I know the United States are wrong about a lot of things, including that Gun Control, stupid movies and bad jokes, but when it comes to that raw, uncut and unedited doze of awesomeness, they (or, should I say we?) most certainly do know how to kick some world-wide ass. Take the muscle cars, for example: I’ve been admiring, driving and writing about the automobile industry for quite some time now, and I never met a single person who didn’t love the Charger or the Mustang – they’re like the ultimate toys for the big boys, like you and me. Cowboys, apple pie, homeruns…muscle cars are just as much American. This is that big-boy stuff, none of that compact-crossover meets a compact sedan type of B.S. The auto manufacturers here in the US knew they had to hit the bull’s eye if they wanted to be able to compete with the mighty European brands. And they most certainly did, bringing that edge, power and charisma into play with the iconic muscle cars from the 60-70s.
Rough, Tough, Fast And Mighty – Just The Perfect MIx
True, technically the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is considered to be the world’s first muscler, and it was introduced back in 1949. However, it never got even 1/4th of the attention that the following models did, because this brand-new thing needed some time to evolve into something truly great, and the sixties/seventieth is when the musclers finally got their well-deserved spotlight. And to me these fire-spitting monsters are like the perfect machines for you to feel like the king of the road, to feel like you’re in control. Rough, tough, fast and mighty – what else is there to wish for? If you’re a true fan of awesome driving, then you know what I’m talking about. I mean, who needs a gentle sports car when you can make the engine roar with just a pedal push? Muscle cars have been dominating that “Tough Guys Only” segment of the industry for more than 5 decades in a row, and unless the next President makes it a crime to drive a Mustang or a Camaro, I believe they’ll stick around for another couple of decades – at least. Alright, it’s clear that I LOVE domestic American products – now let’s talk about the iconic muscle cars from the 60-70s in details and live through their glory once again.
#1 – The Plymouth Road Runner
If you’re a sucker for the muscle cars and have been a fan for more than a couple of years, then I’m sure you know that the Road Runner was a bit rough at the debut: it was called by the critics the most barebones vehicle on the market, because it had little to no comfort elements in the cabin – not even a radio – but my guess is that “Spartan” approach only adds to the car’s unique character and attitude. Plymouth wanted to make one of the strongest-yet-affordable cars for the American customers, and, despite the fact that the Road Runner was a true, 100% entry-level car, it did pack jaw-dropping kind of power under that hood and came with a super-democratic price-tag of 2.9K back in ’68, which is around 20K today, in 2016. By the way, the brand-new Toyota Prius costs more. So, what did you get for that kind of money? Well, how about a 6.3-lit V8, good for 335 Horsepower and legendary durability/reliability along with it? I can’t deny the fact that the Road Runner lacked even the most basic joys of comfort, but I for one would’ve easily chosen it for the mighty powertrain that could easily outrun your cozy sedans on the road. As my uncle loves to say, if you’re a real man, you’d love it. Aha, definitely one of the most iconic muscle cars from the 60-70s.
#2 – The Dodge Charger
Dodge has 2 big-time musclers to be eternally proud of: the Charger and the Challenger. And why the latter is an all-around heart-breaker (in a good way), it’s the Charger that stands out. It’s one of those most-recognized US-made models that you can’t mistake for anything else. Plus, it starred in the Dukes of Hazzard, so, that automatically adds cool points and street credit. That stupid-but-sexy exterior design makes you want to hop behind the wheel and take this bad-boy for a spin. With a huge V8 powering the wheels you could very well have the time of your life with this beast, and that’s why it has a massive fan-base all over the world. You had those killer looks, a mighty powertrain and a low-budget price tag of 3.1K (that would be 22K today) – still can’t figure out why the Dodge Charger was one of the most popular vehicles of its time? According to statistics, 96K units were sold back in ’68, which is like a world-record. It’s safe to say that Dodge brought power closer to the regular folks, not to mention it dominated countless drag races all over the country and best-friends-only trips down the road.
Iconic Muscle Cars From The 60-70s – #3, The Pontiac Firebird
Just like Dodge, Pontiac is not only famous for the Firebird – they are also responsible for the hugely popular GTO from ’64: that titan brought musclers into the mainstream and made people talk about American domination on the market. So, if you’re a fan of historically valuable models, the GTO is your guy. However, I personally love the Firebird more, because it simply looks dope, and that’s why I usually go with first. Pontiac invested a lot of that once-in-a-lifetime talent and money into this sexy monster and that’s why the Regular Joes love it so much. It’s fun, ladies and gentlemen, pure emotions. The 1970 model, for example, is considered to have one of the most out-of-the-box (that means awesome in English) designs of the era. You had that unmistakably long, slit front with that dandy emblem all over the hood. Even today the Pontiac Firebird is one hell of a muscle car and 45 years couldn’t make that bold design get old – it still looks great! And it’s got a mighty sound to go along with the good looks, too. Under the hood the ultimate editions boast a 7.5-lit V8 that can’t be f***ed with. One of the most Iconic Muscle Cars From The 60-70s, period.
#4 – The Chevrolet Camaro
Alright, we’re down to the top two, the best of the best, the fiercest rivals and the most legendary products of the American automobile industry. Yep, you guessed it – I’m talking about the Chevy Camaro and the Ford Mustang. I hope this wasn’t a spoiler for y’all, because it doesn’t get any better than these 2 nut-crackers. The Camaro has been around for five decades and in my opinion it’s one of the fastest and most beautiful V-8-powered muscle cars to date. It’s a versatile pony, too: amazing for drag-racing, good for those week-long trips down the mighty highways and nicely fit for daily driving (like taking your kids to the school and stuff). The Chevy champ first hit the industry in 1966 (on September 22, to be exact) as a ’67 model year release and a 4-seat coupe and convertible. They say the Camaro is GM’s immediate response to the Mustang’s big-time success, but Chevrolet has been working on that idea since ’62. With a starting price-tag of 2.5K you had a choice between a “regular” V6 and a V8. The mightiest Camaro was the limited-edition SS396s that was good for 375 horsepower. As far as number go, Chevy moved 221K Camaros that first year while Ford moved 472K Mustangs. Still don’t know who’s the king, ladies and gentlemen?
Iconic Muscle Cars From The 60-70s – #5, The Ford Mustang
The Mustang is a symbol of the American freedom, just like the Eiffel Tower is for Paris and the Big Ben is for London. It doesn’t get any cooler than this hustler. I’d say Ford invented the word “dope” with the Mustang. It had more appearances on TV and in the movies than the Aston Martin DB5 and packed a mean punch for the competition. The exterior design represents everything we love here in the States: honesty, strength power and swagga, the super-hero pack. And it’s an ultimate bad-ass on the road – can’t nobody touch it without getting burned. When I first thought about writing this article about the most iconic muscle cars from the 60-70s I never even had to dispute with myself about the #1 spot – it was all crystal clear from the beginning. The Ford Mustang is a big part of the American heritage, and I’m not even talking about cars only. It represents a certain era, a certain way of thinking, living, creating. If you ever happened to be behind the wheel of this car you would never want to leave that cozy (by muscle standards) front seat and let go of that steering wheel because it feels good to drive a Mustang. And that’s why we love it so much.
See this video: Top Ten Muscle Cars Of The 60’s And 70’s