What began as a simple post on our Facebook page snowballed into something larger than I had planned. All I did was ask our Facebook followers to let us know what they thought was the best Mopar muscle car. I got such an overwhelming response that I thought I would also ask our print readers the same question. So in my editorial in the Aug. '12 issue, I asked the same question so we could get an unscientifically accurate response from a large group of people. Sure, we could have come up with a list ourselves and told you what we thought the best cars are, but that's no fun, and since opinions vary, we needed to gather a large consensus. We got a lot more responses than we thought we would, but that also affords us a greater degree of accuracy when our popular vote is tallied.
What we got from both groups was an eclectic list, and since we have no input into what should be on it, we had no way to know what would end up on the list. Now, with the suggestions tallied, we thought we would show you the Top 10 Mopar muscle cars that you guys chose. Don't yell at us! We're just the messenger.
10 Coming in at number 10 is the '69 A12 Road Runner. In our unscientific test, the Runner got more than twice as many votes as its brother the A12 Superbee did, and we're not going to speculate the reason for that difference. We think that the "lift off" hood car gained a lot of the votes due to it being built in limited numbers, and its reputation as a proven track performer.
The option code A12 replaced the 383 with a 440 Six Barrel. This gave you an Edelbrock aluminum intake and three Holley carburetors. A Hemi four-speed transmission was standard, and the 727 automatic was an option. The drivetrain upgrade also included a 26-inch radiator with a seven-blade clutch fan. Also included is the Dana with a 4.10 gear ratio, and four-wheel 11-inch drum brakes. A black fiberglass hood sans hinges was pinned at each corner, and a functional air scoop was part of the package. Because of the large air breather assembly, a smaller three-speed wiper motor was also included. 15x6-inch rims with 15-inch red-streak tires were the only tire and wheel combination available.
Sold as a $462.80 option on the base $2,945 Road Runner, the A12 was a popular choice. Production of the A12 Road Runner finished after 615 were built. 227 were built with automatics and 388 with a four-speed.
A surprise for us was the fact that the '68 Hemi Barracuda only came in at number nine. Given the history of these cars, we thought it would leap to the front of the group. Putting a Hemi in an A-Body isn't easy. Consider the flexible lines on the master cylinder of these cars. The wide Hemi valve cover almost touches the master cylinder, so the flexible lines allowed the master cylinder to be removed from the firewall and laid on the fender if the valve cover needed to be removed. The fenders and hood were made of fiberglass, while the bumpers and doors were either acid-dipped or stamped from lighter gauge material. These cars were all shipped in primer, and the front ends toned with Gel-coat.
The Hurst plant in the Detroit region did the conversions, using incomplete 383-equipped cars as the starting point. The factory did two short production runs of the cars in February and May of that year that resulted in 70 Barracudas and around 80 Darts for what was then SS/B drag racing.
MSRP: Free if you were good at racing
It's 1970, and it's Groovy
In eighth place is the '70 Barracuda. The redesign in 1970 removed all commonality the previous year had with the Valiant. The original fastback design was deleted from the line, and the Barracuda now consisted of a coupe and convertible model. The new E-Body had three versions offered for 1970: the base Barracuda, the luxury oriented Gran Coupe, and the sport model 'Cuda. The E-Body's engine bay was larger than the previous A-Body Barracuda, affording more room for the 426 Hemi. The Barracuda had two six-cylinder engines available, a new 198-inch version, and the 225. If you needed more, three different V-8s were available in the Barracuda: the 318, the 383 with a two-barrel, and the 383 with a four-barrel carburetor. The 'Cuda moniker meant the owner could get a 340 or a 383 with 335 hp as the standard engine, the 440 four-barrel Super Commando, the 440 Six-Barrel Super Commando, and the 426 Hemi. The 440 and Hemi equipped cars also got upgraded suspension components and structural bracing.
07 In 1969, the Road Runner kept the same basic look as its prior year brother, but there were some slight cosmetic changes. For 1969, Plymouth added a convertible option with 2,128 drop-top models produced that year (ten of them with the Hemi). Six of those Hemi convertibles were automatics; only the remaining four were fitted with four-speed manual transmissions.
The Air Grabber option (N96 code), which consisted of an air "box" assembly bolted to the underside of the hood connected to twin scoops in the hood was added. When the hood was closed, a rubber seal fitted over a large-oval air cleaner that directed air into the engine. The scoops in the hood could be opened and closed via a lever under the dashboard. When it came to engines, joining the existing 383 was the 426 Hemi. Road Runner sales almost doubled from 1968 to 82,109.