The Karankawa Indians were fierce and independent people who lived off the land and the sea. They were the original inhabitants of the Texas Gulf Coast, and their homeland stretched from Galveston Bay to Corpus Christi Bay.
The Karankawa were known for their tall stature and muscular build. They were also known for their distinctive appearance, which included long hair, tattoos, and piercings. The Karankawa were skilled hunters and fishermen and gathered wild plants and shellfish. They lived in small villages, and their society was based on kinship.
The Karankawa were a peaceful people, but they were also known for their fierceness in battle. They were skilled warriors, and they often fought against other tribes, as well as against Spanish explorers and settlers.
In the early 1800s, the Karankawa were decimated by disease and warfare. By the end of the century, their population had dwindled to a few hundred. Today, there are only a handful of Karankawa Indians left, but their legacy lives on in the stories and traditions of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Here is a story about a young Karankawa woman named Awa:
Awa was a young Karankawa woman who lived in a village on the Texas Gulf coast. She was a skilled hunter and fisherman, and she was also a talented storyteller. Awa loved to listen to the stories of her elders, and she often dreamed of one day becoming a storyteller herself.
One day, Awa was out hunting when she encountered a strange creature. The creature was tall and slender, with long white hair and piercing blue eyes. Awa had never seen anything like it before.
The creature spoke to Awa in a language she didn’t understand. Awa tried to talk to the beast in her speech, but the animal didn’t understand her.
The creature seemed friendly, and Awa returned it to her village. When she showed the animal to her elders, they were amazed. They had never seen anything like it either.
The elders decided to call the creature “The Spirit of the Sea.” They told Awa that the Spirit of the Sea was a powerful creature and that she should be honored to have found it.
Awa took good care of The Spirit of the Sea. She fed it fish and berries and made a comfortable bed for it in her hut. The Spirit of the Sea seemed to be happy with Awa’s care.
One day, Awa was out hunting when encountering a group of Spanish explorers. The explorers were looking for a place to build a settlement and were impressed by Awa’s skills as a hunter and fisherman. So they invited her to join their expedition, and she agreed.
Awa traveled with the explorers to their new settlement, which they called San Antonio de Béxar. She helped them to build their homes and to learn about the land. She also told them stories about the Karankawa people and The Spirit of the Sea.
The Spanish explorers were fascinated by Awa’s stories. They had never heard of anything like The Spirit of the Sea before. They asked Awa to take them to see the creature, but she refused. So instead, she told them that The Spirit of the Sea was a sacred creature and could only be seen by those who were worthy.
The Spanish explorers were disappointed, but they respected Awa’s wishes. So they continued living in San Antonio de Béxar and learned to live peacefully with the Karankawa people.
Awa lived a long and happy life. She became a respected member of the Spanish community and was known for her wisdom and storytelling skills. She always remembered The Spirit of the Sea and often told her children and grandchildren stories about it. The stories of The Spirit of the Sea helped to keep the Karankawa culture alive, and they continue to be told today.
One day, Awa was visited by a young boy. The boy was the son of one of the Spanish explorers, and he had heard Awa’s stories about The Spirit of the Sea. The boy asked Awa if she would take him to see the creature, and Awa agreed.
Awa took the boy to the beach and waited for The Spirit of the Sea to appear. After a while, they saw a large wave rise out of the ocean. The wave crashed onto the beach, and The Spirit of the Sea emerged.
The boy was amazed by The Spirit of the Sea. He had never seen anything so beautiful before. The Spirit of the Sea looked at the boy and smiled. Then, it turned and swam away.
The boy always remembered the day he saw The Spirit of the Sea. He told his friends and family about the creature, and the stories of The Spirit of the Sea spread throughout the land.
The Spirit of the Sea continued to appear to people occasionally. It was said that the creature brought good luck to those who saw it. The Spirit of the Sea symbolized hope and peace, and it helped keep the Karankawa culture alive.
“Mankind has probably done more damage to the Earth in the 20th century than in all of previous human history.”–Jacques Cousteau
If you want to be a blessing on this earth. Pick up a pound of trash today! Does not seem like much but, it’s a pound of less waste impacting our environment. Imagine if thousands of people did this every day.
Part of our Life Research Project talks about being a blessing. Getting outside yourself. What could you do in your area of the world to simply pick up a pound of trash? Taking care of God’s earth is a stewardship we all have. Of course, we don’t enjoy to pick up dumpster, but if WE don’t who will?
Stop walking by trash and reach down and pick it up if safe to-do. Be a blessing to our environment. When you know that what you’re doing is the best you can do, miracles will happen for you in so many ways.
Feeling good about you! Has measurable gifts for your life. When you make life not about you, you, you, find time to be a blessing to the world around you. Your heart will change, your life will fill with peace and joy. Try it!!!
Few things in the history of the automotive industry stand out as a true American icon, American Muscle Cars. No other car is as beloved as the American Muscle Car. With roots dating back to 1949, these cars are known around the world. Not many places on this earth could you mention muscle car and the person you’re speaking to nods their head “oh yeah”…
Who would have thought that during the ’60s & 70’s that names like Barracuda, Chevelle, Camaro, would be as American as apple pie? From the first Rocket 88 engine in the 1940s to a Hudson Hornet, that dawned the age of NASCAR. Ask anyone if they know the word Hemi or SS unless you have been living at the South Pole all your life chances are you know these names.
So, what is an American Muscle Car? As the name suggests, it’s a car with a lot of engine muscle, horsepower that is! Beefy engines, loud exhausts, fast shifting, tire burning, light your hair on fire muscle. These cars are not for the faint of heart. Guys in the earlier years racing pink slip for pink slip (winner take all, that means your car is lost if you lose), trusting that their engine prowess vs. the other guys was superior that their baby could make a quarter mile in the blink of an eye. Guys wanted as big an engine as they could put in the smallest car of the day. That in its simplest of terms is what Muscle cars were built for, the American hotrod enthusiast.
Another distinct feature from other fast cars is muscle cars are designed for straight line power. This is not a car you will see on an F1 track.
It’s mind-blowing when you think about how these cars have impacted so many people’s lives. Fathers and sons who spent countless hours under the hood, creating lifelong memories. Conventions that host these dream cars and draw thousands of people over a weekend.
The Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is cited by some as the first real muscle car. In 1949 Oldsmobile introduced this car, and the Rocket 88 engine would be the benchmark for V8 engines to follow. This V8 of the day produced 135 hp with a two-barrel carburetor. In the 1950 NASCAR season, this beast was the bee’s knee’s as they would say in the day. Taking the checkered flag 8 out of 10 times that season, the Rocket 88 was hands down blazing a trail for others to follow.
Follow they did, enter the Chrysler 300 with a 300 hp Hemi engine. Touted as America’s most powerful car! She was a beast! Shortly after that Studebaker hits the market with the Golden Hawk, with a 352 CI Packard V8 with 275 hp.engine.
It was the 1960’s where the popularity of the muscle car really found its second wind. All the major Detroit automakers began a river of loud muscle cars. Every young man in America was touting their quarter mile time. Drag racing became as American as baseball.
In 1961 Chevrolet introduced the SS package available on the Impala, for money staggering $53.80 that included a 409 cu in V8 with 425 hp. That power was the dawn of making your brother in the back seat scream like a girl.
As you can see we have only touched the surface of what is now one of the hottest segments of the car industry. When you think of the thousands of muscle car shows from Sonic Drive In’s® to Metro Convention centers it’s staggering the dollars spent on these classic beauties and the shows that showcase them.
Throughout the 1960s American bread muscle cars flew off showroom floors. The infamous John DeLorean President of the Pontiac division of GM went against GM policy of limiting smaller vehicles to the 330 car engine, while the Pontiac GTO ran a 389-6.4L V8.
Let’s take a little time to showcase some of the big names in Muscle Car history, like Hurst Performance.
Founded in 1958 Hurst performance is best known for manual transmission shifters both replacement and OEM products. You will see these legendary shifters in such cars like the Pontiac GTO, Boss 429, Dodge Charger and Oldsmobile 442 just to name a few.
George Hurst in 1958 along with inventor Lawrence Greenwald who financially backed the Hurst-Campbell venture and off they went making bumpers for the VW bus. As time went on, they ventured out into piston driven gear shifts, engine mounts, and the ever-iconic Hurst Shift Knob!
A funny side note to the Hurst story, Lawrence Greenwald is credited for inventing stretch nylon hosiery. How do you get from women’s pantyhose to Hurst performance? Obviously, a pioneering entrepreneur.
Hurst would make its way to the drag strips of America. These legendary shift kits allowed drivers of performance vehicles a stronger shift and control. Factory shifters tended to be flimsy and generic. More than just about anything else, if you had a performance car that did not have a Hurst shifter, well the word pansy does leap to mind.
Gearheads of the day insisted on Hurst shifters. Car manufacturers were not without smarts. Big automakers jumped on the Hurst bandwagon during the ’60s and began installing Hurst shifters into production cars. Just the name Hurst was a huge marketing win. Hurst went on to acquire Schiefer Manufacturing who made clutches, a natural fit for the shifter company. They would continue during the 1960s to buy businesses that complemented their own. In 1968 Hurst would become a public company.
Something that has drifted into legend, Sunbeam bought Hurst Performance in 1970. The story goes Hurst and Greenwald were promised executive positions that Sunbeam reneged and fired the two men from the company. Both Mr. Hurst and Mr. Greenwald passed away in 1986.
Many products were spawned from muscle car fever. From performance auto parts, lubricants and of course Hurst shifters, an industry within the industry was born.
HEMI prefix for Hemispherical Combustion Chamber. A domed cylinder head for an internal combustion engine first engineered in 1901 in Belgian and used by such car companies as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Daimler in the early years in Grand Prix cars.
It would again be in the 1960’s era that the name HEMI would become synonymous with American Muscle. Chrysler became identified by trademarking the word HEMI and using it in the ad campaigns.
As a legend, the 426 HEMI was developed by Chrysler for NASCAR in 1964 and ran this engine through the 1970s. HEMI heads can be found on some of the world’s most legendary performance cars such as Aston Martin, Porsche, Ford Performance, and Lotus. From its muscle car heritage, this hemispherical system would light the fires of many a high-performance engine. HEMI is a staple on the American Muscle Car landscape.
One car that stands out in muscle car legend is the iconic Plymouth Barracuda. Her reign for a decade in the mid-’60s to mid-’70s is a legend. In the early years, the car came in a fastback coupe as a variant of the Plymouth Valiant. Wraparound back glass, some distinct lines and this lasted up until the early ’70s.
In 1970 that is when the Barracuda found a whole new life. New distinctive design and moves out of the economy car segment and into the fire. The sports model “Cuda” with a HEMI under the hood. You could also get some pretty cool colors and decal packages. With colors like Moulin Rouge, Sassy Grass, Vitamin C, Lemon Twist, you must miss the days when cars had really distinct looks.
One of the sad things for the time was an ever-increasing pressure from the government aimed at Detroit to build smaller engines that got better fuel economy. With oil embargos, shortages and world events of the day, this took a toll on the beefy big block engines of the day.
So the Barracuda faded into history in April of 1974.
You can’t write an automotive Muscle Car article and not pay homage to the Pontiac GTO. For this writer, this is the Grand Daddy of American Muscle. When one thinks of American muscle, you need to look no further than the 1969 Pontiac GTO “Judge.”
For those of you that have not been living under a salvage yard for years, will remember the name, John DeLorean. Indeed, any car enthusiast will have heard of his car the DeLorean and the misfortune he suffered while trying to fund his company with a failed Cocaine deal that sent him to prison.
On a much brighter note, however, John DeLorean was arguably one of GM’s most celebrated engineer’s ever. He alongside Russell Gee and Bill Collins came up with one of the coolest cars ever built. They had some significant obstacles to overcome at GM; one GM had pulled all racing sponsorship. So how do you get customers to love a car that is built around racing and performance, you get guys hooked on street performance.
John DeLorean came up with the GTO name which was inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari’s successful race car. Grand Turismo Omologato, means Grand Tourer Homologated, certified for racing in the grand tourer class. DeLorean called it the Grand Tempest Option. The GTO option was a distinction for the Pontiac Tempest.
The GTO option cost $295 and included, 389-V8 rated at 325 hp, single Carter four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, chromed valve covers, air cleaner, floor shifted three-speed, with Hurst shifter. You also got a stiffer suspension, wider wheels, front sway bar, hood scoop and of course GTO badging.
If you really wanted to step it up, how about the four-speed manual shift with three two-barrel Rochester 2G Carburetors (6 Pack) limited slip rear differential and power convenience accessories. All together you could expect to pay $4500 at the dealership. Today a mint condition Pontiac GTO will fetch an average of $50K to upwards of $250K depending on situation and model. Where was my crystal ball in 1964?
To add more mystique to the GTO was Ace Wilson’s Royal Pontiac, who offered the Bobcat option, a tune-up performance package for the 389 engines. Kits varied a little by the customer but the modifications included:
Spark advance of the distributor.
Thinner Copper head gasket.
Special intake manifold gaskets to block heat.
Larger carburetor jets.
A correctly installed kit could add 30 to 50 more horsepower. You could even get a reaching of the engine “blueprint” to make sure the car met GM factory blueprint specifications.
As we have said many times in this article the Muscle car spawned so many aftermarket products. It could be argued more so than any other time in automotive history.
In 1966 the GTO would finally become not just an option, but it became model 242, the Pontiac GTO. The convertible of the year was one of the coolest cars built. The lines with the top down gave this car a distinct look.
By the late ’60s and early ’70s, the GTO was redesigned with a sleeker body. The automatic transmission option was at this point making its way into car fleets of all kinds.
Mid-year of the 1967 model saw the introduction of the Ram Air induction system. This system would later find its wings with the Pontiac Firebird Ram Air.
We could write a book a thousand pages and still not do justice to the muscle car era. You cannot discuss American Muscle without paying tribute to Carroll Shelby. His designs, engineering prowess, is unequaled.
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