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Muscle car bucket list

These days everyone has their own Bucket List. You know, a checklist of things to get done before you die.

One car I've always wanted to drive is a Plymouth Roadrunner. I'll take one like this '68... even with a Hemi under hood.
One car I've always wanted to drive is a Plymouth Roadrunner. I'll take one like this '68... even with a Hemi under hood.
Photos by author, Aaron Ahlstrom

Being a passionate car fan, my Bucket List tends to flow through my heart and runs through my right foot.

While there are plenty of cars I wish to burn the hides off before I croak and go to the big boneyard in the sky, I'll keep my composure a bit. This list contains only old skool rides. 15 classic cars to be precise, in no particular order. Okay, one newer car might have sneaked on the list.

Here’s a street rodder's version of a Bucket List. Perhaps one could call it a Bucket Seat List (sorry bench fans):

’68-1/2 Mustang 428 Cobra Jet. Don’t you just love it when the factory purposely underrates their big block engine for only 335 horsepower to sneak it into production? And that ’67-’68 full fastback styling was to drive, I mean, die for.

Deuce roadster. Call ‘em a Deuce’ster. Either way, what a doozy. Can’t get any more old skool (or cooler) than a bare-bones traditional ’32 Ford hot rod.

’63 Corvette Sting Ray. This mid-year 2nd-gen Vette was the first of the Sting Rays (later Stingrays). Who can forget the (in)famous split-rear window, which would become a one-year-only design? That independent rear suspension chassis was so capable it would soldier on under all Sharks through ‘82.

’69 Daytona Charger or ’70 Plymouth Superbird. It’s hard to choose between either one of these race-track cousins. Point either of their nosecones and floor it. Let their aerodynamics do the rest as the speedo needle points down. Like the factory intended.

AC Cobra 289 V8. Notice I didn't include the big block of later years. Really, the smaller 260 V8 would suffice, but the 289 is about as perfect of a Cobra combo as they come.

T-Bucket. Okay, sounds a bit too forced, word-wise. A T-bucket has to be one of the finest crafted rods ever built: A simple tub on a chassis, and uncompromisingly fast.

’65 Shelby GT350. Take a gorgeous, white Mustang fastback, strip it down to bare race essentials, and power it with a warmed-over 289 backed by a 4-speed. ‘Nuff said.

’70 Chevelle LS6 454. Unparalleled styling that oozed horsepower from every pore, especially under hood. Even the ’70 Corvette didn't get the solid-lifter LS6 making the Chevelle top dog for that year.

Rat rod V8. Don’t care what it is. Better yet, what (rust) it’s made from. As long as it’s powered by a small block 350 (sure, boring) or a 302 Ford (yawn). Lightweight and built for going straight (i.e. speed), I’m sure the fun factor is through the roof… if it has one.

’69 Corvette L88 427. Not your typical Sunday cruise Stingray. The 427 was race-ready, its power way underrated (a familiar theme in the ‘60s), and it was scary fast.

’68 Hurst/Olds W-30. Kudos to Oldsmobile for side-stepping the GM mandate that restricted engines to under 400 cubes. Rules were meant to be broken, and Olds planted a 455 big block 2 years prior to the explosion of bigger motors in 1970.

’70 Plymouth ‘Cuda. Yes, the ’71 quad headlamp and grill setup garner more attention, but who cares? Give me the first E-body year and spec it out with any V8, starting with a 340 small block or 440 big block. Hell, put in a Hemi for the ultimate thrill ride.

’69-’70 Pontiac GTO Judge. Paint it either Carousel Red or Orbit Orange. And don’t forget those cool stickers. Style, inside and out, with legendary Poncho power under hood.

’67-’69 Camaro SS 396. Any first-gen Camaro is a classic. But the big block V8 belonged in the F-body, and the Super Sport package with the optional 396 made the pony car a stoplight terror.

’68-’69 Plymouth Roadrunner. Beep-beep! Take a cheap, stripper 2-door coupe (dig those pop out rear windows) and plug in a high performance 383. It beat the competition at both stoplights and the bottom line.

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