The first round of our March Muscle Car Madness is over, and we've got a good, strong parking lot-full of contenders for round two. These next battles look to be intense, and sure to get your muscle car loyalties tested; Let's see how this plays out with our first four second round match-ups.
This last batch of matchups gave me a few genuine surprises, and one observation. First, the observation: in all but one case, the car named after an animal– any kind of animal, avian, insect, fictional– won. That's seems important, somehow.
The surprises all sort of border on disappointments for me. Some, like the Corvair, were just personal affectations I knew likely wouldn't win. Okay, I can live with that. More for me. But I was surprised to see the El Camino beat out–I had to check the URL to make sure I worked for the right site. Besides, when did hauling drywall at genuinely stupid speeds become uncool?
The biggest shock, though, was the Ford Thunderbolt's loss. As many commenters pointed out, the Thunderbolt was likely the most balls-out of any muscle car. Wildly lightened (one wiper, plexiglass windows), sacrifice of high-beams for air intakes, and a truly, alarmingly bonkers engine, this thing is the absolute epitome of senseless musclecardom. Maybe the lack of practicality killed it. What do you people want, matching luggage? Anyway, the results:
1950 Hudson Hornet 71.6%
1957 Studebaker Silver Hawk 57.4%
1967 Buick Wildcat 58.6%
1968 Chevrolet Camaro 60.6%
1968 Pontiac GTO 81.2%
1971 Dodge Charger 75.3%
1966 Shelby Cobra GT350 73.5%
1969 Dodge Coronet Super Bee 63.0%
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 68.5%
1971 Dodge Charger Daytona 53.0%
1970 Plymouth Superbird 77.0%
2009 Shelby Cobra GT 500KR 67.5%
1969 Ford Boss 429 75.4%
1989 Pontiac 20th Anniversary Trans-Am Pace Car 73.12%
1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1 51.4%
1968 Dodge Hemi Dart 70.6%
Today, in round two, we have four excellent match-ups. Let's break 'em down and get votin':
ZOMBIES: 1971 AMC Javelin SST vs. 1970 AMC AMX:The last of the internecine AMC battles, this should be good. These cars are really quite similar, but still different enough to have their own character. The '71 Javelin had an entirely new body, with really agressive front fenders that arced above the hoodline, and a great hood-to-rear-deck ratio. In 6.6L V8 guise, we're talking 335 Kenosha-bred horsies. Plus, it was known for a very usable rear seat. The '70 AMX has a somewhat more restrained body style, still agressive yet crisp, and can make up to 420 hp from a 6.4 L. These are both great, largely under-appreciated muscle cars.
ROD RAGE: 1992 Ford Thunderbird SC vs. Buick GNX: Okay, remember when I said we had four excellent match-ups? I lied. This is a terrible match-up. I can't help but think we'll just be picking chunks of Thunderchicken out of the GNX's stools. The Thunderbird SC is supercharged, yes, and makes a respectable 210hp, but the GNX is all pedestrian-puncturing corners and black menace, making an under-reported 276 hp. Soft 90s aerodynamics are great, but you just can't beat that angular sneer of a GNX.
CLASSICS: 1950 Hudson Hornet vs. 1957 Studebaker Silver Hawk: I'm not sure how much the role in Cars helped the Hornet, which I think really should be a '51— they came out in '50, but for the '51 model year. Oops. Either way, they had the biggest displacement six at the time (5L), and Hudson had a line of "secret" racing parts called "severe usage" parts, letting you get much more than the stock 145 hp. The Stude is one of the lovely (but somewhat over-redone) Lowey coupes, and in V8 guise ran with 210 hp. A classy choice, like punching someone with cufflinks on.
DRAG QUEENS: 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS vs. 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona: If you're deciding these on wing size, you're done. There's albatrosses with less wing than a '69 Daytona. Plus, they had that crazy Haloween-mask aero front end, and a massive 7.2L V8 (called "the Elephant") with somewhere around 425 hp. The '70 Chevelle's no slouch, of course, offering classic muscle-car looks with 360 hp and plenty of tuning options. This should be a good fight.