What criteria must a car meet to be considered a musclecar? Does that moniker have to be attached to a car that meets a certain criteria as it came from the factory? Or, can any car become a musclecar? Take for instance this ’84 Monte Carlo. When it left the factory, it definitely wasn’t what you would call a musclecar, but now, however, the term might actually apply.
Doug Sinclair is a guy that can see potential in anything. “I bought the car in Oak Grove, Missouri, in June of 2013. It was a stolen car that was recovered. The engine, transmission, and hood were long gone. I paid $700 bucks for it, but it needed put back together.” So, not only was this not a musclecar from the factory, it was missing any semblance of muscle – minimal or otherwise.
Doug quickly installed 400 small-block under the hood that used an EX274 Comp Cams hydraulic stick, and Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, and a set of late-model Vortec cylinder heads. Altogether, the engine developed a 10.5:1 compression ratio. Does an engine like that bring the car up to musclecar standards?
“I added 3.42 gears and a 700R4 transmission. All of which I built. The car ran 12.60’s in the quarter-mile, and could get 18 mpg,” Doug told us. In actuality, a 12-second quarter-mile is quicker than most factory-delivered musclecars, so have we entered a gray area of the term? Maybe an ’84 Monte Carlo can be “built” into a musclecar?
Since the hood was already long gone, he added a Harwood cowl-induction hood, an SS spoiler, and then painted the car Pewter Metallic.
Guys always seem to have a hankerin’ for upgrading their “musclecars,” and Doug adhered to that same concept. Fast forward to 2015, and he rebuilt the engine to deliver even more power. He bumped the compression ratio to 11.0:1, and increased the cubic inches to 383 by installing a forged lower end 6-inch connecting rods. Up top, the Vortec heads were swapped for a set of Air Flow Research 210 heads, and a Comp Cams solid roller bumpy bar with .614/.616-inch lift and 248/256-degrees of duration at .050-inch delivers a true, musclecar-esque idle. Up to is an Edelbrock Super Victor intake.
The 700R4, while a great transmission, was replaced with a more muscle-supporting Turbo 400 that is outfitted with a transbrake. “I decided to mini-tub it, so I notched the frame in the rear to accept the 15×10 Billet Specialties wheels with 28x 0.50 Mickey Thompson tires,” he said. Doug also built a 9-inch rear using 31-spline axles.
Doug plans on this new-age “musclecar” to make more serious track blasts, so the front suspension was also upgraded with Trick Chassis’ upper and lower control arms, and single adjustable coilovers.
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