We're in the thick of March Muscle Car Madness now, with the secret Jalopnik underground muscle car proving ground a haze of thick exhaust and littered with the greasy parts of the losers. Yesterday had some great matches, and we've got more good ones today — the end is far from certain at this point, so get in there and vote for the V8 brute closest to your oily heart.
Here's how yesterday went down: For the Zombies, the AMX committed fratricide on the Javelin, to the tune of60.1%. The GNX, as expected, dined on roast Thunderbird for 88.1% of us, The Hornet stung the Hawk (68.3%), and in the closest showdown, the be-winged Charger Daytona won over the Chevelle, by a mere 53.3%.
So who's up today?
ZOMBIES: Our first AMC match against a non-Kenosha brother. 1969 AMC Hurst SC/Rambler vs. 1972 Plymouth Road Runner. The SCRambler is a legendary car in AMC circles, the car started as a Rambler Rogue, but was handed over to Hurst Performance Research, who dropped in a big 315 hp V8 from the AMX, and then beefed up everything they could get their hands on. Oh, and then they painted them red, white, and blue, so, USA! USA! The Road Runner for '71 on got a very swoopy new body with interesting full-faceguard bumper treatments and, with a Hemi, made a reported 425 hp. Plus, there was an option for a vacuum-powered "air grabber" scoop on the hood. These are both potent muscle cars, and this should be a close one.
ROD RAGE: Okay, this one should also be big. A tradition vs. tech battle again, as the 1970 Boss 302 Mustang goes against its descendent, the 2003 Mustang SVT Cobra. The Boss is, of course, legendary, and was developed so Ford could compete in the SCCA Trans-Am racing series. The Boss made 290 hp and had a number of purposeful race-bred improvements, but more importantly, looked the part, and is an iconic muscle car. The 2003 Mustang SVT Cobra came from a desire to improve flagging Mustang sales, a problem solved, like all problems, with a supercharger. The result was a very usable 390 hp beast with gobs of power. I'm partial to the old school, but there's no denying progress. Should be a close one, too.
CLASSICS: This one may break the "animals win" rule, because we've got an animal against an icon here. The 1967 Buick Wildcat is a huge, sweeping, B-pillarless boat, with a certain amount of elegance and presence, and makes a very nice round 360 hp from it's big V8 with four equally big, thirsty carb barrels. It's an interesting choice and an often overlooked muscle car, but up against an icon like the 1968 Camaro SS, I'm not sure it has much of a chance. The Camaro looks great, with terrific proportions and a purposeful stance (even details like the fed-required side marker lights are like jewelry), and could make up to 375 hp from the factory. This is an icon of musclecardom, and for me personally significant, as my next door-neighbor's son spent most of my childhood restoring a beautiful red one of these, and he'd let me watch when I wasn't too annyoying. So I have a soft spot.
DRAG QUEENS: Another Boss here, the 1969 429 one, up against the 1989 20th Anniversary Trans Am Pace Car. This Boss owes its life to Ford's need to qualify an engine for NASCAR racing, and is unusual in Musclecarsylvania in that it's known for its decent handling. At 370 hp, they moved well in a straight line, too, but off the line acceleration was less strong than at the top end, a bit of a letdown. The 20th Anniversary Trans Am Pace Car doesn't have the classic muscle car looks of the Mustang, but it does have a turbo V6 with great acceleration and a reported (but widely belived significantly underrated) 250 hp. Can the extra 20 years of R&D beat out brute force? We'll see.
Remember, voting ends tonight at midnight, so get to it!
March Muscle Car Madness is brought to you by Gumout.