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Iranians Rock Out With Detroit Muscle Cars

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CAMARO WATCH
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Detroit is still rocking, at least in Iran.

A feature in today's New York Times describes Iranian groups who meet regularly for muscle car rallies, hot laps and smoking donuts.

Here's the story opening:

The scene has been played out so many times as to border on cliché. It begins with an impromptu meet-up of two Chevy Camaros, each announcing its prowess with a V-8 rumble. Then, despite good-natured banter between the drivers, an unspoken challenge is made. Finally, a tire-smoking showdown ensues.

One big difference this time: the encounter, which took place at summer’s end, did not begin on the main drag of a small Midwestern town and pursue resolution on a deserted country road. Instead, the Camaros, a pair of pumped-up early ’70s models owned by friends, faced off at the Azadi Stadium Race Track in Tehran.

The setting was a gathering of the Tehran Café Racers, but aside from a few minor details — Persian lettering on the license plates and on the cans of Coke sipped over lunch — it could have taken place at any number of racetracks in America. The loose-knit group, an affiliate of a club based in Florida, is part of Iran’s enthusiastic classic car culture. Vintage Detroit models play a big role in the activities, and driving events take precedence — the track session was the group’s first since its founding earlier this year.

And here's just a partial list of the cars mentioned in the story:

  • '65 Mustang convertible
  • ’67 Mustang GT
  • ’72 Mustang Mach 1
  • ’71 Dodge Charger
  • ’73 Corvette
  • mid-1970s Buick Park Avenue

The part that could make an American reader sentimental?

"Classic-car events attract considerable attention in Iran, which is somewhat surprising even to Mr. Salehkhou, because such a large portion of the country’s population was born after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“Whenever we do a road trip, people clap and honk their horns throughout the route,” he said. “Most of the interest comes from the young. And most of it is directed toward Mercedes and American cars.”

If you ask me, this story feels too big for the "Collectible Cars" section.

Read the full feature here.
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