I’m shocked to learn that you lot would pick one of the most plentiful 4x4s of all time over an orangered oddball custom-built behemoth with a removable roof.
Todaye we have a showdown only a thermodynamicist could love. We’ve got two pony cars from an era when Detroit was testing out a replacement for displacement: turbocharging!
Like FuManChu mustaches, malaise-era muscle styling is back, man. Unfortunately, the 180hp smog-choked big blocks hardly deliver what their displacement and macho styling would suggest. A big like stuffing the disco pants, if you ask us. Luckily, for a brief moment, The General decided to get deviant and throw 8psi of boost on the lightweight Pontiac 301, resulting in 205hp and 345lb-ft of torque for 1981. Of course, those numbers assume the turbo and the bizarre vacuum system for the carb are working happily together. This specimen appears to be in incredible shape, with only 88k on the clock. $6500 isn’t cheap, but give it a few years and it’ll seem like a steal for the 80s equivalent of the Oldsmobile Turbo Jetfire F-85.
While Trans Am has gone on to the Great Dragstrip in the Sky, the Mustang lives on, strong as ever. In the late 70s and 80s, the Mustang was still unsure what it wanted to be when it grew up. After that terrible Mustang II phase, was the front-wheel drive Probe chassis next? How about a decidedly more European direction? The Mustang SVO topped the 2.3L four-pot with a hairdryer to get nearly the same power (200hp) from less than half the T/A’s displacement. Obviously, torque suffered (240ft-lbs), but the Pony’s significantly lighter and equipped with a proper 5-speed and 3.73:1 LSD rearend. The T/A’s stuck with a three-speed TH350 and 3.08:1 rearend. Our bet’s on the Pony if we’re racing for pinks, but hoo-boy is it weird lookin’. Looks like a ‘Stang born to a mare that spent too much time under the power lines. You’re not paying for looks at $4800.