Spirit Of America

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:



The reason all cars look the same is aerodynamics, which matter to fuel efficiency, which is mandated by the government.

I’d gladly give up a few miles per gallon if I could have my ’67 Mustang back, only with less rust and a modern reliable engine.

Give me a Mustang body sitting on a Hyundai Sonata powertrain and we’re golden.

Let’s see:

Yeah, that’d work.

12 thoughts on “Spirit Of America

  1. Give me a Mustang body sitting on a Hyundai Sonata powertrain and we’re golden.

    FITE ME!

  2. My brother and I are almost done restoring a 68 version. It DOES NOT have a Sonata powertrain. 😀

    In fact, it has a 351 Cleveland, punched to 392 cubic inches and was dynoed at 575 hp, with 499 lb ft of torque.

    I’ll post pictures when it’s done.

  3. I follow a Muscle Car group on Facebook. I was never a big gear-head, but the photos they share are beauties and I like looking at them and imagining what I’d do if I had a Jay Leno-type budget for classic cars. I’d still miss my 12-speaker sound system, heated multi-adjusting seats, temperature zone control and cruise control.

  4. “Give me a Mustang body sitting on a Hyundai Sonata powertrain and we’re golden.”

    Sacrilege Joe, Sacrilege!

  5. Ease up, gear-heads. Back in the days when a red-blooded American boy could disassemble an entire piece of Detroit steel using only a 9/16-1/2″ wrench and a flat blade screwdriver, I was on my back under the car as much as anybody. I had to be – I drove a ’67 Mustang with a 289. Fixed Or Repaired Daily is not just a slogan, it’s a life choice.

    Today, the whole thing is computers. No, seriously, the driver inputs connect to nothing substantial, only the computer. The other day my car was idling while I took a phone call. When I hung up, I automatically grabbed the key and twisted it. The starter didn’t grind. I did it again. Nothing. The key connects to the computer which knew enough not to trigger the starter.

    On the one hand, that’s good, I didn’t grind down the starter gear or damage the flywheel. On the other hand, what am I doing here? The car doesn’t need me, it already knows what to do. And if anything did break, there’s nothing anybody could do about it outside of a well-equipped repair shop. Even when I’m moving, the streets in St. Paul have been calmed to within an inch of their lives. “Thrilling” is banned from traffic planners’ lexicon; “sedate” is the polite phrase; “ooze” is more like it.

    In a modern car, I’m not the driver, I’m just the crash dummy along for the ride. If that’s all I’m good for, then I might as well enjoy riding in something stylish rather than something designed by a committee of bureaucrats who hate cars and wish I’d switch to mass transit. So fine, give me the computer- driven, ultra-reliable, 100,000 mile warranty mechanical stuff. Just figure out a way to strap Eleanor on top of it. Is that so much to ask?

  6. “I was never a big gear-head, but the photos they share are beauties and I like looking at them and imagining what I’d do if I had a Jay Leno-type budget for classic cars. ”

    Also never really a motorhead, but I used to LOOOVE our NARN broadcasts at Back to the Fifties and World of Wheels; they were almost like going to a really fun art gallery.

  7. Like NW, I’m also torn between the style, character, great performance, and rawness of 1960-1970 (maaaaaaybe 1971, but definitely not beyond that), and modern technology, even greater performance, comfort, and reliability.

    1972-1984 can go piss up a rope.

  8. I remember the ’74 Mustang Mach (Mock) I being a bloated, domesticated version of the original fiery spirit. I think the spirit of American cars started to die right about that time. The romance and freedom and the road and an F-you V8 was euthanized by “marketing”, 49 cents a gallon (horrors!) gas and the catalytic converter.

    All that was left was poor quality and fine Corinthian leather.

  9. NW; Jeepers you have me remembering the Chrysler Cordoba that’s about when the bottom fell out for Chrysler, soon to be followed up by the K-car. Don’t see many of them at classic car shows…..yucko!

  10. My dad had a 73 Monte Carlo that he ordered with the 454 engine and 4 barrel carb. The beast was 20 foot of hood and about 8 foot of front seat, back seat (vestigial) and trunk. I was driving my brother to the mall one night, waiting in the right lane at a light. Just as the light turned a friend of mine blew by us in the left lane blaring the horn. I pulled into the left lane, put my foot down, and started reeling him in. As he was getting close the Monte Carlo was riding smooth, and I looked down and saw the speedometer going past 105. Shit, this was one the heaviest patrolled roads in the Indianapolis metro – and if I got busted for going that fast in my old man’s car, I’d still be grounded today.

    A few minutes later we were at the mall and my friend and his buddies were sitting on the back of his car in the parking lot, laughing their butts off. “I could tell right when you let off the gas,” he said. “The nose of your car dropped so fast and hard that I swear it hit the pavement and sent off sparks!”

  11. I love the sound of a big 8 as much as almost anyone, but it strikes me that the downfall of the Detroit 3 probably dates back to around 1960, when the process of ignoring Deming was nearly complete and the race towards ever larger engines with weak transmissions (2, 3 speed) commenced. Yeah, it probably has something to do with a ride I had on the Autobahn at 125 in a fairly underpowered Volvo that felt scarily safe. MPH, not KMPH, by the way.

    Along the same lines, being able to take a vehicle well beyond 200k miles and being able to get it started when it’s 20 below are things that I’m not willing to give up. Plus, I’m not that enamored of 1960s and 1960s styling; give me late 1940s and 1950s instead.

    It also strikes me that the 1960s practice of throwing more cubic inches at the problem seems to parallel the government practice of simply throwing more dollars and human lives at problems at the same time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.