FEBRUARY 7, 2015: MSCC QUESTION–WHAT PONY CARS SHOULD ONLY HAVE BEEN BUILT AS FASTBACKS?

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The fastback was one of the best styling concepts ever concocted by the boys in Detroit.

 

We at MSCC will take it one step further: fastback models should have been the only model offered in some cases when it comes to Detroit’s pony cars.

 

The question becomes pretty obvious at this point: what pony cars should only have come out of the factory as fastbacks?

 

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One car that immediately springs to mind is the Mustang. A first-gen Blue Oval pony with a notchback design is essentially a Ford Falcon in drag.

 

Few people dreamed of a notchback Mustang with a chopped-off back window rail, except frugal buyers living a life of illusion about these non-fastback Ponies.

 

Secretaries drove Mustang notchbacks-car guys drove fastback Mustangs back in the 60s. How would Detective Frank Bullitt have looked behind the wheel of a notchback Mustang during the famous chase scene? Like a guy driving a car that should have ended up in a ball of fire instead of the classic 1968 Charger fastback.

 

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A notchback Mustang is a gelding in a world of fastback stallions and let’s be perfectly honest here; that is good news because notchback Mustangs never meant to reproduce and multiply. These days you can buy a complete aftermarket first-gen Mustang body.

 

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We suggest you use it to replace your notchback Mustang body.

 

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Mustang wasn’t the only car with fastback issues because the second generation Plymouth Barracuda was also a disaster as a notchback for largely the same reasons as the Mustang. We will give Plymouth credit, because the third generation Barracuda was a beautiful notchback design that completely suited the new sheet metal.

 

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But the 1967-69 Barracuda notchback was Door Number Two in the eyes of car guys when it came to the second-gen Mopar pony car. In fairness, the Barracuda notchback looked better than the Mustang fastback in a battle of blandness, but neither one should have left the drawing table at Ford and Chrysler.

 

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The second-gen Barracuda was never the belle of the ball when it comes to ‘Cudas and lost out a popularity contest with the third-gen Barracudas in a big way. However, there are still many among us who loved the second generation Barracudas because of the fastback roof design.

 

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The ‘67-69 Barracuda fastback was a perfect blend of good geometry and style for this Mopar pony car. This car was a poster child for the proper use of fastbacks, much like the early Mustangs.

 

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The General headed in a different direction with its first-gen Camaros and offered it only in notchback as a coupe model. They made the right choice with the first generation Camaro because they hit a grand slam home run with the body design of this Bowtie pony.

 

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The first-generation Camaro enjoys even more popularity today than its initial model run, one that started almost 50 years ago in 1967. Some would argue the end of the fastback Barracuda in 1969 was partially due to the design of the first-gen Camaro and its enormous popularity as a notchback.

 

All of this fastback history brings us to a peculiar final twist in the fastback/notchback debate because Chevy went to a fastback model with its second generation Camaro and ran with the fastback design into the early 21st century.

 

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Thus ends a brief but puzzling look at the pony car fastbacks.

 

Jim Sutherland

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