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G-Machines: Dreams or Nightmares?

They currently encompass a great deal of what is considered “cutting edge” car-building technology and are unlike anything that came out of Detroit during the heyday of American muscle. For their owners and creators, these cars are ultimate rides; for other onlookers, they are judged one step short of the crash-destruction of Dukes of Hazzard Chargers. But there is no question that the “G-machine” movement is likely here to stay.

Though I confess that I can't explain exactly where this term came from, G-machine normally refers to vintage muscle cars that are completely modified using modern technology. The first and most obvious change seems to be a wheel swap to something bigger than 16 inches with low-profile radial rubber. Suspension upgrades, 21st century drivelines, and moderate bodyline and trim changes follow this, often topped off with an interior redesign that is much more metro then retro. In the end, the hard work hopefully results in something that the eventual user can enjoy from both a driving and static viewpoint.

G-machines have taken the hobby by storm in the last half-decade, making good use of Detroit's re-emerging performance mindset. The largest media purveyor has been Popular Hot Rodding magazine, which, under the able tutelage of editor Johnny Hunkins, has highlighted most of the best of the breed. The show floors at SEMA and PRI have also bristled with the latest G-machine entries, and well-known car personalities (both builders and owners) are now making these vehicles part of the auto pop culture. In various states of completion, they are becoming visible at many regional car shows as well.

Bob Johnson’s ‘Cuda is on the cutting edge of G-machining. The 1971 ‘Cuda features a forced induction Hemi and radical body mods. How much, though, is TOO much?

In the past several years, I have seen a fair number of these cars built up from various body designs and original manufacturers. Some were frankly impractical; they looked good on paper and drew a crowd standing still, but left a bit to be desired in actual use. Others seemed to be all they were purported to and more.

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