Tag: 1968

The 1968 AMC Javelin “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” World Record Setter – Ben Branch @Silodrome

The 1968 AMC Javelin “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” World Record Setter – Ben Branch @Silodrome

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This was the AMC Javelin that won the “Bonneville Speed Spectacular,” setting a new C-Production class record of 161.733 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats with Craig Breedlove at the wheel in 1968.

The competition was sponsored by AMC and CarCraft Magazine. They took three Javelins and assigned them to three separate three-man teams who had applied to enter the contest. The team with the fastest car then won all three cars – one for each man.

Fast Facts – A “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” AMC Javelin

  • The name Craig Breedlove needs to introduction to anyone even vaguely familiar with land speed record racing. He’s a five-time world land speed record holder and the first person in history to reach 500 mph and 600 mph on the ground.
  • The car you see here is the winner of the 1968 “Bonneville Speed Spectacular,” a competition that was held at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This car set a C-Production class record of 161.733 mph.
  • Three 1968 AMC Javelins were entered in total, each was modified by a team of three contestants, the winning team with the fastest car then won all three cars – one each.
  • The AMC Javelin was developed as an answer to the Ford Mustang and the wildly popular “Pony Car” genre. The Javelin was released in 1968, and the “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” was developed to drum up publicity for the new car.

The 1968 Bonneville Speed Spectacular

In 1968 with the release of the Javelin, AMC set to work creating a publicity stunt that would win the company coverage from coast to coast, and permanently link the new pony car challenger with two things: a world speed record at Bonneville and the Craig Breedlove – the national hero and famous land speed record setter.

This competition was co-sponsored by Car Craft Magazine. Readers of the magazine were invited to enter a competition to join one of three teams that would be modifying three Javelins in the hope of setting a new C-Production class record.

The Three Teams

Each applicant had answer some true or false questions and write a paragraph selling their mechanical aptitude. Nine winners were selected and divided into three teams, they were: Carl Tracer, Alynn Luessen, and Bruce Nottingham on Team #1.

Charlie Seabrook, Pete Darnell, and Matt Strong on Team #2, and Bill Tinker, Jim Riley, and Larry Lechner on Team #3.

The engine remains in original condition, still including all of the modifications made to the car by the team who won the competition and set the new record.

Interestingly, Pete Darnell of the winning team was flown in from the Vietnam War to compete.

Each of the teams modified their AMC Javelins to the best of their abilities and Breedlove drove each of them down a marked course on the Bonneville Salt Flats in November of 1968.

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An Award-winning 1968 Mercury Park Lane Convertible With Rare “Yacht-Deck Vinyl Panelling” – Thomas A DeMauro @Hemmings

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What spurs loyalty to a specific automaker? Does it come from treasured memories of family cars, your first ride, or simply a model’s engaging, eye-catching styling? For Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, resident Robert MacDowell, his adoration of Blue Oval brands stemmed from a 1957 Ford F-100 pickup truck and a 1953 Mercury, his first and second vehicles. Both left a lasting impression on Bob, as did his early career path.

After high school graduation in 1956, Bob became an Edsel parts man in 1957, learned auto mechanics and bodywork, went for Ford training, and became a certified Ford mechanic by 1960. The Edsel dealer he worked for switched to selling Mercury, and Bob later went to an Oldsmobile dealer for short time before adding a successful stint with an HVAC company and then NAPA, from where he retired. He reports that he still does 99 percent of the work on the cars in his collection in his well-equipped home shop/garage.

The Dark Ivy Gold interior, which offers plenty of room to stretch out, is largely original down to the carpet, per the owner, except for the lower front seat upholstery that required replacement.

Bob has also long appreciated eclectic options and accessories —the 1965 390 Galaxie convertible he bought new is equipped with a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive and a 45-rpm record player—so when he laid eyes on this Sea Foam Green 1968 Mercury Park Lane convertible at Fall Carlisle in 2007, he had to have it. The seldom-seen extra-cost Colony Park Paneling (aka yacht-deck, wood-tone, or simulated walnut-tone paneling), which derived its name from the upscale Mercury station wagon that wore the same style of trim, struck a chord with him. Consequently, he purchased the car shortly after the event from a collector who kept it in a climate-controlled garage with about 30 other vehicles.

The Park Lane was in its last year of production in 1968, and its line included two-door and four-door hardtops, four-door sedans, and a convertible. Though this 123-inch wheelbase, 220.1-inch-long, and 77.9-inch-wide luxury liner wasn’t the top model amongst Mercury’s solid-roof offerings, it did serve as such in soft-top form. The Monterey, which shared the same dimensions, was the entry-level full-size convertible.

The 315-hp 390-cu.in. V-8 has never been rebuilt according to the owner. This engine and its bay are concours-quality, featuring correct parts, decals, and bolts. Even the belts, hoses, ignition wires, and battery cables brandish the right numbers and/or markings

Our example’s Marti Report reveals that just 1,111 Park Lane convertibles were built in 1968, and 876 were equipped with the standard Marauder Super 390-cu.in. engine. The 315-hp four-barrel V-8 is mated to the optional Merc-O-Matic C-6 three-speed transmission, and a 2.75:1-geared 9-inch axle resides out back. The car was ordered with options that included power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, AM radio, Deluxe seatbelts, 8.45 x 15 white sidewall tires, and a remote-controlled driver’s side mirror.

Bob recalls that it had less than 33,000 miles on it when he bought it and was in “decent condition but still needed work.” Thus, his intention was to “bring it back to factory standards, not over restored like many do today,” and to participate in AACA events. It only took from late 2007 to 2009 to meet that objective

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Yes, This 1968 Chevrolet Impala Station Wagon Can Still Be a Grocery Getter With Airbags and Custom Wheels – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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So if it’s lowered, sitting on custom wheels, and tinted, this 1968 Chevrolet Impala station wagon listed for sale on Hemmings.com must be thoroughly restomodded, right? But hold the phone, that’s about the extent of it. There’s still a small-block delightfully bereft of chrome dress-up items under the hood and two big vinyl-covered bench seats in that three-shades-of-beige original interior with the pump for the airbags hidden away yet easily accessed. This thing was the definition of grocery getter and could still be with some less bling wheels. On the other hand, who wouldn’t mind showing up at the local supermarket or big-box hardware store with this as-is and airing up the bags to load a few extra sheets of plywood? From the seller’s description:

This awesome wagon is originally a California car, and it shows! This car has never seen any salt (was just moved outside for pictures). The car is kept in dry, indoor heated storage. There are some great creature comforts on this sweet build including Factory A/C that has been converted to a much more modern R134 system, Factory power windows that work awesome, upgraded 4-wheel power disc brakes, upgraded tubular rear trailing arms, tubular front control arms and more! This sweet Impala still has its original 327 engine and Automatic TH400 Transmission in great running condition with no issues. Car has absolutely no rust, rot or dents! Car has never been patched and has had one repaint in the original color.

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For sporting style, power, and capacity, it’s hard to beat this 1968 Buick Riviera – David Conwill @Hemmings

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It has a 7.0-liter V-8, hideaway headlamps, and exclusive, swoopy styling. If we’re talking late-1960s General Motors products, that sounds a lot like a third-generation Corvette. Not everyone can daily drive a two-seater, and if you were going to drop $4,600 on personal transportation back in 1968, there was another option. It came not from Chevrolet, however, but from GM’s founding division: Buick.

“The automobile you drive must be more than a machine that takes you from one place to another,” Buick said in Riviera promotional materials. “It must be as exciting to drive as it is to look at and as exciting to look at as is reliable to drive. Obviously, Riviera is your automobile

.”That may have been obvious five decades ago, but the second-generation Riviera is often overlooked these days. That’s a mistake. You see, if you wanted a big-block, A/C-equipped vintage ’Vette with an automatic transmission now, you’d best be prepared to spend around $60,000. A similarly optioned Riv, meanwhile, can be had in like condition for about a quarter of that.

We drove this example not long ago and can tell you: Unless you want to attend track days on the regular, you’ll have just as much fun in the Buick. Maybe more if you have some friends you’d like to bring along, or just prefer some extra room to stretch out

The Ivy Gold Mist example on these pages belongs to John Scheib (no relation to Earl, in case you were wondering) of West Hartford, Connecticut. Just to look at his car, you immediately realize a Riviera of this era was more than mere transportation. Take that curvaceous styling, for instance. It’s a clear departure from the sharper, more vertically oriented, Ferrari-meets-Rolls Royce looks of the 1963-’65 first-generation Riviera. At first glance, you could be forgiven if you mistook the Buick for an Oldsmobile Toronado, but look closer and it’s a more conservatively styled car.

That conservatism extends to the chassis. While the Toronado and the Riviera, along with the Cadillac Eldorado, shared GM’s E-body platform, only the Riviera adheres to the traditional American approach of a front engine and rear-wheel drive. The decision to retain what was tried and proven good not only means it’s a more straightforward car for the modern owner to service and find parts for, but its driving manners are familiar and predictable.

In the Buick’s cruciform X-frame chassis are nestled such well-respected parts as a division-specific differential, Super Turbine 400 transmission (that’s a TH-400 with a Switch Pitch torque convertor, in case you don’t speak Buick), and 430-cu.in. V-8.

The 430 was only in its second year in 1968, having recently replaced the 425-cu.in. “nailhead” engine found in earlier Rivieras. It shares its stroke with the later 455-cu.in. V-8, but uses a slightly smaller bore. The engine in John’s base-model Riviera was rated for 360 hp at 5,000 rpm and 475 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm, thanks to 10.25:1 compression and a Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor

.Standard rear gearing was a long-legged 3.07:1, perfect for road tripping like John’s visit to the GM centennial in Flint, Michigan, back in 2008. Along on that trip was his wife, Bea, with whom he was celebrating 40 years of marriage—a perfect coincidence with the age of the Riviera. Back in ’68, leadfoots also had the option of more aggressive 3.42:1 gears with a limited-slip differential as a part of the Riviera GS package.

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Transforming a rust-infested 383 Dodge Charger into a show winner – Thomas A. DeMauro @Hemmings

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John Hoffman was just 14 years old when the magnificently redesigned Charger was set loose for 1968, and he was convinced even then that someday he’d own an exquisite example of the breed. “I was in junior high school, and I thought it was the prettiest car I’d ever seen,” he remembers. “Then Bullitt was released and that sealed the deal for me. My friends liked the Mustang, but I was the Charger guy. I own that movie and still watch it once a year.

”John’s perceptions are representative of many who venerate Steve McQueen’s classic cop drama, which features one of the greatest car chases ever filmed, and has elevated the 1968 Charger to a pop culture icon. The Dodge’s allure isn’t limited to its cinematic appearance, however, as its engaging design continues to mesmerize even jaded muscle car fans.

All the Charger’s curves and creases were in just the right places. Its Coke-bottle shape, broad grille with concealed headlamps, flying-buttress roof that looked like a semi-fastback from the side but featured a recessed backlite, “racing-style” gas cap, and even the taillights conspired to create a muscular and cohesive visual presentation.

By the early 2000s, with vintage car values rising, John began getting that now-or-never feeling. The Telford, Pennsylvania, resident knew he’d better buy his ’68 before he was priced out of the market. His finances still wouldn’t allow a fully restored example, so he instead sought out one that needed work but was mostly original.

In August 2003, he spotted this Charger online, for sale in Kansas City, Missouri. It was an early build car and was desirably optioned with the 330-hp 383 V-8 with dual exhausts, TorqueFlite automatic, 3.23:1 Sure Grip rear end, air conditioning, tinted windows, driver’s-side remote-control outside mirror, cruise control, radio, center cushion with armrest between the bucket seats, power steering, and power brakes.

John noted that it still had its factory-applied F5 green paint and assembly-line-installed interior and powertrain. He says, “I liked this car because it was very original and seemed like it must have been ordered by an older buyer who didn’t mess around with it.”

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For sporting style, power, and capacity, it’s hard to beat this 1968 Buick Riviera – David Conwill @Hemmings

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It has a 7.0-liter V-8, hideaway headlamps, and exclusive, swoopy styling. If we’re talking late-1960s General Motors products, that sounds a lot like a third-generation Corvette. Not everyone can daily drive a two-seater, and if you were going to drop $4,600 on personal transportation back in 1968, there was another option. It came not from Chevrolet, however, but from GM’s founding division: Buick.

“The automobile you drive must be more than a machine that takes you from one place to another,” Buick said in Riviera promotional materials. “It must be as exciting to drive as it is to look at and as exciting to look at as is reliable to drive. Obviously, Riviera is your automobile

.”That may have been obvious five decades ago, but the second-generation Riviera is often overlooked these days. That’s a mistake. You see, if you wanted a big-block, A/C-equipped vintage ’Vette with an automatic transmission now, you’d best be prepared to spend around $60,000. A similarly optioned Riv, meanwhile, can be had in like condition for about a quarter of that

We drove this example not long ago and can tell you: Unless you want to attend track days on the regular, you’ll have just as much fun in the Buick. Maybe more if you have some friends you’d like to bring along, or just prefer some extra room to stretch out.

The Ivy Gold Mist example on these pages belongs to John Scheib (no relation to Earl, in case you were wondering) of West Hartford, Connecticut. Just to look at his car, you immediately realize a Riviera of this era was more than mere transportation. Take that curvaceous styling, for instance. It’s a clear departure from the sharper, more vertically oriented, Ferrari-meets-Rolls Royce looks of the 1963-’65 first-generation Riviera. At first glance, you could be forgiven if you mistook the Buick for an Oldsmobile Toronado, but look closer and it’s a more conservatively styled car.

That conservatism extends to the chassis. While the Toronado and the Riviera, along with the Cadillac Eldorado, shared GM’s E-body platform, only the Riviera adheres to the traditional American approach of a front engine and rear-wheel drive. The decision to retain what was tried and proven good not only means it’s a more straightforward car for the modern owner to service and find parts for, but its driving manners are familiar and predictable.

Read on

From street racing to 11-second timeslips: Dad’s Shelby G.T. 500 kept racing after he sold it – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Bride-to-be mom alongside dad’s 1968 Shelby G.T. 500 shortly after its purchase. Photo courtesy of Ray Litwin.

Twenty-four months. That’s essentially the duration my father shopped for, negotiated the purchase of, and owned his brand-new 1968 Shelby G.T. 500. On paper, the last 12 months of that timeframe doesn’t seem like one could accumulate enough enjoyment out of a dream car he financed for close to $5,000, yet he did. As discussed previously, once in his possession, the Shelby was enhanced with an aftermarket carburetor, was used as a daily commuter, burned through untold tanks of Sunoco 260 with alarming regularity, and, as I recently learned, was street raced to a perfect 3-0 record.

Dad drove his year-old Shelby G.T. 500 to Simon Ford, where it was traded in for a special-ordered 1969 Ford LTD loaded with every option, save for a 429-cu.in. engine. The G.T. 500 then appeared in this ad listing it for sale. In today’s money, that $4,195 asking price equates to $30,780.

It also was a hot ride—we’re talking engine heat—on top of already looking more and more like an impractical car for a young couple who were about to marry and buy their first house. It was enough to prompt Dad to trade the car in for something completely different: a 1969 Ford LTD Brougham. It was a car he and my mom owned for four years, which then started an endless buy/sell phase of car ownership that has been a part of the family legacy. Despite the variety of steeds, though, the one consistent question has always been, “Whatever happened to the Shelby?”

Almost immediately after the Shelby appeared in a local newspaper ad, Lilyan McGary—a resident of nearby Fitchville, Connecticut—arrived at Simon Ford to purchase the high-performance car for her son; according to lore, it was to be his first car. Over the course of the next several months, my dad remembered seeing the new owner(s) scooting along the area roads in the Shelby on several occasions before it slipped into the realm of former-car obscurity. How often it was driven, or the nature of its use when in the hands of the McGary family, is anyone’s guess to this day. Records make it clear, however, that on April 5, 1973, the G.T. 500 was purchased by nearby Canterbury resident Cliff Williams.

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Find of the Day: Flash Gordon’s 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby G.T. 500 – Barry Kluczyk @Hemmings

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The 1968 model year was an interesting one for the Shelby lineup. Ford took increasing control in all aspects of the cars’ design, production, and marketing. Notably, production shifted from Shelby’s Los Angeles facility to a specialty factory run by A.O. Smith, in Ionia, Michigan — the same company tasked with producing the cars’ unique fiberglass body components. Additionally, Shelby opened an office in one of Motown’s industrial suburbs.

It was also the second year for the big-block-powered G.T. 500, with its Police Interceptor-based 428 engine. And while the original Shelby models were stripped-down, track-focused performers, the later Sixties saw an evolution of them into more luxurious muscle cars, like this 1968 G.T. 500 four-speed convertible, in Candy Apple Red, that’s offered on Hemmings Auctions. Along with its lid-lowering option, a Marti Report indicates it’s one of only four such convertibles ordered with factory air conditioning.

That makes it one rare Shelby, but according to the seller, the original owner was also a former Olympian and Hollywood action star: Buster Crabbe. After winning a gold medal in swimming at the 1932 Olympics, he went on to portray Tarzan, Buck Rogers, and Flash Gordon in popular film serials of the 1930s and 1940s. When his acting career began to slow, he became the public face of a New Jersey swimming pool manufacturer and it’s the Garden State where he apparently purchased this G.T. 500.

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California Special Mustang: Definitive History Of Ford’s West Coast Cruiser – Brett Foote @FordAuthority

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There have been many special edition Ford Mustangs over the years, from the Mach 1 to the Boss 302 and everything in between. One such package that doesn’t get quite as much attention, however, is the California Special Mustang. But its story is a fascinating one, and one well worth revisiting in depth.

It all started back in 1967 and 1968, when Ford dealers in California sold more new Mustangs than any other state. To commemorate this achievement, Ford decided to come up with a special model. To do this, it collaborated with Shelby to build upon the 1967 Shelby GT500 prototype called “Little Red,” which led to the creation of the 1968 Mustang GT/CS California Special.

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Classic Recreations Villain Mustang Is One Beautiful Pony – Shane McGlaun @FordAuthority

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The gang over at Classic Recreations will build you a very cool Ford Mustang that they call the Villain Mustang. The Villain Mustang is a very high-end build that will cost you high-end money to order. Prices start at $169,000. Villain begins with an original 1967 or 1968 Mustang fastback, and it is completely restored and customized to the buyer’s desires.

Any color can be sprayed on the car, but standard colors are Silver/Vengeance Black or Bad Guy Orange/Vengeance Black. The standard powertrain under the hood is a 427 cubic-inch crate engine that makes 545 horsepower fitted with Holley Sniper Fuel Injection. The car uses a Tremec manual transmission and has a 9-inch Fab 9 rear with positraction and 3:70 gears. The engine also uses a Concept One pulley system.

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