Ed's Project Car Swap Meet BLOG
The 1968 Dodge Dart 426 Hemi is an iconic muscle car, a legendary car some even say. To reach this kind of status, a car needs to earn it. The car should break new ground to change how the way people from all walks of life look at them. With the 1968 Dodge Dart 426 Hemi, it arrived as the fastest production muscle car ever.
From its name, it is obvious that the car has a powerful 427 engine. Hence, even popular race car drivers like Dick Landy, Gene Snow, Bill Flynn, and Shirley Shahan became part of its driving force. Car enthusiasts and experts were confident of this car. Moreover, it recorded a quarter mile drive of over 130 mph in less than 11 seconds.
Although fast and powerful, it was an inexpensive muscle car. To keep the costs low, they used a Hemi with standard cast-iron heads instead of aluminum. They just used special headers to help the Hemi breathe harder.
From the original press release, the auto maker produced 60 units of this car. Out of the total, 25 came in manual transmission while the 35 others arrived with automatic transmission. Back in the day, although Darts conformed as closely as possible to street production cars, they were not for use on public highways.
Ford produced the 1964 Fairlane Thunderbolt in limited numbers. They designed it as a factory experimental, drag race only car. Overall, Ford released 100 examples of this iconic muscle car where 49 were manual and 52 were automatic transmission. This allowed Ford to secure the 1964 NHRA Super Stock title.
Ford based this muscle car on the Fairlane. They combined the light weight intermediate-sized body introduced in 1962 with a “high rise” 427 cu in (7.0 L) V8 engine with dual Holley four-barrel carburetors intended for use in the much larger Galaxie. This engine did well on NASCAR however the Galaxie was simply too heavy even in stock trim to drag race. Ford rated the car’s engine at 425 hp (317 kW) at 6000 RPM. However, actual output was close to 600 hp (447 kW).
This muscle car has racing equipment included such as the tubular exhaust headers, an electric fuel pump, altered rear suspension with heavy-duty traction control bars, and asymmetrical leaf springs. Still Ford ensured that it is a light weight car to keep it fast. To do this, Ford implemented weight-saving measures including the elimination of trivial street items like sunvisors, radio, heater, wheel covers, passenger side windshield wiper, arm rests, rear window cranks, mirrors, sound deadening material, carpeting, trunk mat, lug wrench, jack, and spare tire.
The 1964 Plymouth Belvedere 426 Hemi is part of the Belvedere line up when it got downsized with more compact dimensions. At that time, most buyers thought bigger was better. However, Plymouth showed them otherwise and released a smaller muscle car. It is not actually small but it was smaller compared to its predecessors. Although this car experienced low sales at first because people were more into bigger cars, this iconic muscle car provided greater owner approval in their actual use.
When experts compared the car with bigger muscle cars, it proved itself to be more economical and practical. One even described it as a “very pleasant transportation package”. Moreover, additional advantage of its compact size was its use for drag racing.
The 1964 variant of the Belvedere featured a slant back roofline that proved to be popular, and sales improved significantly over the previous design. It came with a 426 Chrysler Hemi engine, which used a canted large-valve arrangement. The car is a significant high-RPM breathing improvement than the Hemi-equipped Plymouth Belvederes. It won first, second, and third at NASCAR’s 1964 Daytona race. One of the winning drivers was Richard Petty.
The 1969 Yenko Camaro 427 is a modification of the base iconic muscle car, the Chevrolet Camaro. Don Yenko and his team managed to modify and improve many original Camaros to amp them up with bigger engines and give them more power. For this example, the original Camaro came at a disadvantage against rivals like Ford Mustang, Plymouth Barracuda, and the Dodge Dart. However, Don Yenko found a way to go around Chevrolet’s limits and create an iconic muscle car using an L78 396 in³ 375 hp (280 kW) hp engine.
The 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500KR 428 Cobra Jet came at the time when the Ford Mustang has already become one of the most famous cars in the US. The car was affordable and offered three different body styles and a selection of inline-six and V8 engines. With its potent engine, it became the “King of the Road” during its days. Officially rated at 335 horsepower, but actually powered by no less than 400 ponies and 440 pound-feet of torque, this iconic muscle car became legendary almost immediately.
The 1970 Ford Torino Cobra 429 Jet is not only an iconic muscle car but also a rare one. In 1970, it became the primary model of the Torino, moving away from emulating the boxy lines of the full-size Fords. It arrived with the influence of coke bottle styling with tail fins that resembles that of jet planes. Inspired by supersonic aircraft, the car came with narrow waists and bulging forward and rear fuselages needed to reach supersonic speeds.
The 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 426 Hemi is famous as the answer to the Mustang and the Camaro. Based on the Chrysler E-body, it arrived slightly longer than the Plymouth Barracuda. It came with a staggering number of trims and options so buyers can personalize it with ease. As a competitor of the Mustang and Camaro, this iconic muscle car also aimed to offer almost any engine option in Chrysler’s inventory.
The 1969 Dodge Charger 500 426 Hemi came to compete against the Mopar racers that enjoyed instant dominance on the drag strips and NASCAR’s super speedways. It was also the answer to the eroding popularity of the Hemi since Ford and General Motors had new and exotic engines. The new Charger brought back the fastback craze, which catapulted it as an iconic muscle car of its time.
The 1969 Yenko Chevelle 427 is another iconic muscle car from the custom car team lead by Don Yenko. This car comes with historical significance in the American muscle car scene. A rare vehicle, they released only 99 examples of this car. Hence, it qualifies as centerpiece material for the collector searching for original cars with good provenance. If you are a Yenko enthusiast, you will easily recognize this 1969 Yenko 427 Chevelle as one of the finest, most original examples of all the units that came out.
The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 served as the peak of this car maker. To keep horsepower at arms-race, GM dropped the cap on engine size during this year. Hence, Oldsmobile responded with this iconic muscle car. This high performance car has an output of 365 hp (272 kW). This is really powerful for a muscle car back then. It came with a W30 trim option, which improves the look of its body style and further enhances its power.
The 1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge Ram Air IV is a popular car from the peak of muscle car era. When GM lifted its cubic-inch limit for midsizes and compacts, brands rushed out with 454 and 455s. This made the class of 1969 to 1970 the fastest ever. Although not the fastest machine, it still rated 360 hp, competitive with similar engines in the industry. Its Ram Air option added more power to it.
The 1970 Buick GSX 455 Stage 1 is a response to the trend of big block powerhouses of its time. With this, GM muscle cars became on even ground with their crosstown rivals at Ford and Chrysler. This colorful, ferocious, and iconic muscle car is something many enthusiasts want. Its Stage 1 option featured a radical cam profile and higher-flow heads and carburetion, raising the official factory horsepower rating to 360.
The 1969 Ford Boss 429 is an iconic muscle car available only in all manual transmission. At that time, Ford released more than 800 examples of this car. None were automatic transmission. It featured the largest hood scoop ever installed on a Mustang. This scoop would carry over to the 1970 model year but would be painted black on all cars. Although not offered as an option, it is common to add a spoiler and window louvers on this muscle car.
The 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator 428 Cobra Jet is one of the popular cars during the banner year of muscle cars. During this time, the “Streep Scene” became popular. This means strip and street, which Mercury coined to the auto show circuit. At this time too, the Cougar arrived with a completely different look. Moreover, it more than held its own with bright colors, graphics, and high-powered rock and roll engines.
The 1964 Pontiac GTO is a rival since Ferrari did not produce many GTOs to earn the name. Initially, the Tempest was a trim for the Tempest line. Later on, it became its own line. It was available with the two-door coupe, hardtop, and convertible body styles. The GTO served as the complete option including a 389 cu in (6 l) V8 rated at 325 bhp (242 kW) at 4800 rpm. Additionally, it came with many cosmetic upgrades.
The 1970 Plymouth Superbird 426 Hemi is a high performance version of the Road Runner. It carried almost the same look with the massive rear spoiler. It also arrived with the same iconic horn similar to that of the Road Runner. As a follow up to the stock Dodge Charger, it received many changes to improve its performance. Hence, this allowed the iconic muscle car to earn a Daytona’s season in competition on the track.
The 1971 Ford Mustang 428 Super Cobra Jet is a big block muscle car. As a top performer, it sold very well when they launched it. When it comes to looks, it sported twin-set headlamps, a mouthy grille, and slippery lines that made it look better. It arrived with a warehouse of engine options. Standard was the 351W-2V V-8 sporting 250 horsepower.
The 1970 Plymouth Road Runner 426 Hemi is a mid-size muscle car with focus on performance. It arrived at a time when other auto makers are moving away from relatively cheap, fast cars, packing them with more features. Plymouth decided to release an economical muscle car with a practical price tag. They marketed the Road Runner at a lower price with basic trim model to its upscale GTX.
The 1970 Plymouth GTX 440 Six Pack is the gentleman’s muscle car. It offers an amazing blend of sophistication and performance fit for its gentleman driver. It comes standard with Plymouth’s 440 cu in (7.2 L) V8 called the “Super Commando 440” rated with 375 hp (280 kW). With a little extra cost, you can replace the engine from a 440 to a more powerful Hemi. Aside from being a gentleman’s car, this iconic muscle car is also popular as the “Elephant” due to its massive power.
The 1970 AMC Rebel Machine is a success when it comes to muscle cars. This iconic muscle car arrived with a restyled rear-end, along with a new C-pillar shape and rear quarters. Moreover, it came with a more massive rear end and bumper. It had a huskier look than its predecessors. It was available with V8 engine. The standard 290 cu in (4.8 L) V8 was replaced for 1970 by a new 304 cu in (5.0 L) 210 hp (157 kW; 213 PS). It was fast and furious on the road.