- Written by webmin
The streak has officially been broken: The 2010 Muscle Machine of the Year was not produced by General Motors. Mike Musto’s and Todd Ford’s 1969 Dodge Charger took the most votes in the Muscle Machines online poll to determine which of the finalists presented in the October issue was most favored by readers. Musto, a native of New York City’s Queens borough, set out to create his dream car by taking a 1969 Charger that started life as an SE model and outfitting it with replica Daytona components. The project was enabled when Musto met Todd Ford, a fellow high-performance driving enthusiast who had been impressed by Musto’s previous car, a ’68 Charger R/T. The objective was never to create an actual clone of a Daytona, but rather, to build a menacing street-worthy machine with wing-car presence that could also beat up on sports cars on a road course.
As we detailed in the January 2010 issue of HMM, Musto’s ’69 Charger began as a 350hp 383 backed up by a Torqueflite automatic, but had already been hot-rodded with a 471-inch low-deck big-block and a Tremec five-speed when he took possession a couple of years back. The power was there, but the rest of the car left a lot to be desired, so during the body metamorphosis, the unit-body was reinforced and the suspension enhanced with the objective of enduring continuous triple-digit travel with rock-steady stability. Without abandoning the stock Chrysler suspension architecture, Musto was able to drastically improve the car’s handling using select aftermarket components, including much firmer torsion bars and leaf springs, tubular control arms, a larger anti-roll bar up front and another added to the rear, plus close-ratio power steering. Massive brakes made up of components from a 2008 Challenger SRT8, a 2008 Viper and 1998 Mustang Cobra work together to bring the relative heavyweight down from those speeds reliably.
The Charger rides on huge, custom-made 18-inch wheels that were designed to provide the flavor of NASCAR rollers, and the package was finished in matte black with a gloss black Daytona stripe. In the HMM feature story, Musto, who is known to friends as “Mr. Angry,” offered that he wanted to, “create something that would make Darth Vader and Satan fight each other to the death for the keys.” Since completion, the Charger has been used in several cross-country road rallies, and Musto also gets it out on the track regularly, as he spends some of his time as a driving instructor for the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and the Performance Drivers Association.
Congratulations to Mike Musto and Todd Ford for capturing the most votes in our poll and taking the Muscle Machine of the Year award. Watch for the story in the December issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines, which should be hitting newsstands any day now.