Muscle Car Confidential: Confessions of a Muscle Car Test Driver

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9780760328316: Muscle Car Confidential: Confessions of a Muscle Car Test Driver

Today, a 1970 Hemi Cuda can change hands for as much as a quarter of a million dollars. But when it was introduced, the Barracuda was just a car, and it was Joe Oldhams job to beat the daylights out of it. A tell-all from the man who tested the best, this book delves into the notes Oldham made on the cars he vetted for some of the top car magazines.

Here are the photos (including outtakes) and the hard cold facts on muscle cars from the 1964 GTO to the 1976 Trans Am 455 HO--twenty-four in all. The 1970 Buick Gran Sport GSX, Oldham notes, was "the best handling muscle car we ever tested." The 1968 Plymouth Road Runner, on the other hand, was "just a car that didnt run very well"--despite its 426 Hemi.

Today, people might know the articles Oldham wrote, and they might know the performance numbers he got. But how he did those things was an untold story. This behind-the-scenes book is a close-up look at what it was like to live in the muscle car era and to help create the myth that still lives on today.

The list of reviewed cars includes:
1962 421 Super Duty Pontiac Catalina
1963 409 Chevrolet Biscayne
1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint Turismo
1969 Baldwin-Motion SS-427 Camaro
1969 440 Plymouth Barracuda
1969 Firebird 400 Ram Air IV
1969 426 Hemi Road Runner
1969 440 Plymouth GTX
1969 440 6-BBL Plymouth Road Runner
1969 Pontiac GTO Judge
1969 428 Cobra Jet Mustang Mach 1
1970 426 Hemi Barracuda Convertible
1970 Buick GSX 455 Stage 1
1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air IV
1971 429SCJ Ford Torino Cobra
1971 American Motors 401 AMX
1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W-30
1973 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
1976 455 Pontiac Trans Am

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap:

Today, a 1970 Hemi 'Cuda convertible can change hands for upwards of a million dollars. Back when it was first introduced, it was just a car, and Joe Oldham was just doing a job.

 

His job wasn't to put the cars he tested on pedestals. Oldman’s job was to beat the daylights out of them so we could know what they were really made of. As a test driver/photographer/journalist for such Magnum-Royal publications as Hi-Performance Cars, Supercars Annual, Rodder and Super/Stock, he provided the information that both brand-new muscle car buyers and car-crazy teenagers depended on.

 

In Muscle Car Confidential, Oldham uses the original notes from the tests he conducted back in the day. Included are muscle cars from the 1962 421 Super Duty Catalina to the 1976 Trans Am 455 HO—twenty of them in all. Cars from every manufacturer are represented, in all their glory—or, on occasion, the lack thereof.

 

As an added bonus, the book boasts the original photography from every test Oldham conducted—not just the photos that were used in his magazine articles, but outtakes, as well. The story is told through both words and pictures, some that haven't been published in forty years and others that haven't been published at all.

 

This book contains the true stories of the cars, not the watered-down, nostalgic, seen-through-rose-colored-glasses versions we find ourselves remembering today. By no means is the book mean-spirited, but it does present some cold, hard facts. For example, the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner was "just a car that didn't run very well." Despite its 426 Hemi. On the other hand, the 1970 Buick Gran Sport GSX was "the best handling muscle car we ever tested."

 

Today, the articles Oldham wrote are used for research. The performance numbers his tests derived are widely known.  How he got those numbers, however, is not. Muscle Car Confidential is a tell-all, behind-the-scenes look at muscle cars when they were new; the truth behind the whole muscle car era as told by someone who lived it firsthand and whose articles helped create the myth that will continue to live into the future.

From the Back Cover:

A tell-all from the man who tested the best, Muscle Car Confidential delves into the stories behind the notes Joe Oldham made on the cars he vetted for some of the era’s top car magazines. Here are the photos (including outtakes) and the hard, cold facts on muscle cars, from the 1962 421 Super Duty Catalina to the 1976 Trans Am 455 HO—twenty in all. In 2004, a 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible sold for over $4,000,000.00. On a cold autumn day in 1970, it had puked transmission fluid on a drag strip, forever endearing it to the owners of Englishtown, New Jersey’s Raceway Park.

 

You might know the articles Oldham wrote; you might know the performance numbers he got. But until now, how he wrote the articles and produced the numbers was an untold story. This behind-the-scenes book is a close-up look at what it was like to live in the muscle car era and help create the myth that lives on today.

 

 

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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