Ted Moser would never admit it, but he’s one of the most powerful men in Hollywood—at least to any car guy who likes watching movies or TV. Moser, owner of Picture Car Warehouse (headquartered in an old Cadillac dealership in Northridge, California), is responsible for selecting, building, maintaining—and sometimes destroying—fleets of automobiles that are used as props for movies, TV shows, music videos, and commercials. As part of that, Moser also builds high-profile “hero” cars, many of them muscle cars and hot rods. Technically, Moser is a “vehicle coordinator,” but that nebulous term really doesn’t do him justice. To illustrate what we mean, when we recently visited PCW, we found that Moser had been contracted to provide 50 cars in six weeks for the next Men In Black flick. What makes the job so remarkable is that unlike the prior films in the MIB franchise, this film will be set in the mid ’70s—meaning Moser will … [Read more...] about Picture Car Warehouse – Is Hollywood Killing Our Muscle Cars?
Racing junk muscle cars
“Do you mind if we put the signs on the side of the car?” asked Jesus Flores, nodding to the Emissions Analytics magnets in his hands and motioning to the GTX’s door. “We don’t have to, but it’ll save us from answering a lot of questions out on the test route.” Jesus should know, he’s been working with our parent company’s IntelliChoice Real MPG program since last year to certify the factory fuel-economy ratings of production cars. These days you can’t buy a new car without being smacked in the face with its EPA fuel-economy ratings, but how accurate are those EPA numbers in the real world? The IntelliChoice Real MPG (Intellichoice.com/Real-MPG.html) program sponsored by Chevron is all about real-world testing. Gas, diesel, and hybrid vehicles can be evaluated. Though the program was designed to give buyers of new vehicles the fuel-economy info they need, we talked them into putting Detroit’s latest iron on hold to test … [Read more...] about 1968 Plymouth GTX – Muscle-Car MPG
2004 Mustang Cobra Organ Donor Jonathan Hartzen; via [email protected]: I am looking to begin a car project in the next year or two, and I have a 2004 Mustang Cobra that will serve as my donor car. I am mechanically inclined and do most of my own car work, but haven’t done anything major like rebuilding an engine or even remove a transmission. I am looking to build a car and thinking about purchasing a Factory Five ’33 Hot Rod because I like the way it looks, handles, and they are designed to accept a Mustang drivetrain. Before I lay down $20K for a kit car, are there other companies or places I could use the driveline without a lot of fabrication work (i.e. bolt in)? I am not opposed to Mustang rollers, but like the looks of older cars and would primarily use this as a commuter vehicle and the occasional road-race event or dragstrip pass. Thanks for your help, and keep up the good work with the magazine! Steve Magnante: Thanks for reading Car Craft, though from your … [Read more...] about Steve Magnante Answers Car Craft Tech Questions
I’ve traveled around the country during the past few years, documenting what we call “barn finds.” The term, perhaps a bit misleading, is used to describe any neglected yet still desirable car— regardless of whether said car has or hasn’t been in an actual barn. The barn find label may be used for any vehicle that has been sitting neglected, disused, or nearly abandoned by the current owner. The collection before you is one of the craziest barn finds I’ve been able to document. I’ve heard of this place for years, but hadn’t been able to investigate it until I made a trip to the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in Alexander City, Alabama, and took a small detour through Tennessee on the way home. The number of rare and desirable cars stashed away was mind-boggling in this day and age. These weren’t four-door Pintos and 1969 Camaros. This was a secret stash of winged superspeedway cars from the 1960s. The owner of the cars and I decided we … [Read more...] about Secret Stash of Winged Superspeedway Cars from the 1960s
A flathead Ford V-8 is not a hot rod engine! Just ask anyone who was around when they first started stabbing ’em in lakes cars. Nope-a Ford A, B, or C four-cylinder with a Cragar head and some Winfield carbs, that was a hot rod. A built four-banger was as fast as a V-8 on the dry lakes, so why would you ever stray from the proven ‘banger? Back then, all hot rods were roadsters. Rusetta Timing Association was the first to accept coupes and sedans in dry lakes competition, and the fledgling HOT ROD magazine decided to cover closed cars for the first time. Roadster guys panicked: Coupes and sedans obviously didn’t belong in HOT ROD. According to then-editor Wally Parks, “We got so much bad mail that we thought we’d go out of business.” The punk kids taking cheap cars and making them fast with loud exhaust and street racing and hacking off the grownups had already developed factions. Later, Olds pushrod V-8s raised eyebrows, but when the ’55 265ci … [Read more...] about Hot Rod Muscle Car Defintion – No Hot Rods
Why is it that certain cars seem to be built over and over, only to overpopulate every car show and most car magazines? What makes ’em so popular? One simple answer: charisma and machismo. It’s true. Think of any popular, lusted-after hot rod or muscle car and its great bodylines. They all have a certain style and presence that reaches across the boundaries of differing tastes and just ooze cool. So what’s a rodder to do when he wants to stand out, but still gather envious stares? Look for something boring and give it a makeoverjust like the phantom ’72 LeMans GT in the paint and body story in this issue. Similar boring cars are cheap and plentiful, and whether you love ’em, or never notice ’em, some hold awesome potential. To spotlight some ripe designs for the rodding, we reached out to a few artists who are well known for their imagination to see what they could envision. The choices vary widely, but one thing they all have in common is that they … [Read more...] about 10 Cars to Build – Zero To Hero
While eBay has taken a chunk of the swap meet action, it’s still one of my favorite parts of the car show. If you go to a swap meet, here’s some of the people you can expect to meet. 1. The Cheap Tools Guy We’ve all seen his tent festooned with bright banners, and he’s got a boxcar full of tools straight outta Bejing. Lately he has branched out into air compressors, and power tools too. His prices are about 40 percent of what you’d pay at most stores. Sure, he’s cheap, but if you’ve ever bought from him, you know his stuff breaks and you’ll probably never see him again, making that lifetime warranty about as good as a campaign promise. 2. The Coin-Op Guy He’s got Coke machines, a couple of jukeboxes, a slot machine, an old dial-a-pressure air pump, an old red Lance yank-knob snack machine. You’re tempted, but the Coke machines are big and heavy and kind of expensive, and you’ve already got a spare refrigerator in … [Read more...] about The 10 People You’re Sure to Meet at Every Muscle Car Swap Meet
The all-time greats always make it look so easy. Jimi Hendrix could crank out intoxicating guitar riffs wearing oven mitts and earplugs. Ken Griffey Jr. launched 500-foot bombs swinging as effortlessly as a toddler flailing a wiffle ball bat. Dale Earnhardt didn’t even need pavement to pass his adversaries. It’s no secret that talent has a way of concealing the true effort that goes into achieving the greatest of accomplishments, but surely, producing a cult classic flick like Vanishing Point must have been a monumental undertaking, right? Not exactly. Rumor has it that filming of the cultural icon just kind of happened on a whim, which merely elevates the mystique of the movie’s real star—a law-evading white ’70 Dodge Challenger—even higher. By dropping a 607hp big-block and a beefed-up Hotchkis suspension into what’s arguably the finest Vanishing Point tribute car in existence, Steve Foster has made the world’s most famous getaway … [Read more...] about Revealed: Dodge Deliberately Crushed Vanishing Point Cars!
We keep going back to the Pure Stock Drags because it’s a ton of high-octane fun, and there’s just nothing else like it. The event, now in its 22nd year, has been a wealth of discovery and innovative thinking about what makes muscle cars really run. A lot of conventional wisdom from other types of drag racing is counterproductive here, and we love the challenge of running lower elapsed times within the boundaries of the Pure Stock Drags rule book. This year saw a shakeup among the upper ranks, some new cars participating, and a new block of cars eligible to run (see “Expanding the Years 1975-1979” sidebar). Chevrolet is still the dominant force, but not the Corvette. ZL1 Camaros have become the Pure Stock Drags’ Top Gun. Also new to the Top 10 pairings are a 1968 Mustang GT coupe, a 1968 Ram Air II GTO, and three small-block cars: two Chevrolet (one L79 327 and one LT-1 350) and one 340 Mopar. Not making the Top 10, but new to the Pure Stock Drags, were a … [Read more...] about The Fastest Stock Muscle Cars on the Planet Duel at the 2016 Pure Stock Drags
car shows. So, you can imagine that I was pumped those first few times to see what I had read about in magazines and seen on television (that was after all the pre-internet age) – the pristine restorations, the custom vehicles, the muscle cars, the pre-war cars, the occasional exotic vehicles, and the oddball vehicles too!I was let down though. The car shows I started going to were put on by the local car clubs, churches, or fire departments. Yes, I did get to see a few of those vehicles I was chomping at the bit to see. But, for the most part the shows were just a few acres of parking lot to walk through with some shiny vehicles, a loud DJ busting tunes, maybe some face painting for kids, and typically a raffle or two. Oh yeah, each show had an obligatory trophy presentation too!Those things aren't bad things for a car show. The problem was I would typically go through the aisles of cars quickly, taking 200-300 pictures, shake a few hands with the car owners, ask a few … [Read more...] about What many car shows are lacking