A Quest For Answers
I have written a handful of articles about cars. The ones about “muscle cars” or the old generation and new generation are easily my most popular articles. In a quest to find out why this debate seems so popular I have developed a survey, which will be found in the “about the author” section below. This one survey may not answer all the questions but it will be a good start. It was funny because as I was creating the survey I was trying to figure out which I prefer and I could not do it. I think it is because I like combinations of both.
I was watching the Barrett Jackson classic car auction this winter and there was a car I would love to have had. It was an old muscle car, a 1970 Cuda or Challenger I believe, and it had a modern day Dodge Viper power plant. There are advantages and disadvantages to both generations, at least in my opinion. I love the styling of the older cars, without a doubt. I like the fact that the older cars are bigger and more comfortable in many ways.
Take a 1969 Chevy Camaro for example. You compare it to a 2002 Camaro and there is clearly much more room in the 69 model. There is more room in the car and there is a TON more room under the hood. Ever try working on one of those fourth generation f-bodies? They are brutal. I also like the quality. The older GM’s are much higher quality. That is back when GM was at the top of its game and they actually cared about making cars. Now GM’s biggest business is their mortgage division, GMAC. One thing that definitely has the newer cars leading over the older cars is the handling and the braking. I have driven my friend’s 67 Barracuda, his father’s 70 Roadrunner, 3 of my own 87 turbo Buicks, my 95 Z28, and a 2004 Nissan 350Z.
One thing is clear, as time progressed the handling and braking got better. Although the turbo Buick’s handling and braking were not very good at all. The 1970 Roadrunner had no power steering or power brakes and it had a 383 for an engine. So, it had plenty of get up and go but I found myself praying it found its way to my destination because I was not confident I could navigate it. At the other end of the spectrum is the 350Z. I took one of those for a ride. It did not possess that same kind of throw you back in the seat power and torque of the American cars, regardless of generation, but it handled like it was stuck to the road. I took a sharp turn by my house at 70 MPH and it felt like I was doing 20 MPH. Different people like different things. In my survey I put a place for age because while I think most of the older generation will favor the muscle cars of the 60’s and 70’s I do not think that is a given.
I see a lot of older guys driving the new cars like a 350Z or Honda S2000. I have heard about the Honda S2000 and how impressive it is but I test drove one of those cars when I was looking to get rid of my last Buick Grand National. I was not impressed by the Honda at all. I have no idea what all the hype is about regarding that car. One thing that I will find very interesting is the responses from Corvette owners. Corvette has been around for decades and has seen many changes. The majority of the time I see a Corvette on the road it is an older guy driving it. I am curious as to what percentage prefer the 50’s and 60’s Vette’s over the newer models of the last 10 years or so. The new Corvette Z06 is supposed to be extremely impressive with stock horsepower being rated at 505 hp. I personally like the styling of the newer Vette as well, although I could see why the real enthusiasts might not given its European styling.
One thing is clear, there are a wide variety of factors that go into why someone prefers one car or one generation of cars over the next. But, I hope to answer some of the questions with my current survey. If you are interested in this as well could you please take about 5 minutes, if that, and complete the survey below. Depending on the results I get from the survey I may do some follow up questions as well but this will be a good start at answering the age old debate of which is better, the old generation of muscle cars or the new generation of hi-performance cars.