Top Muscle Cars - Staff Picks

By: Unique Cars magazine

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ford xy falcon ford xy falcon

As usual the folk running this asylum have gone for some obvious and less obvious muscle car picks

1. Rob Blackburn

XY Fairmont GS

When I wanted to knock out quick point-to-point times during my days at Ford I dodged the Highway-Patrol-magnet XY GTs and borrowed a particular 302, four-speed Fairmont GS, a sweet car that was way more than the sum of its parts. It was the kind of semi-anonymous muscle you could make use of then, and it’s one that would provide a great deal of driving pleasure now.

Price Guide: start at $50k for one needing work.

Valiant R-Series

The arrival of the sexy looking and hot-performing R-Series Valiant made the Holdens, Falcons, Zephyrs and Vauxhalls our dads drove look very last century. I’d honour that memory with one of my own now and add triple Webers to match one I was in awe of back then, and replace the ridiculously skinny original 5.90 x 14 cross plies with decent rubber on almost period-correct Minilites.

Price Guide: $35 - $40k.

 

 

2. David Morley

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Plymouth Superbird 1970

If you’re gonna go, go big. Inspired by NASCAR and ultimately banned by the sport that created it, the Superbird was harder to shift than a kidney-stone in the day. If only we’d known. Four-forty plant, with a six-pack…what more do you need to know?

Price Guide: $300,000 to $500,000.

Pontiac Firebird 1970 – 1981

I’m going to get very specific here: It has to be an Esprit (not the gaudier Trans Am) and it’s got to be light metallic brown. Why? Two words: Jim Rockford. Sorry, not sorry. W-a-y cheaper than a HQ coupe, too.

Price Guide: $25,000 to $40,000.

 

 

3. Angelo Loupetis

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1960 Ford Hi-Po Starliner

I love finned monsters and the 1960 Galaxie Starliner is one of my favourite oddballs of the 60s. This is the first year Ford opted to ditch the iconic round tailights and go for an unsual futuristic look. By 1961 round talights were back and the ‘60 Ford secured its place in history. I would be hunting down a HiPo 352 powered unit in black with its original 15" Kelsey Hayes steelies.

Price Guide: $40,000 to $80,000.

VG Pacer Track-Pak E34

Four door Pacers have struck a chord with me and I look at them with admiration. What other car in the world with four doors has a greater value than its two-door twin? It has to be the "Track-Pak" though with its 4-barrel carby and big tank making it the ultimate road car with Bathurst credibility.

Price Guide: $50,000 to $90,000.

 

 

4. Cliff Chambers

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Chrysler E49 Charger

Next is Aussie and a Chrysler and it should have won Bathurst. The E49 Charger was a racing car with rego plates. The one I rode in at Eastern Creek (or whatever they call it now) howled and flowed its way around the circuit where the bigger V8s could only screech and lurch. Always rare, now a lottery-only prospect but at least they are almost always genuine.

Price Guide: $180,000-$225,000.

1967 Chrysler 300 Hardtop

I had one as a kid. Not a real one sadly but a Jo-Han plastic model kit. I loved the odd combination of angles that worked so well to create a striking shape, the scalloped sides and loads of chrome even on the dash. They aren’t easy to find here but I have seen a few. Gotta have one with the monster 440 motor but even they aren’t dear. In the USA, less than US$20K.

Price Guide: $25,000-$35,000.

 

 

5. Alex Affat

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1961-1964 Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet’s third-generation Impala was a boxy and softer shape than its wilder-styled second-generation forebear; but didn’t bear the ‘muscle car’ looks we know today until the fourth-generation of 1965. But these were a bonafide muscle car in their day, and remain one of my most desired sunny day cruisers.  Give me one of the V8s, Powerglide Auto and ideally a ragtop, or perhaps a ‘bubbletop’ if we’re talking earlier 1961s. That’s the only Sunday cruiser I’ll ever need!

Price Guide: start at $30-$50k (double for a bubbletop).

1973-1976 Ford Falcon XB GT

If we’re talking Aussie, there’s one I’ve gotta talk about. The "Great Australian Road Car", the XB GT hardtop for me in this case. It’s a bit of a fantasy pick, as any two-door example of the XA-XC generation has asking prices through the roof these days. But to me they’re the best looking iteration of the Falcon’s best looking generation. Only 949 were built by the time the plug was pulled mid-way through ’76, but Guido says there’s no budget for this one, so consider this somewhere at the top of my extensive "if-I-won-tattslotto" list.

Price Guide: $110,000-$150,000.

 

 

6. Mark Higgins

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LJ Holden Torana GTR XU-1  

The cramped interior, terrible ride, deafening road noise and that mechanical smell of a 70s car. To a young Higgo it was the perfect cocktail to imbibe and I never worried about the skewwhiff driving position and loved the abundance of power on tap. Cost north of $100 grand now. Should never have sold it.

Price Guide: $100,000-$140,000.

1969 Ford Mustang fastback

The high water mark for the iconic pony car styling. A 302 up front, four gears to play with and an LSD feeding the grunt to the ground. It has to be red, like Allan Moffat’s Mustang though and on Minilites. You’ll have to stump up at least $90 grand for a good one. Truth be told, I’d go and buy a new one for $65k.

Price Guide: $90,000-$150,000.

 

 

7. Guy Allen

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1964-66 Ford Mustang

Earliest Mustang I could find – 289 auto and left hooker would be just fine as an easy-going cruiser that’s simple to look after and pretty easy on thewallet. As much as I admire the fastback, it’s the notchback that ignited the whole muscle car boom and that’s the one I’d want.

Price Guide: $35-40k for a tidy one.

Plymouth Roadrunner

Couldn’t possibly turn down a Plymouth Roadrunner, in part because I love the look of them and mostly because the whole cartoon connection does it for me. I reckon a Plymouth of that era handles more like Wile E Coyote than the Roadrunner, but no matter – they’re just a fun thing. It would have to be a second-generation B-body hardtop, preferably with a 383 or bigger V8 in the snout. The prices are a little less brutal on the bank account than for a first-gen.

Price Guide: $60,000

 

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