventually slowed down and actually came to a stop when the Automobile Manufacturers Association banned factory sponsored racing in 1957. Eventually, Pontiac released the Gran Turismo Omologato (GTO). Initially priced at $3,200, the Pontiac GTO was for the young. Due to its inexpensive price, many young people were purchasing this car that was approved for racing. In its first year of production, Pontiac sold well over their projections. Pontiac ended up selling over six times as many as originally predicted proving to other automobile manufacturers that they should begin making muscle cars, and thats exactly what Ford did.

For more on this interesting topic, check it out at gentlemansgazette.com.

Buying a Used Car

Peter Bouchard Used CarsBuying a used car can be very stressful. Why? Because you don’t know what it’s been through and maybe you’re not a car expert and can look at telling signs that would leave you to believe a car has been through something in the past. Of course there is the Lemon Law but how can you avoid that situation is better than going through the stress of exercising the Lemon Law. Sure they have carfax.com, but how far are you willing to trust it? Lets take a look at some issues that could help you determine if the car is a lemon, dud, or if it’s being over valued.

Always Test Drive

This is a no brainer. Give the car a run and drive it. Roll the window down so you can get a good listen to how it runs as well as if the brakes or axles underneath make any funky noises.


Tires can be expensive. Make sure you take a close look and see how bald, old, and when the last time they were replaced. The last thing you want to do is pay top dollar for a car and then invest another $500 in new tires and installation.

Check for Weathering

If you live in an area where hurricanes are frequent, this is big. Where there are hurricanes, there follows flooding. Check the trunk to see if there is any odd smell of mildew. It will be a telling sign if the car sat in water during a flood.

Always Check Under the Hood

The last thing you want to find is a engine with gum, tape, and cardboard holding it together. Make sure it all looks clean and proper.

If you’ve done all of the following, it’s always a good idea to take the car to a mechanic and have them take a deeper look at the car as well. A car is a huge investment, and you want to make sure you get it right the first time.

Top 10 Vintage Cars for Under $5,000

Owning a weekend car isn’t only for the wealthy, there are classic and vintage cars in all different price ranges.  Here are some of the budget classic cars to get you started.  Also, if you want to tinker with an older vehicle, these make good cars for a project.

chevy nova

10.) Chevrolet Nova SS

Behold a classic Chevy Nova. The one we found is a little rough around the edges but appears mechanically sound.  You can’t complain about a 350 and no air conditioning in a car that looks this cool.


9.) MG B

There are a number of MG Bs out there for under 5k. The question is, how much money will it take to get it running smoothly? You will you end up spending more than 5k to get it back out onto the road, at least.

datsun 510

8.) Datsun 510

There was one 510 wagon up for sale on eBay recently, but bidding has ended. When we last looked, it was going for $4,550, which seems like a good deal. The car’s interior was  ragged, but for under 5k, who would complain?


7.) Triumph Spitfire

For a very small price in the classic car world, you can be the owner of a Spitfire. Much like the MG B though, the purchase price of a Sptifire is an initial investment. If you like puzzles, a Spitfire might be for you.

alfa romeo

6.) Alfa Romeo GTV6

Once it’s running smoothly this GTV6 will be worth the trouble it took to get there. T  If you’re looking for a home project with an Italian twist, a GTV6 might be a good place to start.

plymouth fury

5.) 1966 Plymouth Fury

A fun big production car that you can work on with a socket set, a crescent wrench, and some weekends.  This was how cars were supposed to be built.

datsun z

4.) Datsun Z

This sleep stylish sports car for under 5k?  Who wouldn’t want that?

bmw 2002

3.) BMW 2002

eBay says there are 10 2002s for sale in the United States for under $5000. This is my personal favorite of the cars listed.  This car means business.

citroen DS

2.) Citroen DS

This weird looking car is a one of a kind, and at 5k, she’s a car that only her mother could love.

mercedes benz 190e cosworth

1.) Mercedes-Benz 190e Cosworth

These older Mercedes are safe, reliable, luxurious, and hold their value.  A car like this will turn some head on the street, and best of all, it can be yours for under 5k.


Best Selling Cars

Ranson E. Old created the mass market with his Curved Dash Olds, which sold 600 the first year, and in three years was selling 5,000 cars in the very early 20th century.  Here are the top 5 best selling cars of all time:

4. The Ford Escort

Over 20 million Escorts have been built since 1968, despite it being being out of production since 2000. To help compete with the Japanese cars which have been dominating the compact-car scene, Ford decided to introduce the Escort in both a two-door hatchback or four-door wagon models. After multiple design tweaks to both the body and the  engine, the Escort was considered a solid compact car for the price (base under $12,000). 

3. Volkswagen Beetle

The “Bug”, as it’s known, first hit the road in 1933 and has seen very little change in its design. It has been a very well-loved car for many decades, and it has sold more than 23 million. Mr. Walt Disnsey himself helped to further idoliz the car by making the movie “The Love Bug” in 1968. The Volkswagen Beetle has had international success all over the world. Volkswagen also re-introduced a newer model in the 1990s, and it became a favorite car for a new generation. Base price is  under $20,000.

2. Volkswagen Golf

Originally, this car was branded as the Rabbit when it was introduced in 1974.  This Volkswagen’s started at $17,995. To date, they have sold 27.5 million of these sedans.  The Golf has a reputation for being quick and fun. 

1. Ford F-Series

This pick-up truck, which which was first sold in 1948, happens to be the best-selling vehicle of 2011 and is second most sold car with 35 million  sold. The average price for is $22,990. 

Father’s Day Auto Show About Memories, Not Just the Cars

According to an article recently completed by the Napa Valley Register, the recent Father’s Day Invitational Auto Show was a particularly powerful experience for two repeat participants standing for the first time at the event without their fathers.  The display, which was Yountville’s twenty-fourth annual car exposition, featured a variety of vintage vehicles; over one hundred and fifty cars were on show including everything from Jaguars to Ford Mustangs.  The display drew in at least three thousand spectators.

Three particular cars were noted in the article.  First, a rare red Dodge Charger Daytona was in attendance, one of only five hundred copies made of the onetime NASCAR racer.  This car, in its rare quality, was naturally a big pull for spectators.

However, the article focused far more on two annual participants who stood alone by their cars for the very first time.  In the case of a 1929 Ford Model A, Bob Simons stood by, looking upon the picture of Bill Simons, his father, which he had placed on the windshield.  Bill Simons acquired the Model A and, together with his son, renovated the vehicle from a wreck to perfection.  Ever since the completion of the project over a decade ago, father and son have attended the annual car show together to proudly display their efforts.  Bill Simons, a high school teacher at schools in Napa Valley and Vintage for over three decades, passed away last year.  His memory, however, remains intact, as several repeat spectators approached Bob and spoke fondly of his father and of his work on the vehicle; several of Bill’s previous students even approached Bob, and told stories of how they owe all of their success to his father’s dedication to his students and his job.  It was a heartfelt goodbye to the memory of his father.

Jim Finch and his daughter Nicole Hardy bought a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air in 2012.  Almost immediately, they set it as their goal to acquire the far more valuable 1956 model.  However, unfortunately, Finch passed away before they could achieve this goal.  A mere three days after her father’s passing, Hardy found the exact car they had been looking for.  The car was purchased and renovated to include a motor from a 2007 Corvette LS1.  Looking stunning in powder blue, the car was a big hit at the show and allowed Hardy to remember her father fondly.