DECEMBER 4, 2014: WHAT DO CAR GUYS REALLY WANT FOR CHRISTMAS? BIG TOYS FOR BIG BOYS-PART 3

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The idea of big Christmas toys for big boys enters its third part with this installment.

 

Christmas loses some momentum once we reach adulthood because we lose interest in toys-or do we?

 

All you really need is the right toy when you reach adulthood and that childhood magic will return in a big way.

 

One of the most popular toys on the car guy wish list is Mopar muscle from the mid-60s and early 70s.

 

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The big blocks from Chrysler changed a mild-mannered sedan into a fire-breathing monster once a 426 Hemi was fitted under the hood.

 

The unassuming B-body Plymouths and Dodges were elevated to legendary status in 1966 when the Elephant entered the picture.

 

An Elephant was a popular nickname for a 426 Hemi because they are heavy, powerful engines that rely heavily on brute force power.

 

A 426 Hemi took up a lot of space under the hood in a Plymouth GTX or Dodge Coronet RT in the 60s. They also turned any Mopar with an Elephant under the hood into an instant street legend.

 

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Chrysler officially pegged the Gen-2 Hemi’s horsepower at 425, mainly to pacify insurance companies that may be extremely reluctant to insure a young male driver for a car with massive unofficial horsepower under the control of his itchy right foot.

 

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Dodge and Plymouth added a cheaper stripped-down muscle car in 1968 when they debuted the Super Bee and Road Runners with their 383 engine-equipped base models.

 

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The Road Runner was very popular with the budget-minded young drivers and the 383 cubic inches provided more than enough muscle to get these guys in plenty of trouble on the street.

 

The bigger 440 and 426 engines were available in the Runners and Bees, but most were sold with the 383s.

 

These days a B-body ‘Runner or ‘Bee from the late 60s and early 70s will be a very desirable toy for any car guy who loves the Mopar muscle in this body style.

 

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Many car guys liked the Barracuda in its first two generations (1964-66 and 1967-69), but they loved these ponies in their third-generation from 1970-71.

 

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This was the sweet spot for looks and power in the eyes of many ‘Cuda fans because of their body style and pre-72 engine choices, up to and including the mighty Elephant engine.

 

The 70-71 Barracudas and their brand new Dodge Challenger pony car cousins were built with a sleeker and wider body style that marked a new decade for the ponies.

 

 

These Mopars were built with the last of the free-breathing engines from Chrysler because 1972 was a whole new ball game for North American cars.

 

The 1972 and up engines were choked off with tougher emission controls and neutered performance to comply with strict new guidelines. The 1973 ‘Cuda and Challengers still looked great, but most of their car guy fans would choose the 70-71s for their unrestricted power.

 

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The rule of thumb is pretty simple when it comes to Mopar disciples from the golden era of muscle cars: the bigger the animal under the hood, the more they like the car-and an Elephant is the biggest beast on land.

 

That is why they make the perfect toy for grown up boys at Christmas.

 

You just need to expand your toy budget a bit to buy one.

 

Jim Sutherland

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