August 16, 2012

Muscle(car) Men

Story by Cpl. Aaron Diamant
Desert Warrior Staff

“Anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.”

-Author Unknown

There’s something about a classic muscle car; its an-attention getter, sleek lines and steel parts. They are distinctly American, with an almost cult following.

Most people might not be able to tell you the exact year, make and model when they see one driving down the street, but they know what the car and its’ driver are all about: good looks and plenty of plant-you-in-the-seat horsepower.

Two station Marines made their dreams of owning a muscle car come true.

Capt. Kyle Ugone, station deputy comptroller, owns a shiny-blue 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle with a 454 cubic inch V-8, with the cylinders bored out to a whopping 460 cubic inches of displacement. The roar of the big-block Chevy coming to life is unmistakable. Modern cars may scream that they go fast, but this car roars it like a lion staking claim to the Savannah.

“It’s a bad ass car,” said Ugone. “I’m not of the age to remember them from their original days, but it’s cool to be able to show people what was around in the heyday of American muscle cars.”

Classic muscle cars can be seen prowling the air station from time to time. While they may not be as practical as modern sports cars, muscle cars represent the hight of America’s obsession with style and horsepower. Their steel construction and large engines make them heavier than most of their modern counterparts, but their style attacks devoted fans and owners of all ages.

Master Sgt. Gregory Greer, station airfield operations chief, has a bright-red1971 Chevelle Super Sport with a 350 cubic inch small-block V-8. It’s built to be a little more cruise-around-town friendly, but when the pedal hits the floor, still has the power to leave other cars inhaling exhaust fumes.

“You get a lot of compliments about old cars,” said Greer. “It’s a real eye-catcher and conversation starter. Even the younger generations know it’s a muscle car.”

They hearken back to glory days of the American muscle car, when car manufacturers settled differences on the drag strip, circle-track and from stoplight to stoplight all over suburban and rural USA. Back then, fuel mileage and luxury weren’t the main concern; it was who crossed the finish line first.

Capt. Kyle Ugone’s 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle. The car attracts plenty of attention as it roars its way down the highways and byways.

Muscle cars may not be for everyone. They suck down fuel like it’s going out of style, handle like the 40-plus year old cars they are, and, depending on how they’re built, some have too much power for some drivers to handle safely. But, they can be seen as investments.

“The older they get, the more they’re worth,” explained Greer.

The benefit comes in that many of them are purchased in need of some restoration. Ugone and Greer agree this fact lets you build the car exactly how you want it.

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