Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top 20 Muscle Cars of All Time

1. 1970 AMC Rebel Machine1970 AMC Rebel "The Machine"

The Machine was a muscle car version of the AMC Rebel. The Machine featured a 390 cubic inch V8 engine with 340 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. It came with special heads, valve train, cam, as well as a redesigned intake and exhaust. This was the most powerful in any AMC vehicle while retaining features required for normal street operations, as well as components to assure outstanding performance characteristics without incurring high-unit cost penalties. The engine is fed by a 690-cfm Motorcraft 4-barrel carburetor, and pumped up a 10.0:1 compression requiring high-octane gasoline. A number of paint options were available for the Rebel Machine, but the most flamboyant option was a patriotic trim. This trim had the Machine painted white with red, white, and blue reflective strips.

2. 1970 Plymouth GTX 440 Six Pack
1970 Plymouth GTX 440 Six Pack

When introduced, the flashy GTX was the James Bond of the Plymouth line, meant to be a “gentleman’s” muscle car. It had the square-jawed looks of the Belvedere/Satellite line, but was dangerous when confronted, thanks to its standard 440 cubic inch V8 with 375 hp. Even with a minor redesign, the GTX had sales problems due to sharing many features with the Plymouth Roadrunner. Stylists made the lines smoother, and a “power bulge” hood was introduced, as well as non-functional rear brake air scoops. The convertible model was dropped in 1970. The Air Grabber hood was brought back, but instead of having two narrow openings running lengthwise as in 1969, it had one opening scoop located on the power bulge.

3. 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner 426 Hemi
1970 Plymouth Road Runner

4. 1971 Ford Mustang 428 Super Cobra Jet
1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

1971 marked the last year of the big block mustang with the 429 Super Cobra Jet. Due to ever increasing emissions control regulations and high insurance premiums, Ford began using smaller engines in their Mustang Mach 1 models. The basic strength of the Super Cobra Jet engine is in a more durable reciprocating assembly (crank, rods, pistons, wrist pins, flywheel/flexplate, and harmonic balancer) that was designed to withstand the higher RPM requirements of drag racing coupled with 780cfm Holley 4-Barrel carburetors. The total power output of the 428 Super Cobra Jet was 375 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. One of the most recognizable features of the ‘71 Mustang was the NACA hood with dual scoops. While they served no performance increase, a Ram Air option could be ordered to make them functional.

5. 1970 Plymouth Superbird 426 Hemi

1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird 426 HEMI

The 1970 Plymouth Superbird 426 Hemi was only available for one year. The Superbird was a highly modified variant of the Road Runner. The car is known for its aerodynamic nose cone and huge rear wing. The Road Runner cartoon character holding a helmet is featured on decals around the car. Only 135 Superbirds were equipped with the 426 Hemi engine. This engine produced 425 horsepower and could accelerate from zero to sixty in 5.5 seconds. The Superbird was developed specifically for NASCAR racing and was Plymouth’s follow-on design to the Charger Daytona built by sister company Dodge. In order to be accepted into racing, NASCAR rules stated that a vehicle must be sold to the public through dealerships in specific numbers. This lead to Plymouth building 1,920 Superbirds.

6. 1964 Pontiac GTO
1964 Pontiac GTO at Auto Fest

Originally the GTO was an options package for the Pontiac Tempest, available with either the two-door coupe, hardtop, and convertible body styles. The engine was a 389 cubic inch V8 rated at 325 horsepower. The engine featured a single Carter four-barrel carb, chromed valve covers, and seven blade clutch fan. The transmission was a floor-shifted three speed manual with a Hurst shifter. The GTO faced controversy when Car and Driver made claims that the GTO they received to review had been upgraded with the “Bobcat” kit for the quarter mile test. Pontiac denied the claim, saying their GTO’s had the 6.9 liter that was optional in full-sized GTOs. Nearly three decades later, Jim Wagner admitted to switching out the engines.

7. 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator 428 Cobra Jet
1969 Mercury Cougar 428 cj

In an effort to raise their muscle car profile, Mercury introduced the Cougar Eliminator in 1969. The Eliminator came with two engines, a 302 cubic inch small block and the coveted 428 cubic inch Cobra Jet big block. The engine produced 335 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. Even more power could be obtained through over the counter dealer parts, such as upgraded headers and dual-quad carburetors. Like Mustang, the Eliminator offered the 428 Cobra Jet with and without Ram Air, although the Eliminator didn’t use the shaker hood, it’s standard scoop was only functional when Ram Air was ordered. A blacked-out grille, side stripe, and front and rear spoilers enhanced the muscular look, and Mercury offered the Eliminator in blue, orange, and yellow exterior colors.

8. 1969 Ford Boss 429
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429

The Ford Boss 429 (also known as the Boss 9) is likely one of the rarest and most valuable muscle cars to date. In total there were only 1358 Boss 429s made. The origin of the Boss 429 was the result of Ford trying to develop an engine that could compete with the Chrysler 426 Hemi. NASCAR rules required that at least 500 cars be fitted with the new motor and sold to the public before it would be allowed to race. The engine was derived from the Ford 385 Engine, using four bolt mains, a forged steel crank and connecting rods. After the engine was designed, the Mustang’s body needed to be modified to fit the motor, as the motor was too wide for the current Mustang body. While the 429 Boss was rated at 375 horsepower, actual output was well over 500 horsepower, with some claims that it made 600 or more.

9. 1970 Buick GSX 455 Stage 1

1970 Saturn Yellow Buick GSX 455 Stage 1

The Buick Gran Sport 455 (G SX 455) was a powerful muscle car built in 1970. The GSX Stage 1 was Buicks answer to the Pontiac GTO Judge. Advertised as “Another ‘light your fire’ car from buick” it came standard with a 455 cubic inch engine that produced 360 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. The 510 torque rating was the highest torque output of any American made performance car, a title it held for 33 years until being surpassed in 2003 by the series 2 V10 Dodge Viper. Only 678 GSXs were produced in the second half of the 1970 model year beginning in March 1970. Just 278 were equipped with the standard 455, making the GS X a very rare vehicle.

10. 1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge Ram Air IV
1969 Orange Pontiac GTO The Judge 400V8 Ram Air III 4 Speed

Though originally intended as a budget machine to take on Plymouth’s Road Runner, by the time it showed up in showrooms in January 1969, it was a more expensive and visually aggressive GTO. Named after Sammy Davis Jr.’s “Here Comes The Judge” skit on TV’s Laugh-In, The Judge was a parody of the muscle car over decorated with stripes, spoiler, blacked-out grille and goofy “The Judge” fender decals. At the time, it was often derided as cartoonish, but there were a lot of cartoonish muscle cars being made back then. The Pontiac GTO The Judge Ram Air IV had a 400 cubic inch V8 engine that produced 370 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque. Only 700 ‘69 GTO coupes were built with the Ram Air IV option and a rarer five Judge Convertibles were built with the option.

11. 1970 Oldsmobile 442
2009 Good-Guys Great American Nationals, Pocono Raceway, PA

In 1970, General Motors decided to get rid of their engine size cap, and the result was the almighty king of performance for Oldsmobile: the 442. The standard engine for the 442 would become the 455 CID V8. Oldsmobile claimed output was 365 horsepower when in fact the 455 would dyno in excess of 400 horsepower and over 500 lb-ft of torque. The reason for this was manufactures would often advertise lower power output than what the engines actually produced, so that customers wouldn’t get penalized by insurance companies. Those seeking to experience the ultimate in performance could order a “W-Machine” version of the 4-4-2, dubbed the W-30 package. The 4-4-2 W-30 added a fiberglass hood with functional air scoops and low-restriction air cleaner, aluminum intake manifold, special camshaft, cylinder heads, distributor, and carburetor.

12. 1969 Yenko Chevelle 427
2009 XXX Rootbeer Northwest Muscle Car Show

Don Yenko was one of the most famous muscle car tuners during the late 1960s.He started out with souping up Chevrolet’s 67 camaros. He continued to work with the camaros until 1969 when he decided to expand his inventory with the Chevrolet Nova and Chevelle. The Chevelle’s upgraded by Yenko included a super sport blackout grille, super sport hood, 12 bolt differential, a L72 425 horsepower 427 engine with either a four-speed manual or a TH400 automatic, and optional body stripes. Of the 99 built, 55 had a four-speed manual transmission, bench seat and standard steering. Six of these had a vinyl roof. Thirty-seven more were TH400 automatics with power steering, rear radio antenna and a vinyl top. One automatic transmission car had no vinyl top.

13. 1969 Dodge Charger 500 426 Hemi
1969 Dodge Charger 500 Hemi

The 1969 Dodge Charger 500 426 Hemi is a very rare and valuable Mopar muscle car. Due to the 1968 model Charger R/T failing to beat the Ford cars on the high banking oval tracks, Dodge began building a car that could handle the tracks. Wind tunnel tests showed that the tunneled rear window caused lift, and the gaping mouth caused drag. By changing the grille and making the rear window flush, the Charger 500 became more aerodynamic. The standard engine was a 440 Magnum, but the literature claims the 426 Hemi was standard. Only 68 Charger 500s were built with the 426 Hemi, 27 of those were equipped with 4-Speeds and 40 with Torqueflites.

14. 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 426 Hemi
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

Featured in the 1971 film Vanishing Point about a man speeding across the country with cops and angry bikers in pursuit, the Dodge Challenger R/T is an iconic vehicle. The 2-door 1970 Dodge Challenger came in both hard-top and convertible models and had optional leather seats and a smaller rear window. It was built on a Plymouth Barracuda platform, but had a two-inch longer wheelbase. The V8 426 Hemi engine produced 425 horsepower. The Challenger came with either a 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic or an optional 4-speed manual with pistol-grip shifter. The Challenger’s hood had two hood scoops, which could be substituted with a “shaker” scoop, so called because of its vibrating motion when the car was moving.

15. 1970 Ford Torino Cobra 429 Jet

Of the available Torino models, the Torino Cobra remained the no-nonsense pure performance model. The Torino Cobra was Motor Trend’s car of the year in 1970. The Cobra was only available as a SportsRoof model, and came standard with a 4-speed close ratio transmission, Hurst shifter, competition suspension, twist style exposed hood latches, and “Cobra” emblems. Additional features included 15 inch Magnum wheels and black “sports slats” for the rear window. Horsepower output for the Torino Cobra’s 429 V8 engine was rated at 370. Even though this model Torino was heavier than others, it was still more powerful. The Torino Cobra was able to reach 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and rand the quarter mile at 100 mph in 14.5 seconds.

16. 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500KR 428 Cobra Jet
King Of The Road

One of the ultimate Mustangs, the 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500KR was a highly sought after vehicle. The KR in the name stood for “King of the Road”. The engine was a 428 known as the “Cobra Jet” and had a power output of 335 horsepower. Total torque output was 440 lb-ft. The hood featured dual inlet hood scoops to increase ram air delivery, factory hood pins, and vents to dissipate heat under the hood. With so much power under the hood, the vehicle came from the factory with a padded rollbar, to add additional safety. Vents on the sides of the vehicle were used to cool the brakes when driving at high speeds. Both a hardtop and convertible models were available from the factory.

17. 1969 Yenko Camaro 427
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko 427 V8 425 HP 4 Speed

The Yenko Camaro was a modified Chevrolet Camaro prepared by Yenko Chevrolet, under the supervision of Don Yenko. When the Camaro was first released, GM prevented them from having an engine larger than 6.6 liter, putting the Camaro at a disadvantage on the track. Don Yenko knew there was a market for a powerful Camaro and found a way around the limit. By installing a Corvette L-72 7.0 liter V8, the Camaro’s power was increased to 450 horsepower. Yenko added a fiberglass hood similar to the “Stinger” hood found on the Corvette. Initially the Yenko Camaro wasn’t allowed to race because it wasn’t built by Chevy. In order to get around this, Chevy made a Central Office Production Order to Yenko, which made the Yenko Camaros official.

18. 1964 Plymouth Belvedere 426 Hemi
1964 Plymouth Belvedere

The 1964 Belvedere was the first car from Chrysler to use the 426 Hemi engine. Due to the lightweight body and very powerful engine, the Belvedere was a monster on the drag strip. The Hemi engine was such a dramatic improvement, the equipped Belvedere’s won first, second, and third at NASCAR’s 1964 Daytona race. The 426 Hemi was the ultimate street engine, putting out 519 horsepower and 540 lb-ft of torque. Since this version of the Belvedere was meant to be a race car, a disclaimer came with the vehicle. The disclaimer stated that there was no warranty at all and once the vehicle was driven off the lot, that was it. You can’t really blame Plymouth, since the lifespan of race cars was much shorter than an average car.

19. 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt

The Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt is a limited production drag race only automobile built by Ford in 1964 and only 120 units were produced. Ford created it for one purpose: win as many races as possible. By winning races Ford hoped to get people interested in buying their cars. The Thunderbolt combines a lightweight mid-size body and a high rise 427 7.0 liter V8 equipped with dual Holley four-barrel carburetors. Major modifications were done to this car to fit this size of engine because the Fairlane was only intended for an engine no larger than 289 4.7 liters. The Thunderbolt also used fiberglass doors, front fenders, hood, and front bumper to aid in weight reduction. The horsepower rating for the Thunderbolt was listed at 425, but it was estimated that the actual output was close to 600.

20. 1968 Dodge Dart 426 Hemi
1968 Dodge Dart Hemi. http://bit.ly/HfWHtS http://bit.ly/Ijz4SX

In 1968, Dodge produced 50 Dart 426 Hemi cars to satisfy the NHRA sanction rules. These cars were sent to the Hurst Corporation to have a 426 Hemi engine installed. They featured a fiberglass hood and front fenders, no side mirrors, light weight steel, and thinner glass in an effort to reduce weight. Dodge intended the car to be used only for racing and not on public roads. Dodge combined the lightweight Dart with one of the most powerful Chrysler engines of all time. The result was a extremely rare muscle car that any Mopar fan would love. The Dart 426 Hemi may have not been legal for the street, but they definitely performed on the track, and would hit 10 second quarter mile runs with minimal modification. This would make it the fastest factory built car in muscle car history.


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