Raw power gets a stamp of its own today as seven-time NASCAR National Champion Richard Petty helps dedicate the America on the Move: Muscle Cars Forever stamps.
Petty, his son Kyle and Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will dedicate the limited-edition stamps at the Daytona International Speedway where "The King" won a record seven Daytona 500 Championships.
Typically equipped with big, powerful engines, these high-performance vehicles began roaring across America in the 1960s. The limited edition stamps feature five iconic muscle cars: the '66 Pontiac GTO, the '67 Shelby GT-500, the '69 Dodge Charger Daytona, the '70 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda and the '70 Chevelle SS.
"The Muscle Cars stamps celebrate an exciting era in American automotive history," said Richard Petty. "These examples of raw power bring back fond memories for me and my family, a testament to how aerodynamics transformed racing. I've been around racing and muscle cars all my life. These stamps bring back the memories of our racing heritage in the '60s and '70s. This is a great way to share our stories, old and new, about the Petty history in racing."
"The muscle cars gave everyday Americans the opportunity to experience the rush of driving a fast, powerful car," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. "Just looking at the stamps evokes a feeling of speed. As Forever stamps, they'll always be good for mailing a First-Class letter anytime in the future. And when you think about it, that's fitting. Because these stamps—just like the great cars they represent—are timeless."
The Muscle Cars Forever stamps are the third issuance in the America on the Move stamp series. The artwork was created by Tom Fritz of Newbury Park, CA, under the art direction of Carl T. Herrman of North Las Vegas, NV. Other issuances in the series, '50s Sporty Cars (2005), followed by '50s Fins and Chrome (2008), were the work of artist Art Fitzpatrick of Carlsbad, CA.
The Muscle Cars stamps are being issued as Forever stamps in self-adhesive sheets of 20 (four of each design). Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
1966 Pontiac GTO
The Pontiac GTO ushered in the American muscle-car era in the mid-1960s, just as the first baby boomers began to come of age. The first GTO was born when engineers dropped a 389-cubic-inch V8 engine, which was built for a full-size sedan, into an intermediate-size Pontiac Tempest LeMans. Initially offered simply as an option on the Tempest LeMans, the GTO — which in Italian stood for Gran Turismo Omologato, or in English, Grand Touring Homologated — became its own model in 1966.
Available as a hardtop, coupe or convertible, the 1966 Pontiac GTO was equipped with a standard 335-horsepower V8 engine. The "Goat" could really move. In tests, it went from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. It also looked much different than its predecessors. Starting in 1966, the car featured curvy Coke-bottle styling and a split grille.
1967 Shelby GT-500
Manufacturer Carroll Shelby's take on the Ford Mustang reflected his roots as a race car driver. The 1967 Shelby GT-500 was powered by a 428-cubic-inch, 355-horsepower Police Interceptor engine. The car also featured a rear spoiler and optional dealer-installed LeMans stripes. Rocker panel stripes came standard on the 1967 Shelby GT-500, which also sported grille-mounted headlights. A scooped fiberglass hood, extended nose, and interior roll bar and shoulder harnesses further enhanced the race car feel.
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2012 Inductees are Nick Arias Jr., Bill France Sr., Mark Heffington, and Bob Larivee Sr.