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.
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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")...
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.
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.
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.
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.
The beautiful car shown above is spectacular with except to the disgusting exhaust pipes hanging down for all to see. The exhaust installers totally destroyed the appearance of this amazing beauty. The exhaust should have the underside hidden from view.
I've always felt the big cars with the biggest engines were better than the muscle cars. I currently have two. One a 66 Biscayne Wagon with a 427 and a '68 Wildcat. With minor tuning, mild cams 2teens@.050" lifter rise and headers, both run low to mid 14's. Stock gears, intakes and Q-jet carbs. Both weigh north of 4500# (actual weights) too.
Only difference between a '68 and '69 Wildcat other than the styling is that the '68 was on the C body chassis with 4 inches more wheelbase and the fender skirts from the Electra. That extra length (and weight) was in the rear seat foot.well area. Both cars have surprised many over the years!
Ah the big boys! You gotta love em eh? To bad you left out mine. The 1974 Pontiac Grand Ville Convertible. In Pontiac Porcelain Blue. I've got a 455 plant with enough HP to push my grandmothers empty grocery cart. Single exhaust, low compression, catalytic converter, **bleep** OPEC. But man does it cruise. 🙂
How about a 1973 Suburban with a factory 454 and 3.73 posi rear end? Ok, ok it's a 'SUV', but back in the late 70's I smoked the disco-era Vettes, Z28s and Trans Ams that the 'rich kids' were driving around in High School. Loved the look on their faces when I shot by them, making the $300, 6 point drag racing ticket I ended up getting worth it!
I would add the '63 through '66 GPs, though the first two are probably the '64 GTO's equal on the drag strip. The '67 GP convertible is also worthy of inclusion. Lastly, the 69-70 GPs were fabulous looking, smooth and powerful beasts, especially in SJ trim. I don't share the author's opinion that the nose on these cars is "polarizing."
Such beautiful cars. I'm liking that Buick Wildcat. I bought a 74 Pontiac Grand Am as a project car last year. It's a A body car, but the proportions hide how truly big these cars are. My Grand Am is a tighter fit in my garage around the perimeter than my 2005 Chevy Tahoe.
Watch enough of the video to hear that wonderful V-8 rumble
I had a 69 AMC Ambassador SST coupe and loved it. I preferred the Teague-restyled wide front end over the stacked headlights of the year before but they were still sharp clean cars. In fact Ambassador 2 door hardtops were good looking cars clear up to 73.