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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. 


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New Driver

63-65 Buick Riviera.  Always will be!


I would add to the list:

1959 Thunderbird 430 Convertible

1965 Riviera

1966 Thunderbird 428 Convertible

1967 Eldorado

1967 Riviera GS

1968 Toronado

1972 Riviera

All are readily available, potentially high performance and will turn heads at any car show.

Intermediate Driver

My uncle had a 1968 Plymouth Fury 2DR hardtop with a 375 hp 440 V8 with a floor-shifted 4-speed.  I was always impressed when he would show off when I was in the car by burning rubber and rowing the 4-speed as if that big boat was a Barracuda.


Let's remember folks that horse power rating in north america, pre 1972 was measured in Gross HP not Net.  Therefore, it is much less powerful that the rating says.  

Pit Crew

These cars all look best going straight, at a car show or cruising your local main street.  But come up on a sharp corner too fast and you'll wish you had slowed down ALOT more because you have rear drum brakes, often  in front as well.  The body lean?  Ya better have your seat belt on tight.  My old '68 Mustang F/B GT 390 was even like that.  But that said, I love the styling that has made them more popular, albeit with most of us older crowd.  Unless it's a low mileage keep it original, it makes sense to redo the entire suspension to more modern parts, but think twice, because you may never get the return on your investment when sold.

Hagerty Employee

But they're also massive V-8s and ripe for modification. 

New Driver

I would add the 1962 Sport Thunderbird Roadster with the 390 with 406 heads with tri power which produced 345 h.p. And the 1957 Ford Thunderbird F Code supercharged 312 that depending on the boost produced from 300 to 377 h,p,

New Driver

We are aware of that. But one can coax a lot more h.p, from those small and big block engines with aluminum heads ported and polished and hotter cams and bigger intake and exhaust valves and headers etc.


1969/70 Mercury Cougar