Muscle Cars- My Top Picks of the 1960s

Published on 28 August 2022 at 12:16


While there were many varieties of the muscle car produced during the 1960's, the three that stand out to me are the 1969 Pontiac GTO, the 1969 Dodge Charger RT, and the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. We are not talking about the run of the mill old muscle car. The performance, power, and speed of these three classic muscle cars have become a thing of legend.

 


1969 Pontiac GTO: This was the offshoot of a highly successful version built the year before. This model kept the 350hp, 400CID V8 engine of its predecessor and added the Ram Air II, a high-rise aluminum intake manifold along with many other powerful features.
For most who remember this model, the most famous version was known as “The Judge” GTO featuring all the gimmicks that made it more expensive, but also highly sought after. Based on the famous skit from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In which the phrase, “Here comes the Judge” became a standard axiom in pop culture, this vehicle reflected it.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T: This distinctive front end of this old muscle car is still very recognizable. While the sheer power and class the Charger had was welcome in many American homes, the most famous version was in the popular 1970’s series “The Dukes of Hazzard” where every week the “Duke boys” would speed, jump and get away from the authorities all due to their Dodge Charger.

1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: While the Mustang line is still in production today, this legendary 1967 Shelby GT500 still stands out as one of the most sought-after classic muscle cars by collectors and car enthusiasts. “Shelby” comes from the plant in which this particular Mustang line was manufactured.

Benefiting from the previous two years where the Ford Shelby was considered one of the best muscle cars ever made. Quite a bit different from it’s little brother the GT 350, the 1967 GT500 was introduced sporting a 428 police interceptor and became in many people’s eyes the ultimate Mustang model. It was also the last produced at the Shelby plant.

It's a shame that the oil shortage of the early 1970s combined with new environmental standards spelled the rapid decline of these classic muscle cars. While the country turned away from the gas-guzzling muscle cars to vehicles with better mileage performance, they still fondly remember the days when the American dream was centered on owning a powerful muscle car and driving it down the highway.



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