Dopest Muscle Cars of 1968 – Chevrolet Camaro
My personal favorite of the dopest muscle cars of 1968 has to be the first generation Chevrolet Camaro. It is the sexiest car of ’68 and almost the fastest. It’s an ultimate ride and when kept in top shape, can be the ultimate chick magnet as well! Check out the pics below and read the specs. Also check out the video to see a bad ass grey ’68.
The styling of the 1968 Camaro was very similar to the 1967 design. With the introduction of Astro Ventilation, a fresh-air-inlet system, the side vent windows were deleted. Side marker lights were added on the front and rear fenders which was a government requirement for all 1968 vehicles. It also had a more pointed front grille and divided rear taillights. The front running lights (on non-RS models) were also changed from circular to oval. The big block SS models received chrome hood inserts that imitated velocity stacks.
The shock absorber mounting was staggered to resolve wheel hop issues and higher performance models received multi-leaf rear springs instead of single-leaf units. A 396 cu in (6.5 L) 350 hp (261 kW) big block engine was added as an option for the SS, and the Z28 appeared in Camaro brochures. The 427 cu in (7.0 l) was not available as a Regular Production Option (RPO). Several dealers, such as Baldwin-Motion, Dana, and Yenko, offered the 427 as a dealer-installed replacement for the factory-supplied 396 cid engine.
While the Z/28 variant was previously available as a track-only car during the 1967 production run, Chevrolet’s Special Production Division came up with an ingenious plan to make the Z/28 available for public road use. They had to convince Chevrolet’s General Manager Pete Estes to allow a production run by first building a road-ready Z/28 for him to drive. But the General Manager only drove convertible vehicles, and the Z/28 was never produced as a convertible. A Central Office Production Order (COPO) was placed for the only Z/28 convertible Camaro ever created. The car was placed in the executive garage which Pete Estes had access to. Upon driving the vehicle, he promptly gave approval for production of the Z/28. A 1968 Z/28 famously competed in the 1971 British Saloon Car Championship at Crystal Palace in a three-way battle for the lead, a race which was later featured in the BBC’s “100 Greatest Sporting Moments”.
Dopest Muscle Cars of 1968 – Ford Mustang
The 1968 models that were produced from January 1968 were also the first model year to incorporate three-point lap and shoulder belts (which had previously been optional, in 1967-68 models) as opposed to the standard lap belts. The air-conditioning option was fully integrated into the dash, the speakers and stereo were upgraded, and unique center and overhead consoles were options. The fastback model offered the option of a rear fold-down seat, and the convertible was available with folding glass windows. Gone was the Rally-Pac, since the new instrument cluster had provisions for an optional tachometer and clock. Its size and shape also precluded the installation of the accessory atop the steering column. The convenience group with four warning lights for low fuel, seat belt reminder, parking brake not released, and door ajar were added to the instrument panel, or, if one ordered the optional console and A/C, the lights were mounted on the console.
Changes for the 1968 model increased safety with a two-spoke energy-absorbing steering wheel, along with newly introduced shoulder belts. Other changes included front and rear side markers, “FORD” lettering removed from hood, rearview mirror moved from frame to windshield, a 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 engine was now available, and C-Stripe graphics were added.
The California Special Mustang, or GT/CS, was visually based on the Shelby model and was only sold in Western states. Its sister, the ‘High Country Special’, was sold in Denver, Colorado. While the GT/CS was only available as a coupe, the ‘High Country Special’ model was available in fastback and convertible configurations during the 1966 and 1967 model years, and as a coupe for 1968.
Dopest Muscle Cars of 1968 – Chevrolet Corvette
When introduced, the 1968 Corvette was criticized in a number of areas, one of which was interior room. The door panel looked good but intruded on interior room leaving many occupants feeling cramped in the shoulder area. Starting in 1969, a redesigned interior panel solved the problem. The door panel in the 1968 Up Close profile Corvette featured a pull handle which was a late 1968 addition. Earlier 1968 Corvettes made do with a horizontal slot which did not last long.
Topping the differences list is the fact that the 1968 Corvette did not carry the “Stingray” moniker. The mid years Corvettes (1963 to 1967) were known as “Sting Rays” and 1969 through 1976 carried the label “Stingray” above the front fender vents. Why 1968 was passed over is not known.
1968 was the last year for low back seats. Headrests had been available starting in 1967 and only 7.68% of the Corvettes were equipped with them. That percentage went up to 11.19% in 1968. They were listed as the same option in 1969 but due to federal safety regulations, all Corvettes were equipped with them. The dash mounted ignition switch was last seen on 1968 Corvettes. Federal anti-theft rules caused it to be moved to the steering column starting in 1969. During those years Corvettes were a prime target for car thieves, so there was justification behind the move.
Dopest Muscle Cars of 1968 – Mercury Cougar
Not much changed for the 1968 Cougar in its second year. The addition of federally mandated side marker lights and front outboard shoulder belts were among the minor changes, but the biggest changes were under the hood and in performance for the XR-7 model. A 210 hp (157 kW) 302-in3, two-barrel V8 was the base engine on all XR-7s and early standard Cougars. Three new engines were added to the option list this year: the 230 hp (172 kW) 302-in3, four-barrel V8; the 335 hp (250 kW) 428-in3, four-barrel V8; and the 390 hp (291 kW) 427-in3, four-barrel V8. In addition, the 289-in3 engine was made standard on base cars without the interior decor group midway through the model year.
There were many comfort and performance options available for the Cougar, including steering wheel and a power driver’s seat that could be swiveled for ease of entry/egress.
Mercury was serious about the Cougar being the performance icon for the company. The XR7-G, named for Mercury road racer Dan Gurney, came with all sorts of performance add-ons, including a hood scoop, Lucas fog lamps, and hood pins. Engine selection was limited only to the 302, 390, and 428 V8. A total of 619 XR7-Gs were produced, and only 14 Gs were produced with the 428 CJ. The mid-year 7.0-L GT-E package was available on both the standard and XR-7 Cougars and came with the 427 V8. The 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air was available in limited numbers on the GT-E beginning 1 April 1968.
Dopest Muscle Cars of 1968 – Oldsmobile 442
The 4-4-2 became a separate model from 1968 through 1971. The wheelbase was 112 in (2,845 mm), and over 33,000 were sold for 1968. Despite the engine displacement staying at 400 CID, the engine was based on the new 455 cranktrain (4.25 stroke) and the bore decreased (to 3.87). Torque now came at 3000–3200 rpm as opposed to the early 400’s 3600 rpm peak, mostly due to a milder base cam grind. Car Life tested a 1968 4-4-2 with a 3.42:1 rear axle ratio and Hydramatic and attained 0–60 times of 7.0 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 15.13 seconds at 92 mph (148 km/h). Top speed was reported as 115 mph (185 km/h). The base motor was still rated at 350 hp (261 kW), but only with the standard three-speed and optional four-speed; automatics were rated at 325 hp (242 kW). W-30s were rated again at 360 hp (268 kW). Car Life also tested a four-speed W-30 with 4.33 rearend gears and recorded a 13.3 at 103.30 mph (166.2 km/h), which shows the long stroke did not affect actual performance although long term durability at high (6000 plus) engine speeds might be affected.
All standard 1968 4-4-2 engines are painted a bronze–copper color, as with the 1967s, topped with a fire-red air cleaner. W-30 option cars were equipped with Ram Air intake hoses leading from a chrome-topped dual snorkel black air cleaner to special under-bumper air scoops and set off by bright red plastic fender wells. In addition, a Turnpike Cruiser option was made available with a two-barrel carburetor; this was previously available on the Cutlass Supreme for 1967. 1968 was the first year for side marker lights and front outboard shoulder belts, and the last year for vent windows on hardtops and convertibles. 4-4-2s for ’68 had unique rear bumpers, with exhaust cutouts and special exhaust tips.