Midsize muscle: The fabulous, the forgotten, and the flops


Enhancing performance on full-size cars was common in the 1960s, when cars like the Mercury Marauder and Buick Wildcat prowled American parkways and interstates. The practice had disappeared by the early ’80s, when it reappeared on a number of midsize sedans. As foreign automakers were wooing car buyers and gaining market share, American automakers responded by attempting to add a dash of European élan to their plebeian midsize four-doors.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/04/11/midsize-muscle-6000-ste-taurus-sho-and-more


“Muscle cars”? Seriously? I remember when Hagerty introduced their magazine “Muscle Machines” and signed up for a subscription. I have the first issue. I also remember when the magazine began featuring big engine station wagons and Chrylser K-cars claiming them to be muscle cars. It did not take long for the readership of “Muscle Machines”, myself included, to let Hagerty know we did not want that in a rag claiming to be about muscle cars. Hagerty already had a magazine called “Classic Car” in which to feature cars of that ilk. I drove many of GM’s mid-sized cars claimed to be muscle machine by Hagerty and I can tell you first hand they were anything but muscular. And while some may still exist on the roads of America I can tell you it’s been over a decade since I’ve seen one around my neck of the woods. And I’m sure somewhere in America someone is doing or planning on doing a restoration of one. The may do it because they are fond of the car or have nothing better to do but I am positive no one is restoring one because it is a “muscle car”.


I purchased a "89 SHO shortly after the car came to the local Ford dealer. Perhaps the SHO does not fit the classic definition of a muscle car though in its day it certainly had performance equal to most '89 cars offered by Detroit’s big three and in most instances could best them in 0-60 and quarter mile times. The Yamaha engine really started to cook above three thousand rpms and maintained that head of steam well into 130 mph range.
I think it would surprise and delight those muscle car lovers and owners who have never driven one. Over the years I have had Corvettes, Mustangs, Cougars, and today a Dodge Viper. Each of those cars had or have their own special attributes but for pure, comfortable, high speed driving I’d still take that '89 SHO. Wished I’d kept it.