Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What is a Pony Car?

Believe it or not, there are many car enthusiasts that come into our classic car restoration shop in Los Angeles don’t know the difference between a pony car and a muscle car. You may have hard the terms used interchangeably and wondered if they were one and the same. In addition, many experts disagree on the definitions, making it even more difficult to know the difference. This week, we’ll discuss the definition of a pony car, while we compare the two classifications in our next blog. 

The most standard definition of a pony car was inspired by the popular 1964 Ford Mustang: an American class of highly styled car that is compact and affordable yet bears a sporty or performance-oriented image. The term was coined by Dennis Shattuck, the Editor of Car Life magazine, based on the Mustang’s iconic logo of a stallion.

From that point forward, the term was used to describe members of its ranks. The template of these cars has several criteria, including two doors, room for four passengers, a short deck, a sporty long hood and open mouth styling. In addition, for a car to be a true pony car, it needs to be American made and built with mass production parts, which results in an affordable base price. In 1965, that price was around $2,500 and under. These pony cars also offered a bevy of upgrades that made it easy to personalize each car.

While the Mustang was the original pony car, a ton of competitors followed suit over the next few years, striving to compete with its style, performance and affordable price. Some excellent examples of other pony cars include the Pontiac Firebird, Plymouth Barracuda and AMC Javelin, and today’s Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and of course, the Ford Mustang.

Click here to learn more about the best classic car restoration shop in Los Angeles.

image: zeroto60times.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

4 Affordable Muscle Cars

Not every muscle car requires you to be a millionaire to buy one. There are plenty of
cool models that we see on the road, at car shows and at the auto restoration shop
that will set your heart aflutter. Look for models older than 1972 and you’ll find some
affordable options with plenty of horsepower and character.

1. 1973 Pontiac GTO and 1973–75 Pontiac Grand Am. These babies have tons of style but
won’t break the bank. In 1973, all of GM’s mid-size A-cars were designed with bigger,
heavier colonnade style bodies. Most were built with 230-hp, 400-cubic-inch (6.6 liter)
V-8 engines, with optional 250-hp 455. You can easily get your hands on one of these
classics for between $12k and $17k.

2. 1971–75 Ford Maverick Grabber. While it may not look like your typical muscle car, this
vehicle is easy on the eye and boasts by a 210-gross-horsepower, two-barrel 302-cubic-
inch (4.9 liter) V-8. We’ve seen them pass through the auto restoration shop with price
tags lower than $12k.

3. 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 WS6. While most late 70s Trans Ams will put your
wallet in a quandary, the Formula from 1979 received less hype—yet 1979 is the only
year this car was offered with the 220-hp true Pontiac 400 (6.6 liter) V-8. In addition,
it boasts a WS6 handling package with four-wheel disc brakes and those coveted
snowflake alloy wheels as well. Only 24,851 Formulas were manufactured that year,
though not all featured 400 and WS6. Still, you can find one with a price tag of around
$16k and lower.

4. 1970–71 Ford Torino GT. Built on the same mid-size chassis as its predecessors, these
Torinos have nicer interiors and most come with 250-hp, 351-cubic-inch (5.8 liter) V-8.
You can find these for anywhere between $12k and $19k.

image: icantcomeupwithanythingclever.tumblr.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5 Classic Muscle Cars

Whether you don’t even know what defines a muscle car or if you can rattle off the nitty gritty details like what chassis dyno testing is, we’re certain you can appreciate the sight when a true classic drives past you or is on display. They’re beasty and loud yet at the same time beautiful and graceful—a classic muscle car gets everyone going at least a little bit.
Here are just a few of the greats:
Pontiac Firebird. Just the name reminds many of Burt Reynolds’ baby in Smokey and the Bandit and evokes images of those painted-hood icons of the ‘80s. A close relative of the Chevy Camaro, the Firebird actually dates way back to the ‘60s and is considered one of the best muscle cars on the market.
1970 Boss 302 Mustang. This serious vehicle features the high-rev Boss 302 V8 engine, which was perfect for a little racing action with its ability to reach zero-to-60-mph sprint in less than seven seconds.
1970 Hemi Barracuda. We had to include this hemi in this list—even those who haven’t a clue what chassis dyno testing is probably have heard of the infamous hemi. This car was completely redesigned in 1970 with five high-powered V8 engines that generated an unrivalled 425 horsepower.

1970 Chevelle 454 SS
Ah, the Chevelle—one of the most classic of the bunch. This baby packs the engine—with about 7.4 liters to be exact—giving it tremendous power that was difficult to compete with. Still highest-output production car to date, this car and its engine was a force to be reckoned with when it came to power wars.  

1969 Dodge Charger. Everyone remembers the General Lee from the iconic television show,
The Dukes of Hazzard—it was the baddest of the early Dodge Chargers. While its standard engine brought 375 horsepower, the 426 Hemi gave it a full 425.
Whether you’re a newbie to the muscle car world or are an expert in chassis dyno testing, we know you’ll take notice whenever one of these classics flie
Image Credit: gentlecar.tumblr.com

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Great Chase Scenes in Movie History

Bullitt
If you’re into hot rod or auto restoration, you probably enjoy a good car chase scene in a movie, especially when it features muscle cars. While computer-generated imagery has changed the modern day chase scene—and some will say not for the better—there are plenty of amazing scenes throughout film history that will satisfy even the most discerning lover of fast cars.  

Bullitt (1968). This film is unrivalled when it comes to movie chase scenes. Steve McQueen’s 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback GT raised the bar for all muscle car collectors back in the day—and still inspires every hot rod or auto restoration fanatic. It’s a rush just watching McQueen racing through the steep hills of San Francisco.

Gone in 60 Seconds (1974). The original version of this film is a low-budget, cult classic that culminates in a 40-minute chase scene that leaves 93 wrecks in its wake.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974). Peter Fonda robs grocery stores and races stock cars in this movie filled with hot pursuit. Vic Morrow stars as the sheriff on Fonda’s tail.


The BluesBrothers (1980). Brothers Jake and Elwood rock wayfarers, sing the blues, blast rock ‘n roll and outrun the police all while going 120 miles per hour in a 1974 Dodge Monaco.

The French Connection (1971). Gene Hackman received the best actor Oscar for his incredible portrayal of New York City detective, Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle The car chases through Manhattan are absolutely unforgettable—and probably contributed to the other Oscars bestowed on this film: best director, best screenplay and best film editing.

Two Lane Blacktop (1971). Starring James Taylor and the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson, this movie is packed with quintessential muscle car chase scenes involving a custom 1955 Chevy hot rod and a 1970 Pontiac GTO racing across country.

img credit: themustangsource.com

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Basics of Chassis Dynos Testing

Over the past 10 years, chassis dyno testing has grown nationwide, giving the public the opportunity to evaluate engine performance and compare the results with other vehicles. It’s an exciting prospect for car enthusiasts everywhere, but it helps to understand the process a bit.

It’s important to understand that the type of dyno in your car and the method of chassis dyno testing significantly affects your results. The basic types of chassis dyno can be divided into three groups: water-brake or hydraulic dynos, electric dynos and inertia dynos. An inertia dyno is perfect for full-throttle acceleration runs—and that’s pretty much it, though the more modern load-bearing hydraulic and electric dynos can do constant speed pulls, step tests and part-throttle testing in such a sophisticated modern way that full road-load simulations can be conducted right on the dyno.

One of the most widely used forms of chassis dyno testing is the inertia dynos—many car enthusiasts wonder how this method of testing works. Here are the basics—inertia dynos only works when the car is accelerating. It evaluates horsepower by analyzing the dyno drum's acceleration rate with specialized computer software and an accelerometer, and uses heavy roller drums of known mass rotating on bearings that they are mounted on.

The car is positioned on the dyno with the drive wheels sitting on the rollers, placed in gear and then accelerated at wide-open throttle. As you can imagine, it takes some time and force for the tires to accelerate the weighted rollers. The software monitors roller velocity and acceleration time, while estimating the power of the rear wheels. The software then measures the power and gear-compensated engine torque against engine rpm.

There is a lot more to this growing mode of testing, but this should give you a basic understanding for when you are ready to compare your engine to your buddy’s.

img credit: sierrainstruments.com

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Last Ride

A 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible. This car exudes class and is rife with American history -- the one pictured above is particularly special. It is known to be the last car owned by the late Martin Luther King, Jr. and currently resides at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.

According to an Indiana news article, the car had been lent to King by a wealthy Civil Rights patron named Cornelia Crenshaw. This is the same car that King used the day of his assassination, April 4, 1968. Crenshaw later went broke due to a loss of her wealth in a court hearing against the city of Memphis and could not afford to fix a blown head gasket. Thus she left the beautiful piece of history for over 20 years in the lot behind Haye's Auto Shop in Memphis, TN where the owner of Haye's held onto it even after she had passed away. Unfortunately the car was neglected in the back lot where it began to rust and eventually became interwoven into a den of plant life that had taken root in and around it.

The car was discovered in 2002 by Rich Fortner, the owner of Al's Auto Body Experts, in St. John, Indiana and has since performed one of the most interesting and important auto restoration jobs in recent history. He restored the car for use by the National Civil Rights Museum in their 40th anniversary celebration, that occurred on April 4, 2008.

We've found more images of what is said to be the same Lincoln Continental after it's most recent auto restoration. The photographer claims that this is the verified authentic car owned and driven by Dr. King. He claims to have taken these pictures 2 days after it's restoration was complete.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. day to all and may we not forget our history. Google

Friday, January 10, 2014

First Looks at Dodge's "Hellcat" Equipped 2015 Challenger

Brauns Automotive 2015 Dodge Challenger
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT is rumored for release at the ongoing 2014 Detroit Auto Show (January 13-26, 2014). The upgraded Challenger will contain a Supercharged Hemi V-8 engine in the SRT model. This all aluminum Hemi v-8, dubbed the "Hellcat", is a 6.2 liter engine that is supposed to be far more powerful than the 6.4 liter version.

From an auto restoration standpoint, things get interesting when you check out the physical specs of the new engine. Despite popular belief, the Hellcat is not just a modified version of the 6.4 liter Hemi V-8. It's reported as structurally different to the point of using different motor mounts, heads and few interchangeable parts. It is believed that this will be the engine to usher in a new generation of Hemi's that would be smaller, incorporate efficiency upgrades, be lighter weight but all the while producing more power. Engineering at it's finest. We're excited for the future!

The price tag on the Hellcat equipped version of the new Challenger hasn't been officially released but we can speculate that this will be considered a special model meaning it's price should fall well above even the Challenger SRT 392's starting price of $46k.

We'll be keeping an eye on the new Hemi's in the arena as we may consider using them in future hot rod restoration projects. Google