The 5 best column-shift muscle cars


@zzracin, @tom.ashley

When the Camaro, Firebird, Cougar, and Javelin came out for 1967-68, do you think they were responding to the Barracuda’s success?


The Barracuda was a Valiant with a fastback roofline. The Mustang was a completely new class of car. There simply ain’t no comparison.


Yes,you are correct. I guess the idea of a column shifted, manual trans musclecar is so ridiculous that it didn’t even register. Column shifted manuals were bad enough in “grandma cars” that I can’t imagine how awful they’d be in a performance car. Any “image” that was cultivated would immediately vanish with a column shifted manual.


Mustangs are a hot topic with car guys for sure. I was just saying that the Barracuda was before the Camaro. To continue the discussion, the Mustang was based on the Falcon chassis. Any contemporary road test from the early 60s always rated the Valiant above the Falcon. Was certainly a better car as far as the six cylinder engine, the automatic transmission, the standard three speed floor shift, and handling. Over all content was a bit nicer also.

By '67 the Barracuda was restyled and had a full line of pony cars with the fastback, convertible and notchback hardtop. Had a full line of power options also. From the slant 6 to any conceivable V8 in the Chrysler stable.


And the Mustang was a Falcon before it was a Mustang,it was all in the genious marketing,the Barracuda was still first that just had poor marketing.


Reply to ragtop69: Buick did make 3-on-the-column shifted cars after 1954. I have seen this transmission in 2- '56’s and a '60 Special from the factory, and also a 1963 LeSabre in the Lone Star Buick Club in mint condition. These cars were not converted from automatics.
My first car at age 13 was a '50 Buick Special, straight 8 and 3 on the tree bought for $35. The stick was held in the column with a sliding pin mechanism, so worn out that when speed-shifting from 1st to 2nd, the stick would fall out of the column (and roll under the seat). A phillips head screwdriver could work in its place.


@zzracin, @tom.ashley

All early pony cars have compact origins. That’s not under dispute.

But, like I said, the Barracuda was merely a Valiant fastback, while the Mustang was a completely different vehicle, featuring unique styling. The Mustang also was the result of strong market research to reflect several emerging phenomena, such as demand for sporty bucket-seat cars, more women buying their own cars, more families buying a second car, etc.

The Barracuda was just a Valiant with a contemporary roofline.


What ever. Thanks for the info. I was never out run by and another stock muscle car. It lead to racing a 1969 Cutlass W-31 for a local Olds dealer with a guy I met at the drag strip, We are still friends today. Then moving into NHRA modified eliminator with another friend and his Chevy powered 1969 AMX.


A friend bought a 1961 Ford Starliner with a FE series 390 cu/in 375 HP @ 6000 RPM with three speed on the column. He up rated it to 401 HP with a dealer installed option of 3 Holley two barrel carbs. Ford made a 4 speed available in 1962.