Are you in possession of a classic 1967 Pontiac GTO? Is a Dodge Charger R/T sitting prettily in your garage? How often do you take your 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda out for some fresh air?
More importantly, do you know exactly how to take care of these marvelous muscle cars?
From basic cleaning tips to classic car restoration services, read on and find out how you can max out the pleasure of owning and driving one of the beastliest hot rods on the planet.
Muscle Car Maintenance 101
Muscle cars are a popular choice for classic car lovers. These were highly popular in the ‘60s with their attractive visage, affordable price tag, and oh-so-powerful performance.
While there are differing opinions in the motoring community as to how a muscle car is defined, it typically refers to an American-made, two-door, rear-wheel drive, compact or midsize car that carries a V8 engine.
Muscle cars can start with around 270 hp, but can zoom around powered by a little over 800 horses. These can accelerate from 0 to 60 in as little as 3.4 seconds and can reach a dizzying 204 miles per hour (as in the case of the 2017 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat).
Because of their speed and performance, muscle cars were also used as informal drag racing vehicles while still maintaining street-legal credibility.
As global fuel prices rose, safety legislation became stricter, auto insurance companies began to charge more, and awareness about the effects of cars on the environment began to take the stage, the muscle car industry started to slow down.
Thanks to technology (and perhaps the passion for performance vehicles), several car companies started revving their muscle car machines and started to unleash these automotive beasts back to the hands of muscle car enthusiasts.
These days, you can see muscle car aficionados putting their modern muscle machines through paces or cruising down to their membership resort for a leisurely Friday brunch with friends.
With such an illustrious history behind this breed, most owners take extra care in their use, storage, and maintenance. If you don’t want to lag behind and get stuck with a rusty old heap of metal, then you’d better wisen up and follow these classic muscle car maintenance tips:
1. Clean, clean, clean
Rust is considered a muscle car’s kryptonite. You don’t want to ignore some rusty part because it can spread and eventually cripple your car’s looks and performance. To avoid this, it is best to be very thorough when cleaning your vehicle.
Make sure to clean your car after each drive. Wash, wipe or vacuum away all visible dirt from both the interior and exterior of the car. Give extra attention to its underbelly, engine, and wheels. When it’s in storage, you still need to make sure that you clean it to avoid dust and grime from piling up.
Better yet, it is best to bring it to a reputable car care center. There, you are assured that your classic or modern muscle car will be given a thorough cleaning. Have it detailed regularly so every nook and cranny can be rid of dirt. Aside from the usual shampoo and moisturizer, you can also have your car professionally waxed and waterproofed. These days, conscientious car service centers also offer vehicle disinfection services to make sure that your car is safe and healthy to be in.
2. Storage considerations
It will also be helpful if you can store your car in an ideal location such as a brick garage as it creates the perfect moisture-free and temperature-controlled environment for your car. If time, space, or budget is a factor, then a pre-cast concrete or wooden structure will do.
Just note that since these structures do not have a lot of breathing room, it’s easier for mold or mildew to develop. Make sure to air it out or run some fans every week to keep the air from going stale.
If you’re leaving your car outdoors, then make sure to have a purpose-built car cover. Do not leave your car in direct sunlight or in a place where it’s too cold or too warm. Avoid using a standard tarpaulin or plastic sheet as it won’t provide the right kind of protection. Using an ill-fitted cover may result in condensation, mildew, and mold.
3. Drive responsibly
Muscle cars are meant to be driven. When you take them out for a spin, make sure to drive mindfully. You don’t want to just speed through bumps, cracks, potholes as these may damage your car. For muscle cars with a lowered chassis, be careful when going up or down inclines to avoid scraping the underbelly of your vehicle.
If you can, avoid going out unnecessarily in bad weather. Storming out in inclement weather is one of the most common reasons why there are dirty and damaged muscle cars.
When you store your car, make sure that you also open your window a little to allow air to circulate within. To avoid small animals from going in, make sure to vacuum it clean so no crumbs or litter remains inside your cabin. If your car’s a convertible, store it with the top up.
4. Restore properly
If you have or are planning to get a vintage muscle car, then make sure that you have it properly restored. There are classic car restoration specialists that will ensure your muscle car will be brought back to its former splendor.
Regardless of what the condition of a vintage muscle car is, there are a variety of services that can help get it back into shape. From frame-on or frame-off restoration to the carburetor, engine, or gearbox tuning, rebuilding, or overhauling, you can trust your muscle machine will be tended to with utmost care.
5. Get help from car specialists
When you have a vehicle that is as valuable as a classic muscle car, then you must also give it proper care. Whether it is cleaning, repairs, or restoration, you need car service professionals to do the job. It is also important that you schedule a periodic maintenance check to ensure that your vehicle gets a stringent health check-up.
Bringing your car to a reliable car service center will ensure your car is given expert attention. It will greatly benefit from state-of-the-art tools and equipment and the knowledge and experience of professionally trained technicians. You’re also sure to enjoy top-notch quality service as a car owner.
Mindful Car Ownership
Whether you have a rare 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 or an understated yet thoroughly thrilling Buick Wildcat, driving these macho machines all boils down to how meticulous you are in maintaining them.
When you take the time to properly clean, store, restore, or professionally maintain your muscle car, then you will be rewarded with a vehicle that can run many more miles with you.
Ahmad Ramadan is a Managing Partner at Deutsche Technik Service Center, Dubai’s first and largest VW, Audi, Mercedes, Bentley, Porsche, & Lamborghini vehicle specialist and performance tuner. DT has also built an illustrious portfolio in classic car repair, maintenance, and restoration, as well as bodywork (accident repair, painting, and denting). DT Service Centre offers a full range of services: mechanical repairs, maintenance, servicing, etc.