Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Hemmings Cruise-Ins: King of the Jungle

Posted June 12, 2008 12:01 AM by dstrohl

Two weeks ago tonight, I loaded my GMC Safari for a journey to the wilds of Vermont. There aren't any jungles in Bennington, but I did see a Firebird, a Cobra, a Stingray, and a strange beast called a Chevelle. I'm not talking about wildlife here, but about muscle cars. On Thursday, May 29th, I caught my first cruise-in at Hemmings Motor News in Bennington, Vermont. This small city isn't as exotic as the Amazon Jungle, but it's the place to see classic cars.

1968 Pontiac Firebird

On cold day in 1967, American auto-executive John DeLorean announced Pontiac's plans to build the Firebird, a sports car for "new buyers who want to step up to something extra in styling as well as performance". Thirty years later, George Mattar recalled DeLorean's product launch in Hemmings Muscle Machines, noting that the Pontiac Firebird became "an instant success". Although some car critics dismissed the Firebird as "just a dolled up Camaro", the vehicle developed an identify all its own.

The Firebird in this picture (it's the one with the hood up) caught my attention right away.

Here's what's under the hood.

1969 Ford Cobra

Ford Motor Company contracted another case of muscle mania in 1969, releasing a car called the Cobra to complement its popular Mustang. This black beauty, as seen at the May 29th Hemmings Cruise-In, came standard with a Super Cobra Jet engine.

The 428-cubic-inch V-8 was rated at 335 horsepower, but some claim it packed 400 ponies. Today, the $3200 (USD) base price for the 1969 Ford Cobra seems like a bargain. "If you're looking at a Cobra Jet-powered car, expect that some previous owner had drag raced it," notes Daniel Strohl in a Buyer's Guide for Hemmings Muscle Machines.

1969 Chevy Corvette Convertible Stingray

The 1969 Chevy Corvette Stingray inherited its claims to be "king of the jungle". In 1968, Chevrolet re-styled the Corvette to resemble its Mako Shark II concept car. Forty years later, the red Stingray convertible in this picture comes equipped with a 350 engine.

I'm not sure whether this is the same engine that Minnesota's Wayne Nelson used when his 1969 Stingray L88 clone made Musclepalooza history at Lebanon Valley, New York. As Jim Donnelly reported in Hemmings Muscle Machines, Nelson "helped cement Musclepalooza's status as a premier event for people who are serious about seriously potent American cars, and made his 1,300-mile, 24-hour tow from 10,000-Lakes country more than worth his while." Congrats, Jim!

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

This red, two-door, hard top boasts a 502 Ramjet engine with 510 horsepower (hp). It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's your grand.

If you want to learn more about how "nineteen seventy was a watershed year in the history of the American muscle car," check out this excellent story by Hemmings' Mark J. McCourt.

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