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My Silly Muscle Car Dreams: part IV

Some more Muscle Cars that I would love to own.

By Steve B HowardPublished 2 years ago 7 min read
My Silly Muscle Car Dreams: part IV
Photo by Aral Tasher on Unsplash

So far I've written two articles about Muscle Cars from 1970, my birth year, that I'd love to own as well as one about cars from the 70s you might not think of as Muscle Cars, but can still be customized to look and perform very well. I also wrote about some awesome Restomods and some classic sports cars I would absolutely love to own. And finally, I wrote an article about the two relatively fast cars I've owned and some of the truly fast cars I have driven.

I wanted to write about some more Muscle Cars from different years that I truly love and of course, would love to own as well. Basically, if I think the car looks cool and has a V8, it qualifies in my book. Though in a few cases, even a V6 or a V10 will work like the 1987 Buick GNX for example. I already included the GNX in another article, so in case you are wondering, that is why it isn't here this time. I'm going to pick cars that I didn't include in the other articles. I'm also going to try and pick two cars from each decade and at least one from each of the US car manufacturers starting with the 60s through to 2022.

I feel like I should mention that I’m not a car expert by a long shot. I’ve been living in Japan since 2003 and haven’t actually driven since 2016. And other than turning a wrench to bust open my knuckles a few times as a teenager, I certainly can’t work on cars very well either. My first car was a rather tame 1975 Pontiac Firebird, but it was technically a Muscle Car and that was one of the things that kicked off my love of Muscle Cars in the first place. So, I’m a total car nerd fanboy when it comes to cars, but I do enjoy reading about them, watching cool videos about them, and writing about them, especially the classic Muscle Cars.

1969 Oldsmobile 442

I have to admit, out of all the American Muscle Car producers, Oldsmobile is my least favorite. I guess I always associated Oldsmobile with luxury sedan makers like Lincoln, Cadillac, and even Mercury and Buick for the most part. But with the 1969 Oldsmobile 442 I think they got the Muscle Car looks and definitely the performance just right.

1969 Mercury Cougar XR7

For whatever reason, the Mercury Cougars never became as famous or sought after as their more famous cousin cars, the Ford Mustangs. They certainly looked cool and performed well, but didn’t sell anywhere near as well as the Mustangs did. I always liked them though and had my hat soundly handed to me when I raced my friend’s 1968 Cougar from stoplight to stoplight in my 1975 Firebird and saw nothing but his taillights the whole way.

1973 Plymouth Cuda

The very first Muscle Car my dad and I looked at in 1986 right after I got my driver’s license was a 1973 Dodge Challenger with a 383 Magnum and a three speed. It was a beautiful black car with black interior. Two things got in the way of my MOPAR dreams at that time, one, I couldn’t drive a stick shift yet and two, after my dad took it for a short test drive the engine was smoking like a chimney stack. That and the thousand bucks above my dad’s budget for my first car were enough to kill my Mopar dreams. Though I think the real reason was that my dad rightly thought it was way too powerful to be the first car for my dumb sixteen year old self to handle. But I have loved the Challengers and the Cudas as well as pretty much all the Mopar Muscle Cars ever since.

1970 AMC Rebel Machine

This isn’t a name you hear mentioned when people talk about early 70s Muscle Cars. If AMC gets mentioned at all, it is usually the AMX or even the Javelin that people talk about. But I think the Rebels were if nothing else a sort of cool holdover in looks from the 60s when Muscle Cars were first born. And if you happened to own one with 390 V8 and the service kit pack, you had a very respectable 12 second 1/4 mile performer as well.

1989 Ford Mustang 5.0 GT

I would argue that the early 80s 3rd gen Mustangs are what started to bring the American Muscle Cars slowly out of the sad mid-70s Dark Ages. Full confession, in the 80s as a dumb teenager, I was a fanatic Chevy/Pontiac dude mainly because I owned a 1975 Firebird and most of my friends all owned either early 70s Camaros or Chevelles. I loved Mopars as well, but secretly, I also thought the 80s Mustangs looked really cool. Part of the problem for Mustangs was in the 80s the California Highway Patrol all drove 5.0 Mustangs and gave me and my Firebird at least four speeding tickets as well as all of my Chevy driving friends. Not that I was dumb enough to try, but there was no way my old 75 Firebird was outrunning those 5.0s even if I had wanted to.

1989 IROC Camaro

No they aren’t the best looking Camaros and no, they haven’t really held their value that well, but performance-wise, at least by 80s standards the IROC could kind of hold its head high. At least if it found itself at a stop light next to most of the Mustangs and all of Mopars from that era. If it was unlucky enough to end up next to a 1987 Buick GNX it was getting embarrassed for sure, but so was pretty much everything else on the road in those days including all of the 80s Supercars.

1993 Dodge Viper

1973 was the last year the Dodge Muscle Cars and pretty much all the others ones as well, really performed, and in my opinion, the 1974 Dodge Challenger was the last Mopar Muscle Car that even looked cool. The mid-70s through the 80s was a sad time for Mopar fans. That is until the early 90s when Dodge knocked it out of the park with the Dodge Viper. I know, I know, it has a V10, it is really a Supercar, not a Muscle Car, but Mopar doesn’t really have much to offer again until the 2000s when the Challengers and Chargers made their stellar retro comebacks.

1994 Corvette ZR1

In my opinion. the Corvettes from 1974 until 1982 didn’t have much to go on other than their famous name and looks. Performance wasn’t their strong point during that time period. And when the style changed dramatically in 1983 with the C4s for many of us the Vettes even lost their cool looks badge. Then all of sudden in 1994 you had a 450 horsepower Vette on the road. Some may say that is pretty tame by today’s standards, but you have to remember from the mid-70s on most of the Vettes weren’t even breaking 300 horse power.

2002 Pontiac Firebird WS6

As I mentioned, my first and only Muscle Car was a 1975 Firebird. I have a soft spot for Pontiac because of this and because my dad bought a 1964 GTO brand new when he returned from the Vietnam War, but like all the American Muscle Cars, after 1973 they didn’t perform all that great. Thanks to Smokey and the Bandit the ‘77 and ‘78 Trans Ams kept some of the former glory the 60s and early 70s birds had gained, but there wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about in the 80s and 90s for Firebird and Trans Am fans. Finally, in 2002 the Pontiac Firebirds came to an end. Though, I think the 2002 Firebird WS6 could hold its head up with pride when it made its exit.

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

What can you say? The Dodge Challenger returned to the streets with all of its original cool looks and far better performance than we could have imagined in the 1970s.

2010 Shelby Mustang GT350

And another absolutely brilliant retro Muscle Car and with the Shelby badge, it is worthy of having.

2014 Dodge Charger R/T Hemi

I know the General Lee with its Confederate flag hasn’t aged well, but as a kid in the 80s I have to say watching all those Chargers do stuff that should never be done with a classic Muscle Car was a lot of fun at the time. Many years before I could even drive those Chargers on the Dukes of Hazzard were the ones I was dreaming of owning. I think the 2014 Dodge Charger R/T Hemi 100 year anniversry addition respectively continues their legacy.

2020 Camaro ZL1

You listen to this 650 hp monster and it is hard to believe it is street legal. For the Camaro fans that were miffed up to this point reading my article because I only featured the 1989 IROC so far, here is your moment. This one looks and performs great.

2022 Corvette

I know, I know, I have a Dodge Viper and two Corvettes on my list, all technically Supercars. But I felt like I had to add the 2022 Corvette. I mean, just look at the damn thing. Every kid that ever owned HotWheels dreamed of having a car with awesome cartoon fantasy car looks like the 2022 Corvette. And with not too much good coming out of 2022 so far, I think the Corvette is a good addition to end this dream list with.

And just in case you are wondering why so many of the great Muscle Cars from these seven decades didn’t make the cut, it might because I included them in previous articles that you can check out here.

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About the Creator

Steve B Howard

Steve Howard's self-published collection of short stories Satori in the Slip Stream, Something Gaijin This Way Comes, and others were released in 2018. His poetry collection Diet of a Piss Poor Poet was released in 2019.

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Comments (3)

  • Stephen Dalton2 years ago

    Oh, this was fun, and it brings back so many memories of my "muscle" cars. My first and favorite was a 1967 'Cuda that I took the 318 out and put a 383 in. It was batshit crazy fast!

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Fabulous vintage cars!!!👏💖😊💕

  • Apologies, the video for the 2010 Shelby Mustang Gt350 is actually a 2008 model. I made a mistake when I added it.

Steve B HowardWritten by Steve B Howard

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