History general motor muscle car

How Muscle Cars Work

It became such a sensation that Chevrolet began low-volume, hand-built production at a plant in Flint. Only were built in using modified Chevrolet frames, suspension and a hp 3-carburetor version of its cubic-inch overhead-valve six. All had Powerglide automatic transmissions. For Chevrolet moved production to a small dedicated facility in St. Louis, planning to sell 10, Corvettes. Chevrolet did reach its annual sales target of 10,, but not until Today Corvette production regularly exceeds 30, annually, all tracing their ancestry back to those Polo White roadsters.

1940 Cadillac Series 90 V16

PillPack Pharmacy Simplified. Stitched binding, heavy paper, beautifully illustrated. The reason for the exaggerated height of the wing was so that the trunklid on the production cars could pass underneath it and fully open. Did you know we have Cadillac to thank for the birth of Pontiac? As of March , General Motors SUV offerings outsell its nearest competition at a ratio of nearly , and occupy nearly 80 percent of the entire full-size SUV segment.

But for many car enthusiasts, that year will be best remembered for the introduction of the Chrysler C, which combined testosterone-fueled horsepower and sporty suspension with a handsome, muscular design. It came in just one body style, which was configured from stock parts, and in only three colors white, red or black.

It was upholstered in tan leather.

Despite weighing in at a hefty 4,plus pounds, the C proved its mettle on the track. Instantly recognizable on the street, it commanded respect at every stoplight, yet its cost meant that in pretty much every case a suit-and-tie-wearing swell was at the wheel. Two-tone Chevrolet Bel Air with whitewall tires. The small-block engine bristled with innovations. First was its light weight: an impressive 41 pounds less than the Chevy six.

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Its short piston stroke, big valves and excellent cylinder-head design gave it unparalleled high rpm performance. The aesthetic emphasized length and sleek, swept, dart-like features.

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It was reinforced by dramatic two-tone paint schemes with bright chrome borders. Taillights were housed in the trailing edges of the fins. Bumpers and grille were treated as massive chrome appendages. The Adventurer got standard TorqueFlite automatic transmissions and power brakes among many other standard features.

It also had gold plating for the trim accents. DeSoto proudly noted it was the only standard i. In a horsepower race, this was the car to have in , with flamboyant style to match its performance. It won uncountable races as the Boss It set drag-racing records as the Boss Advertisement featuring the Chevrolet Corvair.

Small, lightweight and modestly powered, a compact served basic transportation needs—and maybe a little bit of counter-cultural disdain for prestige. A flood of them came from Detroit in , and the driving public gobbled them up. But Corvair had one fatal flaw: a swing-axle independent rear suspension. Even with the attraction of a turbocharged hp version of its cubic-inch engine. Corvair passed away after , a daring concept tripped up by negative publicity and the burgeoning auto-safety movement.

Pontiac Division president E. So Estes and DeLorean found a simple workaround to the new-model rule: Make the horsepower engines a mid-year option in the Le Mans.

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With sales success, all restrictions were off. It also ignited muscle car madness. In GM looked to have a hit when it introduced the handsome, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive, sub-compact Vega. Its single-overhead-camshaft cast-iron cylinder head aided performance. Individual bucket seats and a floor-shift 3-speed manual transmission came standard, giving Vega a sports car flair.

It was chosen by Motor Trend magazine as its Car of the Year. Unfortunately for Chevrolet, it also rusted quickly and the engine had vibration and cooling issues. In , Time magazine named Richard M.

Nixon its person of the year. And Ford introduced a spiffy new small car called the Pinto. Despite promising starts, none of these would end well. It used two different cast-iron four-cylinder engines engines one 75 horsepower, the other which had been built in England and Germany and were already proven in their home markets. Bucket seats, a floor-mounted shifter for the standard four-speed manual transmission and rack-and-pinion steering sported up the driving experience.

In an attractive and practical 2-door station wagon was added, and these three models would remain in the Pinto lineup until it was discontinued in Pretty much anyone with a passing knowledge of cars, or who lived through the s, knows what happened next. With more than a million Pintos on the road soon after its introduction, the car displayed a sometimes-fatal tendency to catch fire when hit in the rear.

The problem was ultimately traced to the location of the fuel tank and its filler neck. Ford relocated those components for and later models. But in , facing an impending recall order from the U. It proved to be a devastating and expensive blow to Ford and its prestige—particularly when, in , the State of Indiana charged Ford Motor Company with reckless homicide in a rear-ended Pinto fire. The blistering-fast brainchild of American racing driver and entrepreneur Carroll Shelby, the Shelby Cobra made incarnate the belief that you can never have too many horses under the hood.

Theirs was a nifty marriage: Shelby was looking for an American engine-European chassis project. Shelby approached Chevy for engines. We think not. Introduced in , the Shelby Cobra created a sensation among the automotive media—and wreaked havoc among its racing competitors. It would be a first for an American manufacturer. As the muscle car wars heated up through the 60s and 70s Pontiac held its ground with powerful automobiles like the Tempest, GTO, Firebird and Trans Am.

If you needed a car with room for the whole family, yet capable of getting out of its own way, Pontiac had you covered with the Lemans, Catalina and the Bonneville. When American car companies found it necessary to reduce compression ratios, so the automobiles could meet stricter emission requirements and burn unleaded fuels, Pontiac struggled a little more than other GM brands. It's hard to say your car represents power and value when these things are no longer true.

Through , the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hood decal got bigger each year. Unfortunately, the engine was getting smaller and developing less horsepower. The s would represent a dark period of time for all of GM. Even the mighty Cadillac division considered recession-proof, because of its upscale clientele started building questionable cars.

The early 80s Cadillac Eldorado with the HT is a good example of this. Pontiac went on to launch the Fiero in It had a horrendous start and the company gave up on the little sports car just as it turned the corner in performance, value, and reliability. This is ironic because when General Motors decided to give up on Pontiac in The G8 sports sedan was whipping the competition in its category and the re-branding of its other models showed promise.

A new model called the Pontiac Solstice with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine pulled down excellent fuel economy numbers and was a blast to drive. For each of the approximately vehicles that constitutes the GM Heritage Center Collection, there are countless stories. From your favorite Corvette of your youth to a concept car still on the drawing board, the Featured Stories dive into the past, present and future of GM automobiles.

For as long as there are GM vehicles, there will be the innovations, people, history, and stories behind them. These one-of-a-kind visual works chronicle the people of GM and their contributions, and document the products, workforce, fashion, culture and events of the day.

The Death of Muscle Cars

The General Motors Heritage Center is busy almost every day of the year with tours, events, meetings, media announcements and product reveals. One of the groups that appreciate their Heritage Center experience the most are the car clubs and enthusiast groups.

Frequently Asked Questions. View the Collection.