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Diego’s Friday AutoHunter Picks

Muscle on my mind …


As an enthusiast, I’m a classic car guy, but I lean into muscle cars. But if you ask 100 people what makes a muscle car, you’ll receive 100 answers.

Below, I’ve listed several cars from AutoHunter that blur the lines of what a muscle car is, though they all could be owned by the same muscle car enthusiast and be at home. I’ve included one authentic muscle car for the sake of purity to contrast. Which do you prefer?

1966 Ford Mustang
Most Mustangs of this vintage don’t interest me, especially the coupe. If choosing between a mid-size car and a pony car, there’s a good chance the mid-size car will be my preference anyway, and this is true among all car brands.

However, I am a sucker for maroon with red interiors. And while the 289 in this Mustang hardly makes it muscle, it’s still a four-barrel car backed by a four-speed manual. As such, the bones of this vehicle make it a very attractive Mustang to these eyes.

1966 Plymouth Barracuda
Here’s a Barracuda in the same year, which possibly interests me less than the Mustang as I feel the Barracuda truly didn’t come into its own until 1967. Plus, the Super Commando 273 wasn’t too special, though it probably would be faster than the 289 in the above Mustang.

But this car has something that more cars need to get right: stance. It seems that every time someone presents a car, (s)he goes through the mechanics, interior and body while skipping out on the suspension or, possibly, the choice of tires. How this car sits makes me swoon.

1958 Chevrolet Impala
Like the above small-block pony cars, a marginal inclusion in a muscle car group. But imagine being a kid in 1966 looking for his first car — 1958 Impalas were decently plentiful and cheap. Kids being kids, you’d probably add mag wheels, side pipes and other cliché kid stuff that almost 60 years later would be cool.

Yet I can see a few things I’d change to make it more authentically vintage. I really dig the grille, so I’d leave that, but I’d remove the 350 and drop in a 409 with contemporary speed parts. I’d also add Cragar G/T Plus mags to complete the look. Anything else I can add?

1969 Dodge Coronet R/T
I think 1969 Coronets look good for Mopars of this vintage. They have a slightly aggressive look up front, and the full-width taillights on the Coronet 500 and R/T are the bee’s knees. For those reasons alone, I like this car, even if the “T3” Light Bronze metallic is somewhat “adult” for a performance car (though it looks great).

But I’m also in love with the Ramcharger air induction system and the “M46” side scoops. This car lacks them. Do I add them to this car? Or do I respect its pedigree and let someone else enjoy the standard R/T hood and cleaner flanks?

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.


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