QOTD: The Least Sporty Muscle Car Ever?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd the least sporty muscle car ever

TTAC’s Slack channel honed in on muscle cars the other day. As the discussion progressed, a question came to light which your author hadn’t previously considered. It’s a simple enough inquiry, yet there are many variables to consider.

Today we talk about the least sporty muscle cars.

The image of the muscle car has evolved over time, as automotive segments tend to do. A modern muscle car is faster than its ancestors, and can actually handle corners. Modern muscle cars like the Mustang and Camaro maintain their performance, even with automatic transmissions and four-cylinder engines. But the muscle car game has not always been so good — there were darker times.

In olden times, muscle cars were designed with straight-line speed and raw power in mind. Aggressive styling was an important hallmark, as well. But some so-called muscle cars couldn’t quite live up even to modest genre expectations. Too much weight, not enough sport or engine, or a design which was all wrong for a muscle car. My pick today ticks a number of least-sporty-type boxes.

But I love it anyway. It’s a Mercury Marauder X-100, and it wasn’t a sporty muscle car. The Marauder had a very short second generation for 1969 and 1970. Ford wanted to up its sporting game to lend it more credibility, and changes seen on the X-100 over the basic version included different seats, a floor-mount shifter for the automatic, and road wheels concealed by super sporty fender skirts. It was 219 inches long, available only with a three-speed auto attached to the 390 or 429 cubic-inch V8s. Those engines pushed around 4,300 pounds of coupe. A short-lived and lackadaisical attempt at muscle car from Mercury. I’d love to have one.

Tell us your picks for the least sporty muscle car entries throughout history.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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4 of 94 comments
  • DenverMike DenverMike on Mar 27, 2019

    Buick Grand National. Your Grandma's Sunday driver, Olds Cutlass shared the same cheesy brakes, shocks, sway bars, etc. I remember C&D or R&T on the Road Test coming down a mountain road, when they pulled over to let the brakes cool (they faded to almost no brakes), its front hubcaps melted into a puddles on the dirt! Except for more power, bigger wheels and tires, the only thing the "GNX" did for the Grand National was a traction arm to help out with the GN's spectacular "wheel hop".

    • See 1 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Mar 27, 2019

      @ajla Basically its rotors were red hot. But thanks, I wish I was talented enough to make this stuff up!

  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on Apr 05, 2019

    Least sporty muscle car? I would nominate the 1971 AMC Hornet SC 360. It could be called a muscle car (small car with big engine and sporting pretensions), but it hardly looked sporty.

  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.
  • Lou_BC "Overpriced" is a misnomer. Arguably, if they are selling they are not overpriced. "Dealer mark-up above MSRP" is a mouthful but more accurate. Simple, don 't buy anything marked up. A computer will help you search the country. It's a PITA but doable.