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Top 8 Model Years in Hot Rod History (#7): 1968

What is the best year ever for cars and why?

We put that question to the performance-minded people on Summit Racing’s Facebook page. Using their answers as a foundation, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 8 years in automotive hot rodding and performance history. Why? Because it’s fun to make lists. And it’s even more fun to attempt the impossible–like narrowing 100-plus years of automobiles down to the eight best. 

We’ll unveil the list over the next week or so. In order the make the list, a given year must have been nominated at least once by the readers. 

1968 Plymouth Roadrunner orange

1968: Mopar Helps Re-Ignite the Muscle Car Movement

Today, we call it getting “bang for your buck.”

But in 1967 when Plymouth delivered smiles to the masses with its affordable 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner, the term hadn’t yet been coined.

No matter. Because people knew getting a car that could reach 100 miles per hour in the quarter-mile for less than $3,000 was exactly that, and the ’68 Roadrunner became an all-time favorite of the factory hot rods.

The horn gave a cute “beep-beep” like the Warner Bros. cartoon character, but under the hood was all business.

The Roadrunner came standard with a 383 V8 that could make 335 horsepower on command. For an extra grand, you could get into a Roadrunner with a 426 HEMI offering a 10.25:1 compression ratio and 425 horsepower.

No one realized it at the time, but 1968 was in the very heart of the beloved Muscle Car Era. And 1968 was a noteworthy year. General Motors gave us several classics: The 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, the first C3 Chevy Corvette, redesigns of the Chevelle and Nova, the legendary Hurst/Olds, as well as the 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 and 1968 Pontiac GTO. Ford Motor Co. introduced the Cobra Jet engine, developed a year earlier by Bob Tasca, in the 1968½ Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet. The Ford Mustang GT500 couldn’t be ignored.

A little under the radar, but equally awesome, was the 1968 Mercury Cougar.

There were many great years during the Muscle Car Wars, and it’s no surprise to see ’68 among them.


Do you have a favorite car from 1968? Tell us in the comments below!

Fun facts about the 1968 model year:

  • All 1968 Cutlass Hurst/Olds were built with black interior surfaces.
  • Both the 1968 Mustang GT and the 1968 Dodge Charger R/T were prominently featured in the Steve McQueen classic Bullitt.
  • 1968 was the final year for the brawny cross-bolt main 427 in Ford and Mercury passenger cars.
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  1. My favorite car for 1968 is the Baracuda 340 formula S 4 speed cupe.

  2. I thought and still think the ugliest muscle car was the Dodge Polara 5002 door hardtop with the 426 hemi.i wish I could find one again!

  3. Rick Proctor says:

    the 68 Dodge Charger is one of the most beatiful cars ever to roll out of detroit!

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