As one of the coolest abandoned cars in America, Plymouths are still popular among collectors and enthusiasts. However, auctions have driven the prices of some Plymouth cars well beyond their value, and the hype has caused car enthusiasts to lose sight of the real numbers behind some of these cars. But while Plymouth remains famous for its incredible muscle cars like the Road Runner and Hemi Cuda, the classics from Pontiac and Oldsmobile are mostly relegated to the history books.
For discerning enthusiasts, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since many of the biggest models from these brands are now available at bargain prices. To illustrate our point, here are five incredible Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs that could take on any Plymouth that dares to compete with them, which still offer good value for money.
ten Oldtimers: 1987 Cutlass Supreme 442
The 1987 Cutlass Supreme 4-4-2 was the ultimate G-Body of the 80s. Equipped with a 307 cubic inch V8 and a 4-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, the 4-4 -2 featured high-end technology for its time. Outside, the Olds rocked black or gray paint and gold accents, alongside ’60s-style rally wheels.
The recent shift towards 80s cars has caused prices to skyrocket, however, so now is the time to act. The only comparable Plymouth offerings came with front-wheel drive and an inline-four…yuck. The only question now is which hair metal band will you be listening to as you cross the main street in your 87 Olds?
9 Pontiac: Grand Prix 2+2 1986
The 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 was a NASCAR fan’s dream. The fastback roof and aero package made the on-road Grand Prix look like the car Richard Petty and Rusty Wallace drove during the Winston Cup Series. Underpowered by modern standards, the 305 produced 175 hp, which was sufficient for the time.
Pontiac was a dominant force in NASCAR in the 1980s, when Plymouth wasn’t even competing. Plymouth had no V8 performance offerings. The only V8 car they sold in 1987 was in 1983 was the Plymouth Gran Fury, an overland barge to be used for the fleet. The adage “something is better than nothing” takes on its full meaning here.
8 Vintage: 1965 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88
The 1965 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 was a full-size beast, ready to take Grandma to church in under 7 seconds 0-60. The big American cruiser was equipped with a huge 425 cubic inch V8. The Dynamic 88 was complete was a plush ride and period comfort features such as air conditioning, power steering and even power windows.
The exterior features a semi-fastback roof and enough chrome to make a lowrider jealous. Period-correct wheels were standard, with rally-style wheels optional. The Dynamic 88 was definitely a step above the regular Plymouth Fury…with a 318 cubic inch small block as standard.
seven Pontiac: 1965 Pontiac Bonneville
Probably more recognizable than the Dynamic 88, the Bonneville is a favorite of hot rodders and cruisers. The Bonneville only came standard with big-block V8s and was offered in a luxury convertible. The 421 cubic inch HO V8 could rev the massive cruiser to 60 in 6.9 seconds and was underrated at 375 hp.
Fans of the GTO or Firebird will easily attach themselves to the Bonneville, it featured the iconic split grille and coke bottle styling. While the Fury lacked Plymouth design motifs and didn’t see the coke bottle style until the ’70s. The Fury had a standard slant-six, not a big block. There really is no replacement for displacement.
6 Old: 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2
The 4-4-2 (which stands for four-barrel carburetor, four-speed transmission and two exhausts) started life as an option package for the Cutlass, but quickly became its own design from 1968 to 1971, and was resurrected in the 1980s for the previously mentioned Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. The 4-4-2 had a 400 or 455 cubic inch V8 and of course the four-speed manual transmission, good for a 0-60 in under 6 seconds.
All the typical muscle car features of the 70s were present on the 4-4-2: the hood scoops, the stripes and the essential chrome wheels. The Plymouth Roadrunner could only manage times of 6.6 seconds with the 383 cubic inch V8. We know what we would rather have.
5 Pontiac: 1970 Pontiac T-37
You probably haven’t heard of this one, but you should familiarize yourself. The T-37 was based on Le Mans (like 4-4-2 is on the Cutlass) but offered more performance options. A big-block 455, a 4-speed manual and a serious weight reduction. No fancy bucket seats or creature comforts here. Nothing on the outside indicated that it was a performance car other than the chrome wheels and the 455 V8 badging. It was the original sleeper.
Plymouth’s Hemi Roadrunner may have been a stripped down runner, but at what cost? The T-37 cost two-thirds the price of the Roadrunner and offered comparable performance. Now tell us who gave more car for the money.
4 Old: 1949 Olds Rocket 88
Perhaps not a muscle car in the eyes of most, the Rocket 88 had typical muscle car features: a V8 in a mid-size car at a reasonable price. Many automotive historians consider it the first muscle car because it was the first car to do all of these things. The 135hp might seem anemic compared to most muscle cars, but were revolutionary in the late 1940s.
Plymouth at this point had no V8s in its lineup, and the comparable Plymouth Deluxe had a weak 96 horsepower straight-six. There is a reason Van Halen wrote a song about a Rocket 88 not a Plymouth Deluxe. The only contest here is whether it or the next entry was the first muscle car.
3 Pontiac: 1964 Pontiac GTO
Most enthusiasts regard the Pontiac GTO as the first muscle car. The project was led by John DeLeoran to bring young buyers to Pontiac. The mid-size Tempest had a 389 cubic inch V8 shoehorn and was dressed to look like a race car. It turned out to be a huge hit and sparked a revolution in Detroit.
The optional GTO with 4 speed could hit 60 in less than 5.7 seconds. The Belvedere in Plymouth was comparable, but it was hard to get the 426 Wedge V8 (not to be confused with the 426 Hemi). The GTO was the first to offer this level of performance to everyone back in the 1960s. Oh…and there’s a Pontiac GTO song too.
2 1969 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds
The Hurst/Olds is a legend among GM fans and muscle car fans and for good reason. Hurst jumped 4-4-2 models with a gold-and-white paint scheme, working hood scoop and an upgraded 455 big-block V8 good for 370 hp (although that’s probably an understatement). Cars could hit 60 in 5.8 seconds.
Plymouth also worked with Hurst, but these cars were not street legal. Although their performance on the drag strip was admirable, the cars were not easy to drive or reliable enough for street use. The Hurst Oldsmobile was fully capable of everyday street use and many are still roadworthy and drivable.
1 Judge Pontiac GTO 1970
Perhaps one of GM’s most legendary cars, the Judge GTO used a massive 455 cubic inch V8 and sported spoilers, gloss paint, hood scoops and chrome wheels. Judge made 375 hp and was good for a 5.4 second 0-60 time, the fastest time on this list.
Plymouth’s competition to the GTO judge was the Barracuda, which came standard with a Slant Six. It took a lot of money to buy a Barracuda that would rival a GTO Judge. No wonder the judge was the favorite ride of Kevin Pickford.
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