1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 Head-to-Head 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T: A Rare Muscle Battle

In the world of classic muscle cars, where Fords, GMs, and Mopars reigned supreme, there were numerous high-performance beauties that rolled into showrooms during the golden era. Even today, over 50 years later, these cars remain highly coveted classics.

While iconic models like the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Dodge Charger, and Plymouth Barracuda often steal the spotlight, we mustn’t overlook the contributions of other manufacturers. American Motors Corporation (AMC), for instance, had its fair share of noteworthy muscle cars.

The Rebel Machine, Javelin, and AMX are some of AMC’s most iconic creations, but today we’ll shine the spotlight on a hidden gem—the Hornet. The Hornet is a classic muscle car that often flies under the radar, but it certainly deserves our attention, especially when it comes in the form of the beefed-up 1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 version.

Equipped with a robust 360-cubic-inch (5.9-liter) V8 engine featuring a four-barrel carburetor, the  1971 AMC Hornet SC 360 boasted an impressive 285 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque right off the showroom floor. This specific example, showcased in the accompanying video, is equipped with the Go Pack, which adds a four-speed manual transmission and a ram air hood.

Compared to its competitors, the SC360 may not possess the same level of power as other muscle cars from that era, but it compensates with its significantly lighter weight. Weighing in at only 3,234 pounds (1,467 kg), the Hornet is a whopping 700 pounds (318 kg) lighter than the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T that it goes head-to-head with in the race captured on film.

The Challenger R/T in question packs a massive 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) V8 engine beneath its hood. With the help of a four-barrel carburetor, it delivers an impressive 375 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque to the ground. That’s an extra 90 horses and 90 pound-feet of torque compared to the SC360. Since both cars are equipped with four-speed manuals and 4.10 rear gears, it appears that the power-to-weight ratio could determine the outcome of this exhilarating race.

However, relying solely on these numbers would be misleading since both cars compete in the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race series. For those unfamiliar with this class, it permits a significant number of under-the-hood upgrades. Consequently, while these classic beauties may seem stock on the outside, they often unleash a staggering 500 to 700 horsepower on the drag strip.

Only 916 Challenger R/Ts were built in this configuration in 1970, while AMC put together just 306 Hornet SC360s with the four-barrel 360 and the four-speed manual. So hit the play button below to enjoy a rare quarter-mile encounter.

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