No Limits Magazine from Wild About Cars
Profiling High Performance Cars and the Golden Era of Detroit Iron
- We Bring History to Life and Put Resources in the Hands of the Enthusiast -
Monday May 19, 2014
Performance Car Chronicles: 1964, '67 Camaro Intro, '62 Maserati 3500, & Two'64 Buick Wildcats, '03 Dodge Concepts - and More!

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Performance Car Chronicles: 1964 - The muscle car blueprint is made!
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Lingenfelter Record Shattering Corvettes

1957 Performance Car Chronicles

1967 Plymouth GTX 440 Test

1967 Plymouth GTX 440 Road Test

Pontiac Paint Codes

1946-1979 Pontiac Color
Codes & Mix Codes

The 1964 GTO Ads

It started here - in 1964 with the GTO.
But would the GTO have happened or even been so
earth-shattering if GM had been actively involved in racing?

1963 Dodge Superstockers

Mopars were having a field day with their Max Wedge V8s
in NHRA 1963. This and the Racing ban forced GM to look
elsewhere for publicity and brand identification.

Ford Performance in 1963

In 1963 Ford Also was thinking strictly big car big engine.
The Mustang saved them from performance embarrassment.

1964 Chevelle Ad

Chevrolet had the right idea in 1964 with their sporty SS Malibu.
They were just scooped by GTO because they had the wrong engines.

by Wild About Cars Staff - reprint with permission only.

The world of performance cars had been getting hotter and hotter from the 50s through the early 60’s. But when we hits 1964 we can see that its the seminal year of the decade, because its when virtually every major player pushed in all their chips.

Stock car racing was soaring to new heights with the development of “super speedways” in the decade. At the end of the 50s and starting with Darlington, and then Daytona in 1959 big and bigger tracks were being constructed. At the start of the 60s new tracks in Charlotte, Atlanta and California were put in place. These new high banked super speedways responded well to serious doses of horsepower. That pushed the Big 3 manufacturers to begin all-out efforts to develop and build special motors that could take 500 miles of flat out running and survive.

Likewise, the NHRA in response to fan (attendance) pressure rescinded its ban on nitro fuel in late 1963. That meant that the 1964 season would be the first to feature the nitro burning top fuel dragsters that had been huge draws on the AHRA circuit and in match races around the country.

In 1964, Big Daddy Don Garlits won the first of his record 8 Top Fuel Eliminator titles at the NHRA Nationals with a run of 202.24 MPH with an ET of 7.67 sec.  To put that into perspective, the 1963 Nationals, when the fuel ban was still in effect, was won by a gasoline powered rail with an ET of 8.50 sec and a top speed of 182.18 MPH. Big Daddy – on nitro – ran almost a full second quicker and 20 mph faster. The fans loved it!!

In the “stocker ranks” there had been a whirlwind of development activity by the factories since 1957. Every one of the “Big 3” manufacturers had developed and refined a “big block” engine, originally developed to power the heavier car introduced in 1958, but recognized as the way to go for drag and super speedway racing - not to mention the impact on the street..

  • By 1963 Chevy had the Z-11 427 cube engine for drag racing – the final iteration of the 348 cu. In. “W” engine introduced in 1958. Their mystery engine (the precursor to the famous 396-454 "rat" motor) had shattered the speed record at Daytona.

  • Ford had built up their 332 cu. in. V8 (called the "FE" for Ford/Edsel use) introduced in 1958  first to 390, then 406, and finally by 1963 to 427  cubes.
  • Pontiac had stretched their famous 389 "Trophy" V8 to 421 cubes - and in so doing offered what amounted to race engines to those in the know. As a result, Pontiac was the car to beat at the drags and in NASCAR.
  • By 1963, Chrysler's "B" wedge had moved from 413 to 426 cubes and the ram effect had been refined to a point where they dominated S/S in 1963.

The “Super Stockers” in NHRA/IHRA competition had become immensely  popular and the frantic pace of development by the factories, with by 1963, Chevrolet and Pontiac going head to head alongside Ford Dodge and Plymouth for bragging rights. 

But in the midst of this crescendo when suddenly at the beginning of the 1963 season, General Motors – by executive order of its Chairman – immediately ceased all forms of racing activity. This was more than just the “wink-wink” given to the phony 1957 AMA ban; this was a firm corporate order. Well that might have been a racing ban, but It had the unintended - or perhaps intended consequence of all the GM divisions (save for Chevrolet which could carry on under the Corvette label) of trying to figure out how to put "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" into effect.

What this really did was give Ford and Chrysler the "field" to go head to head in NASCAR and NHRA in the coveted S/S ranks. But it left GM scratching their heads. Lightweight big car super stockers were stuck with whatever the factory had supplied prior to Jan 1 1963, and no new development was allowed of race pieces - what to do?

So what would happen in 1964?

To read about The birth of the Muscle Car and other great 1964 Performance Happenings - Click HERE!

Other Neat Period Stories and Articles:

To see the 1964 GTO Brochure - Click HERE

To Oldsmobile's Response to the GTO - Click Here!

To see the Famous "Ringer" Pontiac GTO Test in Car and Driver - Click Here!

To See a 1964 Mustang Hi-Po Road Test - Click HERE!

To See 1964 Plymouth 426 Sport Fury Road Test - Click HERE!

More Stories at Wild About Cars and the Auto History Digital Documents Library
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1967 Camaro Introduction
1967 Camaro Introduction

Car Life Magazine's article on the Camaro, saying "the Camaro has arrived on the automotive scene with a fine pedigree and high promise."They were intrigued and predicted a tough battle in the "ponycar ranks" (Did they coin "ponycar?). Check out their evaluation of the upstart Camaro.

Click here to read about the 1967 Camaro Introduction!

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1962 Maserati 3500 GT Test
1962 Maserati 3500 GT Iniezione (Fuel Injected) Road Test

Car and Driver Magazine tested the Maserati 3500 GT with revolutionary fuel injection in their May 1962 issue. They said "This luxurious touring car has found new power thanks to fuel injection . . .". The results were dramatic - with a 213 cid I-6 pushing the car to a 90 MPH quarter mile! Read what else Car and Driver had to say.

To read the 1962 Maserati 3500 GT Test - Click HERE!

1964 Two Buick Wildcat Test
1964 Two Buick Wildcats Road Test

Motor Trend Magazine tested two Buick Wildcats in their June 1964 issue - a mild and wild version. "Wild" you say? OK the name is "Wildcat" but that's a pretty big barge - weighing in at over 4500 lbs. Well, surprise, surprise, the 425 cid dual carbed Nailhead hustled along the to the tune of 15.2 @ almost 90 MPH! Read along and find out what the magazine had to say.

To read this 1964 Two Buick Wildcat Test - Click HERE!

2003 Doge Concept Photos
Modern Muscle - 2003 Dodge Concepts Press Photographs!

Among the cars in the collection is Dodge Avenger, the Dodge Kahuna Van, and the Tomahawk Viper engined motorcycle! These Dodge Concept photographs were originally released into the public domain, and thus require no licensing for public use. To view the 2003 Dodge Concepts Media Kit which came along with the photographs, Click Here. Check them out!

To see the 2003 Dodge Concept Photos - Click HERE!

Wins Iowa in Nationwide
Race News - Sam Hornish Jr. wins Nationwide race in Iowa for Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing

Sam Hornish Jr. beat Ryan Blaney off a restart with 21 laps to go and hung on to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Sunday at Iowa Speedway. Pole-sitter Ryan Blaney was 2nd, followed by Regan Smith, Chase Elliott and Elliott Sadler. Hornish, in the No. 54 car usually driven by Kyle Busch, led 167 of 250 laps to win in second Nationwide start of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Click here to read more about Hornish's in Autoweek Race News!

Accel Ceramic Boot Spark plug Wires
Product News - Beat the Heat with ACCEL Ceramic Boot Spark Plug Wires

Designed to perform under the most extreme under hood temperatures, the ACCEL Ceramic Boot spark wire sets are ideal for a variety of street and race applications, especially vehicles with tight header clearances and limited engine bay space. The wire sets feature ceramic ends capable of withstanding temperatures where conventional boots would simply fail – up to 2,000-degrees Fahrenheit . . .

CLICK HERE to read about Accel's New Wires!

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