The Latest Fad: Build a Muscle Car that can handle!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Heartland Nationals Good Guys show in Des Moines. It was a huge show - cars (and people) were everywhere. I took my family along and we had a great time - especially watching muscle cars at the autocross! Without a doubt, the biggest trend happening in the industry today is getting our old cars to do things they originally hated to do - handle well! I'll take a step back and explain what an autocross is. An autocross is a road-coarse type track that is laid out in an empty parking lot - but with traffic cones marking the course instead of painted lines. The goal is to get through the track in the fastest time possible - so you're strictly racing the clock. As I mentioned, the biggest trend I see now with muscle cars is modifying them to handle well. Muscle cars originally had a reputation for being able to go straight well (and look good doing it), but turning and braking were not exactly in their repertoire. As time has passed, people still love the cars.....but realize that if they want to drive them (and race them) a step up in the handling and braking department is a must. There are several companies out there that have recognized the issue and have come up with a solution (Heidts, Detroit Speed, Hotchkis, etc.). Most provide new suspension and braking components that can be put in place of your existing ones - so you can replace your old A-arms, Springs, Torsion Bars, Leaf springs, etc. with new ones designed to perform. Not good enough for you? No problem - a few companies can give you a scratch built chassis that was designed from the git-go to be a performance setup. Simply bolt it on (or under) your ride and head for the track. Heidts and Detroit Speed both offer complete front sub-frames for 1st and 2nd generation Camaros as well as several other models. Mike Hawley from Heidts (who we interviewed a few weeks ago in The MuscleCar Place Podcast) was there racing the '71 Heidts Camaro all weekend - and took home first place in the vendor class! I asked him afterward if he had fun, since he was after all working all weekend for Heidts. He looked at me as if I were crazy and said "I raced all weekend for work. It's a dream come true!" I hope you are enjoying your car that much! Here are a few videos from the weekend of racing - enjoy! -Robert Kibbe