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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

6 full-size alternatives to muscle cars

There are plenty of cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s that offer beautiful designs and gutsy power plants that don’t neatly fall into the muscle car category. We’ve even offered up some more affordable, mid-size alternatives to the typical muscle car. This time, let’s delve into some of my favorite full-size cars from the era that, while heavier than their drag-strip hero counterparts, brought some big V-8 power to bear. 

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/6-full-size-alternatives-to-muscle-cars/ 

102 REPLIES 102
craftypaul156
New Driver

Wheres The 67 Buick Riviera GS. Talk about Unique and hard to find, 430 CI Stratoflight Interior, Cylindrical Speedo, X Frame. Probably Give a stock Camaro a Run in the 1/4 mile. 

Nilsey
New Driver

The 1967 Electra is currently on sale for low Dollars on eBay and deserves a look with the 430cid and 360 hp to boot !  Four door hard top. Pick me a winner !

BuddyJ
New Driver

I love my 1962 Buick Electra 225 4 door hardtop. 401 nailhead with aftermarket dual AFB's. Not fast but it's a very roomy cruiser.

Hooptieville
New Driver

I have to disagree on the Wildcat--the 1969 and 1970 years are quite homely looking, and started looking too "corporate GM" for my taste.  I have preferred the look of the '65 over all the others, with the '67 and '68 tied for second place. I realize the '66 is similar to the '65, but don't like the grill and rear taillight treatment, and the dash is completely different and too generic.  The '66, however, did offer a GS package and a dual-carb option.  

DADSOLDS_1968
Pit Crew

1968 OLDSMOBILE Cutlass 'S' model

DADSOLDS_1968
Pit Crew

DSCN3459.JPG

JoeS1
Passenger

A full-size muscle car or even a vintage car that gets little or no attention is a car that my father bought new. A 1965 Mercury Marauder 2 door hardtop 

bench seat and  factory 4 speed. I got my first speeding ticket in that car.  Joe S 1

wickedace
New Driver

How about going back in time a little further to look at the Oldsmobile Starfire from '61 to '65? Big engine, big performance. My buddy had one and would love cruising two lane highways looking for 5.0l Mustangs. He would always take them from a rolling start and blow their doors in.

wickedace
New Driver

This was to be a reply to Doscoop's answer below. I have a '64 T-bird convertible I'd love to put back on the road. I've owned it 24 years now and cry when I see what they sell for now a days.

jsfury
Intermediate Driver

And I had, not one, but TWO Fury's 😠 Had to let both go.

SteveShay
Pit Crew

I count seven cars, not six

Brandan
Hagerty Employee

Two of the cars were '70 Thunderbirds.
JSievers
Advanced Driver

A guy in our town had a black 70 T-bird with the 429 and low profile tires on mag wheels. That was one badass looking car.

Nilsey
New Driver

His name was "Colt Seevers !"
thibble
New Driver

63 skylark 215 aluminum block v8.  It wasn't a full figured lady like these cars, but an unsung hero of the pre-muscle age.  Wish I still had mine from those days.   

thibble
New Driver

63 skylark 215 aluminum block v8.  It wasn't a full figured lady like these cars, but an unsung hero of the pre-muscle age.  Wish I still had mine from those days.  
Annapolisbill
Passenger

And what about 66 Toronados??

385 hp and a 135 mph top speed plus a wonderful design and striking interior is not exactly chopped liver. Oh, and then there is the first front wheel drive since 1936 Cords 

JohnGalt
Pit Crew

My dad had a 1964 Buick Wildcat 4-door hardtop. Top end was only 110 but it would leap out of the hole like a jack rabbit. I jumped a Z28 so bad his front bumper was right outside my window at the end. The second time he was ready for me. 🙂 Good times.

koolking1701
Navigator

No mention of Roadrunner, GTX, or Charger? smh

DaveInWesternNY
Passenger

I learned to drive in a 70 Pontiac Catalina with a 400 that smoked a lot of dad's tires.  I also had a 68 TBird 429 while my brother had a 70 Olds 442 with the 454 and a Hurst 4 speed.  Those were cheap high school cars back in the mid 70's.

 

Jaguarman
Pit Crew

Love the '69 Ford Galaxie 500 2-door, hidden headlights, and a big V8.  Sweet.

Rider79
Instructor

Love those Wildcats!

Bill43
Passenger

The Marauder's 360 HP was   backed by 480 Ft/Lb @ 2800 RPM. Sufficient to motivate. If you look closely, you'll notice that shares the 500 XL (you won't find the word "Galaxie" on a real one) chassis. With the bucket  seats, console and horseshoe shifter, it is  a looker. Plus you won't see another at the local car show.

Faro
New Driver

Happy to see the Toronado made the list of belated add-ons

theblurrrr
New Driver

All great choices to add to the list!  I have another, the 64-67 Pontiac 2+2. 

While I can certainly understand the appeal of the A-bodied cars, Pontiac made a point of offering bigger engines and manual transmissions in all their full size models including the Bonneville and Grand Prix.  But my favorite is the rare (only 1700 made)1967 2+2/428 hardtop in my driveway with the one-year-only type "87" fastback body and factory 8 lug Kelsey-Hayes wheels.  It keeps company with the 67 GP/428 next to it.

larrybonds
Passenger

I am restoring my uncle's 1969 Buick Electra 225 with a 430 in it. He bought it new in Aberdeen, Mississippi. He lived in Columbus, Mississippi. He had a friend who was a highway patrolman back then, and he raced him against his state trooper's car on an unopened stretch of new highway being built. The Buick smoked the state trooper's cruiser! The Electra is a four door hardtop muscle car for sure. Larry Bonds in Memphis, Tennessee

Tinkerah
Technician

I can't explain why, but only now, when I read these model names in a single article, do I recognize the greatness of these titles and the danger they imply: Fury. Marauder. Wildcat. Get out of the way Impala!

Wcardinal48
Navigator

They forgot the Pontiac 2+2 full size with a 421 ci engine, buckets, console, etc. then there was the Impala SS (396, 427, 454) depending on the year. 

normrey
New Driver

Great pics   Love the AMC.... Got a chance to buy a 68 Olds  Delmont... stripped down fullsize 442, badasx looking car

1974Chevelle454
Pit Crew

Does anybody even care about the cars from 1973 - 1977. I know they were heavy, and did not have the fastest engines, but they should get some love. I have a 1974 Chevy Malibu / Chevelle with a 454 engine, Posi Traction, 4 barrel w/ duel exhausts. When I go to shows, for every 5 to 6 1968 - 1972 Chevelles, mine is the only from generation three. It gets a lot of attention, probably due to it's oddity, but no one ever talks about these cars. My friends 1975 Olds Cutlass in Fire Engine Red, is an attention getter also. Please a little love !!! Thanks.

Pepperalls
Detailer

73-77 is gaining respect slowly. Some high end customs (mostly low-riders) have pushed that trend. While much of mid-70s style is very much of the era, it is gaining an appreciation especially among younger generations. The thing to keep in mind that even a high percentage gain in the market most of these cars are starting very low. Attrition rate on this era was high because of the market disdain for them so while some things like mid-70s Cutlasses sold like crazy they will never outnumber Camaros at a car show. Aside from the crimped engine performance these are some of the best cars ever made without getting into high tech. I loved riding in my Poppa's 74 Monte Carlo with freezer-cold AC.
Nilsey
New Driver

Yes they do in fact !!!  Pontiac was a great for Hi-Po at the parts counter as were all the other GM products in the line.  Diego Rosenberg's book :" Selling the Muscle Car to America." No more parts and then no more power. Like all of the

motorsports logic.  Make sense?  It does for us, and then there is the salvage yard also. For another time : they rotate every six (6) months to the crusher so hurry up !

TrentSteeves
Hagerty Employee

The 1960-1961 Dodge Darts and Polaras are often overlooked as being a muscle type vehicle, but with the standard 383 putting out 320 horsepower , and the Ram Induction 383 putting out 330 Horrsepower and 460 foot pounds of torque they certainly fall into the MUSCLE scene... below is my Unrestored/survivor 1961 Dodge Polara D500 with dual quad ram induction 383.... believed to be the only known survivor, and it has documentation back to its beginning (currently for sale)  polara back yard.jpgisca.jpgpolara rear.jpgtrain.jpgwater tower.jpg

Sajeev
Community Manager

Oh man, I love this. 1950s style with 1960s muscle!
Marv48
Pit Crew

I would go the other way with the 61-63 smaller much lighter cars with good power.  The Corvairs, Lemans, F-85, falcon sprint, etc.  These cars are reasonably priced for the most part and offer a lot of style and fairly good performance.

Nilsey
New Driver

Yes, but some family cars full size are still well priced and available .  Lots of room to fill purchase orders and establish new accounts around the country when a satelite gets plucked out of the sky !  Just a Cold War 1 reminder !!!

DCleland
Passenger

We need to keep all the amazing cars mentioned on the road!

DCleland
Passenger

Great article, thank you. 

DCleland_2-1587924959793.png

 

You hear little about the 69 & 70 Wildcats. I was lucky enough to picked up a 69 Wildcat convertible off Kijiji about 5 yrs from a Buick collector who had posted the add a few minutes before that evening. Told the guy I'd drive the 4 hrs in the morning to buy the car just based on the pics and having a safety standard certified. Next day to hand the guy 10K Cdn and had my self a rare 1 of 2374 1969 Buick Wildcat convertibles with a strong running 360hp / 475 lb ft 430 big block that sounds amazing. It was a solid purchase and once appraised I learned it was worth 20K+. I realize the BF bfg tires were not available until into the 1970's but the T/As look great compared to the standard white walls. The original steering wheel is in the trunk and currently the Wildcat has one from a Skylark GS. Next is to change the wheel caps back to the original Wildcat center caps. 

DCleland_0-1587923365169.png

DCleland_1-1587924913741.png

 

Nilsey
New Driver

The 1969 Rivvy appears similar in looks and performance.  1970 is the pinnacle year and you may well want to latch onto a 1970 Rivvy just for that fact even tho they may lack in looks. Always nice to have a 455 unda tha foot ! Go Buick! The gentleman's Hi-Po machine with Stage 1 equipment !!!

DUB6
Technician

Killer car and apparently killer deal, also - congrats!

DHughes
Hagerty Employee

Great article! We tend to focus so much on the "Iconic" Muscle cars produced primarily by the big three but in reality we overlook that it was an entire era of "Muscle." If you knew where to look or what boxes to check on an order form - you could a screaming V8 in almost any platform & sometimes you could get lucky enough to tie a 4 speed to it as well!
Guitar74
Gearhead

A Chrysler 300 would be a great example of full size performance. As would a big block Galaxie, Marauder, Impala, etc. My pick would be a Biscayne with big block power. And THAT'S coming from a Ford guy.

Nilsey
New Driver

There are also the four doors to these mamouths on wheels that cost even less and are going  unseen , so do not be afraid to search for some unclaimed fun !!!

Nilsey
New Driver

These cars are picking up momentum in Europe and the Euros are exporting the best models away from us !  Be warned before it is too late , folks !  Muchos $$$ Mr. Euro !

Nilsey
New Driver

You need a good price so look at B.O.P. by chance !  Buick, Olds, Pontiac .

ixlr8
Passenger

 I've always loved the late 60s T-Birds since seeing a relatively well-off student being dropped off and picked up from school in one during the Papa Doc era in Haiti. the sequential turn signals, and the suicide doors made a lasting impression on me.

chrlsful
Instructor

I'd say any of the 'pre-muscle' too in the '62/4/6 era. Both chebby & ford had'em can't seem to remember any 3rd co models...not the larger luxo-barges (there were plenty of those 'hi powered' and that helped start the "muscle")...

John01
Passenger

1972 Contintal Mark IV 460 4 barrell
Cortez77
Passenger

It's a shame that the big cars are over looked and motors pulled and junked I love land yachts as the owner of a 69 Catalina wouldn't trade it for gto 

Guitar74
Gearhead

I'll throw one of my rides in the ring. I believe someone else has mentioned thus one as well. The '65 Galaxue 500xl. Plenty of room for whatever you decide to throw at it powerplantwise. And handles well to be such a big car.

My second would have to be my first ride: 1977 Ford LTDII. Mine was a stripper two door with the only power options being power steering and power disc brakes. The 400 Cleveland (The 400 was never a "modified". Only the 351m which shared the block and heads) really came to life with some port work, a little milling to get compression up, a mild cam, low rise intake, 4bbl, and dual exhaust. Made for a great sleeper, and showed many a more muscular car my tail lights in that one. 

Also any Cbody mopar. See the reasons for the 65 Galaxie for my reasons.