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Old 09-02-2010, 09:34 PM
Location: SoCal
559 posts, read 1,080,623 times
Reputation: 612


Late 70's in L.A.

We had some really nice muscle cars, circling my high school like marauding great white sharks.

A built to the hilt, Hot Wheels Spectraflame pink, 1st gen Z/28. '57 Chevy with flames. An early 3rd gen Corvette. Chevelles, '70 Z/28 and a Mustang Mach 1. A really menacing black Duster (I think) that supposedly ruled the local roost. It would sometimes drive around with the hood removed so there was no doubt about what was in the engine bay.

This was back when many of the muscle cars were raised up in the rear with Gabriel Hijackers or Monroe(?) Air Adjustables. Makes it much easier to see the Lakewood traction bars and giant diff. Many of the cars were riding on classic Centerlines (flat face with rivets) or 5-spoke Cragars with B.F. Goodrich Radial T/As—really wide ones.

I never seem to see this style of cars anymore. Is there a generic name for this look? Highriders? The contemporary look of muscle cars seem to be a lowered or level ride height on billet wheels. I rarely see traction bars since leaf springs have disappeared. I'm not sure the last time I saw Centerlines on a street car.

Cragar and Centerline are L.A. based companies. Were their wheels popular outside of SoCal?

What is the name of the type of inlet to a carburetor which looks like a punch bowl sized velocity stack with no visible filter element?

There were also some lowriders that are probably worth a mint now but at the time I wasn't that interested in them so I don't remember much about them.

There was also a slew of what would come to be derisively known as ricers:

Datsun 510, 610; Celicas and Corollas; Mercury Capri (the German ones); mini-trucks; probably a couple rotary-powered Mazda RX sedans or trucks. Blacked out trim, lowered with lots of negative camber; Watanabe wheels; all RWD.

I'm sure most of these kids wished they still had their cars.

So, what was or is cruising around your high school?

Last edited by drunk on kool aid; 09-02-2010 at 09:36 PM.. Reason: Added a line
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:47 PM
109 posts, read 138,462 times
Reputation: 85
Just graduated in June:

Jetta's seem to be the "cool" car, very popular
Focus's are common, mostly due to cost
Several older Saabs and BMW's from the 80s and 90s
Overall, a mishmash of 90s and 2000s mostly economy/midsize cars
Some Wranglers too

I attended a middle class public school, so very expensive BMW's etc were not really seen.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:07 PM
24,511 posts, read 34,258,871 times
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I graduated HS a few years ago... the cars that everyone wanted were BMW 3 series. While many kids did get these cars, most had old (98-2001) bmws, maximas, camrys, and all sorts of suvs handed down from their parents.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:11 PM
Location: Earth
4,227 posts, read 20,365,981 times
Reputation: 2211
H.S. 1993-1997

1978-87 Monte Carlo, Cutlass, Regal, were popular. 1981-87 Grand Prix of were fairly popular.

1993 and older S-10's were popular. Especially with the mini truck crowd.

Fox body Mustangs and 3rd gen F bodies were also popular.

Ford Escorts and sometimes Cavaliers were driven by some of the kids at my school.

I remember two people in the grades below me drove FWD Cutlass Cierras, mid 80's models. I think a few even drove Ford Tempos.

One guy drove a 1967 Chevelle 350/4 speed...Marina blue and was rusted. Frame would break on it every so often, he'd weld it back up but it would break again. I knew who he was, arrogant cocky. He was not very smart but thought he was.

Another guy owned a Panther Pink 1970-'71 Plymouth Duster. Looked like a nice car.

Another kid drove a 1955 Chevy 4 door....white over teal. Nice looking car.

Another guy drove a 1974 Dodge Charger. Nice looking, someone said he only paid $2000 for it.

My first year, one guy drove a 1973 Nova yellow over black, another person had a Le Mans blue 1969 Camaro, a pretty cute chick drove a primer grey 1968 Camaro on aluminum slot mags.

One girl a few grades above me drove a nice 1972 Chevelle convertible; it was used to make a reenactment of the JFK assassination the school did as a project.

The year before h.s. they took us on a tour of the school...someone had an all black 1969 Firebird in the parking lot, it had hot pink and neon green pinstriping. Ahh the times.

And speaking of neon colors, everyone seemed to have neon colored wipers, or a neon colored steering wheel or even neon colored "bent like a radio wave" antennas.One guy that I knew drove an early 80's Mazda B2000 truck that he had painted a bright electric blue.

The guy that lived down the street from me drove a lowered 1987 GMC S-15. This guy had the hardest hitting stereo I've ever heard to this date. You could literally hear his stereo for blocks. Four 15 inch woofers, 800 watts worth of amplification and god only knows how much SPL this thing was pushing....the subs were in a custom box in the bed with a windowless fiberglass cap that covered it. Later he had the rear wall cut out to create a "walk thru" that was common on mini trucks back in the late 80's/early 90's. He also had all the other custom stuff of the day; chromed billet rims, headlamp covers, window tint, neon colored wipers and steering wheel, etc. He was always changing his trucks appearance.

One girl we knew drove a nice beige 1972 Monte Carlo on Cragars. She'd park with us in the back row, along one of my class mates who drove a blue with white stripes 1994-'96 Dodge Ram. Also would be this guy a class below me who drove his dad's Geo Metro. We used to talk of picking it up and moving it just for fun.

A classmate had a 1978 Nova Rally. Texas car, and a little different than your average Nova.

I myself drove a 1977 Ford Courier, then a 1976 Cutlass, then a 1975 Nova in h.s. A friend of mine had a 1978 Silverado, then a 1982 Grand Prix, then a 1977 Custom Deluxe. His brother drove a 1986 Grand Prix. Another friend of ours often drove his grandparent's GMC Vanduras which we used to party in. He eventually started driving his 1976 Nova hatchback he'd been working on.

One of my other friends drove a 1976 GMC Jimmy and his girlfriend drove a white 1991 Geo Storm we used to call "the egg". The Storms were a semi popular car back then. So were Trackers.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:15 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,406 posts, read 9,019,292 times
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I had a red '70 GTO, another kid had a black one. A maroon '70 Lemans Sport. A nice dark blue '66 Tempest with a nice small-block chevy. A '69 Camaro z/28, a '70 Camaro z/28, one or two '70 Buick GS's, a black '71 GS, a '69 Roadrunner, a '67 GTX, a '73 Roadrunner, a '70 Duster. Lots of 4x4 pickups and Blazers. There were lots of other cars around town, but those guys didn't drive them to school (not a bad idea since vandalism was rampant in the student parking lots).
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:35 PM
Location: 'Murica
1,302 posts, read 2,351,767 times
Reputation: 803
south O.C., late 1990's:

Most guys had pickup trucks with a Baja-style suspension kit and white fiberglass fenders, and skid plates in place of the front bumper. Other than that, nothing too noteworthy; that's what most of the rich boys spent their money on. The rich girls got new Beetles.

Driving about in the background would be hand-me-down European cars: Mercedes W126's, BMW E30's, and Volvo 240's, like the one driven by yours truly. Probably the nicest car I've seen a kid take to campus was a W140 Mercedes S500.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:47 PM
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 14,811,972 times
Reputation: 6644
H.S. 2001 - 2005, public, suburban / rural

When kids my age started getting their license (2002) to my senior year (2004-2005):

> The Pontiac Grand Am seemed to be the most common car in the HS parking lot. Other popular models were the Pontiac Grand Prix, Chevy Cavalier, and Eagle Talon. I would be willing to wager that most of these cars were bought used. During my senior year of high school, they were probably 2000 year models at the latest.
> "Rice rockets" were very popular. You know, the Honda Civic or Mitsubishi Eclipse with the fart-can exhaust and the disgustingly large rear spoiler. This fad seemed to reach the height of its popularity my freshman and sophmore years and then kind of fizzled off.
> A good percentage of kids, perhaps even the majority, drove a hand-me-down car from their parents once they got their license. Hence in addition to the kid cars and rice rockets, you would see Oldsmobiles, minivans, and even the occasional old Suburban.
> A good number of kids drove pick-up trucks to school. They seemed to congregate in a group, and often would park on a hill.
> The nicest car in the lot was probably a new Mustang, driven by a junior girl. Note that Minnesotans, particularly in the North are a lot less ostentatious than Americans elsewhere, so there's a lot less of the "keeping up with the Jones" stuff that is a cancer in our society (at least in certain states...CT, NJ, and CA come to mind), and even though there were some affluent students, they didn't necessarily drive BMW X5's or Mercedes Benz CL-series.
> It seemed like most students had jobs, and if they didn't buy their car or make payments on it with the money they earned from their job, at least that's how they filled it up with gas.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:57 PM
24,511 posts, read 34,258,871 times
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tvdxer, not everyone in certain states is like that. I'm an NJer, and I have a Nissan Altima Hybrid. That's not "keeping up with the Jones" car.
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Old 09-03-2010, 04:37 AM
Location: United States
2,497 posts, read 6,251,523 times
Reputation: 2224
I was lucky I guess. My HS years were 1990-1994. I drove an 86 Iroc Z-28 with mods. My best friend at the time drove a cherry 77 Trans Am 6.6.
Today as an old man I drive a rice burning Honda Civic
Yesterday is gone. Those cars were great though. (except the gas and constant repairs)
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Old 09-03-2010, 05:30 AM
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,095 posts, read 23,040,459 times
Reputation: 7958
graduated in 87. Large pick-up trucks, Camaro, and 5.0 Mustang were the most common sights.
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