Detroit Muscle Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Borla
Cat Back Exhaust for Mustang GT

Episode Transcript

(Tommy)>> Today on Detroit Muscle we take a look back at all the projects we finished this past year.

(Marc)>> Taking you through the process of each vehicle, giving you some insight on how each build is totally different from the next.

(Tommy)>> Plus we share what obstacles you may encounter with building or restoring your dream project.

(Tommy)>> Hey y'all, welcome to Detroit Muscle. Check out these beauties. We've got several rides here in the shop that we've put together, and there's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that's went into them to get them to this point.

(Marc)>> Not all these cars are created equal but they do have one common thread. They can all be considered muscle cars. With differences like power level, age, styling, and attitude it's safe to say the definition of a muscle car can be kinda broad. The correct definition of a muscle car is a mid-size car, front engine, rear propelled, V-8, two door, and has to be American made.

(Tommy)>> So with that said what makes the perfect muscle car to build or restore? Well you'd have to ask yourself a few questions. Are you into the modern styling or classic design, and what about your pocketbook?

(Marc)>> Some of these things can get pretty expensive. How about creature comforts? Do you like air conditioning, power everything, and an overdrive or do you enjoy things a little bit more raw?

(Tommy)>> It all depends on your taste and how bad you want it. I'm a big fan of the timeless shape of the older cars like this Pontiac.

(Marc)>> At the beginning of the muscle car era Pontiac had a few renegades in the company led by John DeLorean, who ignored corporate policy and packed a massive 389 cubic inch engine into a small lightweight model, and thus the GTO was born. Considered by many to be the first muscle car it was the shot heard around Detroit. DeLorean essentially took an old man's car, the Tempest, and made it cool trying to attract a new younger buyer with a taste for speed and an appetite for danger. With big power, a three speed Hurst shifter, sports suspension, wide wheels, hood scoops, dual exhaust, and special badging, the GTO package was an instant success and changed the automotive industry.

(Tommy)>> The base engine was a 389 with a four barrel that made 325 horsepower. Nothing to sneeze at, but the real muscle came from the 389 Tri-Power, which bumped up the power output to 348 with its three two-barrel carbs, which was two seconds quicker from zero to 60 and 1.7 seconds quicker in the quarter mile. Available in two door coupe, hard top, and convertible body styles the GTO became an overnight performance success that would speak to the new muscle car generation and every generation to follow. And when it comes to popular GTO's the '66 was a standout, selling almost 100,000 in that year alone, recording the highest sales of any true muscle car.

(Marc)>> You can't go wrong if you pick something like this. Our '66 Pontiac is a favorite to many, and for good reason. Just look at the lines on this thing an it's wearing plenty of chrome as well, but if you pick and older car you better be ready to put some work into it to make it nice.

(Tommy)>> When we got this old thing a lot of the hard stuff had already been done, like the hours and hours of body work it takes to get that great looking reflection. Plus the engine and trans was in it, making it a running vehicle. So the first thing we did had to be one of the most enjoyable efforts of restoring a car. That is installing all the jewelry, like the grille, turn signals, headlight bezels, bumpers, and emblems. Man all that chrome sure makes my mouth water.

(Marc)>> Yeah this car definitely has the right look, especially with the top laid back. With a drop top the material for a roof won't last forever, and you better expect to change it down the road at some point if you're gonna leave it out in the elements, but I have to say with all the added maintenance and effort it's worth it. There's just something about the wind in your hair on a sunny day. But we weren't done just yet. There was one more piece of the puzzle to tackle before we could take this thing and work on our tan lines, and that was the interior.

(Tommy)>> Just like the exterior, the interior has a personality all of its own. In the late '60's it was all about the right lines, the right color, and plenty of elegance. This thing was gutted down to the bones. The only soft piece in here was the dash, but after some pulling and tugging on the seats, dressing up the doors, and covering the floor it was finally back to its original glory. With that said it was time for us to go soak up some sunshine.

(Marc)>> This recipe is pretty simple. Classic styling, shiny everything, reliable late model horsepower, and a drop top. It's got all the best aftermarket bolt on suspension to make it handle just as well, along with disc brakes, modern wheels with a retro look, and high performance tires to get that power to the ground.

(Tommy)>> Plus it looks dang good.

(Marc)>> But is it the best formula? Don't make a decision just yet.

(Tommy)>> Because we have three more formulas that might strike your fancy.

(Marc)>> Every shop needs a reciprocating saw. They saw everything. They're really handy for a bunch of different jobs but you can't get them into tight spots. Well not anymore with Matco's 16 volt cordless reciprocating saw kit with its compact size, easy to change blade, and two batteries you'll probably leave that corded one in your box. The kit even comes with its own battery charger, not to mention these batteries are interchangeable with other Matco tools. So you can swap them out on your other cordless tools. We journey into the realm of late model muscle with the big three and how they're upping the ante on horsepower and performance.

(Tommy)>> We also walk through what upgrades we did on our 2016 Mustang GT to make it a track monster.

(Tommy)>> Hey y'all welcome back to Detroit Muscle. We're taking a look back at some of the cars that we've built and how their different recipes make the perfect muscle car, and if this Pontiac convertible doesn't trip your trigger maybe late model muscle will do the trick.

(Marc)>> Right now we're in the midst of the modern muscle car era, and all of the big three have put their hats in the ring. Dodge with its Challenger, Chevrolet's Camaro, and of course Ford's iconic Mustang.

(Tommy)>> And the competition is stiff. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Ford was first to launch its new era of muscle in 2007 with the 500 horsepower GT 500. While the Challenger and Camaro weren't even in production, but fast forward to today and all three have offered up 600 plus horsepower versions of their pony cars. Ford was first with its 662 horse 2013 GT 500. This not only became the most powerful and fastest Mustang ever produced but it set the bar for Chevy and Mopar to achieve.

(Marc)>> Chevy delivered 650 horsepower with an iteration of its ZL-1 but Dodge pulled out all the stops in 2015 with its Hellcat. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Uncontested the folks at Mopar kept upping the ante by adding the 808 horsepower Demon and 797 horsepower Redeye.

(Tommy)>> One nice thing about modern muscle is you don't have to fool with all that restoration, and that allows you to devote all your time, effort, and budget into modifications. A perfect example of that would be this 2016 Mustang GT.

(Marc)>> From the factory this thing came with well over 400 horsepower, modern safety and conveniences, four wheel independent suspension, and that galloping pony name plate. Right out of the box this thing is a contender but stock isn't how you serve one of these things up.

(Tommy)>> It just needed a sprinkle of some added performance, starting with a supercharger.

(Marc)>> We wanted to bolt on a ton of power with one simple mod, and Edelbrock had just what we needed with its all-new 26-50 E-force supercharger kit for the S-550 Mustangs. Nick from Edelbrock came in and gave us a hand with the install, and we followed the step by step instructions to show just how easy it was to bolt on over 300 additional horsepower. [ engine starting ]

(Tommy)>> That will get the air in but it's got to get out. So we went with the Borla S-type cat back system. This is yet another easy to install modification, which is made from high quality stainless steel, is good looking, and most importantly sounds sweet. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)> With that blower sitting on top of there helping this thing product over 700 horsepower it only makes sense to add some brakes with a bigger bite.

(Tommy)>> As well as some suspension to make this thing handle like it should. So the next thing we did was add a Ford Performance track handling pack, which includes upgraded shocks, struts, springs, and sway bars. Then it was time for those big biters.

(Marc)>> So we swapped the rotors out for a two piece slotted design, added some larger upgraded calipers for more clamping force, and a more aggressive pad so that when we pull back on the reins this pony is gonna whoa for sure.

(Tommy)>> So now with more power under the hood, bigger brakes, and cool sounding exhaust you know we can't leave this thing stock looking, and with it being a Mustang you don't have to look very far to find some parts to change its personality. So we added a bigger spoiler on the deck lid, a roof spoiler, an upgraded front fascia and side skirts. Then we installed a simple graphics package to give it just the right amount of character. That's what's great about late model muscle. Parts are readily available, it doesn't take a whole lot of effort, and it's easy to personalize to your own taste.

(Marc)>> Another added benefit to a vehicle like this is the reliability and practicality. You can drive this thing back and forth to work every day. Yet still take it to the track to blow off some steam.

(Tommy)>> I love the straightaways though. [ engine revving ] (Marc>> You ever heard the old saying of bad day at the track is still way better than a good day at the office?

You have now. Having a vehicle that can do both things is what I would call the sweet spot.

You can drive it to the track, beat on it with the a/c on, and it pays you back with good handling, hard acceleration, all the braking you could ask for while singing that sweet sound that puts a smile on your face.

(Tommy)>> So with that said if you're not set on classic styling and you don't need that chrome to get you home, you may want to check yourself out one of these.

(Marc)>> You can't argue with how well rounded these things are. I mean they check off all the boxes. Safety, reliability, fuel economy, and good performance, all wrapped up in one neat package with sleek modern styling.

(Tommy)>> But that's a matter of taste. We take a look at '80's muscle cars and how we took a pony car from sad and slow to the next level, making it a dual purpose machine with an appetite for the track. So are '80's cars on the rebound for cool projects?

(Tommy)>> In the '80's there was a lot going on. Michael Jackson was doing his fancy dance, big hair was defying the laws of gravity, and your sister was testing the limitations of a phone cord.

(Marc)>> But as for the automotive world there wasn't much performance. The emission standards put into place by the government from previous years put a huge damper on horsepower. So the big three were trying all they could to grab the attention of the buyer with unique styling and packages. GM had the Trans Am and IROCZ, Mopar had the Shelby Daytona, and Ford with GT and the Cobra, none of which made much more than 200 horses.

(Tommy)>> Cars of this era are kinda in an odd place. They're not really sought after like the late '60's and early '70's muscle cars for their brute strength and iconic styling, nor are they as well built as the modern stuff but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

(Marc)>> Right, if you don't mind getting your hands dirty you can pick yourself up a project car on the cheap. Mix in a dose of performance and you've got one great ride. This killer Cobra is a great example of that. It's a cheap car with a long list of the right parts and some hard work.

(Tommy)>> When we picked up this jewel you could call it a marvel of Ford engineering. With all the decals it could haul around, the interior was sporty but smelly, and up under the hood was 255 cubic inches of fire breathing fury.

(Marc)>> This is our 1981 Ford Mustang Cobra that we call Sydewinder. It falls into the fox body category that Ford produced from 1978 to 1993. With the uni-body design, McPherson strut front suspension, triangulated four link rear, and only weighing around 3,000 pounds, these cars are quick and nimble. Ford even used a slightly modified version of the setup all the way up through 2004.

(Tommy)>> That's the way our car would have came from the factory but it's nowhere near that right now. We wanted it to have an aggressive and edgy feel to it. This thing is a lot closer to a track car but it has just enough manners to drive on the street.

(Marc)>> The aftermarket support for fox body Mustangs is through the roof. There are literally hundreds of manufacturers that can accommodate you and your dream no matter how wild and crazy.

(Tommy)>> You can upgrade to some serious suspension parts, like a lighter K-member, stronger A-arms, and fancy upgraded shocks and struts just to name a few, and an added benefit is most simply bolt right in with little to no modifications to your vehicle. Now let's talk about propulsion, the engine. If it's considered a combustion power plant there's one probably at one time been dropped in the hole of one of these things, and it doesn't matter if it's a Chevy or Ford big block, a late model GM LS, or even an import 2-JZ.

(Marc)>> We went with the common choice. The small block Ford but it makes a lot of power, 613 horsepower on pump gas. It's a 427 cubic inch Windsor that started life as a 351. With all the right internal components and topped with a 950 c-f-m carburetor this push rod can haul this fox body from zero to hang on tight in no time. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> We backed it with a TKO 600 manual gearbox and bolted in a crate rear axle complete with disc brakes. Then there's the appearance. You could say this fox body looks a little rough around the edges but that's thanks in part to this patina paint job we gave it, and that's what's great about these cars. If you can dream it you can achieve it.

(Tommy)>> Since we started with a solid car and a decent paint job we decided not to replace or strip any of the body down on our Mustang. Instead we scuffed it up and gave it an unconventional paint job, but we think it turned out pretty cool. We even added a weathered cobra on the hood to complete the look, and with those fender flares, some big fancy wheels and tires, and a bit of aero we have completely transformed the look of this thing, but we didn't stop there. We got all up in them guts, and yet again the aftermarket world pulled through.

(Marc)>> We went with a bolt in roll bar, a bunch of sheet metal panels like that rear seat delete, sporty seats, and racy gauge and switch panels, and the look was complete. But like we said, this car was built for the track. So that's exactly what we did with it. If you built something like this yourself there's no better way to reap the benefits of all your hard work. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> This car is at home on the open track. More power than you need, braking for days, handles like it's on rails, and a cockpit that makes you feel like you're Vaughn Gitten Junior. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> That's just one way these things can go together. We could have built an ultimate street car, or even a wheel standing drag car, but we're pretty happy with ole Sydewinder. So is a fox body Mustang the perfect muscle car or are they still maturing?

(Marc)>> Well it just so happens that a lot of folks that grew up with these cars are now getting to the age where they can afford to build their dream car, and for many it's something out of the '80's. When we come back we drive into the world of resto mods, and the endless possibilities of blending classic styling with modern performance and comfort.

(Tommy)>> We're on the debate of what makes the perfect recipe for a muscle car. Is it classic and classy, late model muscle, or heck, even something out of the '80's?

(Marc)>> No matter what your taste there's certain cars that just take the cake. The late '60's and early '70's was the golden era of muscle, and anybody would be proud to have one in their driveway.

(Tommy)>> If you're a GM guy a 1970 Chevelle SS LS 6 would probably be on the top of your list being powered by a 450 horse 454 engine and backed with a gear grabbing four speed, how could you not be glad to say yeah, she's mine? [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Or maybe you want to be the boss with a 1969 Mustang with 429 cubes sitting under the hood. You would grab plenty of attention with its sinister styling and threaten the life of your tires with more than enough power.

(Tommy)>> Speaking of power let's talk about the word, no matter your age, you know it meant business, Hemi! This 1970 Cuda had what it took to rule the streets. Pop the hood and there was motor from fender to fender. No wonder they call this thing the elephant. All wrapped in sleek lines with perfect proportions. Seeing this thing in your rearview might make you want to tuck your tail and hide.

Yeah those classics are amazing and you know I love that Cuda, but what if you took classic Mopar styling and meshed it with modern conveniences?

(Marc)>> Yeah that's the hot ticket right now. There's a lot of different terms used to describe these cars but we like to call it resto mods, like our 1969 Dodge Charger.

(Tommy)>> No matter what you work on when it comes to these old cars there's one thing you better plan on, a lot of hard work. Sheet metal replacement, sanding, sanding, and more sanding, and then finally you get to spray on the color of your choice, and as far as we're concerned you can't go wrong with black.

(Marc)>> Now this is the point where it went from restoration to modification, and getting one of those modern muscle engines shoehorned into one of these things is no easy task, but picking the right power plant can set the mood for the build. And it just so happens that Mopar had the perfect dancer for us. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> In 2015 Dodge set the world on fire with the Hellcat, making 707 horsepower. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> But they couldn't leave well enough alone. So they followed that up with the Demon, which is basically a street legal drag car making 808 horsepower. And with skinnies and sticky tires this thing will pull a wheelie. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Then they took things one step further and offered that supercharged Hemi as a crate engine, and this is what it looks like. Don't look too bad in there does it? Really looks like it belongs.

(Marc)>> That transformation took this car from traditional and temperamental to reliable and rowdy. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Not only does this thing have all that power, but it also has some much needed upgrades like rack and pinion power steering, modern suspension, four wheel disc brakes, and ice cold a/c.

(Tommy)>> And when it's all said and done you can stretch this thing out on the interstate with no worries. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Slow down and cruise on the back roads, or take center stage and look dang good doing it. [ engine revving ] [ tires squealing ]

(Marc)>> So what's the recipe for the perfect muscle car? Well it's hard to say and there's really no wrong answer. It just depends on your taste, budget, skill set, and the purpose of the car.

(Tommy)>> Maybe your hot rod needs to double as a daily driver. So late model muscle could be your answer.

(Marc)>> Or you just want an all-out track animal and you're gonna build it yourself. Then an '80's car might fit the bill.

(Tommy)>> Then again maybe you cannot compromise when it comes to the authentic look of a piece of American engineering.

(Marc)>> No matter what there's no wrong answer because it's ultimately up to you. That's because muscle cars are just plain cool.
Show Full Transcript

Comments