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Obscure Muscle Car Garage – Time to vote them out; These are the Obscure Muscle Cars of the 80’s, 90’s and today…

Jim Brennan February 6, 2015 Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage 18 Comments

Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Parking Garage – The Ford Turbo Coupes (Mustang SVO, T-Bird Turbo and Merkur XR4Ti)  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91621 AM.bmp

Welcome to week three of our review of the Obscure Muscle Car Garage, and this time we are looking at the Obscure Muscle Cars that I highlighted and were produced during the 1980’s, 1990’s and the beginning of the 2000’s. We are going to see what vehicles made it into the Garage from the three remaining American Manufacturers, and then I will pose a question at the end of this posting… Which one of these entries should be given the boot (or possibly none at all…). During this time period, there was certainly no lack of performance machinery, just not all of it produced in this country. Remember, as the Obscure Muscle Car Garage motto goes, there won’t be any obvious Muscle Cars like the Challenger, Corvette, or Performance Mustang. However, there were plenty of “Left-of-Center” nominees that were voted into the Garage, but maybe they really don’t belong. So, it is now time for you to consider who to throw out. Ready? GO!


Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The 1984-85 Ford LTD LX  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91448 AM.bmp

Let’s start with a fan favorite, the 1984-85 Ford LTD LX. This was a car produced by Ford that no one could have ever imagined going into production, but it did because of the Bob Bondurant Racing School of High Performance and their need for a sedan that could be used at the school that had similar handling and performance characteristics of the then current Fox Bodied Mustang GT. It was a success at the school, so it went into serious production a few months later. Friend of Hooniverse Scott Chamberlain owns one, and 75% of the readers that voted agreed that this is an Obscure Muscle Car. Read the original article here, and decide whether or not this entry should stay.

Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The Lincoln Mark VII LSC  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91518 AM.bmp

Related to the LTD LX, the Lincoln Mk VII LSC was one true Hot Rod Lincoln, and blew everyone away when it was introduced in the fall of 1983. This took the tried and true Ford 5 litre V-8, and it started out with 165HP, and went up to 225HP in a short period of time. The car was also striking to see, and this was the Luxury Fox Body of it’s time period. 69% of you agreed that this was a true Obscure Muscle Car, so take a look at the original article here, and see if this Hot Rod Lincoln stays in the Garage.

Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Parking Garage – The Ford Turbo Coupes (Mustang SVO, T-Bird Turbo and Merkur XR4Ti)  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91551 AM.bmp

While we are on Fox Bodied Fords, and in a post that I should have broken up into three separate entries, we come to the Turbocharged Ford Mustang SVO, the Turbocharged Thunderbird Super Coupe, and the Turbocharged Merkur XR4Ti. This was during Ford’s experimental phase of developing Turbocharged Muscle Cars to have the thrill of a Muscle Car with the fuel economy that a 4-cylinder theoretically provides. This was a controversial posting, but when it came time to vote, our readers chose to admit these new wave Muscle Cars, by a margin of 55%. Read the original article here, and see if you’ve had a change of heart.

Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The 1994-96 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91702 AM.bmp

One of the more interesting posts on this subject was the one in which I proposed that the 1994-96 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon was an Obscure Muscle Car. Here is a car that originally had a truck engine as the engine of choice under the hood. However, 1994 came along and the good folks at GM decided to drop in a de-tuned version of the Chevrolet Corvette LT-1 V-8, and suddenly… Powah! It was a most unconventional choice for the Garage, but 57% of you that voted seem to agree with me that this is indeed an Obscure Muscle Car. Read the original article here, and see if we made a mistake.

Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The 1992-93 Dodge Daytona IROC RT  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91724 AM.bmp

It wasn’t only Ford that experimented with Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Power, as Chrysler was producing a powerhouse of it’s own in the form of the 1992-93 Dodge Daytona IROC R/T. Dodge managed to wrestle away from GM to supply identical cars to the International Race of Champions for the 1991 racing season, and to celebrate, the Daytona was enhanced with a 224HP 16-valve, OHC 2.2 Litre 4-Cyl engine, and this car could move. It was basically a K-Car underneith, so it is the perfect Muscle Car Formula of taking a pedestrian vehicle, and making it roar. 54% of you agreed, and it was inducted into the Obscure Muscle Car Garage. Read the original article to see if maybe it really shouldn’t be included.

Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The 2005-08 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91823 AM.bmp

One of the most controversial entries into the HOMCG is this one, the 2005-08 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP. This is basically a cobbled together performance car that GM though they needed to compete with the new for 2005 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, both with the 5.7L Chrysler Hemi under the hood. So GM dropped a version of the venerable 5.3L V-8, tuned it to produce 303 HP, and produced a Muscle Car that is driven by the front wheels. Pontiac was the first to do this, followed by Chevrolet with the Impala SS and Monte Carlo SS, and the Buick Lacrosse Super. The Pontiac was voted in by a margin of 42%, while the others didn’t make it… See the original article here, and see if it should join the other three that didn’t make it.

Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Parking Garage – The Ford Turbo Coupes (Mustang SVO, T-Bird Turbo and Merkur XR4Ti)  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91605 AM.bmp

So, those are the new wave inductees. It is now time for you to vote one of these out… or not. Once I run the entire review, which should take 7 weeks, we will see how many of the vehicles will be thrown out of the Garage. Remember, you can make a difference here, so continue to follow this series, and tell me how much you seem to like it (or not…)

So, which of these new wave Obscure Muscle Cars should be banished from the Garage?

View Results

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Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The 2005-08 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91831 AM.bmp

Please Note: All Images are screen grabs from around the web. If you want credit for any image, please let me know in the comments section. Thank You…

Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Parking Garage – The Ford Turbo Coupes (Mustang SVO, T-Bird Turbo and Merkur XR4Ti)  Hooniverse - Google Chrome 262015 91628 AM.bmp

  • CoastieLenn

    If I could vote twice, I would definitely do so.

    First, Other than having 260hp, the Roadmaster has nothing going for it. 260hp? Yeah, so did the Mustang of roughly the same time period but that's very debatable as to whether its a "muscle car" as well. Also, all connections/comparions with the Corvette need to be removed from this car. The fact that the "LT1" is detuned means that it really might as well not even be called an LT1. The 5.0L in the Lincoln Town Car is in no way compared to the 5.0L that was found in the Mustang of the same time period… yet it's a "detuned" Mustang engine. Zero performance points awarded for the "detuned Corvette engine" and I personally feel that that statement is part of the misconception that helped this car get in. If you couldn't tell, the fact that this car made it in but some of the others have not- infuriates me. No idea why.

    Can we finally just get rid of the FWD GM siblings all together? Sure they were cool but they're definitely not muscle.

    • crank_case

      The roadmaster is in no way a Muscle car, but I still totally want one to burble around in. Call it European looking in from the outside forbidden fruit factor (in the same way that some on here probably have a strange want for bland euroboxes like the Peugeot 207), but I can't help thinking it'd sit great next to my Eunos (Miata) 1.8. Parking its a problem though.

  • pj134

    I'm just surprised by how few newer cars have been voted on. The plethora of SRTs and ls sedans, the amgs, rses and m's. Infiniti M45's and 3600 lbs Ls400's cranking out 300 horses! Hell, in 09 you had V6's blowing year old V8's out of the water.

    • ptschett

      The problem with Chrysler SRT, Mercedes AMG, Audi RS, BMW M's, etc. is that they aren't obscure.
      I think the M45 was admitted.

      • pj134

        WK Grand Cherokee SRT8 – 14k made and most people have no idea what the hell it is when one pulls up next to them.
        I feel like a W124 E60 AMG has been all but forgotten by 90% of people
        M is harder, probably the M6 would be the closest to actually obscure
        An RS4 going down the street is just an A4 with wheels to most people

        Look at all of them historically, they're going be kind of lost to time in the not to distant future save for the M6 until it loses it's douche cred.

  • Sorry, Mopar fans, but being a front-driving 4-banger, regardless of turbo, the IROC R/T is the weakest link here. It's got to go.

    It is only slightly nudged out by the GM V8 front drivers because they're at least packing a V8, even if it's driving the wrong set of wheels.

    I think the LT1 wagon is good not only for what it is, but because what it can easily become. Bolt-on parts can have it making ~400hp easily, and a supercharger can blast it far beyond that before you've even touched the bottom end.

    • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      Well, I countered your vote with one for the FWD V8 GM beasts.

      To me, the Daytona counts because it was wrung to within a millibar of its life for performance.

      Plus, I've driven a couple and they really are utter crap, were you to DD it. A true musclecar. 🙂

  • skitter

    I respectfully voted against the Daytona in the original garage, and I respectfully vote against it again here. But I'm mellowing in my old age, and I'm more prepared to accept it as a wolf-in-black-sheep's clothing.

    • I voted against it primarily because although survivors might be obscure, they seemed downright ubiquitous at the time.

      • OA5599

        You might be thinking of other Daytona trims. Production for the Iroc R/T was about 550 units, spread across two model years. None of the other Daytonas had the 16-valve head.

        http://www.shelby-dodge.com/92-93-iroc.html

        8-valve Daytonas were pretty commonplace, but had about 50 fewer horses, as delivered.

        • Looking back on my comment from the original article, I said something similar. How you people put up with me remains a mystery.

          That said, something rubs me the wrong way about a car with actual performance cred being considered an obscure muscle car when the poser version was so abundant. Maybe we need a category for such a hiding in plain sight sleeper.

  • ptschett

    Where to begin…
    The Pontiac is the flipside of my argument to boot the Corvair last week. I think lack of fondness for the car, or for how its power gets to the ground is overshadowing its merits as an obscure musclecar despite those merits being easily stronger than a Corvair's. At a minimum the Pontiac and Chevy iterations of the 5.3L W-body should be in the garage and I supported the Buick LaCrosse Super too.
    Though I support the Impala SS, I can't support its Buick wagon kin. The translation from clean sporty-looking sedan to chrome and woodgrain wagon moves the Buick into the cars with muscle category for me. It can go in the nifty wagons garage.
    I'm a Mopar fan, but the Daytona needs to go. It checks way too many not-a-musclecar boxes. It can go in another Obscure [something] Garage but just doesn't belong here.
    I have a tough time with the turbo Fords, but can rationalize at least the Mustang and T-bird as musclecars for an alternate timeline where the '70's oil crises continued well into the '80's.
    The V8 Fords are an easier sell, but the Lincoln is awfully far toward the premium end of the market where I start rejecting things on the basis of their original MSRP.

  • cap'n fast

    aw, hell…this is all crap. the merkur has got to go and before any one whines about it being obscure remember that the only car ever made that was even a smidgen uglier was the pontiac aztek.

  • cap'n fast

    had an '84 and '88 tbird turbo coupe. nifty cars, the 88 was a screamer going past the gas stations, marvelous highway cars and most excellent at point and squirt in city traffic. good build quality and definitely garage material. excellent engine controller (EEC-IV) allowed for plenty of shade tree wrenching and modifications. could drop some serious whipass on those lame mn-12's in '89.

  • cap'n fast

    MKVII LSC just may be….needed more engine in it…tubby car…ponderous handling…nice seats, though….air bag suspension but disc brakes with antilock all around…what a cool cruiser…maybe…ok… garage it, I talked myself into it.

  • CJinSD

    I voted against banishing any of the cars in previous elimination rounds. This time, I voted to banish them all. I loved the '80s too. I'm not saying they're all crap, but none of them possesses even a smidgen of muscle car DNA.

  • Roadmaster could be made into an obscure muscle car, as could a pre-modular MKVII, but I struggle with the others.

    The XR4Ti in the lede image is hot as hell but even I, as the worlds greatest Ford Sierra apologist, can't begin to think of one as a muscle car.

  • Wildcat_445

    I would only vote out the XR4Ti because I hated that fecking thing. Great handling, quick (I used to eat those little Daytonas for dessert), very comfortable seating, great bodywork by Karmann…but all it needed were to be painted yellow to be a true lemon. What a piece of crap. Its one contribution to the US economy was keeping the local Lincoln/Mercury dealer's mechanics employed.

    But no, like @Rust-MyEnemy says above, it's not in musclecar territory. Autobahn cruiser? Sure. When it ran, it loved that spot on the speedometer between 85 and 100 (mph, not kph). The Acura TL I had (lost in a flood last August) was fast itself, but I would never consider it a musclecar either. I think of a musclecar more as something with gobs of power, with the sole purpose of being fast.

    So I did what any (in)sane person would do–I voted all of these off.