Supercars? We can't think of anything that describes them better. They're the type of American car that best corresponds to the European concept of "Gran Turismo"—a high-performance touring car with excellent seating for two, plus tight seating for two more. A supercar is designed for road use, not for the dragstrip or oval track. It is supposed to steer and stop as well as it goes. On curves where ordinary cars lean over, tires squealing, the supercar can go faster, without body roll or a peep from the tires.
It's a civilized passenger car for small families, singles of all ages, multicar households—and, in short, anyone seeking the fun and joy of driving.
An economy car it's not. First cost is high, and gas bills are high.
Pontiac's Firebird is brand-new—production began in February. Dodge's Challenger was new last September. Mercury's Cougar is basically a '69 model with an all-new engine.
As with the cars we tested last month (Camaro, Mustang, Barracuda, Javelin), we ordered these with small four-barrel V8s, four-on-the-floor, power steering, and power (front) disk brakes. Since Pontiac no longer offers a four-barrel version of the 350 V8, their only V8 comparable to Ford's 351 Cleveland engine and Chrysler's hot 340 is the Formula 400. Despite the difference in horsepower ratings, the acceleration times are remarkably similar.
Dodge Challenger. This car is like a short-wheelbase Charger. Power train and running gear are the same on both. No Dart parts are used on the Challenger. The car looks and feels like an intermediate, not a compact. The rear seat is surprisingly roomy and comfortable for such a close-coupled coupe. Continued