Reviews Part 2
It’s a new day and Chazz is looking forward to driving some more cars. Hopefully he gets a better selection today, as a shortlist of three cars isn’t doing him much good.
The first dealership to be visited this morning is Scarab’s. A nice ad for the red Comet 4800 S, a sleek coupe with the low price of $11,400, has piqued his interest.
Seeing the Comet in person, Chazz realises how small it is. This thing can’t have much of a back seat. The design is quite nice, however, especially with the long nose and those vents along the hood and front fenders. Squeezing into the small car, Chazz certainly realises that it’s as small inside as he thought. While the premium seats are nice, the back seat can barely be considered more than a storage area.
Extricating himself from the car, he leaves the dealership with disappointment. If only ads would show the scale of a car somehow. So much for a good start to the new day.
@Mr.Computah Maine Motors Scorpio Cabrio
Next on the list of dealerships is Maine Motors. The magazine ad for the Scorpio Cabrio was tempting, from the classic muscle car design, to the convertible roof, and then to the $11,900 price. This one seems promising.
The car was easy to spot, gracing the front and centre position in the dealership. Stepping up close is the best way to appreciate the beautiful details of this car. This is certainly the kind of thing that will attract the ladies, especially with the top down. The interior is quite standard fair and fits well for the price of the car.
The first part of the mechanical inspection is looking under the hood, where a 342ci V8 is found to be lurking. The cast iron OHV engine with four barrel carb is all too familiar, except this one uses a single rather than double carb. Maine Motors tuned the engine to produce 250 hp and 329 lb-ft of torque and paired it to a 4 speed manual transmission, allowing the Scorpio to hit 62 mph in 7 seconds, complete a quarter mile in 15.3 seconds, and go on to 148 mph. So it’s one of the least powerful cars of the day, but it just might be one on the best packaged ones. The four wheel disc brakes come up yet again, but everything else seems to be as American as it gets, even down to the solid rear axle.
Getting keys from a salesman, it’s time for Chazz to take it for a spin. The roar of the V8 on startup is more muffled than he expected, even with the top down, but that’s an easy fix should he get the car. Peeling down the street in a cloud of smoke, Chazz is happy with the burnout abilities of the car and the 7 seconds to 62 mph should be adequate. The tire factory job should keep him supplied with all the fresh tires he needs. Settling into a nice cruise, cranking up Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ over the sound of the wind through his hair, Chazz is loving the attention this bright convertible is getting him. It’s very easy to drive, especially without the jerkiness of an automatic locker, though the comfort is lacking a bit when compared to some of the cars he drove yesterday.
After returning the car to the dealership, Chazz places the Maine Motors Scorpio on his shortlist. Maybe this will be a better day after all.
@Vri404 Holmer Guard SS-Redline
Next down the list is the Holmer Guard SS-Redline. This is another car Chazz saw on a billboard, and he nearly rear ended the car in front of him when drooling over the bodywork. At that moment he knew he had to drive it, especially when seeing it merely cost $13,000.
Coming upon the Holmer dealership, Chazz has a big smile on his face. Walking in he feasts his eyes on the black beautuy with red pinstripes. This is one badass looking muscle car. The rear end reminds him a bit of a car with a prancing horse emblem. Going to step inside, Chazz realises this is another car with no door handles. As there are no salesmen in sight, he slides in through the window. Inside, the interior is pretty standard fare and very spacious. He notices the 5-speed on this one as well. Maybe those are the way of the future?
Stepping out, a quick glance under the car shows the use of disc brakes on all corners. The solid rear axle and and ladder chassis are really quite normal. Popping the hood displays a huge 662ci OHV V8 with four barrel twin carb setup. Back to the classic formula. With 476 hp and 679 lb-ft of torque, the Guard SS-Redline promises a 0-62 time of 7.3 seconds, quarter mile of 14.94 seconds, and a top speed of 163 mph. So it’s not quite as fast as it looks but should be more than adequate. With that, Chazz steps out to ask for a test drive.
Out in the dealer lot, Chazz hops in through the window once more. He’s rapidly getting experienced in that form of entry. Tuning the radio, the DJ announces the new Iron Butterfly song titled ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ followed by a powerful riff filling the cabin. At that, Chazz lines the car up with the dealership exit. With the hand brake on, he slams it into first and does one of the biggest burnouts of the day. Peeling out of the lot, Chazz is glad to note Holmer didn’t fit the car with an automatic locker. Driving around in the Guard, he feels like the hero of an action movie. The downside of the great burnouts is that it’s quite easy to spin the tires, so this is not one of the most drivable cars. The suspension feels very harsh on the bumps and is also very stiff, severely compromising the comfort of it. On the way back to the dealer, the engine starts making a strangle rattling noise. Already some problems with 18 miles on it.
Chazz reluctantly walks away from the dealership. As great as the Guard looks, it’s not just not the right car for him. Such a hard decision to make between lust and logic.
The BM Phoenix is the next car for Chazz to go see. With a magazine spread showing a bright orange wagon popping a wheelie with the promise of amazing speed, he figured he could check it out, even though it’s not a coupe. At $13,900, the Phoenix might be the fastest car available on his budget.
At the BM dealership, Chazz is led to the bright orange wagon on display, just like the one in the ad. The first thing that strikes him as odd is the overall design: it looks more 1958 than 1968. Other than that, massive vents at the back hint at the position of the engine. Stepping inside, Chazz finds one the biggest interiors with all the standard features he’d expect. The large rear seat looks pretty comfortable as well, so that’s certainly a bonus, while the 5-speed transmission does not make him raise his eyebrows anymore.
Back outside, Chazz takes note of the four disc brakes. Walking around back, opening the tailgate, and lifting the ‘floor’ leads him to the 637ci V12 tucked in the back. The DAOHC engine with four barrel twin carb is certainly not what he’s gotten used to. With 526 hp on tap and 587 lb-ft of torque, it’s no surprise tha BM is claiming a 0-62 mph time of 4.5 seconds, quarter mile of 12.66 seconds, and a top speed of 168 mph.
Getting in the car, Chazz wants to do only one thing. Leaving the lot in a cloud of tire smoke, he heads back down to the port nearby. Back down there, he lines up the car at the end and gets himself ready. Counting down in his head, revving the engine, he’s ready… and slams it into gear with his foot firmly planted on the accelerator. With almost 80% of the weight at the back, the massive amount of torque causes the front of the car to lift as he peels away down the port, and finally slam back down a second later while still accelerating. A few seconds later and Chazz is forced to slow down and come to a stop, with the biggest smile on his face. Returning to the dealership, he knows he won’t buy this car but that was the most fun he’s had in awhile.
With that, he leaves the BM dealership and drives off to get some lunch.
Following a nice lunch that consisted of hot dogs and a root beer float, Chazz heads to the American Eagle Automotive dealership to try out their Barracuda GT. This is another car with a strangely familiar name. The simple ad promoting the 441ci Six-Pak is what drew Chazz to the AEA dealership this Sunday afternoon.
Stepping into the AEA dealership, Chazz heads straight for the burgundy beauty on display. While certainly not the flashiest car of the day, the Barracuda is one of the prettiest. Its looks just scream muscle while the extra chrome also gives it a bit of a classy air. Inside the spacious car he’s glad to see it’s got a four on the floor, and the premium seats are comfortable enough to give Chazz a feeling of importance. He’s sure any girl he brings for a ride will also like them.
Popping the hood, he’s greeted by the 441ci OHV V8 with a two-barrel triple carb that produces 353 hp and 471 lb-ft of torque. This should be fun. It takes 5.9 seconds to hit 62 mph before heading up to 141 mph, while the quarter mile should take 14.22 seconds. Fun indeed. The only downside for daily driving is that Trak-Force automatic locker. Such is the market.
After getting the keys, Chazz gets behind the wheel and fires up the powerful V8. A peel out of the lot with a couple of jerks from the locker take him onto the city streets. The Barracuda has a more mature air about it than most of the other cars he’s tested, so he notices that he seems to attract more attention from a slightly older crowd. The asking price of $14,000 did allow AEA to pack a few more things into this car, like the premium seats. This car doesn’t really make him want to go wild… or maybe it’s just because Elvis is crooning on the radio with ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’. Turning off the radio, Chazz goes to have some fun with the car.
After a few red light peels, half of them against other drivers, and a parking lot burnout, Chazz returns the Barracuda to the AEA dealership. It’s comfortable enough and fairly easy to drive, but it has that auto locker. Overall it feels like it doesn’t offer much more than that air of maturity for such a high price, so he won’t be buying this one.
With the current streak of cars that just aren’t for him, Chazz is starting to lose hope again. Hopefully the French at Valois have something special for him. The television commercial set to ‘Born to be Wild’ was certainly a compelling argument to try something European that just might be worth the full $14,000 list price.
Chazz is greeted by a huge convertible nearly 18 feet long, gleaming with a tasteful application of chrome. He’s not sure where it appears that most convertible has suddenly disappeared from the market, but he’s glad to have seen this one. Like the Barracuda GT before it, the Débandade has a mature air about it. Stepping inside, he finds a standard fare interior with a fancier stereo than most of the weekend’s prospects. Looking behind him, he’s glad to see a large back seat that can be opened to the stars. The French sure know romance. Turning back around, Chazz realises that what he thought was a three on the tree transmission… is actually a three speed automatic. That won’t do, he doesn’t want a slushbox.
With that, Chazz leaves the Valois dealership feeling even more disappointed.
Across the street from Valois is the Piccadauto dealership, selling English cars on American soil as though the War of Independence never happened. Regardless of that, Chazz caught a glimpse of the top half of a billboard promising a Super 8 engine. A Super 8 certainly sounds interesting.
In the dealership, Chazz is led to a bright blue… small car. If he didn’t know Piccadauto was English, he could swear he stumbled into another communist dealership. While the Arnos is probably quite popular in Europe, it misses the mark for American sensibilities. Except for maybe the engine. The design is not sleek and looks like the car was rear-ended. Stepping inside, Chazz finds himself in a larger space than he imagined with the standard features of the day.
Popping the hood, Chazz takes a look at the Super 8. It’s a 305ci OHV V8 with a four barrel carb. So the English might know a thing or two about American engines. Piccadauto engineered it to produce 182 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, which should get it to 62 mph in 7.7 seconds, with a quarter mile time of 15.9 seconds and a top speed of 122 mph. It seems a little underpowered for its size.
With that, there really isn’t much to say about the Piccadauto Arnos. While the interior and mechanicals might be okay, Chazz just can’t get behind such a small car of awkward proportions. The price of $9000 is excellent, but he’ll be laughed out of the roadhouse if he buys it, so it’s time to look for something else.
@4LGE SMI Raeth Castor
A quick drive away is the SMI dealership. Chazz is sure he’s in the European part of town, because SMI is Swiss. The sleek Raeth Castor has the looks of a proper European car for American tastes. Now to see how it fares as a muscle car…
The most comparable car so far is the Scarab Comet, but that was far too small. This is the same vibe and is a proper size. Chazz loves the looks, as they remind him of some of the concepts for future muscle cars he’s seen lately. While it doesn’t look mean like the American cars he’s looked at, it looks fast. Inside, Chazz find spacious premium seating, and comfortable ones at that. And this is a $12,500 car? Seeing a four speed in a European car does give him hope that SMI knows how to make a car for Americans. Plus, this is the kind of car that can bring in the ladies.
Taking a quick look under, Chazz is surprised to only see disc brakes on the front and a rear solid axle. Neither are as surprising as seeing that the Raeth Castor is built from a tubular steel spaceframe. That’s a first. Popping the hood, the 367ci OHV I6 with twin DCOE carbs is even more surprise. Yet another first in Chazz’s hunt for a new car. The 313 hp and 381 lb-ft of torque can push it to 62 mph in 6.4 seconds, a quarter mile in 14.58 seconds, and to a top speed of 167 mph.
With everything looking so good, it’s time for Chazz to take it for a spin. Performing another burnout in a dealer lot is just as satisfying as expected, and the peeling out onto city streets goes smoothly. This car is very easy to drive and feels well balanced. With The Doors blaring ‘Light my Fire’ from the stereo, Chazz happily cruises around feeling like a secret agent or something. The car is that European. Heading onto the highway and easily getting up to 100 mph, the “invade the highways” slogan makes that much more sense. Everything is nice and smooth and comfortable, so it’s time to heads back to the dealership… after a bit of fun at a red light.
The fun at the red light turned to three lights before Chazz had to turn to head back to the SMI lot. This is another car that put a smile on his face, and in a most unusual way. It’s definitely on the shortlist.
Next door to SMI is another English dealership, this time JHW. The newspaper ad displaying a sleek car with the text ‘American Muscle. British Heart. $12,900’ caught his eye enough that he was willing to try another English car following the Piccadauto disappointment.
While the shape is sleek like the SMI, the JHW is more classically designed. The popup headlights are not a common feature. Although advertised as American muscle, the design is purely European, as is the British Racing Green paint. Without much else to say about the exterior, Chazz hops into the Lionheart to find a completely premium interior that is both spacious and comfortable. This is the life. The expectedly European 5-speed transmission is there, as is the European prestige.
A quick look under the Lionheart shows disc brakes and independent suspension on all corners. Still not much of that ‘American Muscle’ the ad promised. Under the hood lies the ‘British Heart’, a 383ci OHV V8 with four-barrel twin carb. It would seem the ad was backwards, as this is the most American part of the car. Producing a healthy 331 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, the Lionheart takes 6.2 seconds to reach 62 mph, 14.22 seconds for a quarter mile, and has a top speed of 178 mph. That top speed alone is astonishing. Chazz thinks the Lionheart is sounding more like a European super car than a muscle car.
A bit of coaxing got him the keys to the car for a test drive. Seems the salesmen are still on alert about that crash with the LLA Psyco yesterday. Tuning the radio to The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ gets Chazz in the mood to drive this English beast. The close eye of the salesman limits his fun in the lot, so a quick peel out, a turn onto the street… and almost crashing from the car jerking under him. Chazz did not expect the automatic locker. Driving more carefully for a few blocks, an empty parking lot presents itself. The Lionheart can do excellent burnouts and is quick off the line. Automatic locker aside, it’s not hard to drive and is really comfortable. It’s another of those cars that seems to attract more attention from a slightly older crowd.
Returning to the lot, Chazz decides to consider the JHW Lionheart. If only it didn’t have an automatic locker it would be a much better car for him. As strange as having a European muscle car would be, it very well might come to that.
@Leedar Bord Solaris GP
Following the string of European cars, it’s time to return to something more domestic. The Bord dealership proudly displays the new Solaris Grand Prix. A car created after a a race victory? Yes, please. The racing pedigree and classic good looks what drew Chazz here today.
In the showroom, it’s not hard to find the gleaming blue Solaris with its white stripes. It’s beautiful. Chazz knows for sure that this is the kind of car that would get him all kinds of good attention wherever he goes. Wait, it’s listed for only $9,900? How? Stepping inside, Chazz finds the standard interior he’s gotten used to, but with a quite basic stereo. So that explains part of the low price. A stark contrast to the radio in this spacious Solaris is the 5-speed transmission. That is quite peculiar.
Popping the hood, Chazz looks down on a 353ci DAOHC V8 with single four-barrel carb producing a decent 293 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. This is certainly not wild, but the car is built after an endurance race winner, so it might be more reliable than powerful. The performance is an expected 6.5 seconds to 62 mph, a quarter mile of 14.46 seconds, and a top speed 150 mph. This one needs a test drive.
Getting the keys, hopping in, firing it up, turning on the radio, and jamming out to ‘Paint it Black’ by the Rolling Stones, Chazz performs a satisfying burnout and shoots out onto the road. Just as expected, he’s getting a lot of stares, and it’s easy to find others to want to do a quick red light race. Winning’s pretty easy with the Solaris GP. The car does have a downside: the radio sounds a lot like the old unit in Chazz’s current car. Since it only costs $9,900, replacing the unit could be worth it should he really want this car.
Returning to the Bord dealership, Chazz is pleasantly surprised for what is offered by such a cheap car. If he can get the car he wants and still have a lot of money in his pocket, why wouldn’t he? Even with the basic stereo the Solaris GP is a nice car, so Chazz will consider it.
Next down Chazz’s list is a car only known as ‘FCKCPS’. He saw a tv ad for a veritable premium barge going for $14,000. The advertised performance was enough for him to write down the address of where to find it. Which turned out to be some import-export place near the port.
Once inside the building, Chazz begins feeling uneasy by the lone car displayed there, the FCKCPS. A big and surly looking fellow gives him a nod as he approaches it. This big brown beast looks rather ahead of its time, but the look works for it. It almost looks like the kind of thing that will rocket down the highways of 1978. Stepping inside, the premium interior is very nice. Another car with a mature air to it. And another car with one of those 5-speed manuals.
Stepping back out of the huge space, Chazz lifts the hood… and finds a trunk. Strange, it seems the vents in the rear are in fact for a rear engine. Walking around the car, Chazz lifts the rear and sees an empty engine bay.
What the? Movement in his peripheral vision sees the large man coming toward him and another one coming out of a door behind. Quick think on Chazz’s part has him running around the FCKCPS and sliding across the hood toward another door marked ‘exit’. From there, he finds himself behind the building and he runs out of the alley and back to his car across the street. The big men are no match for his agility. Peeling out of there as fast as his old car can manage, Chazz heads to the next place.
(Naming scheme not followed on engine, no username)
Chazz next finds himself at the Petoskey dealership. This is a large American company he’s familiar with, so he feels safe in entering this building. As a large company, he doesn’t actually know what they have to offer, so he just came in this afternoon hoping for the best.
In the dealership, a salesman sees him and beckons him toward a matte green 4x4. It looks pretty good for what it is, but not at all what he has in mind. The salesman explains that it has six seats, a sterep, a rifle mount, brush guard, four wheel drive, and costs $11,300. Asking why he’s beeing shown this and not a coupe, the salesman tells him it will be the best thing for someone returning from Vietnam. At that, Chazz tells him he’s a high school student and most certainly not going to Vietnam.
He walks out the door, confident in that assertion. After all, he can still register for high school again the next year and just never go in. By June 1969 the war should be long over, right?
Following that close call with the ongoing war against communism, Chazz heads over to look at the Dart GT. Another car with no company, so this time he’s on high alert. A newspaper ad promised 521 hp for $13,800 in a sleek fastback. Possible danger be damned, he wants to drive this car.
Back in the port area, he enters a not so ominous garage in search of the Dart GT. A man in coveralls picking up a phone receiver points him around a corner in the back… and there it is. Gleaming and yellow, with red stripes on the side. Now this is a beautiful car. It also looks very modern and gives him the idea of a muscle car of the future. This is the kind of machine that will turn heads. Remembering the previous incident with a brandless car, Chazz decides to take a look under it before stepping inside. Wouldn’t you know it, this car also has no engine.
At this he runs out of the garage, with the man in coveralls yelling at him to come back. As he drives away in his car, he sees a big black car pull up to he garage and both men from the import-export place stepping out. The man in the coveralls points at him as he drives out of there, but not before the big men see him drive off. Shit. This could get bad.
(Naming scheme not followed on engine, no username)
Almost through his list of cars to check out, Chazz heads out in search of the Contender +P. The magazine ad for it features an alluring pinup model, and he then noticed an alluring car under her. The +P performance package seemed right up his alley, so he went in search of the car. Feeling nervous about another car without a brand name, seeing at how the last two turned out, he is relieved when ends up at a well kept garage in a nice area.
Meeting a mechanic of some kind, he is led to a showroom with the Contender shining in all its ‘Plum Madness’ glory. Now this is what he imagined as a new muscle car. With a grin on his face, Chazz looks over the sleek bodywork, from its muscular stance to its tasteful use of chrome. Stepping inside, he’s enveloped in a premium leather seat with a large rear seat that looks just as comfortable. This is great. The four on the floor looks right at ease in this car.
Stepping out and still smiling, Chazz looks under the hood and his smile grows wider. The Contender +P packs a 470ci OHV V8 with a two-barrel triple carb. That’s a nice six-pack. Whoever engineered it got it to produce 364 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. This should get it up to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds, complete the quarter mile is 13.98 seconds, and keep going up to 153 mph. Slamming the hood shut and taking a quick look under the confirm that it’s got a tried and true muscle car formula, Chazz goes to get the keys.
Stepping back into the ‘Plum Madness’ example, Chazz fires it up and can’t resist burning rubber as soon as he’s out of the building. A satisfying burnout later, he peels out onto the streets to cruise around. Cranking up Jimi Hendrix to better listen to the oddly fitting ‘Purple Haze’, Chazz is enjoying the ride. He got a Tuesday night date from the girl in the passenger seat of a convertible after beating her brother to the light. The downside to the Contender +P is the automatic locker that’s such a common addition to cars lately, but it still manages not be too hard to drive even when feeling quite stiff.
Cruising back to the garage under the gradually sinking sun, Chazz is happy enough to consider it. Even with no idea where it might be from, it’s a very good muscle car that just fits into his budget at $14,000. Unlike some of the other cars of that price, the Contender +P makes the most of it.
@phale Gasril Machismo
With the evening drawing in, Chazz has put in a solid day of searching. Without crashing today, and with all the time spent around the port and European row, he saved enough time to get to the last car on his list before supper. A billboard advertising the Gasril Machismo as the ‘ultimate in badassitude’ caught his eye. It wasn’t the square bodywork, but the promise of 475 hp for $12,500.
In the Gasril showroom, the Machismo stands head and shoulders above everything else. Approaching it, Chazz can’t help but glance under quickly to make sure it actually has an engine. It does. Now… this is the sleekest 4x4 he’s seen. It very much looks like a cross between a muscle car and a 4x4, so maybe just maybe it could be the car for him. Climbing inside the raised cabin, he’s greeted by comfortable premium seats and so much space. A look in the back confirms that it has plenty of space for activities. Turning back, a 5-speed transmission catches his eye. That’s unusual for a 4x4 but he’s gotten quite used to them.
Stepping down from the cabin, Chazz takes a longer look under the Machismo and sees that it’s a unibody with fully independent suspension. Stranger still. It’s very much reminding him of the Smooth Warthor he saw yesterday. Popping the hood, he looks in at the heart of the beast: a 456ci V8 with DAOHC and four-barrel twin carbs. This is looking like a muscle car. With 393 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque. Didn’t the ad say 475 hp? On that alone he should leave the dealership, but the Machismo is said to hit 62 mph in 4.9 seconds, tackle the quarter mile in 13.26 seconds, and reach a top speed of 151 mph. It needs a test drive.
Outside and hoping in, Chazz starts up the rumbling V8. Carefully leaving the dealership to not attract any attention. He pulls up to a red light. Turning on the radio, The Doors’ ‘Break On Through’ fills the cabin. Looking to his right, he seems a gleaming black Canada Motors Toronto that looks a little familiar. And then he notices the two men from earlier looking right at him. Uh-oh. At that, the light turns green and Chazz steps on it, accelerating faster than he ever has in his life. The Machismo leaves the Toronto in its dust, quickly bringing Chazz to safety from his pursuers. Carefully navigating back roads, he returns to the Gasril lot with his heart pumping and adrenaline coursing through his veins. He still noticed that was the most easily drivable car he’s tried out.
While the Gasril Machismo might have saved his life, it attracted the wrong kind of attention. Either way, a 4x4 is not what he had in mind for a new car so he’ll have to pass by this one. And so he walks out of the last dealership.
After a worrying drive home, Chazz makes sure to hide his car in the garage before heading in for supper. He’s got a decision to make.
Those who made the cut are:
An end to this adventure with a final verdict is coming soon