If we’ve learned anything from the never-ending train wreck that was 2020, it’s how much we really rely on our neighbors, friends, and family. The people closest to us are more than just names and faces – they’re the people who set us straight, the people who keep us safe, the people who check in at random times to lend an ear and a chuckle even when things aren’t great. They’re the people who we connect with, whether they’re six feet from us or somewhere off in quarantine.We publish car magazines here at Hemmings.
It might seem inconsequential in the larger scope of things, but for more than 65 years we’ve also served as a means of connection with other car enthusiasts around the world. Sometimes those enthusiasts you connect with are the people behind the bylines here, and this year we’ve made more of an effort to share our personal experiences in the old car hobby and to communicate the things that excite us most about old cars.So, as we look back on the year that was (but shouldn’t have been), rather than just count down the most-read stories, we’ve asked our writers to share the stories that they count as their favorites.
Could be because they put a lot of effort into the story. Could be because the stories generated a lot of comments and connections. Could just be because the writers liked the subject matter.We’ll start with David Conwill, who pointed to his coverage of the Eight Flags Road Tour at Amelia Island, from which we took the dramatic lead photo above.
With the recent announcement from Chevrolet about the availability of an all-new Gen-1 small block, I got to thinking about how enthusiasts made horsepower throughout the last several decades. Yes, I know the latest engine release is for a replacement mill that is not being marketed as a performance engine, but how long until it is turned into one by an enterprising enthusiast?
Until the mid-1950s, Chevrolet passenger cars were equipped with six-cylinder engines. That is until the Ford flathead was released. This new Ford V8 engine was a popular mill with speed junkies in the 1950s, because… well… it made more power than Chevy’s stock six-cylinder. It wasn’t long until aftermarket companies were making performance parts for these new engines. Unfortunately, Chevrolet didn’t have anything that could compete with the Ford V8. That was soon to change.
The 350ci engine was used in both low- and high-performance applications from the factory. In 1970, the LT1 used solid lifters, 11.0:1 compression, the “178” high-performance camshaft, and a 780 cfm Holley four-barrel carburetor on a dual-plane aluminum intake. It was factory rated at 370 hp when installed in the Corvette, and 360 hp when bolted into the Camaro Z28. Those were not bad numbers for 1970.
Gearheads, like much of society, can be slow to embrace change. In the automotive world, advances in technology often mean considerable improvements in performance, and nearly every gearhead can agree that’s an admirable pursuit. But still we resist.
Changes to cylinder head design and camshaft profiles are areas where little input is required from the end user; they’re merely bolted in place and the owner can begin enjoying the benefits almost immediately. Improvements in other areas, such as fuel delivery, can be just as gratifying, but may require more finesse from the installer, or even the services of a tuner who specializes in wringing the last bit of performance from a carburetor.
Throughout much of the history of the internal combustion engine, a carburetor has been tasked with introducing a combustible mixture of air and fuel through an intake tract, and finally to the combustion chamber, where a spark ignites the incoming charge and converts that energy into work through the engine’s pistons, connecting rods, and crankshaft. As engines evolved, so did the manner in which they were fed fuel. But even with design improvements that allowed the carburetor to function in a wide range of conditions, it still remained (as many would refer to it) a calibrated fuel leak
There are about 12,000 police departments patrolling jurisdictions across the United States. More than half of police vehicles driving through neighborhoods and cities are Fords. The second-largest U.S. automaker in terms of sales is also the biggest purveyor of police vehicles. In 2018, Ford’s share of police vehicle sales in the U.S. was 63 percent thanks to its immensely successful Police Interceptor lineup.
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.
If you look back at some of the General’s hottest-performance cars, you will notice a reoccurring theme — many do not have a traditional perimeter frame. Many of these muscle cars were built on what is called a unibody platform. Camaros, Novas, and Firebirds were all built with a unibody construction utilizing a front subframe section that attached to the body, rather than full perimeter frames where the body is mounted onto the frame structure.
This was okay when the cars were new and factory stock. But, age and the addition of a few major performance enhancements, will help you soon notice how inadequate a “seasoned” unibody-constructed car really is when diving into building a true performance classic.
Ford is bringing back its Bronco sport utility vehicle, and this time with a three-vehicle “Built Wild” herd of 4x4s that includes a classic 2-door Bronco and the first 4-door Bronco, which also is available in Bronco Sport guise. Production of the new Broncos will begin in early 2021 in Michigan, Ford said.
In addition to revealing the vehicles on July 13, Ford said it was accepting $100 refundable deposits on the new, sixth-generation Broncos. A base price of $29,995 was announced for the 2-door Bronco, and Ford said that price includes $1,495 for destination and delivery charges. Potential buyers can make their deposits through the Ford website.
The Broncos will be equipped with EcoBoost engines and will offer 7-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmissions, as well what Ford says is “best-in-class” 94.75:1 crawl ratio, ground clearance, suspension travel and water-fording capabilities.
The history of the muscle cars covertly produced from the Central Office Production Order
COPO was Chevrolet’s special-order system used by dealers to build high-performance models in the 1960s despite a corporate racing ban. The COPO program was originally designated for fleet vehicles such as taxicabs, but at the peak of the muscle car wars, it was used to build the ultimate high-performance Chevy muscle cars.
Author, Matt Avery, a Chevy muscle car expert, combed the archives and found the owners and people involved in the COPO program, providing the culture with a compelling story and outright resource for COPO cars. The COPO muscle car and racing programs produced an extraordinary period of automotive history, and Avery captures all these facets in a very entertaining book.
Your lead image is important as it will be the first thing viewers see when browsing Hemmings Auctions, Hemmings Classifieds, or anywhere else you might try to sell your vehicle. A search might show potential buyers the listing for your vehicle, but a subpar picture could keep them from clicking and reading more; the automotive shopping equivalent of swiping left, in modern parlance. It’s best to make your car stand out.
Selling a car on the internet means you’ll have shoppers looking from a long distance, and photography is a critically important part of any online auction or classified listing. A picture is no longer an enticement for an in-person viewing, and good photos can make the difference between a quick sale at a good price versus months of inaction and lowball offers.
We’re here to help. In the first of a seven-part series on photographing your vehicle for sale, we’re covering the steps to take before shooting, like preparing the car and finding a suitable photo location. To get the most interest and top dollar for your car, read on. For more advice, find the rest of the series on our Car Photography 101 tag page.
Do the little fixes, then clean—and clean out—your car
Make all the quick fixes the car needs
Clean your car inside and out
Don’t just stop at the interior and exterior, show some love to the engine bay and trunk
The first step to good presentation of your car is preparing it for photography. Your car should be auction ready even before you submit it, and even if you’re only posting a classified. Needs a small repair, but “it only takes a few minutes” and you already have the part? Well, spend the few minutes and get it done. Leaving those repairs for the next owner keeps potential bidders away and invites hagglers to talk down your asking price