5 Best Oddball Vehicle Stories of 2018
We cover a lot of different vehicles here on Driving Line. We love racecars, customs and general four-wheeled performance, but one of our favorite aspects of gearhead-dom is the history and behind-the-scenes information we dig up. From the endless versions of the monster truck, Bigfoot, to the many turbo Buicks that paved the way for the Grand National, they’re the stories that are rarely told, but fascinating to read. Here are the most interesting oddball stories of 2018. Enjoy.
As promised, this story contains the most off-the-wall versions of Bigfoot that have graced the monster truck circuit since the first Bigfoot from the mid-‘70s. Anything but practical, these monsters are just barely trucks, and some are trucks in the traditional sense in name only. This should not be surprising, as it was all about exhibition, but we think it would have been fun to have been present for some of the planning and idea sessions for future Bigfoot versions back in the ‘80s.
The last of the big-body family haulers, the Roadmaster (and its Chevy Caprice cousin) disappeared from showrooms at the end of 1996, but they went out with big power. That power came in the form of the same engine as the Chevy Corvette, Camaro and Pontiac Firebird of that era, the 5.7L LT1 V8. The wagon’s engine produced more horses than some sports cars of the era, including the BMW M3.
Sometimes, big performance is added to a luxury platform before it reaches the sporty segment. Such was the case with the Lincoln Mark VIII of the mid-‘90s. FoMoCo introduced the aluminum 4.6L 32-valve DOHC in the Lincoln years before it was rebadged as the Cobra. Other secrets of the Mark VIII include engine blocks that were made in Italy that can handle up to 1,200hp—read the story for more.
The performance cars of the ‘80s should hardly be called performance oriented given the dismal horsepower and torque numbers that had been diminished by required smog prevention devices. The one shining domestic example of real performance in the era was the turbo’d V6 stuffed between the fender wells of the Buick Grand National (a.k.a. GNX). This is the story of how the GNX came into being, and the turbo Buicks that led the way.
If you haven’t already heard (pun intended), Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, better known as ASMR, is a “thing.” ASMR sounds produce a tingling sensation when some people hear them, similar to the feeling of satisfaction from popping bubble wrap. Because the internet is aflutter with ASMR videos, we thought we’d make our own ASMR video centered around (you guessed it) Nitto tires, specifically NT01s, NT555 G2s and Trail Grapplers. See how the sounds make you feel by watching (listening) to our video.