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Muscle mania with smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars

Old 09-23-2006, 09:09 AM
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Default Muscle mania with smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars



Article published Sep 23, 2006

Muscle mania
With smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars



By TERRENCE PETTY
The Associated Press

SEASIDE, Ore. - Gleaming in the sun on a street of this coastal town is the Holy Grail of many a young man in the 1960s and '70s. It's a muscle car.

A Plymouth Road Runner, to be precise. Vintage: 1969. Engine displacement: 383 cubic inches. Horsepower: 330. Color: scorch red. It belongs to baby boomer David Keith, and is the second love of his life - next to his wife.

Keith had wanted a Road Runner as a teenager, and bought this one used when he was in college, spotting it in the back lot of a Portland Chevrolet dealership in 1973.

"I had stars in my eyes for this car," says the 53-year-old.

"Eight years ago I decided either to sell it or redo it. I chose to redo it. We did a ground-up restoration. This is the car of my youth, and I kept it."

The Road Runner was among scores of vintage muscle cars lining the streets of Seaside for the annual Muscle Beach Cruz - Pontiac GTOs, Dodge Super Bees, Oldsmobile 442s, Chevy Chevelle Super Sports, Ford Torino GTs, Plymouth 'Cudas.

With their big, growling V-8 motors, stripped-down looks and often spartan interiors, these muscle cars were lusted after by young bucks in the Vietnam War era. As baby boomers head into their retirement years, many are lusting again after these relics of their youth.

There's nothing subtle or refined about muscle cars. They were built to burn rubber, taking off from a standing start like Apollo rockets - dragsters for the street.

With the 1973-'74 oil crisis, muscle cars gave way to vehicles that didn't have to make as many trips to the gas pump and weren't so expensive to insure. But in the past few years, they have become among the hottest commodities for collectors.

Baby boomers "are realizing they're not going to live forever," said Keith Martin, editor and publisher of Sports Car Market magazine and a commentator at the annual Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

At the Barrett-Jackson auction, an extravaganza that sells all kinds of vehicles, muscle car sales rose from $6.7 million in 2003 to nearly $40 million this year, the auction house said.

Dana Mecum, another car auctioneer, began specializing in vintage muscle cars over the past few years. "A good friend of mine said ... why don't you forget about chasing Duesenbergs and Ferraris. Chase what your customers are already buying," said Mecum, president of Mecum Auctions in Marengo, Ill. At Mecum's spring auction, sales have risen from $4 million in 2003 to $30 million this year.

There's so much nostalgia that American car companies have begun making modern versions of these cars. They resemble their ancestors in looks and horsepower. But the new cars outshine the relics in sophistication, technology, cornering ability and gas mileage -- which can be more than twice that of classic muscle cars.

Dodge has brought back the Charger, and is introducing a new Challenger in 2008. A new Chevrolet Camaro will hit showroom floors in 2009.

Mileage in the single digits was the norm for muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s, and their braking and cornering left much to be desired.

The Internet makes it easier than ever to find vintage muscle cars, said Tony Begley, owner of ClassicMuscle Cars.com, which sells them via the Web.

"Now you may live in Fairbanks, Alaska, get on the Internet and find that dream car," Begley said in a phone interview from Wauconda, Ill.

Scads of Web sites are devoted to muscle cars. Many go right for the enthusiast's heart, showing, for example, videos of Shelby GTs, GTOs and Plymouth Superbirds scorching rubber. Some offer favorite muscle car tunes, including "409" by the Beach Boys, "GTO" by Ronny and the Daytonas, and of course "The Little Old La
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Old 09-25-2006, 01:31 AM
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Default RE: Muscle mania with smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars

This is why they are bringing back muscle cars in the current line-up. The Boomers want to relive their youth with Muscle cars and many would be just as happy if not happier paying less for a overall better quality car.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:37 PM
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Default RE: Muscle mania with smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars

ORIGINAL: RLSH700

This is why they are bringing back muscle cars in the current line-up. The Boomers want to relive their youth with Muscle cars and many would be just as happy if not happier paying less for a overall better quality car.
I really wonder if the boomer demographic will wind up representing the largest segment of buyers. I am 38 and can't remember the Challenger as I was a toddler when they were running around. I love this car and yet I posses no appreciation for the history of the Challenger. I just think it is an awesome looking car and (for me anyway) captures the excitement of feeling something powerful on the road. I think a lot of folks my age (getting their mid life crisis fix) will buy this car or another pony car like the Mustang or Camaro.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:27 PM
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Default RE: Muscle mania with smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars

You definitely have the quality part right and I am looking forward to that and of course all of that awesome muscle to go with it.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:33 PM
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Default RE: Muscle mania with smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars


ORIGINAL: awsure

ORIGINAL: RLSH700

This is why they are bringing back muscle cars in the current line-up. The Boomers want to relive their youth with Muscle cars and many would be just as happy if not happier paying less for a overall better quality car.
I really wonder if the boomer demographic will wind up representing the largest segment of buyers. I am 38 and can't remember the Challenger as I was a toddler when they were running around. I love this car and yet I posses no appreciation for the history of the Challenger. I just think it is an awesome looking car and (for me anyway) captures the excitement of feeling something powerful on the road. I think a lot of folks my age (getting their mid life crisis fix) will buy this car or another pony car like the Mustang or Camaro.
Well, they will certainly probably buy the V-8 version for sure, there will be many other younger groups that will buy it just like they have the Mustang but they have been buying most V-6 engines probably because of insurance, car cost, and gasoline prices.

Regarding the mid life crisis......to me that is something that older people do in trying to relive and recapture their youth. While I am part of that age group..........for me I just like cars and it has nothing to do with mid life crisis. One side benefit is I can afford it a whole lot easier than I could 20 years ago.
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Old 09-25-2006, 11:25 PM
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Default RE: Muscle mania with smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars

You make a good point. I definitely think more young people will buy Challenger when (if) they put a V6 in it. I also am at the point in my life I can afford something like this and since I never had any cars as a young kid I guess it's a little like reliving part of my youth I never really had. I actually look pretty young (heck...a shave and a haircut they mistake me for 25) so maybe I can escape the mid life crisis tag.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:55 PM
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Default RE: Muscle mania with smoking tires, baby boomers are driving demand for muscle cars

The boomer generation has always liked their fast cars,so I would bet they will want these again. I want it to treat myself for my hard work in H.S. and college. I've been waiting for a long time to have some real $$$$$ to spend.
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