It wasn’t exactly Florida Gulf Coast University over Georgetown, but some of us raised our eyebrows when, per your votes, the 1970 Buick GSX took out the venerable 1969 Chevy Camaro Z/28 in the first round of Muscle Car Match-Ups.
Despite legions of Mopar enthusiasts interacting with OnAllCylinders’ and Summit Racing’s Facebook accounts—and some protesting cries from purists who thought the 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 had no business being included in this tournament—the Cobra advanced over the formidable 1968 Plymouth Road Runner.
The lesson, as always, is that life is unpredictable.
The Bracket (Round 2)
1970 Buick GSX vs. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T
From the back roads of TV’s Hazzard County to car shows worldwide today, the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, with its standard 440-cubic-inch engine and special handling package, has become something of an automotive icon. The Charger isn’t overlooking its next opponent, but it does like its chances, coming off a dominant Round One performance.
The 1970 Buick GSX feels like it has a little Cinderella magic on its side. Of all of the winners, this one surprised us the most given the enormous popularity of the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. But voters liked the relative uniqueness of the GSX and its 455 cubic-inch engine’s straight-line speed over the Z/28’s road course superiority. After taking down the Camaro, the GSX fears no opponent.
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 vs. 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
With all due respect to the AMC Rebel, the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 throttled it in their Round One match up. That doesn’t make the Rebel bad. It just makes the Boss 429—well—boss. Only 859 of them were made, and we are apparently not the only ones who appreciate a rare pony. However, this Boss’s Round Two opponent is going to be a tougher out.
Powered by the 383, as well as the 426 and 440 HEMI engines, the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T is not, and has never been, a vehicle to trifle with. It is one of the meanest, baddest, raddest, most-beloved muscle cars of all time. When asked how it felt about its second-round match up with the Boss 429, the Challenger looked at the Boss and replied simply in its best Ivan Drago impersonation: “I must break you.”
1969 Pontiac GTO (The Judge) Ram Air vs. 1970 Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda
The Force is strong with the 1970 Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda. It helped usher in Mopar’s E-body and perpetuated the notion that HEMIs are a potent weapon in any automotive duel. This classic was recently commemorated on some U.S. Postal Service stamps, and plans to use its iconic status to deliver itself to the Final Four.
One slight hiccup in the ‘Cuda’s plans for world domination? The Judge. The 1969 Pontiac GTO Ram Air delivered 400 horses to its sweet wide tires, and delivered plenty of victories to its fortunate owners. The Goat is often used as an acronym for “Greatest of all time.” Can The Judge win the whole thing? We’re about to find out.
1965 Shelby Cobra 427 vs. 1970 Chevrolet 454 Chevelle SS
We expected some fireworks in the first round’s only Ford vs. Chevy match up. And we got some. There were more than a few of us who expected Eleanor to get out of the first round. But the Bowtie enthusiasts were not to be outdone. When GM decided to drop a 454-cubic-inch power plant into the mid-sized 1970 Chevrolet 454 Chevelle SS, that apparently made sense to everyone who knows what awesome looks like.
In many folks’ minds, this was the least likely car to advance, because many thought it shouldn’t have been included anyway. To each their own. The 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 justified its place in this tournament by giving the ’68 Road Runner—a great car in its own right—a speedy first-round exit. There’s just something attractive about 510 horsepower in a tiny, compact European-style body. Apparently, people have an enormous amount of respect for Carroll Shelby, and really like going fast. Who knew?
Vote for your winners in the comments section!