Welcome to the 2018 Muscle Car Match-Ups which we’ve dubbed the 1968 Edition.
A few super-important things:
1. We know what at least some of you are thinking.
“OMG. U guys r dumb! Some of these aren’t even muscle cars!! Morons!!” And you know what? You’re absolutely right. Some aren’t. Sorry. We launched Muscle Car Match-Ups in 2013, so this is our sixth go-round, and by jove, we’re gonna keep using the name.
2. Why 1968?
Because our friends at Summit Racing Equipment are celebrating their 50th anniversary in business this year, and we’re honoring that with an all-1968 field. (Happy 50th, Summit Racing. Here’s to the next 50.)
3. You can vote for your favorites in a few different ways:
- 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 or Summit Racing’s Instagram feed and vote there. Our friends managing Summit Racing will post individual, head-to-head match-ups from the tournament, and you can comment on your favorite to vote.
Basketball fans get the big college tournament every year, so it’s only fair that gearheads get our annual Muscle Car Match-Ups. We picked the best-of-the-best performance cars from 1968 (the year Summit Racing was founded), and it’s up to you to decide who comes out on top.
This is round one of a four-round 16-car tournament field that your voting will whittle down within about the same timeframe as the NCAA March Madness tournament, which we shamelessly ripped off when creating MCMU.
The only wrong answer is no answer.
Here are your 2018 first-round match-ups below.
OnAllCylinders Muscle Car Match-Ups: 1968 Edition
1968 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet vs. 1968 Chevy Impala SS 427
By 1968, the Mustang had hit full gallop, now carrying the potent 428 Cobra Jet engine making well north of 300 horsepower. The Impala counters with the Mark IV 427 Chevy big block. Who wins this round—the Mustang’s screaming all-out performance or the power-meets-comfort combo of the Impala?
1968 Dodge Dart GTS 383 vs. 1968 Hurst/Olds W-45 455
Light and nimble, the Dart GTS might be able to run around Oldsmobile’s intermediate coupe—but the monster 455 in W-45 spec should give the Olds the edge in the straight line. Maybe this comes down to design, with the Dart’s business-like silhouette competing against the newly-restyled GM A-body.
1968 AMC AMX Go Package 390 vs. 1968 Chevy Chevelle L78 SS 396
Ask a gearhead to dream up the prototype muscle car, and it’s a good chance they’d draw up the specs to the L78-package Chevelle. On paper, the 396 big block should give the Chevelle an edge, but the AMX’s sports-car dervied handling could turn it into a driver’s race. So, do you take the brute-ish straight-line win-light collector, or the more-nimble AMX from everyone’s favorite defunct American automaker not named Studebaker?
1968 Chevy Corvette 427 L88 vs. 1968 Jensen Interceptor (Chrysler 383-Powered)
Every bracket needs a Cinderella story, and that’s what we may have in the Jensen Interceptor. Yes, it’s British, but under the hood rests a Chrysler 383 engine good for about 325 horsepower. The motor was coupled to the familiar Mopar TorqueFlite automatic, which combined with 4-wheel disc brakes and independent front suspension, might make it competitive against a Corvette.
Unfortunately, our British Cinderella is facing one of the most potent Stingrays ever made—the fire-breathing L88, packing a 430-hp 427 big block. Will our plucky British underdog topple Chevy’s iconic sports car? We’ll let the voting decide.
1968 Pontiac GTO Ram Air 400 vs. 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S 383
Two American classics. Both Ram Air II and Ram Air III models were available for model-year 1968 Pontiac GTO. For the purposes of this tournament, we’ll let you decide which ram-air Goat you want for any reason you want. There are no wrong answers here, because you’re allowed to rank and measure these cars by whatever standards you value most. The Pontiac ran 14s from the factory. The spunky Plymouth Barracuda Formula S 383 laid down 400 lbs. of hard-launching torque.
If you’re anything like us, you’re flipping coins to decide the winner.
1968 Dodge Charger R/T 426 Hemi vs. 1968 Ford Torino GT 428 Cobra Jet
The 1968 Dodge Charger R/T 426 Hemi is among the more-iconic members of Detroit steels’ ’68 vintage. It’s an early favorite to win the entire thing given its Elephant-powered 425 horses (an underrated number).
But the Blue Oval’s Torino GT 428 Cobra Jet, like all Cobra Jet-powered vehicles won’t go quietly.
The Torino GT 428 Cobra Jet might be the ultimate sleeper. No scoops. No Cobra Jet badging. Just a 14-second missile (that was fast in ’68) in an awesomely sneaky package.
We’re glad it’s you who has to pick one.
1968 Shelby GT500KR 428 Cobra Jet vs. 1968 Buick Gran Sport Stage 1 400
The exquisitely sculpted ’68 Shelby GT500KR Cobra Jet against the venerable Buick Gran Sport Stage 1 Special Package. Shelby Performance upgrades on the already-potent Mustang 428 Cobra Jet? Or an extra 50 hp over the already-muscle-bound Buick GS?
Since it won’t be settled on the track, it will probably come down to a Ford vs. GM preference. We’re totally fine with that.
Here’s the full bracket:
(Image/OnAllCylinders – Deana Johnston)