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Giant Gallery Of Wheels-Up Muscle Cars!

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 5/24/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff

While the term "muscle car" is broadly used today, by definition, a muscle car is a mid-1960s-to-early-1970s intermediate American car—typically a coupe or two-door post sedan—with a V8 installed to produce maximum acceleration and fun. Back in the heyday, muscle car performance was escalated by drag racers who tweaked engines, transmissions, gearing, and suspension. In the process, they created the great American quarter-mile war between racers and manufacturers. The fierce competition morphed into Stock and Super Stock Eliminator, where wins on Sunday translated to sales on Monday.


Each factory wanted the fastest car, so along with improving their machines, they found the hottest drivers to bang gears. "Stock" car drag racing was the rage and it helped create legendary racers including Dick Landy, Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, Ronnie Sox, and even Bob Glidden, who made their mark in muscle cars—either match racing or competing in Stock and Super Stock Eliminator.

Amazingly, 50 years later Stock and Super Stock continue to showcase factory performance on the quarter-mile. The latest Stockers are technologically advanced with supercharging and electronic fuel injection, but to muscle car purists, nothing beats the thrill of watching those carbureted beasts from the late '60s and early 1970s. And dozens of weekends per year, NHRA drag racing offers the chance to hear it all, from the newest Ford, Chevy, or Dodge, to the thumping cam in radical 426 Hemi or Max Wedge Mopar, the scream of a 427 Chevy, or the mighty howl of a 428 Cobra Jet Ford. And the classes are filled with many small-block combos, too.

Stock and Super Stock cars continue to be classified by a horsepower-to-weight formula. So, when you see "AA," "A," "B," or "C" on the window, you can assume it's a big-inch motor in a lighter chassis. The thrill for many racers is to get the most out of stock parts. And by "most," we mean horsepower, traction, and overall efficiency.

wheels-up-muscle-cars-29.jpg© Hot Rod Network Staff wheels-up-muscle-cars-29.jpg

If you're curious about what engine is under the hood, simply ask the owner, or look for the small NHRA classification sticker. It's usually located on a side window and it denotes the engine and horsepower rating. This makes it easy to determine the combination and keeps you in the know.

These days, Stock and Super Stock is made up of a mix of 50 years worth of American performance cars, so you'll see the latest EFI-packin' Cobra Jets, COPO Camaros, and Dodge Drag Paks, along with the mighty muscle cars that we consider classics.

As you can imagine, there are more restrictions in Stock. Rules allow for engines balancing and blueprinting, a stock-lift cam, and induction must be stone stock. Inspectors regularly check part numbers and casting numbers to ensure each car is legit. At times, this includes a complete engine teardown. Stockers must also have a full interior and factory body panels with glass, and part of the challenge is finding traction on the small 9-inch-wide slicks. Super Stock rules are more liberal, allowing for any camshaft, valvetrain, mild head porting, and an intake manifold can be used, but the carb or throttle body must be stock and in the stock location. Lastly, 14-inch rear slicks and modified rear suspensions are allowed.

On track, the performance is downright breathtaking. It's amazing to watch these racers push their classics in the 9s and beyond and to see the insane wheels-up launches, which at times carry 200-300 feet. Actually, the wheelie show is something we all love so we've put together a gallery of muscle cars launching from our adventures in 2018. We started in Pomona, headed south to Gainesville, FL, and then headed to Charlotte, NC for the Four-Wide nationals.

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