Muscle cars vs. Supercars


If you were a red-blooded teenage enthusiast in the 1980s, you may have had one of those “Body by Lamborghini. High fidelity by Alpine” posters on your bedroom wall. Few contemporary cars were able to touch the Countach in the usual performance benchmarks, but when high-compression was king, American sports cars and muscle cars could show their rear to the exotics.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/04/18/muscle-cars-vs-supercars


That Catalina could also tow a 35 foot travel trailer the Enzo mobile could not.


My first car was an old 69 Bonneville and the previous owner did tow a 35 foot travel trailer. He left the class 2 hitch and electric brake on the car. I could out tow a modern day F250 with that car.


In 1976, I was looking for a 1963 split window Corvette on Stuart Ave. in Atlanta, GA.
I found a dealer that sold only Corvettes on the avenue. Cool.
He had one. But, it had been used as a chicken coop for the previous 10 years.
Feathers, droppings…everywhere. Said he would give me a good deal on it.
You Betcha Buddy!
I toured his lot, and saw this white car in his line that was about 6 or so inches lower than his vetts.
I asked…what is this? The Salesman said it was a Panitella. Said he didn’t know much about it. A consignment from the fellow who owned the Harley Davidson dealership on the south side of Atlanta.
Cool, again. I’d bought Harley’s from that fellow.
We went for a ride…Damn! That Pantera was the most fun vehicle I had EVER driven in my life…Austin Healey 3000 Mk3, and a bunch of Chevys during high school, and an Alfa Romero…(piece of crap).
The Pantera is King.


Great article and wonderful photos of all the cars. I have always thought that the North American muscle car era of the 60s and 70s was the best and most exciting, although short-lived period in automotive performance history even though not “exotic”. It was truly a “war” between the big 4 (and I do include AMC with the AMX and SC/Rambler!). I am more of a Mustang and Ford fan, but the only thing in the article that I disagree with is the description of the 1968 Corvette having “over the top styling”. I think it was bold and beautiful and one of the greatest styled cars of all time and better looking than many of the “exotics” of the day and even the present. Too bad the build quality was not so good, but at least you looked really cool and felt special driving it.


Growing up and started driving in the late 60 's my next door neighbors boys the older one had a 68 Jag XKE coupe and the younger one had a 65 Corvette coupe 327/365 . We lived out in the sticks and had almost a perfect 1/4 mile flat road in front of the house that we would use to test n tune our cars. The two brothers would race each other and the Corvette would win every time. The brother with the Corvette that he had bought in 66 still has it today.


The Pontiac 2 + 2 is a much under appreciated muscle car. I had a three speed in college, and
have the four speed convertible today. rubber in three gears, a perfect running tri power,
and comfortable to drive… A little hard to find a good one today.


Being a muscle car fan and having had a 67 Gt500, 69GT3t0, 07 TUT
t500, 69 Plymouth GTX440 cont, 69 Torino cobra 428 and two 70 Trinno 429 cobras the Torino cobras were really awesome. Really liked article keep them up.


The Pantera ran a 14.0 vs the Boss 351’s 13.9, which was only achieved by powershifting the Boss’s 4-speed transmission. The Pantera’s 5-speed Tansaxle has a gated “dogleg” shift pattern (like a Ferrari) where 1st gear is all the way left and down. Going to second involves moving the lever forward, then slightly right, then up for second. The procedure takes about a second to do.

It was never designed for drag racing, rather the gears are laid out to mostly use 2,3,4, and 5th, which are all inline, for higher speed road work. 1st is generally used only to start off initially or if starting off going up a hill. The fact that a lazily shifted Pantera was within one 10th of a second of the powershifted Boss in a 1/4 mile is a testament to just how fast they really were. In fact, a stock Pantera can come within 7 mph of the top speed of a Boss 351 while only using 3rd gear. Take it on up in 5th gear and you’ll top out 42 MPH faster than the Boss. :slight_smile: