classic-car-history.com

Classic Cars Through History

Engineering, politics, geography, and economics are major factors which have shaped automobiles throughout history.

The Chrysler 300, Chevy Impala and Corvette, all introduced in the fifties, are still with us, and the retractable hardtop has made a comeback.

classic cars through history

Read: American Cars of the Fifties

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Along with the growth of America's middle class, affordably-priced sports-cars started appearing after WW2. From 1946 to 1954, both big and small car companies introduced sports cars to the American public.

MG-TD sports car history

Read: Sports Car History

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Sold at an affordable price, muscle cars were intended for street use and occasional drag racing. Although the origins of the muscle car can be debated, there is no question they ruled American streets from 1964 through 1970 (and a little beyond). Few people were concerned with gas prices when premium was 35 cents-a-gallon. Cheap gas and cheap horsepower was the order of the day and helped bring about the muscle car phenomenon of the sixties.

muscle car history

Read: Muscle Car History

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Stylish, affordable, and performance-oriented, the American Pony Car had a short but significant tenure in classic car history. After 1970, sales started falling. The 1973 U.S. Oil Crisis made the gas-thirsty Pony Cars fall further in the marketplace. The Challenger, Cuda, and Javelin were gone after 1974. GM's Camaro and Firebird would continue, as would the Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar.

1970 Dodge Challenger

Read: Pony Car History

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how cars have changed over the years

Read: Classic Cars To Modern Cars: What Has Changed Across The Years

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At the start of the 20th century, most every form of transport was made of wood, including boats, planes, and horse-drawn carriages. When the automobile arrived, many early examples were wood-bodied. Steel-stamping techniques slowly improved, and steel gradually replaced hardwood over time. Designers, however, continued to use wood for styling. Although steel improved body strength and durability, car owners still liked the look and charm of wood.

Packard History

Read: Woodie Wagons History

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Classic Ford Mustang

Read: What Classic Car Best Suits Your Lifestyle?

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When someone says to me, "The Corvair was an unsafe car" I reply, "Oh, you owned one?" When they say no they hadn't, I ask "But you've driven one?" The usual answer is no, they hadn't. So where is their information coming from? Here's some facts.

1966 Corvair Monza

Read: Who Killed The Corvair?

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A long-time favorite of hot-rodders, dry-lakes racers, and bootleggers alike, the flathead Ford V8 offered low cost, availability, and plenty of ways to improve performance. Produced from 1932 until 1953, the Ford Flathead V8 was offered in several displacements, but the basic design remained the same through the years.

classic cars through history

Read: Flathead Ford V8

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Aside from Chevy passenger cars, small-block Chevy motors were also found in Chevy trucks, GM trucks, Avanti's, Excalibur's, Checker Taxi's, and several brands of boats. Produced by Chevrolet from 1955 until 2004, these engines are now referred to as "Generation I" small-block Chevy.

Camaro Z28 engine

Read: Chevy Small-Block V8 (1955-1969)

Read: Chevy Small-Block V8 (1970-1979)

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Although the GTO is most often cited as the first muscle car, history shows that Pontiac wasn't the first car company to drop a big motor in a mid-sized car, but they were the first to market a mid-sized car with a big motor. The 1964 Tempest-based GTO was wildly successful, prompting other car companies to use the same formula.

Pontiac GTO image

Read: First Muscle Car

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Coinciding with the high-octane fuel refining technology that was developed during World-War-II, both Cadillac and Oldsmobile pioneered the first high-compression V8 engines for General Motors in 1949. So began the production frenzy of who could build the biggest, fastest motor. From 303 cubic-inches all the way to 455 cubic-inches, these were the five greatest muscle car engines of all time.

top five muscle car engines

Read: Top Five Muscle Car Engines

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Back in the day, kit cars had a bad reputation for poor engineering and little-to-no factory support. That's a shame, because kit cars done right can be a great alternative to building or restoring a vintage car or hot rod.

history of the kit car

Read: Kit Car History

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antique Nash automobile

Read: How Classic Cars Paved The Way For New Cars Today

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Electric cars from the early 1900's didn't have any of the issues associated with steam or gasoline powered cars. They were quiet, easy to drive, and didn't emit any pollutants. Read about the pioneering efforts of the E.V. from both big and small Automakers of the past.

read: Electric Car History (Early Years)

electric car history

Read: Electric Car History 1990-1999

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The smallest and lightest cars ever produced, microcars were also less expensive and burned much less fuel than conventional-sized cars. They were, and still are, a good choice for crowded cities where space is at a premium.

microcar history

Read: MicroCar History

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Although many early eighties sports cars were capable of 140+ mph, their speedometers only went up to 85 mph. It was part of a U.S. federally mandated attempt to slow cars down, and in doing so, save gas. Did it work?

Porsche 928 with 85 mph speedo

Read: 85 MPH Speedometer Law

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In November of 1973, Road and Track magazine featured a short story by Richard Foster called "A Nice Morning Drive". Neil Peart, drummer/lyrist of Rush, loosely based "Red Barchetta" around Foster's story. It's set in a time and place where the cars we know and love are completely illegal, but not completely gone.

classic cars through history

Read: Top Ten Car Songs

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Born in Belgium on Christmas Day in 1909, Zora Arkus-Duntov graduated from the Institute of Charlottenburg in 1934, beginning a long and fascinating automotive career. Although the Corvette was the brainchild of Harley Earl, it was the efforts of Zora that made it a real sports car.

Zora Arkus Duntov and Corvette

Read about: Zora Arkus-Duntov

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There is a never-ending stream of rumors about "recently discovered" American cars built during World War Two. These rumors are likely started by unscrupulous car collectors looking to increase value on certain vehicles. Truth is, other than for military use, no passenger cars were made between February 1942 and October 1945.

American automotive industry in WW2

Read: American Automotive Industry During World War Two

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Many old car enthusiasts are realizing how much fun it is to find an old camper to tow behind their classic car or truck. Cheaper than a second house and more comfortable than a tent (with amenities such as electricity and an actual bed), vintage campers are more popular than ever!

vintage camper history

Read: Vintage Camper History

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