WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? PLENTY FOR CAR GUYS

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NUMBERS

 

Most of us view math as one of those academic ordeals from our grade school years.

 

We weren’t particularly interested in the magic of long division and the wonders of algebra, but we did take a keen interest in numbers as they applied to cars and Playboy centerfolds.

 

We concentrate on the automotive angle when it comes to numbers here at MSCC, so we will list off a few of the important numbers for car guys.

 

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The first is 32. Ford had a better idea in 1932 when they built a two-seater coupe that became a legend in the car hobby. The deuce coupe has been a platform for some incredible hot rods over the decades.

 

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One of the most famous deuce coupes in car guy world is the John Milner car from American Graffiti. This yellow beast of a car was a star in a movie with a swarm of cool rides and will always be a part of the deuce coupe legend. Throw in the Beach Boys’ hit song about a ’32 Ford (Little Deuce Coupe) and car guys suddenly have a big interest in numbers.

 

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Another famous car number is 40. 1940 was a year when Ford and Willys built two future hot rod platforms that have become so famous they are still building fiberglass body shells of the dynamic duo. The coupe versions of the ’40 Ford and Willys have carved out a legendary status in the car hobby.

 

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Sometimes famous numbers come in a series like 55-56-57. These numbers do not open safes to the best of our knowledge, but they do represent three of the most famous years in Chevy history. Chevy built a radically different car in 1955 and then ran with the new body style through 1957.

 

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The three model years are known collectively as the Tri-Fives in car guy circles and the cars represent one of the most famous production runs in the history of Detroit.

 

1964 ½ is a number that proves car guys even know fractions. The spring of 1964 marked the debut of one of the most famous cars in Detroit history: the Ford Mustang. The pioneer Mustang’s sporty sheet metal was great camouflage for the Ford Falcon undercarriage and was an immediate hit with buyers.

 

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The target market for the 1964 ½ Mustang was actually young single females who wanted a sporty affordable car. Mustangs would gain serious muscle and a large legion of male fans in the late 60s, but this legendary stallion was still just a pony in 1964 ½.

 

426-the number says it all for car guys. 426 is the number of cubic inches found in the famous big block hemispherical head monster built by Chrysler in the mid-60s. The second generation Hemi was a brute that was affectionately called the Elephant because of its large size and heavy weight.

 

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A 426 Hemi was a bad-tempered street fighter that really did not belong on the street because most drivers could not handle its horsepower during an era when traction control computers were not even in the concept stage in Motown. A few overly ambitious thrill-seekers died behind the wheel of 426 Hemi Mopars-hopefully they died happy.

 

What is the final equation for numbers? It is true car guys may not have been math fans in their younger years, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like numbers.

 

Jim Sutherland

 

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