Classic muscle car show & cruise at Old Town Kissimmee Florida Saturday
Classic muscle car show & cruise at Old Town Kissimmee Florida Friday

 

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car show in kissimmee florida at old town

mazda classic orlando florida

Where Were You in…

Bay Area Insurance Shop Florida
Ford Protect Extended Service Plan
Bay Area Insurance Shop Florida
Ford Warranty Service Protection Plan
classic mazda orlando

mazda classic orlando florida

Contributed by Russ Muller Photography


American Graffiti asked, “Where were you in ’62?”  My question is, where were you in ’79?  The movie had a great soundtrack, and we had some good music in 1979 as well. Pink Floyd released The Wall, and Supertramp’s Breakfast in America was a huge album. The movie had lots of great cars, and we, well…didn’t. The malaise era was underway, thanks to government emission standards that forced auto manufacturers to kill high-performance cars in an effort to meet those requirements. There were a few bright spots during those dark days of stickers and spoilers, though. So, just for fun (and in no particular order), I present to you three of the top performance vehicles of 1979.

Chevrolet Camaro Z28:

1979 Classic Car This example belongs to my friend Steve. The car is remarkably original, having only been repainted once a few years ago. Under the hood, the 350 cubic inch V-8 sports a Rochester QuadraJet 4-barrel carburetor and produces 175 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s backed by a Turbo 350 automatic transmission, and a 10 bolt rear end with 3.42:1 gears. This combination netted 0-60 mph times of roughly 6.3 seconds, and ¼ mile performance in the 16.0 second range. While the performance seems tame for a Z28, these 2nd gen F-bodies were agile cars that could corner well and provide an enjoyable driving experience.

Pontiac Trans Am:

1979 Classic CarThis beautiful Solar Gold T/A was purchased new by my friend Tom, who still owns it today. Under the hood lies the original Oldsmobile 403 cubic inch V-8, rated at 185 horsepower and 315 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s backed by a Turbo 350 automatic transmission, and came equipped with 2:73:1 rear gears This combination returned 0-60 mph times of roughly 7 seconds and ¼ mile performance in the 16.0 second range. The WS6 handling package made these cars among the best handling vehicles produced in 1979 and could carve corners with Porsches of the day. Pontiac offered the last of its 400 cubic inch engines only with 4-speed equipped T/As, and gave a subtle clue on the hood scoop. Olds-powered T/As had “6.6 Litre” stickers, while Pontiac-powered have “T/A 6.6” stickers.

 

Dodge Li’l Red Express:

1979 Classic CarYes, this one is mine. Dodge managed to exploit a loophole in the emissions laws in 1978, and the 1st year LRE was available without catalytic converters. It was the fastest 0-100 mph production vehicle that year. That changed for 1979, although the addition of dual catalysts didn’t hurt performance too much. Under the Medium Canyon Red hood, the 360 cubic inch V-8 was rated at 225 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s backed by a 727 LoadFlite automatic transmission, and 9 ¼ inch rear end with 3.55:1 gears. This combination netted 0-60 mph times of roughly 6.4 seconds, and ¼ mile performance in the 15.7 second range.

My, how times have changed. You can now buy a 2024 Camaro SS with a 6.2 liter V-8 that produces 455 horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque. With a 10-speed automatic transmission, you can expect 0-60 mph times of 3.9 seconds, and ¼ mile performance in the 12.2 second range. And that’s not even the top performance Camaro available…But where would we be today if the car makers had simply given up on performance? What if they had resigned themselves to simply making anemic, efficient, transportation appliances instead of the ‘sticker hot rods’? The performance cars of 1979 were not as exciting as those of 1962, but without them we may have never gotten back to the performance cars of today.  And there’s still something about driving a 45-year-old car that makes you want to take the long way home…

1979 Classic Car 1979 Classic Car 1979 Classic Car 1979 Classic Car 1979 Classic Car

 

Author: Tara

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