The Madness has returned.

While millions of basketball fans skip work, bet money, and otherwise plan their lives around the NCAA basketball, you’ve been infected with a sickness of a different kind. It’s less of a Madness and more of an addiction to hot rods and muscle cars.

That’s why we created Muscle Car Match-Ups.

Back by popular demand, this hot-rodded version of the NCAA basketball tournament places 16 muscle cars in a NCAA-style bracket to determine the top muscle car. And YOU determine the winner!

How it Works

Read up on our field of 16 muscle cars below and then vote. It’s that simple! There are even three—count ’em, three—easy ways to vote:

  • Write all your first round picks in the comments section below.
  • Follow OnAllCylinders on Facebook and vote on each individual match-up when we post it. You make your pick by commenting on your favorite.
  • Follow Summit Racing Equipment’s Facebook page. Our friends at Summit Racing will post individual, head-to-head match-ups from the tournament, and you can comment on your favorite to vote.

The Bracket (Round 1)

Madness, sickness, addiction—whatever you call it, it has spread this year. In fact, our friends at BangShift and Power AutoMedia have gotten in on the fun by submitting four picks each for the initial field of 16. For this year, the tournament is divided into four regions: BangShift, Power AutoMedia, OnAllCylinders, and Summit Racing fan picks. Here’s how they stack up:

BangShift Region

1967 KR8 Tasca Mustang vs. 1963 Studebaker Lark R2

Tasca-vs-Studebaker-updatedThe 1967 KR8 Tasca Mustang is the car responsible for the entire Ford Cobra Jet movement. Dissatisfied with the car’s original 390 engine, Rhode Island car dealer Bob Tasca swapped out the motor for a 428 Police Interceptor engine built with his own combination of off-the-shelf parts. Ford used this engine package to create its now-famous Cobra Jet engine—and saved its reputation as the Total Performance company in the process! Note: Due to lack of quality images available for the ’67 Tasca KR8 Mustang, the image at left shows the Tasca-inspired 1968 Cobra Jet.

The guys at BangShift went outside the box here by including (ironically) the boxy Studebaker Lark R2. The Lark R2 came with a Paxton SN60-huffed 289 Jet-Thrust V8 which could propel the Lark to 60 miles-per-hour in roughly 6.3 seconds when used with the special High Performance Package. In short, the Lark R2 was sort of a muscle car before the term muscle car was popularized.


1971 AMC Hornet SC360 vs. 1966 427 Chevrolet Biscayne

Hornet-vs-BiscayneFeaturing a 360-cubic-inch engine the 1971 AMC Hornet SC360 was American Motors’ follow-up to its 1969 SC Rambler. Motor Trend magazine described the sporty SC360 as “a gas to drive…it handles like a dream.”

On the other end of the spectrum from the smaller AMC Hornet, the 1966 427 Chevrolet Biscayne was a full-size car that packed big block power in the form of a 425-horsepower 427 cubic-inch engine. More importantly, the base model Biscayne was lighter, more rigid, and less expensive than other full size Chevrolet models, making it a weapon of choice for mid-1960s drag racers.

Because of its entry-level appearance, the 427 Biscayne was the one of the ultimate sleeper cars of its day.

OnAllCylinders Region

1968 Dodge HEMI Dart vs. 1969 Pontiac GTO (the Judge)


If you’re all about performance muscle and nothing else, then the 1968 HEMI Dart is your choice. Only about 80 of the limited-production models were made, and they came about as bare bones as possible. No rear seats. No radio. No luxuries of any kind. Unless you consider a fire-breathing 426-cubic-inch elephant a luxury. With minimal modifications, the HEMI Dart was easily in the 10s in the quarter-mile.

Perhaps no muscle car better reflected American culture than the 1969 Pontiac GTO ‘the Judge” model, which was named after a popular comedy routine on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The Judge had a serious vibe, though, thanks to its standard 400 H.O. Ram Air III engine, Rally II wheels, spoiler, and wide tires.


1969 Mercury Cyclone 428CJ vs. 1970 Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda

Cyclone-vs-CudaAvailable for one year only, the Mercury Cyclone 428CJ was a viable and desirable alternative to Ford’s popular muscle car lineup. The Cyclone followed the quintessential muscle car blueprint: big engine, midsize car, and stripped-down amenities. As the name suggests, you got 428 Cobra Jet potency in a rarer package than a more mainstream Ford product.

We’ve brought the 1970 Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda back for another run at the title. In our opinion, it’s hard to think of another car more killer than the venerable HEMI ‘Cuda. Even if you don’t put it past the second round, you won’t convince us otherwise. It featured Mopar’s brand new E-body, incorporated the almighty HEMI engine, and came standard with a distinctive shaker.


Power AutoMedia Region

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 vs. 1965 Pontiac GTO

Boss-429-vs-65-GTORare, but undeniably awesome, the 1969 Ford Boss 429 featured Ford’s 429 cubic-inch engine (go figure). The engine was developed for NASCAR use and built to compete with Mopar’s popular HEMI engine. In the end, only 859 Boss 429s were made, and the car remains highly collectible.

Pontiac took the car that arguably launched the whole muscle car genre in 1964 and made it even better for 1965. The 1965 GTO featured revised cylinder heads and a high-rise intake that bumped its 389 Tri-Power engine package to 360 horsepower.



1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 vs. 1970 Buick GSX

Camaro-vs-GSXJust like last year’s competition, our field includes select pony cars. However, only cream-of-the-crop pony cars like the 1969 Camaro Z/28 have earned honorary muscle car status for this year. The first-generation Camaro is the most sought-after, and its 302-powered Z/28 version was developed for Trans-Am racing.

In a rematch from last year, the Z/28 takes on the Buick GSX. The 1970 Buick GSX was the high performance package for the Gran Sport and featured a stout 455 cubic-inch engine. The Stage 1 version used a more aggressive cam and higher compression for even greater output.


Summit Racing Fans

1969 Chevrolet Yenko Nova vs. 1965 Shelby Cobra 427


Clearly, Summit Racing fans brought their A-game this year. The ’69 Yenko Nova was the lightest in the famed Yenko 427 lineup and could go zero to 60 miles-per-hour in an astonishing four seconds! Only 37 of these 425-horsepower beasts were built. That’s bad news for performance junkies—and probably good news for society at large!

We already know what some of you are thinking: “The 1965 Shelby Cobra isn’t a muscle car.” To you, we say: “Scoreboard”—as in check last year’s scoreboard because your peers voted this as the 2013 champion. The 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 has earned the right to defend its title. And oh yeah…the 510-horse, 427-powered Cobra remains one of the quickest cars of all time. So there’s that, too.


1969 Dodge Charger R/T vs. 1970 Chevrolet 454 Chevelle SS

Charger-vs-ChevelleWith 440 cubic inches of Mopar power and a heavy-duty suspension package, the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T oozed muscle. And that was long before them Duke boys took the popularity of the ’69 Charger to new heights in the Dukes of Hazzard.

When GM lifted its ban on 400-plus cubic-inch motors in mid-sized cars, Chevrolet responded in a big way. Its popular Chevelle SS model was now available with a 454-cubic-inch engine, and an LS6 option gave the Chevelle 454 SS 450 horsepower. It was one of the most powerful vehicles that anyone could purchase.


Vote now in the comments section to ensure your favorites move on to the second round!




Share this Article
Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.