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Hemmings Muscle Machines

Discussion in 'General Mustang Discussion' started by RagTop, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. RagTop

    RagTop Old Grumpy

    I have a subscription to Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine. I look forward to every issue. They typically feature three muscle machines from the past, cover major auction results and also cover vintage stock drag racing. I have observed some peculiar things in the area of e.t.s and trap speeds. For example, this month's three featured cars were a '70 Monte Carlo 454, a '70 Buick 455 Stage 1 and a '69 Dodge Dart 340. The e.t.s and trap speeds they publish are from magazines back in the day. Here are the results:

    '70 Monte Carlo 454, 330 hp, 4 speed Muncie, 3.31 gears, 1/4 mile 14.90 @ 92mph
    '70 Buick GS 455 Stage 1, 360 hp, AT, 3.64 gears, 1/4 mile 14.40 @ 96 mph
    '69 Dodge Dart 340, 275 hp, Torque Flite AT, 3.23 gears, 1/4 mile 14.80 @ 96 mph

    For comparison's sake, my '69 Mustang convertible at Sacramento Raceway.
    '69 Ford Mustang convertible 302 (308), ? hp, C4 AT, 3.55 gears, 1/4 mile 14.308 @ 99.1 mph.
    Those numbers would put me right in there with these formidable muscle cars. While the numbers I provided were my best pass ever, I have run several back to back passes in the 14.30s. I admit that my Mustang was a solid 16s car when I bought it, but the addition of a Road Demon, Edelbrock Performer, a more aggressive cam, GT40P heads, Motorsport roller rockers, custom tri-Y headers, a shift kit in the C4 and 3.55 gears did improve the performance. Still.....

    My second observation is that, while all the featured cars from the '60s and '70s in HMM typically run from the very high 13s to the mid 16s, the bone stock drag racing '60s and '70s cars they report on almost all run times from the 11s to the mid-13s . Where were these guys back in the day when I used to run at Fremont in the early 60s? Anyone in a stock class who was in the 14s and/or over 100 mph was considered to be kicking ass, consistent with the magazine numbers being published in HMM mag. Curious. I've even asked the HMM guys about the impact of radial tires relative to the old bias plys that we ran on then. They said they didn't believe that it was even a significant variable. Hmmm. As the idiots on KTVU reported the names of the Korean air crew that crashed on the SFO runway, "Sum Ting Wong". (BTW, they also reported the head pilot as "Wi Tu Lo" and the flight engineer as "Ho Lee Phuc". Gotta love those investigative reporters and talking heads.)
     
  2. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    You've brought this up before and I am still in the camp that tires play a significant role in this. Not just the tire make-up but also contact patch size. Harder, narrower rubber kills launch and initial distance speed. I could swap on three different "modern" tires today and promise you there could (and likely would be) noticeable difference in performance.
    Also, all those cars listed are "dogs" in terms of rated power output. There is surely some mfg fudging going on but still. They came at the end of the muscle car era when the EPA and gas prices killed the fun. Your car is likely north of 1:1 in terms of h.p. to CID and those big blocks are closer to 2/3 : 1! Add in they are both big, fat and heavy in comparison and those times start to make a lot of sense. The Chevy and Buick outweigh your car by about 700 lbs. Crude drag strip math says that's as much as 7/10ths right there.
    Do you really believe the "bone stock" pro racers cars were as off the showroom floor? If so, Richard Petty must have been gifted with driving skill from the gods. That or he had a very crafty crew chief. ;)
     
  3. KBMWRS

    KBMWRS What did the moron say today?

    Its all the driver, Ken.:D
     
  4. RagTop

    RagTop Old Grumpy

    Richard Petty was a stock car racer, not a drag racer. If it wasn't clear, I was referring to bone stock drags, not NASCAR. What do you base your "dogs" contention on? The Buick 455 GS was considered one of the quickest GM muscle cars of the day, and, if you look at the history of muscle cars, 1971 was pretty much considered to be the high water mark of Detroit muscle. It wasn't until 1972 and 1973 that the insurance companies and the environmentalists got deeply involved with crippling Detroit. I have brought this up before and I've also posted a reply I got from a Hemmings Muscle Machines editor that opined that the differences in performance are not, in his opinion, related to tire type. My car is probably north of 1:1 hp:c.i.d. (I'm guessing around 325 hp), but the cars featured in HMM are, with the exception of the Dart, big blocks with lots of low end grunt; hardly "dogs". My wonderment over the reported times of bone stock drag racers stands. How could bone stockers be two or more seconds quicker than the original road tests?
     
  5. RagTop

    RagTop Old Grumpy

    Geez Mike, you must be psychic. I was thinking the same thing.;)
     
  6. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    Seriously? Thought my quips were pretty obvious. Let me try again.

    I know Richard Petty was a stock car driver. My point was he and his crew cheated. They all did. That's what made stock car racing great for so long until the modern era. Crew chiefs found ways to push the envelope in terms of allowable modifications to gain advantage. I could have just as easily used Grumpy as my example but I figured more people reading this would recognize Petty's name. The sport didn't matter. The point was they "cheated". No different than went on in drag racing regardless of class. Ronnie Sox's shifting wasn't the only reason he was so successful, for example.

    360 rated h.p. out of a 455 cid big block is certainly worthy of the label of "dog". A healthy V8 of any make can produce 1.1 to 1.2 h.p. per cube all day long. A .030 over 302 (306) at 1.1 is 336 h.p. Nice but more left in the tank. The same 1.1 in a 455 is 500 h.p. That's nearly 40% more than the rated 360 advertised. I'm sure that number was lowered from the actual but nowhere near the 500 easily made. So yes, the "dog" label is appropriate. A HiPo 289 cranked out 271 ponies as an example of a real performance factory engine output. And I also recognize that BB are torque monsters first and foremost as well and do not mean to diminish them by discussing only h.p. but torque follows the same potential lines as the horses.

    And because someone at HMM doesn't feel tires are a major factor shouldn't exclude it from the conversation. In my mind it actually excludes any other thoughts from them, to be honest. Tires ALWAYS play a huge role in dragstrip performance and to even suggest that a 1970 street tire could come close to a relatively modern example is silly. The advanced compounds used today are worlds ahead of those from the past.

    Magic is not real. Something allowed those "stock" cars to perform as they did. The best drivers in the world cannot squeeze a full two seconds over what were talented drivers who posted the magazine times. You can bet engine and suspension mods were made. The same thing still goes on today in all types of racing classes. NASCAR is about as closely controlled (screwed) as racing gets in terms of keeping every car exact but do you really believe that something wasn't different than everyone else about Truex ride last year? Or Johnson's in years prior? Crew chiefs get paid for a reason and it's not just pit strategy.
     
  7. RagTop

    RagTop Old Grumpy

    Perhaps you're missing my point. You are definitely right that the drag racers back in the day were cheating big time in the stock classes. I wasn't comparing their performance to the published performance of these muscle cars by the car magazines of the day, I was comparing the "bone stock" drag racing results achieved today and published in HMM to the bone stock performance of the cars as tested back in the day. As far as 1:1 hp:c.i. ratio, I am old enough to remember when Chevy achieved that with the 283 and it was the talk of the car community. The stock hp numbers for almost all the BB cars of the late 60s and early 70s was in the 325 to 425 range. I don't personally remember anyone advertising 500+ hp in a stock muscle car, so I guess you would classify all of them as "dogs". BTW, my 302 is .040 over, so it is a 308.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  8. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    I am not trying to argumentative here but I'm being as clear as I can. There isn't such a thing as magic here. A truly stock car as built in the sixties cannot after the course of 5 decades somehow get faster. If run as stock then and now the times should be the same except for variables such as altitude of the track maybe, driver performance and maybe tuning? Then you have things I keep pointing out like track condition (todays tracks are most assuredly much better prepped) and tire compound. All that together (worst case to best) I still cannot see something like a 2 second change. Half a second maybe but even then that would be crazy.
    I can, however, think of a lot of ways that a car can be made to look stock but have had pretty significant modifications done to improve strip performance. I'd be getting after the suspension first thing. Get that weight transfer right with shock/spring tuning. Stouter leafs to control wrap-up that could look factory fresh is pretty easy. Maybe painted aluminum driveshaft, AL flywheel, bored axles all to reduce rotating mass. Slip a Pertronix upgrade into the stock dizzy for better spark. Mill the heads a touch to bump compression. A little port work on the heads maybe even bigger valves. Valve train/cam upgrades. Free flowing exhaust. I can do all that and have EVERYTHING look factory fresh. Do you really think this isn't the case with many (likely most) of those "stock" drag cars? Or is it magic?

    And to close this out for me, YES, a 450+ CID big block posting 3 or even 400 h.p. is a dog by today's standards.
     
  9. KBMWRS

    KBMWRS What did the moron say today?

    Could it also be the timing equipment used back then versus now? Just adding fuel...hehehe
     
  10. Midlife

    Midlife Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    I've thought it was the improvement of tires over the years, but most tests nowadays of classic iron in stock form typically are similar to what was published. But...the tests done back in the day by magazines used cars provided by the manufacturers, and they probably cheated quite a bit from true stock conditions, as these cars were "prototypes" provided for reviews. Plus, the magazine test drivers were fairly competent, which could cut times by 0.5 seconds or more. Today, when taking a bare-bones stock car from the 60's/70's, you'd be good to match what the published results were, which is somewhat surprising. You're probably not as good as the test drivers, but tire compounds may make up for that difference.

    With engine and chassis enhancements, wider/stickier tires, etc., you can gain a good 2 seconds or more over published results. Major engine modifications can get you at least 4 seconds improvements.
     
  11. RagTop

    RagTop Old Grumpy

    Me either. We seem to be talking past each other. My point, obviously not directly stated, is that there aint no way that the '60s bone stock events presently being held are actually 60's bone stock cars. I've outlined the components of my "302" Mustang and it still looks (with the exception of the headers) as stock as can be. I also owned a C/Stock veteran drag racer from the late '50s that ran an upgraded cam, port matched intake and ported heads, Schaffer aluminum flywheel, Jahns 11.5:1 pistons, a 3 speed manual tranny and 4.45 gears. That car was hardly stock and the PO won a ton of trophies with it, but it was a great ride none the less. You're right, there isn't any magic involved. That's why I question the "bone stock" '60s drags running in the 11s. I don't doubt the times and speeds published back in the day for the BB Detroit Iron because it really wasn't that stellar. As I implied in an earlier post, I personally don't recall many guys in the mid '60s running much under 14 seconds or much over 100 mph, and, as we agree, those were probably not "bone stock" cars either. As far as horsepower to displacement, modern cars are computer controlled and have EFI. They are virtually automatically optimized to perform and produce much more hp/c.i. as a result. My '69 427/390hp Corvette (magazine published 15.02@92mph) was a relative dog in that regard and would have gotten it's doors sucked off in a heads up race against my 346 c.i. 305hp '00 LS1 Z28 (13.44@107.43mph). Two different eras and two different technologies. BTW, no hostility here. I've enjoyed this discussion.
     
  12. RagTop

    RagTop Old Grumpy

    In 2003 I was lucky enough to buy a '69 Corvette with the L36 427c.i./390hp engine. It was the single QuadraJet 4V iron head configuration with just under 70K miles on the clock and it was completely untampered down to the smog pump and those silly little air manifolds. Included with the Vette was a couple of boxes full of parts and literature. One of the pieces of literature was an article road testing the exact same car, down to the M21 Muncie and 3.36 gear set. The quarter mile was 15.02@92mph. I didn't make any changes in the car's configuration while I owned it (7 yrs) because I didn't want to negatively impact the value of the numbers matching car, and I definitely didn't ever take it to the drag strip, but the old seat of the pants dyno told me that the 1969 road test was probably more than the car could do when I owned it. The engine had been refreshed on the top end by the PO and it did post 195 lbs. compression across the board when I bought it. Beyond being not much fun to own and drive, I wound up in the position of being the curator for a four wheeled museum. It was a killer at the local Corvette shows, almost always winning the C3 Stock class (not a lot of those around) and it always got lots of eyeball in it's "new" stock colored 2 stage Le Mans Blue paint, but I finally decided to auction it off at Monterey during the Concours weekend. It was disappointing there too.
     
  13. JeffTepper

    JeffTepper Well-Known Member


    Ken:

    As I recall Car & Driver reported a 1/4 mile time of 14 something for a '67 Mustang 390 with a mid 90's trap speed. While fast in its day, modern 3 ton SUV's can post similar or better numbers.

    Thanks for the morning chuckle, by the way, you forgot the 4th member of the flight crew "Bang Ding Ow" ......................!!
     
  14. msell66

    msell66 Burning Fossil Fuels Donator

    A Fiesta ST with a 98 CI motor (yes, 98 cubic inches) will blow the doors off some of those 60's cars.
     
  15. Horseplay

    Horseplay I Don't Care. Do you?

    Not with you at the wheel!
     
  16. KBMWRS

    KBMWRS What did the moron say today?

    Do I have to call your mother to break you two up?o_O
     
  17. tarafied1

    tarafied1 Well-Known Member

    Are you talking about the Factory Appearing Stock Tire class? http://www.fastdrags.com/4.html They are into the 9's and they are most definitely NOT stock. Although it is impressive what they can do on those little bias ply tires!
     
  18. RagTop

    RagTop Old Grumpy

    No, I'm talking about the Bone Stock Drags. The cars are allegedly bone stock but are running on whatever tires they choose.
     
    tarafied1 likes this.

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