Hot on the heels of our Camaro muscle-fest I went back and pulled this post out of the "Pending" box and decided to finally finish it. When I hear the word 'muscle car' the '68 Road Runner is the first car that leaps to mind. The Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro probably get the lion's share of attention these days given, as Rob noted, the abundance of aftermarket parts and experience out there such that just about anyone with a modicum of mechanical aptitude can get a decent, great-looking street machine going. And, truth be told, those cars have a certain fascination; they captured the cultural zeitgeist of the mid-late '60s youth culture perfectly and that nostalgia for lost youth is probably the major driver (pun intended) behind the huge market for those two models.
That and they were serious street racers. Big engines. Cool names. Camaro! Mustang! And heck, throw in Corvette! as well.
Then along comes a car from Plymouth named after a cartoon character with that bird's signature Beep! Beep! for a horn. Hello?
Although many came before and after, the Road Runner--and I really include only the '68 in this--is, to my mind, as close as you get to the bare essence of what American muscle was all about: a cheap, stripped-down, mid-size coupe, bereft of nearly anything that didn't contribute to its getting down a quarter-mile strip of street or track in as little time as possible. Nearly anyone could afford to buy one and commence doing whatever modifications it took to take on anything else on the road.