1966 Pontiac GTO Drag Races 1970 Ford Torino SCJ to Predictable Outcome

The 1960s saw the first muscle cars come to life, but things got wilder toward the end of the decade and in the early 1970s. That's when the most powerful machines from the golden era emerged. This drag race between a 1966 Pontiac GTO and a 1970 Ford Torino Super Cobra Jet is the perfect illustration of how muscle cars evolved in half a decade.
1970 Ford Torino Super Cobra Jet 1 photo
On one lane, we have the Pontiac GTO, an iconic nameplate that debuted in 1964. This all-white example from 1966 packs a 6.4-liter V8 engine, the only one available back in the day. Rated at 360 horsepower and 424 pound-feet (575 Nm) of torque, it was one of GM's most powerful mills in 1966. Needless to say, the car looks pristine and runs just as well.

The opposite lane sees a Ford Torino rev up for the quarter-mile. The Torino debuted later than the GTO in 1968. This particular example is from the 1970 model year, which makes it a second-gen version. But it's not a regular Torino. It's a range-topping Super Cobra Jet trim fitted with the massive 7.0-liter V8 engine bearing the same name.

Fitted with a wide range of race-inspired internals, the V8 generated 375 horsepower and 450 pound-feet (610 Nm) of torque when it left the factory. The Torino is also a bit more aerodynamic than the GTO, but at 4180 pounds (1,896 kg), it's also almost 500 pounds (227 kg) heavier than the Pontiac.

Is the weight advantage enough for this GTO to outgun the Torino SCJ on the dragstrip? Not really. The Ford gets in front in a matter of seconds, despite the GTO starting first during the red light. The Torino wins the race with a 13.76-second pass at 103.16 mph (166.01 kph). The GTO manages 14.16 seconds at 100.05 mph (161.01 kph).

With the GTO disqualified for a red-light sprint, they line up for a second duel. The Torino wins again with a slightly slower pass at 13.79 seconds and 102.48 mph (164.92 kph). With a proper green light start, the GTO is slightly slower the second time at 14.26 seconds and 99.62 mph (160.32 kph). The Torino is almost a half-second quicker, which is impressive given that it's notably heavier and benefits only from an extra 15 horsepower and 26 pound-feet (35 Nm) of twist.

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