Muscle Car Memories
By Ken Visser
I grew into automotive consciousness in the mid 70’s. As a 12 yr old I would seek out interesting cars. My first real photoshoot took two years to lock down since he was in a 66 427 cobra, I on a Schwinn. And the die was cast, I am a car nut. I drew them, I photographed them, I chased them.
My friends and selected schoolmates had muscle cars in high school. The lucky kids had Trans Ams and GTO’s and Camaros. I had my Schwinn Super le Tour. So the muscle car thing is embedded in my memory banks. The sounds of an American V8 rumbling past the Wyomissing pool, nothing like it, never forget it.
I graduated high school in 1980 so it was the end of a decade of muscle car atrophy. The oil embargo changed the way people felt about big horsepower. The Mustang and the Corvette had been emasculated. My tastes were focused on European stuff. (For an interesting debate on the origin of the muscle car, check out this article by John Aible.)
I eventually came back to muscle cars by hanging out with my hot rod buddies at the Church of the Holy Donut in Burtonsville, MD. That V8 sound rumbled back into my heart. Here are some samples of good ol’ American Muscle.
A 1966 Shelby GT-350 photographed at the Eastern Concours of the United States.
By 1966, Caroll Shelby had accomplished more then most. He had won the 1959 24 hours of leMans in an Aston Martin. A heart condition took him from behind the wheel and towards the creation of the Cobra. From there he was plucked to make the Mustang sexy for Ford. The 65 Shelby was raw, fun and fast. For 1966 the GT-350 lost the Mustang moniker and gained back some refinements like an optional back fold down back seat.