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Flexed muscles have car-buying public swooning again

Old 05-18-2007, 08:43 PM
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Default Flexed muscles have car-buying public swooning again



Flexed muscles have car-buying public swooning again

05:37 PM PDT on Friday, May 18, 2007

By JIM MATEJA
Chicago Tribune

There was a time when $2 worth of gas lasted a week, not a block.

Gangs wore Chevy, Ford or Dodge T-shirts, not tattoos.

And long black strips of tire residue, not construction barricades, filled the roads.

Chevrolet expects to sell 100,000 Camaros, its entry into the new-look muscle car market.
"American Idol?" Sure. Elvis and the Beatles.

It was the muscle car era, a time in the '60s and '70s when Chevy, Ford and Dodge said it all -- and import referred to the Volkswagen Beetle.

It was a time when "mine is faster (not more fuel thrifty) than yours" was in vogue. Oh, the heady days before fuel economy and safety.

But, wait. What's that in the rearview mirror? Mustang and Charger? Soon to be joined by Camaro and Challenger?

Chevy, Ford and Dodge.

"I'm not sure it's a return of muscle cars or a return of a sports-car niche," said John Fitzpatrick, marketing manager for Camaro and Impala at Chevrolet.

And one aimed at a range of buyers.

"Let's see, they'll be young and old, men and women, left- and right-handers, tall and short, fat and thin," says Jim Hossack, vice president of AutoPacific, a West Coast marketing and consulting firm. "By offering V-6 or V-8 engines and manual or automatic transmissions, there will be different power and different price choices to appeal to a broad spread of people -- everybody."

Decades have passed since the original muscle-car movement, kicked off in 1964 when John DeLorean, then of General Motors, and some colleagues surreptitiously stuffed a beefy V-8 engine into a modest Pontiac LeMans, creating the GTO.

It ended with the oil embargo in the 1970s.

The lag will benefit the returning machines, says Greg Grams, owner of the Volo Auto Museum in Chicago.

"Guys in their 50s and 60s will buy the new ones, people who remember the old ones but want to drive the new one with air conditioning and a Bose sound system," he said.

Don't count out the "youngsters," adds Art Spinella, general manager of CNW Marketing Research, the Bandon, Ore., company that studies why people buy the cars they do.

"You're going to have the young under 35 years of age and the young-of-heart over 55. For both it will be a fashion statement, a car that generates image and cachet for the buyers and generates profits for the manufacturers."

Hear, hear, says John Sloan, director of rear-wheel-drive marketing for Chrysler Group, in referring to what he calls "amusement rides."

"These are refined nostalgia pieces that open a portal to the past for people to relive a wonderful time in their lives. When we did a market analysis for Challenger, we saw a market for muscle cars as rewards for boomers, people with tremendous disposable income and a passion for cars, who couldn't afford one when younger."

However, there remain those who focus on mileage rather than muscle and are suspect of any car that zooms to 60 mph rather than racking up 60 mpg.

"We're keenly aware of gas prices," Chevy's Fitzpatrick said, the reason for the V-6 in the base Camaro, same as in Mustang.

Even Challenger and its Hemi V-8 will shut off 4 cylinders when not needed to conserve the petrol.

"People remember the old muscle cars as better than they were," Sloan said. "They got 8 mpg and our Hemi V-8 gets 20 to 25 mpg today with multiple displacement so you can have top performance when you take off or top mileage when you cruise."

Hossack sees another force at work. "These cars are making a comeback because Ford restyled the Mustang in 2004 and people liked it, bought it, and Ford made lots of money. In this industry, when it comes to making money, monkey see, monkey do."

Ford is expected to sell at least 170,0
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Old 05-19-2007, 07:29 AM
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Default RE: Flexed muscles have car-buying public swooning again

I'm now 42 rears old, I've come up through the 70's, 80's and 90's if there one thing I can say, it is that this is the most exciting time in the automotive world for me. Seeing all the hopped up rods back in the 70's rolling around was just plum cool, and now the muscle car is back with a vengeance"awesome" I can't wait to finally own a piece of the past but all new, the Challenger is literally the car of my dreams, its obviosly what people want and the big three have tapped into that need again. Good idea to go back to their roots in concept and design, and it's not the meek it's the muscle will one day inherit the earth. Amen to that.

[sm=gears.gif]
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Old 05-19-2007, 10:35 AM
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Default RE: Flexed muscles have car-buying public swooning again

We are taking back the streets and we are loaded for bear. I drive a 71 Challenger and I'm convincing the imports one car at a time. So.... setting the stage if you will. I really think that some of the import guys think they have a corner on the market when it comes to HP. But, there is a guy here in NC in a black 350Z Nissan that will respect American iron from now on. 8 cars and pulling to 80 where I shut down the slaughter. He instigated the stop light to stop light indevor. And it was ugly for him.
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Old 05-19-2007, 02:08 PM
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Default RE: Flexed muscles have car-buying public swooning again

I wish I could have seen and filmed it for posting. LOL!
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For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
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Old 05-22-2007, 06:18 AM
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Default RE: Flexed muscles have car-buying public swooning again

Lear, you have no idea how much i love hearing the muscle out smoke imports. Best is when its on the streets stop light to stop light. Love the story post more if you have.
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Old 05-22-2007, 09:24 AM
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Default RE: Flexed muscles have car-buying public swooning again

I recently got the car back on the road and I drive it back and forth to work. I drive Hwy. 73 from Kannapolis to Mooresville where I work. I cross over I-77 and the road widens out to 3 lanes for about 2 miles. And there are 5 stop lights on this section of road. I have been challenged by everything from a mini van to a powerstroke ford truck. I ignor the autos that I deam not worthy. And I don't mean that in a condercending way. I just think that some people like to play and so I let them. Not worth the risk of a ticket. But some cars are out to the point of annoying you into a run. I never look for a supervised accelaration test but I always seem to find a car in need of an education. I also know what will hand me my bumper and I leave them alone. Better to just grin and let them wonder, than to hit the throttle and let the cat out of the bag. My car has a nice lick to it at idle and tne bark is worse than the bite. But it does hold its own for a 340. I will be running it at the strip soon to have times to compare to, for the mods going on soon. I've ordered new headers and a mandrel bent 2 1/2" dynomax system. A deep milodon pan and an old Holley street dominator single plane intake. I'm hoping for a little more RPM.
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