A Second Coming for the American Muscle Car Era?

From the mid 1960s until the early 1970s, the big three American car manufacturers put their own unique stamp on the performance car market. Rather than the traditional sports car, which was usually very small and featured a big engine, America’s contribution was a car with plenty of horses under the hood that was also big, relatively speaking.

While Australia and South Africa manufactured their own muscle cars, this article is about the American versions. These are high performance cars, midsize 2-door models with rear wheel drive and a great big engine under the hood. Muscle cars were mass produced, and were affordable for middle class car buyers.

The first, most successful American muscle car was the Ford Mustang. Making its debut in 1964, the smallish, very attractive model with the big V6 (or optional V8) captured the attention of every American car enthusiast.  While the Mustang has been through many design changes over the decades, the original look remains the most popular. That is why the new “retro” Mustang, which came out in 2005 has appealed so heavily to young buyers who never rode in an old Mustang, and also the older generation who remembers them well.

retro-mustang

Plymouth loyalists will point out that the Barracuda, Plymouth’s muscle car, beat the Mustang to the market. But only just. And sales of the Mustang took off faster than a V8 model at a stoplight next to a Camaro. In its first two years, two million Mustangs were sold, and the fact that buyers could customize them was a big selling point. The Mustang convertible, which debuted in 1964 has been turning heads for over 40 years now.

While Ford Mustangs underwent changes during the 1970s and 1980s – some good, some not so good – it is still the classic 1960s Mustang that most people over 35 think of when they hear the word “Mustang.”

General Motors didn’t produce an answer to the Ford Mustang until Sept. 29, 1966, when the 1967 Camaro appeared on the market. The Camaro had remained nameless right up until the time it was introduced. Though Ford had some fun speculating what the word “Camaro” stood for, any controversy over the name was forgotten as soon as people got a look at the 1967 Camaro. To keep costs competitive with the Mustang, GM introduced only two types of Camaro: a coupe and a convertible.

1967-camaro

Engine choices included a 230 cubic inch 6-cylinder and a 327 cubic inch V8, and a Camaro-only 350 cubic inch V8 that boasted 295 horsepower. This type of Camaro remained available through 1969. The second generation Camaro was made throughout the 1970s and was a fixture on American roads and in parking lots of American high schools throughout that decade. This was a larger, wider, and heavier car than the late 60s model.

In 1981, the third generation Camaro was born for the 1982 model year. These were available with automatic transmissions for the first time, as well as fuel injection, and 15 or 16 inch wheels. It was during the 1980s that the IROC-Z Camaro was introduced, featuring a performance suspension and 16-inch tires.

irocz-camaro

The fourth generation Camaro was produced from 1993 until 2004, when the brand took a break. The new fifth generation Camaro is scheduled to go on sale in spring 2009 as a 2010 model year version.

While the Barracuda beat the first Ford Mustang to market by two weeks, it never sold as well. In 1970, Dodge introduced the Challenger. These used  new architecture from the older Barracudas and were made to compete with the Camaro and the Mustang. The Challenger had the option of a big 440 cubic inch engine or a 426 cubic inch Hemi powered V8. This was during peak of muscle car mania. In terms of styling, the Challenger was similar to the first generation Chevy Camaro and was available as a coupe or convertible. By the early 1970s, the muscle car fever was starting to break, and new car emissions laws plus the oil embargo looming on the horizon seriously dampened demand for cars like the Challenger. The brand died out in 1974.

The Challenger
The Challenger

But in 1978, Dodge paired with Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi to make the Challenger once again. While it wasn’t close to being a substitute for the classic 1970 Challenger, it was nonetheless competitive with cars like the Honda Prelude and Toyota Celica. This version disappeared in 1983.

But 25 years later, the 2008 Dodge Challenger appeared, with retro styling that gives it a profile similar to the 1970 Challenger. It even has similar headlights!  It is, however, a bigger car, and has been outfitted with stability control, airbags, and other safety features. Similar to the 2008 Dodge Charger, the Challenger is a rear-wheel drive car just like the muscle cars of old.

2008 Dodge Challenger
2008 Dodge Challenger

With the Dodge Challenger, the Chevrolet Camaro, and the Ford Mustang all on the road again with new models by the end of 2009, some wonder if America is experiencing a revival of muscle car mania, or if these hot new cars are more of a quiet tribute to a time that has been gone for over 30 years. It probably doesn’t matter. Muscle car enthusiasts will appreciate these new retro designs, particularly if they remember driving their own Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger back in 1970.

Drivers and Sports Cars: A Love Affair

It wasn’t long after the automobile was mass produced in the early 20th century that enthusiasts began thinking of ways to maximize their performance. Though it took a few decades to perfect the design of sports cars to the point where they weren’t rolling death traps, sports cars have always been the objects of desire and fascination for people who are into cars. Even people who claim not to care about car models will take an extra look when a gorgeous little red sports car rolls past. Aesthetics are a close second to engine power where sports cars are concerned. Continue reading Drivers and Sports Cars: A Love Affair

3 Hybrid Cars Worth Considering

With the uncertainty surrounding fuel prices and growing concern over the environment, the popularity of hybrid cars has risen dramatically in the past five years. These cars use a combination of electric and gas power: gas when acceleration is needed, and electricity when coasting or stopped. Because of this, these cars get really good gas mileage, even in the family sedan models. Honda and Toyota, two car brands that are popular and have a reputation for quality, have hybrid cars on the market. Let’s take a look. Continue reading 3 Hybrid Cars Worth Considering

4 Affordable Super Cars

Luxury sports cars appeal to a very particular American demographic. Buyers of luxury sports cars average 41 years old, are overwhelmingly male (81% male to 19% female), and have household incomes of nearly $190,000. Here are some of the characteristics they look for in luxury sports cars: Continue reading 4 Affordable Super Cars

2010’s Top 10 of the Popular New Vehicles

There are many aspects that go into judging the popularity of a car, such as its price, amount of sales, the size of the engine, its safety features, the exterior look, and the interior look.  Based on our general comparison, the following are 2010’s top 10 vehicles.

The Chevrolet Malibu.  This is 2010’s highest rank car to date, specifically because of its integrated driving system technology.  The exterior is standard – four doors, with a body resembling many of the new sedans made in Japan.  However, the interior design is superb.  And because the Malibu starts at a very reasonable cost, these cars are flying off the lots.

The Chrysler Sebring Sedan. Yes, while it might come as a throw off because it is a sedan, do not let that fool you.  Chrysler has really outdone itself this time in terms of the Sebring sedan’s looks, control, and driving – master design and craftsmanship.  And although the car industry as well as customers are facing difficult financial times, Chrysler has managed to keep the luxurious feel of the Sebring Sedan.

The Dodge Avenger.  From the front, anyone can tell the Avenger is a Dodge.  But from the back, the look is completely different.  Some car experts believe that Dodge has completely overdone the Avenger’s design; however, that is all a matter of opinion.

Numbers four through seven of the vehicles on the 2010 Top 10 list are categorized as SUVs.  They are the XC90 from Sweden, XC60 by Volvo, SRX from America, and the CLK German class.  Because they are basically similar, we have grouped them together.  However, the differences are found in the design.  Some of these SUVs are better looking in regards to its interior, but all of them are highly practical, especially in comparison to the vehicles listed above.  The only downside to the exterior is the color choices, or lack thereof.

At number eight on the list, we have – the Subaru Legacy.  From the moment you first lay eyes on the Legacy, you will immediately notice that the look is sporty and almost mean.  Because of the Subaru Legacy’s spec details, the targeted market is geared towards the younger driver.  It is not meant to be popular with the older set.  However, the overall consensus is that this car drives well, looks great, and is definetly a fantastic deal for the price.

For number nine and number ten on the Top 10 of 2010 list, Audi A3 and Subaru Outback in that order.  Either of these automobiles are a good choice for almost any driver on the road.  But when it comes to the A3 and Outback’s performance and pricing, Audi and Subaru have fallen a bit short.  Of course, if your main reason right now for purchasing a car is to have something fun to play in and take for joyrides up and down the road, you cannot go wrong with either of them.  As a matter of fact, these are the two cars you should look at first.

Honda Insight Hybrid – 2010

Honda is hands-down the leader in creating clean, fuel-efficient automobile technology in addition to advances in gasoline alternatives, hydrogen powered and no-emission FCX Clarity car fuel cells, and a highly advanced production auto.  And now, Honda has something new to put on its list – the 2010 Insight Hybrid.

On the first day of 2009, the Insight made its debut into the car industry appealing to customer with its extra features.  The efficiency and cost-effectiveness in which it is produced as well as the hybrid technology – Integrated Motor Assist – has completely redefining the evolution technology of all hybrids.  Why?  Customer who are environmentally conscious or simply just like the hybrid will enjoy the benefits of better performances, greater affordability, and a 40/43 fuel economy rating for the highway.

And the engine features of the Honda Insight Hybrid are nothing short of spectacular.  There is Eco Assist, an enhanced fuel economy technology component, 1.3liter iVTEC engine, and IMA hybrid system.  Its hybrid system has a 13 horsepower, 10Kilowatt electric motor featuring the Intelligent Power Unit, or IPU.  The IPU reclaims and stores the kinetic energy brought forth by braking in order to give acceleration a boost if need be.  During low and mid driving speeds, the IMA can run solely on electric power and lets cylinder deactivation happen either when the car’s engine is shut-off or during deceleration.  All of this technology can go far with a 400 mile driving range coupled with a fuel tank that can hold 10.6 gallons.

There are many surprises inside the car as well, such as the 60/40 split rear seat backs that fold back, double digital instrument panels, automated climate control, mirror and door lock, power windows, telescoping steering wheel that tilts, 160 watt audio system with CD, MP3 playback capabilities, volume control that is speed sensitive, and input jack.

Of course, you cannot talk about the Insight Hybrid without discussing its excellent feats of safety – front air bags that are dual-threshold and dual-stage, side airbags in the front, OPDS on the passenger side, side curtain system, EBD anti-lock brakes, and the restraints that have been effectively redesigned.  The ACE body structure the crash compatibility from two vehicles greatly varying in size, which protects Insight passengers and the other car’s when hit head on.  The Honda Insight Hybrids safety points are superior to anything else currently on the market – an aspect that brings in a lot of interest from potential 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid owners.

Environmental mindset customers find the Honda Insight a revolution in the car industry.  The new technology is nothing short of amazing, well places safety features for optimum passenger protection, and an interior jam packed with accessories.  Out of all of the technology for hybrid cars available for purchase at this moment, the Honda Insight is thought by many to be the absolute best.  In April 2009, car dealers in the United States will be launching the 2010 Insight throughout the nation.  And for those concerned about saving pennies and dimes, the Insight’s MSRP comes in well underneath the Civic Hybrid.

Looking Into Hybrid Cars? What You Need to Know

Hybrid vehicles contain two separate engines in order to conserve the car’s fuel consumption–a traditional, gasoline-powered engine and an electric, battery-operated motor.  Both the gasoline and the electric engines work in conjunction with one another to reduce the overall fuel consumption of a vehicle.

Higher Gas Mileage and Lower Fuel Costs

Those who own a hybrid car enjoy using typically half of the fuel consumption of people who drive standard, gasoline vehicles.  Most hybrids allow drivers to get at least 60 miles of driving time per gallon of gas.  This means hybrid owners will not spend nearly the amount of money as their gasoline-powered car driver counterparts.

Other Advantages of Hybrid Cars

Because the government is trying to push environmental reform, they bestow hybrid car owners with certain benefits not enjoyed by gasoline car owners, such as free car pool lane entry, no cost parking in some areas, and discounts for toll gate fees.

And those who are concerned about the logistics of powering the car’s electric engine should not be.  Hybrids actually run slightly different from 100% electric cars in that there is no need to charge the electric engine’s battery from a home electric outlet.  Instead, the particular braking system of hybrids allow the battery to charge by capturing the released energy outputted by braking.

Higher Retail Prices

Even with the many advantages afforded by hybrid cars, there are a few downsides to owning one with the biggest disadvantage being their expensive retail price.  It takes a little bit more cash to purchase a hybrid car; however, manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to bring the cost down for consumers.  But this seemingly costly disadvantage is negated by the fact that the cost of hybrid ownership is usually less expensive than owning a gasoline only car, which means a hybrid’s cheaper running cost will eventually even out the hybrid/gasoline playing field.

Heavier Weight and Lower Speeds

The specialized batteries used in hybrid vehicles are heavier than standard car batteries.  Because of these cars’ extra weight, manufacturers install smaller sized internal combustion engines.  These engines are specifically built using lightweight materials with aerodynamic properties in order for the car to move as fast as possible, meaning hybrid cards do not have the typical driving speed of their gasoline car rivals.

A Slightly Increased Risk of High Voltage Electrocution

Another hybrid car disadvantage deals with its electric engine and how it can increase injury risks in severe auto accidents.  But it is the hybrid’s effective electrical engine that stores a great deal of high voltage power in its battery.

Unfortunately, this means there is a slightly increased risk of high voltage electrocution.  And because of this, good samaritans and medical personnel may not be able to reach the driver and his passengers.  This is not to say that hybrid cards are unsafe, far from it.  The risks of electrocution are so miniscule that almost every hybrid currently available on the market is relatively safe to drive and enjoy.

All About Hydro Powered Automobiles

Although the thought of utilizing water in a direct manner to act as fuel seems a little farfetched, there are actually hydro powered kits that are available to the public and made specifically for automobiles. These kits take the hydrogen found in water and use it as a gasoline supplement for today’s standard vehicles. This kind of hydro power can give drivers better mileage.

Reasons to Use Hydro Power

Real hydro powered cars are not like the futuristic 100% hydrogen vehicles people hear about in science fiction. And they do not operate on tap water alone.  Even so, there are still many benefits of hydrogen/gasoline cars.

Anyone who drives knows exactly how costly gasoline is and how filling up their car puts a nasty little dent in their budget. Hydrogen cars get much better driving mileage than those that run on gasoline, equaling big savings for consumers.

And the use of gasoline comes with a lot of strings attached. The Western world’s dependence on foreign fuel sources means that it has to rely on Iran, Iraq, Russia, and Venezuela for energy. These countries’ hostility toward Western nations coupled with their internal instability makes it scary to be so dependent on these oil rich nations. Any method the Western world can use to reduce their dependence will benefit society in the long run.

Unfortunately, the majority of Americans can not live without having a constant supply of gasoline because they do not live in places where alternative fuel sources are in abundance. This means American citizens must suffer through long work commutes, rush hours, traffic jams, and routine errands that require automobile travel. Even though public transportation is available in many larger towns and cities, not everyone has access to it.

Pollution is also another worry. The byproducts that come from burning gasoline produce smog and global warming. But with hydro powered vehicles, society can benefit from a reduced amount of air pollution.

Hydro Powered Vehicles Explained

The key to using the same kind of water found in everyone’s kitchen faucet for car fuel is in water’s hydrogen. Water’s molecular structure is two parts hydrogen plus one part oxygen. By removing the hydrogen from the water and combining it with the gasoline used to run cars, one is left with a hydro power hybrid vehicles.

Believe it or not, hydrogen is an extremely desirable fuel source since it provides a great deal of energy and burns said energy without almost any pollutants. However, vehicles that can be operated on hydrogen alone have not been developed yet and after they are, it will take some time to make them readily available to the public. This leaves consumers with supplemental hydrogen fuel, which is still a viable, safe alternative.

Hydro Powered Kits for Cars

There are hydro powered kits now on the market that are designed for today’s standard vehicles. These kits use the power of electricity to transform regular water to hydrogen and oxygen when needed. Currently, thousands of consumers across the world have bought these kits and used them to turn their once gasoline powered vehicles into hydro powered ones.

Best Used Car Buying Tips in 2010

If you are facing the prospect of purchasing a used car, like so many others are starting to due to the economic issues most of us are dealing with, chances are you are feeling a little overwhelmed.  Of course, there are some who are a little fearful of buying a previously owned vehicle.  And other people do not want to put their hard earned paycheck towards a used car because they want to avoid being overcharged, which happens frequently in the used car business.  So if you are feeling the same way, rest assured you are not the only one.  But the most important aspect you need to remember is doing your research as far as what the advantages of used car ownership are, all of which should not be cast aside or ignored.  Plus, there are some tips and hints out there for those consumers who are afraid of purchasing a used car this year in 2010.  So if you feel that you could benefit from 2010’s best used car buying tips, make sure to take these into consideration.

Tip Number One

Find out whether or not the used car you are interested in buying has a warranty that can be transferred.   Try to find a vehicle that has at least a part of the original warranty from the manufacturer.  Many times you can find used cars of a late model that come with a warranty of three years/36,000 miles.  So if a car that you buy is under three years old, you will have a year or more of warranty coverage.

Tip Number Two

Any vehicle on the lot you look at should undergo a background check.  This is done in order to make sure a car you are interested in has not experienced technical issues.  Try the Safety Administrator website for the Highway National Traffic Department to find more information regarding automobiles that have been recalled or have defects.

Tip Number Three

Ask the dealership to see the service records for a car you are considering purchasing.  If these records are available, it usually means you are getting a fairly sound, used automobile, meaning the previous owners took good care of the vehicle and there were not any out of the ordinary issues or repairs.  Now, if there are no records for you to review, this does not mean you should completely write off the used car, but it does mean you should take pause and think about why there are not any records and if that is a risk you are willing to take.

Tip Number Four

Get the VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, for the used vehicle.  You can usually find it on a plate located on the top of its dash.  This number helps you find information on the car’s vehicle history report.  This report is a wealth of information on a car’s repair and accident history.

Remember, not all used cars have a history of good maintenance.  So you need to look at all of the aspects that go into being an owner of a used car before making a purchase.  The tips listed above can help you lower your risk of purchasing a previously owned vehicle riddled with performance problems.

Where to Get Hold of Great Citroen DS3 Prices

The DS3 is one of Citroen’s most sought after vehicles, with stylish curves and a powerful engine the DS3 has a huge fan base. Many people are out to find the best Citroen DS3 prices – so that’s why I’ve decided to use it as an example in this article.

What do you think would be the best way to find prices for the DS3? Many think that the old fashioned way is fastest and easiest. Walking around dealerships all day doesn’t sound like my cup of tea though, I’d much prefer to simply find great deals online.

Car buying websites have sprouted all around the internet lately, web pages such as Oneswoop.com allow you to search for (and compare) car prices. These services are free and can provide you with a tonne of information regarding the vehicle of your choice.

You can search directly for your car (like if you only wanted to check out the DS3 deals), or you can perform a search by specifying details; E.G. size of car, style etc. After making a search like this you’ll find a whole list of vehicles that match your terms.

Whilst browsing through this list you can compare the cars by prices, arrange test drives and even request a quote directly from the dealership if you find yourself interested. These services are so helpful in the long run because they give you a distinct advantage in negotiations.

Purchasing a car will be so much easier once you have the upper hand in a negotiation, even if you don’t decide to purchase now you still have experience with price ranges and offers that can help you when you finally decide to purchase.

Information provided by Oneswoop.com – the free car price comparison website that brings you the very best deals and new car prices. Take a look around the site, see what you can learn and find the best PCH, BCH, LP, HP and PCP deals.