What the future holds for hot rods
Eventually, all the muscle cars from the 20th century will return to the Earth in various altered physical states. The sport obviously can’t continue forever in current form. But a great assurance of its future is the imminent resurgence in modern-day successors to the cars that hot-rodders worship so dearly. The new movement started in 2005 with the first new Ford Mustang since the late 70s. All the basics were there – rear-wheel-drive, V8, classic looks, cheap sticker – and it fit the profile of being designed and built in America. Even better, the Mustang’s V8 is now a modern piece that will pass all emissions standards in the foreseeable future and finds application in many cars and trucks within the lineup, satisfying that essential Hot Rod need of “cheap parts.
” Better yet, this 1990s-conceived engine is now developing a history and lineage (dare I say legend) of its own. Lastly, the Mustang is selling well. Ford fans, at least, can relax. Moparheads have the next-best news. While they have nothing as cheap, focused, or American as the Mustang, their triplets of Chrysler 300C, Dodge Magnum, and Dodge Charger form a close second.
Those will soon become quadruplets if the Dodge Challenger coupe (the most historically faithful) becomes a reality later this decade, probably sporting the two Hemi V8s (the 5.7-liter and the 6.1-liter) found in existing models. Like Ford’s V8, the current-day Hemi is in great demand. Followers of the General will probably get something of their own. The Chevy Camaro concept has sparked just as much serious interest as the Challenger, meaning enough to warrant production. It too will hold the Corvette’s LS7 V8 good for 400 horsepower, prompting another few decades of Mustang-vs-Camaro wars. And while there won’t be another Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac is supposed to get a replacement for the GTO, as much as the current one fizzled. The funny thing is that these cars will have so much muscle straight from the factory that it’s boggles the mind thinking of ways to get any more speed out of them, especially on the cheap. But that’s a challenge any true hot rodder would happily take on.
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