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Where Do the Baddest Muscle Cars Come From: East Coast or the West Coast?

Firing Up: East Coast vs. West Coast

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As long as there’s been an East and West Coast of this great country, there has also been an argument as to which coast is better, cooler, more hardcore, has faster cars, etc.

It’s no secret that rappers have had their differences, as the legendary hip-hop rivalry between the East and West Coast was most prominent when the feud between East Coast rapper Notorious B.I.G. and West Coast rapper 2Pac was at the forefront of the music industry between 1994 and 1996. It must have been pretty important because both were killed by unknown assailants; 2Pac in 1996 and Biggie in 1997. I suppose we’d call that one a tie.

West Coast folks claim the left side of the country to be the best due to great weather (you can surf, ski, and hike all in the same day), grown men still ride skateboards, we invented the word “gnarly,” and we have amazing sunsets. But the most convincing point? In-N-Out Burger. OK, that last one just isn’t fair.

The right coasters defend that they have better sports teams, the most bitter rivalry of any sport in the United States (Red Sox/Yankees. Sorry West Coast, the Dodgers/Angels aren’t even close), better transportation system, gorgeous sunrises, no earthquakes, cooler-sounding accents and dialect (I totally agree on this one. Nothing sounds better than a guy with a thick Boston accent talking about Red Sox baseball), better tasting sandwiches and pizza (sorry, Shake Shack doesn’t compare to In-N-Out, so don’t even go there) and Bruce Springsteen. Hmm. Not bad, right coasters.


2 1969 Camaro Side 2/2

Josh Kalis’ West Coast 1969 Camaro features a twin-turbo LS engine, but you wouldn’t know it unless you were to open the hood. (Photo: Robert McGaffin)


With that said, there is a noticeable difference in hot rodding between what the guys on the East Coast have going on compared to what’s happening out here. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but what stands out the most to me is that East Coasters will throw caution to the wind when it comes to having the baddest car in town. If it means a big-ass supercharger skying out of the hood (if there happens to be a hood), then so be it. They will put performance way ahead of appearance. In opposition, West Coast guys tend to pay more attention to aesthetics than power. I’m not saying the left coasters are slackers in the horsepower department, but appearance is a little higher up the modification list. If there is a supercharger bolted to the engine, you’ll most likely need to open the hood to find it.

Once the East Coast guy gets around to painting his car, it’s a major event. One in which they have no problem making sure their ride appears as loud as their straight-pipe exhaust. On the West Coast, the tendency is to have their sheetmetal doused with the deepest, glossiest paint possible done in darker, more subdued colors. Out West, our car’s exhaust note might not be as prominent as the East Coast guy’s ride due to the fact that we have to play by an entirely different set of engine and exhaust modification rules thanks to CARB (California Air Resource Board). Sure, we can go nuts with a big cam or bolt on a pair of long-tube headers on our late-model rides, but every two years it has to make an appearance at a smog check station for inspection. And not only does it have to blow clean air, it also has to pass a visual test. Once the technician spots the long-tubes and the relocated O2 sensor, it’s an instant “fail.” It’s just not worth all the trouble. We’ll count that as a win for the East Coast.

So whichever coast you call home, tell me, better yet, show me why your side of the United States has the best hot rods in the country by emailing me at nlicata@enthusiastnetwork.com.

Oh, and feel free to give me some feedback on our Best of the Best article. Think we missed a car that should have made the cut? I wanna hear about it.

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