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Charging Forward: It Came From Yesterday

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*photos by: the author/Timeless Muscle Magazine

A few months back, I was invited to the Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes garage – the same place that houses the coveted (and very available) ’67 Corvette Sting Ray and 2015 C7 Z06 Corvette that you may have seen on our site.Ā The reason for my visit? I was asked to interview Dream Giveaway’sĀ Mark BreinerĀ about not only the cars themselves, but the sweepstakes behind each giveaway contest that they support. Because while it’s awesome to enter for a chance to win a pair of beautiful, collectible muscle/sports cars and the cash to cover the taxes, helping out those in need is even more cool.

The beauty part of my visit, was that I had an opportunity to drive these two beautiful Corvettes, as well as the 1979 Pontiac Trans Am SE (aka, Bandit Edition) and the two giveaway Mustangs; a 2015 Anniversary GT and a ’65 K-code GT Fastback with the 289 Hi-Po engine for sister mag, Timeless Muscle Magazine.

Fear not GM fans, I won’t be joining the “Dark Side” anytime soon…

Anyway, during my visit I was immediately reminded about why I love cars so much – not just late-model GM vehicles, but models from all makes, of all vintages. You see, despite my fondness for Turbo Buicks, LS-powered everything and even the occasional boosted Ecotec or L67, I actually grew up with classic musclecars. You know, those big-bore, carbureted behemoths from decades past that handled horribly, drank fuel by the gallon, didn’t actually stop and were only relatively quick in the quarter-mile.

“Despite my fondness for Turbo Buicks, LS-powered everything and even the occasional boosted Ecotec or L67, I actually grew up with classic musclecars…”

But, God, do they have so much more character than anything built today! You might think I’m crazy, but it’s entirely true. Further proof of this hit me after I drove both Corvettes – a stock, 427 Tri-Power Big-Block Vette, right before the 725 hp Lingenfelter-prepped Z06 – only solidifying my opinion. The C7Z was certainly faster, but that there was something about that old school, Muncie-shifted, BBC-powered Vette that immediately made me want to just keep driving it. I wanted it. I desired it.

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The C7 Z06 put a smile on my face as well – 725 horsepower will do that to you – but it felt like there was something missing; it just didn’t have the soul or passion behind it that the ’67 Sting Ray did. Sure, it rode, handled and drove better, and it would eat the old Sting Ray’s lunch in a drag race or a standing-mile challenge, all while cruising in modern comfort and convenience. Oh, and it actually had brakes larger than the diameter of my fist… that worked.

“The C7 Z06 put a smile on my face as well – 725 horsepower will do that to you…”

But it didn’t make you feel cool; I’m talking old-school cool. James Dean, Steve McQueen or even ’70s Burt Reynolds cool. The car was cool, but it didn’t make me feel any special than I had in the rented Spark that I showed up in – which was one of the worst cars I’ve ever driven, by the way.

That feeling didn’t change when I stepped into the old Trans Am and even the ’65 Mustang GT Fastback (yeah, yeah, I know…). Ā The skinny steering wheels, bias-ply tires and antiquated interiors certainly had their place in time but they also catapultedĀ each vehicle’s persona into the stratosphere. Chalk it up to the chrome in the Mustang and the machined-faced dash plates and gold trim in the Trans Am, but you just can’t help but wonder where the charisma cars have had, and lost, some thirty-five years ago.

Which left me wondering this; if all everybody wants these days from a performance car is an astronomical horsepower number, will we eventually be driving 2,000 hp piles of plastic at some point in the future? I certainly hope not, but you have to wonder. With increased safety, emissions and fuel economy at the forefront of technology and automotive innovation, I sometime wonder where things will eventually end up.

“You can snicker at the [’79 Trans Am’s] 6.6L, 185 hp V8 all you want, that’s one of the coolest cars I’ve driven in a long time…”

I’ve had this conversation with many of my peers in the industry, including former High Performance Pontiac Editor-in-Chief, Christopher Phillip, who has since landed a gig with Dream Giveaway once HPP had shuttered its doors. Ā He was there while I was visiting, and rode shotgun with me while I took the Trans Am for a ride. While out on our drive, he asked what my favorite car was out of the whole experience. Was it the Sting Ray? Oddly enough, it wasn’t. It was the smogger, Olds 403-powered ’79 SE.

You can snicker at the 6.6L 185 hp V8 all you want, that’s one of the coolest cars I’ve driven in a long time.Ā To me, a car is more than just the sum of its parts – it has to have soul. And to me, the classics (mostly) have it over the modern cars in spades. GM; let’s seeĀ what you can do…

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