Today’s NASCAR rides bear little resemblance to anything you’re likely to see tooling around town. It truly has become a mockery of the term “Stock Car,” but that wasn’t always the case. There were once NASCAR entrants that were at least somewhat similar to something you could get from a dealership. Here’s a look at five cars that kicked as much tail on the street as they did on the track.
The Charger is a can’t-miss muscle car that has been seen in countless movies and TV shows. The Duke boys crashed, pounded, and pummeled their way through 321 of them (mostly 68-69 models) during the seven seasons of the Dukes of Hazzard. Richard Petty drove a 1973 Charger to victory during his fourth Daytona 500. With engine sizes up to 440 cubic inches, the ’73 version won many back road contests as well.
Strictly speaking, Bobby Allison’s ’73 MC wasn’t a track monster, though it did win two victories for the racing legend in the year it came out. Nonetheless, anyone who has seen The Last American Hero will recognize it as the car driven by Jeff Bridges in that iconic film. The 1973 model came with high-caster steering, Pliacell shock absorbers and front and rear anti-roll bars.
Driven by the late, great Davey Allison, “Number 28” is one of the most revered rides in NASCAR history. The ’91 T-Bird was no slouch on the street either, with an available 4.9-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission on the Turbo Coupe version.
1973 Mercury Montego
The Montego is one of the unsung heroes from the classic muscle car era. But that didn’t stop Richard Petty’s archrival David Pearson from taking his ’73 model to victory 11 times. Pearson also gained eight pole positions with his trusted Mercury. The Montego was a winner on the streets as well, especially in its 460 cubic inch V8.
Like Madonna and Miley Cyrus, the ’67 Belvedere is a good girl gone bad. It was meant by its designers to be a safe, reliable family sedan. But speed demons turned it into a holy terror on the track as well as the street. Richard Petty drove his wicked-fast Belvedere (with a 426 cubic inch engine at its heart) to an unbelievable 27 victories in one season. This included 10 consecutive NASCAR triumphs. In 2008, old Number 43 was presented to the NASCAR hall of fame, an honor it well deserves.
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