This Badges of Honor section was so popular that we had to bring it back-it wasn’t optional so … MSCC presents Badges of Honor Part 2.
My fondest “growing up” memories of the mid 60s centered around the cars for a very simple reason-this was the ultimate era for the muscle car.
The pinnacle of excess for the Big 3 horsepower race.
The badge on the fender was a “coat of arms”-one that you lived and died for on the streets. (literally in some cases).
As 10 to 12-year-old kids we were absolutely mesmerized by these displays of cubic inch numbers-we saw quite a few 396, 390 or 383 badges and those got our attention.
But when a lucky kid saw an understated 426 hood ornament on a shoebox shaped Plymouth Belvedere or a 427 big block badge you had bragging rights for a week if you saw it first.
Growing up in a small city with one TV channel was a different experience but frankly, spotting a large number on the fender of a Mopar or Ford was better than the latest video game version of Rock Star-by a wide margin. The reason was simple-these cars weren’t some video game version of a classic muscle car.
These cars were the real thing. They were the biggest and baddest street monsters that Detroit had ever built and even as kids we knew that the guys that drove them tested them any time, anywhere.
The ’67 GTO we were admiring in the after noon was probably duking it out with a brand new Road Runner that night.
And there was only one thing that held us back from seeing these epic battles between classic muscle cars-our 60s kid parentally enforced curfews.
But in our kid world, it was enough to know that these iconic cars we saw on the street that day were defending their badges of honor on the street that night- and we could imagine the outcome.
As a Mopar kid, I knew that no Dodge Coronet with a HEMI badge ever lost just as my Chevy buddies knew that an SS 396 never lost. And my Ford buddies knew that a 390 GTA never lost.
The badge of honor on the car-the street fighter coat of arms…that was our 60s kid Holy Grail.
Jerry Sutherland @mystarcollcectorcar.com
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