By far my most favorite question asked of Richard Armitage at the Into the Storm Premiere was Abby’s question about what American muscle car he would choose for a day of open road with no speed limits…
It warmed the little gearhead corner of my heart to hear him immediately pop off a response. The Mustang is a solid choice, perhaps the most dependable and iconic of the pack…the 2015 model marks the advent of sixth style generation in the Mustang’s fifty year history with Ford. One of my favorite pictures of my parents shows them leaving for their honeymoon in a 1965 Mustang convertible that looked a lot like this one…
It’s a sweet ride for sure, and the new models boast some pretty impressive specs, but I think Mr. Armitage might have been a tiny bit hasty. Maybe a few more test drives are called for, because despite all Mustang’s merits, Ford ain’t the only name in Detroit muscle baby! I have a few favorites to submit for consideration.
Don’t let all of the classical tradition chatter fool you. Before I left home for Latin and libraries, I was a Midwestern girl who grew up in hearing distance of a race track that ran modified street stocks on Thursdays and drags on Saturdays. The sound of a V8 never ceases to give me a little tingle. I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised when I saw something that looked a lot like this in my parents’ driveway on prom night.
It was a 1972 Chevy Nova. Where it wasn’t covered in grey paint primer, it was olive green. I was none too happy to learn from my date that my formal gown and I would need to crawl over from the driver’s side since the passenger door was still welded shut from its recent racing days. Finally situated, miraculously without ripping anything or snaring my big 80’s hair, I was silently grumbling and wondering what I had seen in the 6’4″ golden boy who had picked me up for prom in this heap of s#%t. Then he started the engine. Rrrrrrrr. I would say it purred, but like lions, 350 horsepower V8 engines do not purr, they rumble. It’s a rumble that you not only hear, you feel. I felt it under my toes, where they sat on the quivering floorboards, and all the way up to my newly tingling tummy. Date took one look at me and nodded sagely, “She’s a 350,” before he took his foot off the brake and respectfully did *not* shoot driveway gravel all over my increasingly concerned looking parents. Nope, he was a smart date and waited until we were about a half mile away before he showed me that 350 V8’s not only rumble like lions…they roar like them too! (Incidentally, that moment turned out to be the best of the night – prom is so over rated!).
Looking back, I realize that Date’s Nova was a tangible expression of a fondness for auto muscle that had been planted in my impressionable youth by a 1969 Dodge Charger. Maybe you’ve seen it somewhere before?
The General Lee. The 69 Charger Bo (John Schneider) and Luke (Tom Wopat) Duke raced around Hazzard County Georgia evading the long (inept) arm of the local law on the CBS series The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985). Now, I suppose it could be argued that I was more taken with the drivers than I was with the car…and in that, I was far from alone I’m sure. So says a recent Auto Trader ad campaign aimed clearly at me and my ilk:
However, a brief consultation with my in house gearhead advisor, a chat peppered with talk of “383 Magnums, 426 hemis and fastbacks..no wait, that’s after ’71…,” resulted in his agreement that while the Mustang is solid, the Charger, then and now, is the more muscular muscle car.
It kind of makes me wonder how much of muscle car Richard Armitage we might have seen had Paul Walker not died so tragically.
Get out on the highway,
but drive safely Armitageworld!