For years car enthusiast complained that v6 muscle cars were poser specials. Worthy of secretaries and a constant reminder that you could’ve had a v8. Automakers as of late of made base muscle cars better than ever, but still they arent widely accepted.

In the 90's a base Mustang would probably have gotten you laughed at had you showed up at the track. The 4th gen 94', powered by Ford’s Essex 3.8 V6, produced 145 horses (150 in 96'!). Even though it had 215 ft lbs of torque, it was gutless and the definition of base model.

The Camaro from the same time was powered by GM’s 3.4 Liter L32 V6 that was specifically used in the F Body cars. It pushed out 160 horses. It was only used until 95 when a 3.8 liter became standard. Still the definition of rental special and a joke performance wise. The Challenger wasnt even around in the 90's as we all know.


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Even well into the 21st century there were struggles. For a while last decade, the Mustang was the sole muscle car. A redesign in 05 saw really no engine improvements. The Mustang still started with a big ass under powered V6, this time around a 4.0 with 210 horses. I’ve never encountered anyone that liked that engine. It was used all the way until 2010.

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It wasn’t until recently, as in a few years ago, that automakers got their act together regarding the base models. GM was the first to hit the ground running. The debut of Camaro in 09 saw the application of GMs 3.6 high feature V6 producing 312 horses

The Challenger coming out at the same time had Chrysler’s 3.5 “high output” V6 putting put 250 horses that saw duty in the LX cars since their debut. It was ok of an engine but with the company’s position at the time I doubt they could have gotten something better.

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Ford answered GM in 11' debuting a new 3.7 V6 producing 300 horses and is probably one of the best V6s ever made (IMHO).

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FCA would come to the table with a new V6 for the Challenger around the same time as the mustangs new V6.It saw the application of the Chrysler’ 3.6 Pentastar v6 producing 305 horses.

So why the hate on V6 muscle cars? I never understood it. The V6s in these cars shame the V8s of the past. They all produce well over 300 horses, sound good for base models (especially the Mustang with an aftermarket exhaust. It’s almost reminiscent of Nissans VQ) and deliver gas mileage that past engineers could only dream of with the size and power they have. They are also cheaper to insure.

Having driven all 3 V6 versions myself I would have to say I wouldn’t think twice about getting one, and I actually wish I had gotten a V6 instead of the Ecoboost. The performance on a daily driving basis is way more than adequate. Aftermarket support for some of these engines has grown as well. Sadly the 3.7 at Ford is on its way out for 2018. I think Chevy might follow suit soon.

So why do you guys think or hate on base muscle cars? We complained and they delivered with a combination of power, fuel efficiency and affordability that make these cars not good new buys but fantastic used buys.