Vintage Review: Olds 442, Pontiac GTO, Comet Cyclone GT, Chevelle SS396, Buick Skylark GS, Ford Fairlane GTA – Car and Driver Test Drives Six Super Cars

SuperCarImage

Muscle cars were the rage in 1966, with virtually every U.S. maker offering a “hot” mid size model to capture performance enthusiasts.  Naturally, Car and Driver was keen to evaluate the offerings, and for the March 1966 issue, they arranged for Formula One driver Masten Gregory–also the winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1965–to test drive the “Super Cars” and give his preferences.  The results make for a fascinating read, showcasing how hard the manufacturers fought, cheated (or not) to win kudos for offering the meanest machines on the streets.

CD0366SixSupercarsP1

CD0366SixSupercarsP2

CD0366SixSupercarsP3

CD0366SixSupercarsP4

CD0366SixSupercarsP5

CD0366SixSupercarsP6  CD0366SixSupercarsP7

CD0366SixSupercarsP8

CD0366SixSupercarsP9

CD0366SixSupercarsP10 CD0366SixSupercarsP11  CD0366SixSupercarsP12

CD0366SixSupercarsP13

CD0366SixSupercarsP14

Modified or not, the “Super Cars” were clearly a blast to drive (though none of them stopped as well as they should have).  Masten Gregory’s reviews of the cars gave a great perspective on the abilities of muscle cars circa 1966, and he seemed to gravitate to the more balanced machines.  For prospective customers considering which car to get for everyday use, I think Gregory’s opinions were usefully balanced.  Had I been shopping in this segment in 1966, I think I would have been drawn to the GTO, in no small part due to its excellent marketing.  Having read this article though, I would have had to consider the 442, and who knows–maybe the Olds would have been my pick as well.