On top of some truly wonderful styling, the 1968 Hemi Road Runner had a 426 cu.in. engine under the hood that pushed out 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque. The standard gearbox was a four-speed manual with an Inland shifter, but Hurst shifters were phased in after the first few months of the 1968 model year.
Being one of the most iconic Buick nameplates still around, it’s not surprising that the Tri-Shield badge’s sales revolved heavily around the good old Regal. However, the aging Regal sedan couldn’t keep up with the more advanced competition and its sales took a nosedive in 2017.
One thing used engines from Subarus were practically made to do is power Volkswagens. Beetles, Westphalias, buses, Transporter trucks, even Synchros can adapt 2.5 Subaru used engines with ease. The original mills had well under half the power of even a stock EJ, and most people report an increase in gas mileage as well. Subaru reliability, classic Volkswagen style, what’s not to love?
Of course, even a 1.2-liter rotary makes upward of 130 horsepower, so that’s the tradeoff. Tuned examples can make over 250. 250 horsepower sounds a lot better when the entire car weighs under 2000 pounds; such is the case with this 13B-powered 1966 Volkswagen Beetle. It runs a 10.5-second quarter mile and packs eight times its original horsepower.
It’s generally more powerful than its sedan sibling since neither of the Forte5 trims dabbles with the Atkinson-cycle 147-horsepower version of the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. The Forte5 hatchback generates either 164 horsepower or 201 ponies in the top SX trim, which benefits from the 1.6L turbo four unit. Similar setup will likely carry over into 2019.
Most of these swaps have involved rare used engines going into common cars, and this is quite the opposite somebody threw one of the used engines from a Honda CBR1000RR into an insanely rare 1964 Honda S600 convertible. The result? Nearly 200 horsepower, or over three times stock, in a car that weighs about 1500 pounds.
Porsche has built so many hot cars it is hard to narrow our focus. Even though we have listed the Carrera GT, we had the Porsche 959 and 918 Spyder on our minds too. In the end, we tossed a coin and the Carrera GT won.
These crazy cheap cars come from all walks of life; some will burn serious rubber while others will help you pick up the kids from school in style. Others, still, will tackle gut-wrenching terrain and be reliable for years to come, and may even get great gas mileage to boot. We were very liberal with our definition of crazy cheap as well, so don’t expect all of them to be at a certain price point. They’re cheap for what they are and what they could be compared to, in most cases.
Equipped as an option on the Gran Sport 455, only 400 of the GSX Stage 1 packages were sold in 1970. The package boosted the performance of the lightweight 455 engine to 360 hp. That isn’t too impressive until you hear about the GSX Stage 1’s 510 lb-ft of torque. That was the highest torque output of any American production performance car until the introduction of the Series 2 V10 Dodge Viper in 2003.
Pontiac switched to the three-speed TH-400 equipped with a Hurst Performance dual-gate shifter. This shifter was dubbed a his/hers because it could be shifted automatically in Drive or could be used as a manual clutchless shifter. Basically, it was an early version of the modern Sport selection in some cars.
If you’re in the market for a new muscle car, chances are you’re looking to spend anywhere between $30,000 and $45,000, or even as much as $60k, depending on options and trims. Instead of looking for a new vehicle though, you may be better served looking to the past instead.
The thing that makes these rides so special is that they offer performance that new models do at a fraction of the price. While some of these cars could easily still be compared to new models from other segments, they’re still very affordable for what they can do.
The hatchback first appeared in Europe during the early sixties, and some examples even date back to the late thirties and pre-WWII. It took them a while and a little bit of good fortune, but they finally migrated to North American markets in the early seventies. Of course, global downsizing in the car industry imposed by the oil crisis of 1973 played a major role in that; suddenly, the practical yet cumbersome station wagon (mostly powered by V8 engines) became a heavy burden on the average car owner’s budget.