Muscle Cars and Road Courses Make Unlikely Partners – /TUNED

TUNED tests out a couple of suspension-tuned muscle cars on the Willow Springs road course to see how Hotchkis suspension components make old cars less scary, and modern cars fast as hell.


  1. Lot of hate in the comments I have a 70 challenger and honestly he’s right we just don’t like to admit it, dodge muscle cars are made especially shitty

  2. Geez I am going to have to agree with Matt Farah on this one. Many people on here are clinging to nostalgia and are not open minded. Hey I love those old muscle cars. I grew up as a kid/teen around all those GM and Chevy cars with massive V8's in them. However, you have to look at today's technology to understand how far we have come since 40yrs ago. There are two important characteristics about both of these muscle cars compared to most other newer more exotic sports cars in regard to handling. One is weight(and power to weight/ratio) and the other is engine placement. I'm going to compare the following cars Matt drove.

    1970 Dodge Challenger 4000lbs at 400hp 340 LA V8 Front Engine 10lbs/hp
    2011 Ford Mustang GT 3600lbs at 560hp 5L Coyote V8 Front Engine 6.4lbs/hp
    2005 Lotus Exige 1900lbs at 700hp 1.8L Toyota 2ZZ I4 Mid Engine 2.7lbs/hp
    1991 Toyota MR2 at 2800lbs at 850hp 2.2L 5SGTE I4 Mid Engine 3.2lbs/hp
    2009 Nissan GTR at 3800lbs at 962hp 3.8L VR38 V6 Front Engine 3.9lbs/hp
    1997 Toyota Supra at 3400lbs at 700hp 3L 2JZ I6 Front Engine 4.8lbs/hp
    2007 Porsche 911 at 2600lbs at 600hp 3.8L F6 Rear Engine 4.3lbs/hp

    For all those people out there that say those domestic Muscle Cars would whoop any import out there. From the above import cars up there. I highly doubt it. Maybe if those muscle cars have a 600-1000 cu inch engine… and then only driven on the drag strip, then it would. However, Matt is driving around an oval track or on winding streets. To go any faster with those American Muscle cars, Matt would have to use drifting techniques to attack those corners. Those cars with a mid engine can easily maneuver those corners a lot better. I would have to say that the Lotus that Matt drove is probably one of the best at attacking a corner with it's mid engine. The Porsche takes it a step farther, and has a Flat Six Boxer engine that sits as a Rear Engine which has a lower center of gravity. This makes the Porsche even better as a track car around corners. And the Flat 6 engines are always overbore, so the car will always have a higher redline with a lot of power. Ever notice that slightly less expensive 6 cylinder Porsche usually is a more powerful car compared to the more expensive V8 powered Ferrari? The Toyota Supra and Nissan Skylines have a Straight 6 in them…. and those engines have a better balance than a V8, have a ton of low RPM torque, and are the strongest blocks that will handle an incredible amount of boost via forced induction. A drag prepped Nissan Skyline or Toyota Supra will keep up or possibly out race most American Muscle Cars in a straight line.

    As you can see above, most of the other cars Matt has driven have a much better power to weight ratio that either the Mustang or the Challenger. The New models of the Dodge Challenger weight between 4000-4500lbs, and that's a lot more weight. A car with less weight will be easier to attack corners with, brake faster, and handle better overall. The lower a car's weight will also strain the engine less as well. With technology getting better and better now days, it is possible to have a 6 cylinder or 4 cylinder car compete with V8's in terms of raw power. The new Honda K series 4 cylinder engines can achieve naturally aspirated numbers between 300-520hp. Once boosted those Honda K engines can easily achieve 600hp up to around 1500hp. Nissan's 6 cylinder VQ35/VR38 engines can achieve 500-600hp natural aspirated. Nissan's RB and TB engines…. and Toyota's 2JZ motors are able to reach 1500-2500hp and possibly beyond once boosted with Turbochargers. There are plenty of drag prepped Supras and Skylines that have over 2000hp. I've seen a GTR out there on YouTube that has almost 3500hp from a V6 which does around 6.6 sec in the 1/4th mile!

    Mid engine and Rear engine cars tend to handle a lot better around corners once you get used to driving them. They often have oversteer compared to a front engine's understeer. Anyone who has driven a mid engined car can attest to the car's ability to navigate a corner better. I've driven a 1967 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 cu inch, 1973 Trans Am with a 383 stroker, a 1969 Z28 Camaro, a 1969 Corvette with a 427cu inch, 1989 Chevy S10 350, and few more American muscle cars with either a small or big block V8. I've driven a bunch of imports with aftermarket mods as well like the Toyota MR2, Mazda Miata, Nissan 350z, Supras, Skylines, Posche Boxster and 911, Lotus Evora, Lotus Exige, Ferrari Mondial, Mitsubishi EVOs etc…. and they are extremely different than the classic muscle cars. If you are an older guy and into OLD V8 power…. I suggest you try out and drive a tuned up Supra or Skyline just once.

    In the end, it comes down to taste. Would you prefer nostalgia, raw power, and a domestically made car that is 40+ years old that doesn't handle all that well even with aftermarket suspension due the increased weight? Or would you prefer to have an import with a mid or rear engine, has decently good up to great power, usually lighter weight, is technologically more advanced, and tend to handle a lot better? Or if the imports are front engined, will have that Super Straight 6 which keeps up with most V8s? I will admit that domestic cars that are much older were better built in the past compared to the domestic cars now. However, the Japanese import cars are also better built, last a real long time, and have less maintenance requirements, like Camrys, Accords, Civics, etc….

  3. Good Grief….where to start??!! Can't even comprehend why the owner gave you the car to drive. You embarrass yourself when you show no ability to drive it and compound that with a complete lack of any understanding of the actual history concerning muscle cars, the 340 or a Dodge Challenger. The 340 was/is a pretty damned STOUT drag race motor……so you got that one wrong right off the bat. Next up this Dodge Challenger you actually got to drive. If only you knew what you were doing behind the wheel you could have actually turned some pretty good laps. But your bias and a TOTAL LACK OF BALLS in your driving make the fact that Hotchkiss even allowed you this car to drive hard to fathom.

  4. ????
    How my 72 Elco is set up.

    I have Hotchkis swag bars
    tubular a arms and trailing arms
    and QA one shocks
    On Mickey Thompson’s

    you can go FAST & HARD into corners
    As a Porsche
    and not worry about it

    Muscle car w/racing suspension
    It’s a NASCAR

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  8. There is a company in England called GTO Engineering that builds a brand new 250 SWB (1960) for about 1,000,000.00. I drive a new 488 GTB and Lamborghini Huracan. I’d take that 300 horsepower Ferrari over the new.
    The point is ,as most would agree ,you simply can’t duplicate the “feel” of the old stuff with the new antiseptic appliances that they call cars. Give me a leaf spring Challenger TA clone with a few mods and while I’m feeling like I’m doing 100mph at 60 .You can keep your supercharged 2022 refrigerator with decals wishing you had a REAL muscle car.

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