At first glance, the cover of this month's issue looks like we're beating you over the head with yet another '69 Camaro. Um, not again, you're thinking. Not so fast, anti-Camaro man. While Speed Tech's '69 Camaro test car is indeed a worthy subject to illustrate our gargantuan '67-69 Camaro/'68-74 Nova suspension guide, it is also a humble sacrifice to the gods of magazine circulation. You see, it is a proven fact that any '69 Camaro on the cover-let alone one as fine as Speed Tech's-will outsell a '67 Chrysler Imperial on the cover by a factor of at least three to one.
Now before anyone in either camp starts salivating rabidly over his keyboard, let me explain something. I am an avid lover of large, luxurious, and fast land barges. And other than my well-known infatuation with mid-'70s Chevy Lagunas, my lust for big boats has largely remained in the closet. Over the years, I've pushed my publisher to do an issue on big cars, but always got talked off the ledge after the subject of newsstand numbers was brought up. Being a family man, I didn't want to jeopardize my job and commit publishing suicide, so I relented. Still, I dreamed of cover blurbs like "Two Tons Of Fun!" "Big, Bad & Beautiful!" and "Large & In Charge!"
Many years ago, while I was the editor of our sister magazine, GM High-Tech Performance, I had a similar editorial vision, but not as much business acumen. I thought it would be cool to do an issue entirely dedicated to the intercooled, turbocharged '86-87 Buick Grand National-quite literally, a one-marque issue. I love those cars and have owned two of them, so I forged ahead thinking everybody would share my enthusiasm. Needless to say, the issue tanked on the stand, but enigmatically, copies of that regularly sell on eBay for $125. (I still have my copies, by the way.) Not only that, I've made every Turbo Buick guy on the planet a friend for life.
With that lesson in hand, I approached this issue with caution. The responsible thing to do was to balance my jones for heavy metal with another selfish desire: to dive deep into the ocean of suspension parts for '67-69 Camaros and '68-74 Novas. You see, having just acquired a bantamweight '68 Nova, and knowing that the same parts would fit first-gen Camaros, I endeavored to use the classic military pincher move on the newsstand. Grab the Camaro/Firebird/Nova guys with the ultimate suspension guide for their rides, and then lay these three voluptuous Chevy, Ford, and Mopar hotties on them.
And while you may not be immediately attracted to Matt Delaney's '67 Imperial, Keith Seymore's '74 Chevelle, or Brian Zoeller's '72 Torino with the same animal magnetism that draws you inexorably to, say, Angelina Jolie, you will be drawn in, nonetheless. These cars give up nothing to lighter cars-at least in the power department. They're lightning fast, while navigating masterfully over the open highway. There's plenty of room to luxuriate, and there's ample quarter for friends, family, and gear. Delaney summed it up best when he said: "...what you want is something that can hold a 10x10 easy-up canopy, a few chairs, and an ice chest." Isn't that what the hot rodding life is all about? What these cars give up in cornering prowess and economy, they gain in comportment, comfort, and status.
I urge you to keep an open mind while perusing these three large rides, and to not be too surprised if you find yourself fantasizing about one or more of them. If you're already a convert, congratulations. I know you'll enjoy this issue. If you're not, I'll get the message loud and clear when I see the sales numbers six months from now. If it goes well, I'll be looking to do it again next year, but only with your help. If you've got a big, fast car, shoot me an email. I'd love to see it. Maybe we can make it a star!