D

o you want to know which automobiles made the list of the 10 quickest muscle cars in 1972?

Do you want to know which of the 1972 muscle cars was the fastest? You’ve come to the correct location.

Today, you’ll learn all about each of the muscle vehicles on this list, including the make, model, cubic inches, torque, quarter-mile timings, and quarter-mile speed.

To construct the ranking from first to tenth place, I analyzed historical data from 1971 and 1972 automobile magazines, including notables such as Motor Trend, Car & Driver, and Hi-Performance Cars.

Fastest 1972 Muscle Cars

Let’s face it, the muscle cars of 1972 weren’t the fastest of the era.

Important engine parameters such as compression ratio, horsepower, and torque all dropped significantly on paper, signaling the end of the high-performance roller coaster.

What caused the performance to deteriorate?

New federal emission requirements that lowered compression to run on unleaded fas, higher insurance rates on muscle cars, and the changeover from gross to net horsepower numbers were all major causes in the reduction of performance.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 quickest muscle cars from 1972, in order.

#1972 Buick GS 455 Stage 1

The Buick GS, with a Stage 1 455 with 8.5:1 compression, 270 horsepower, and 390 lb-ft torque, was the fastest muscle car in 1972.

A GS 455 ran a 14.10-second quarter-mile at 97 miles per hour in the June 1972 issue of Motor Trend magazine.

Buick built 8,575 GSs, including 728 hardtops and 81 convertibles in Stage 1. The 350 or 455 CID V8 engines were standard on all other GS models.

Key Specs

Engine

455 CID V8

Horsepower

270

Torque

390 lb-ft

ET

14.10 Seconds

MPH

97

Source

6/72, MT

1972 Buick GS 455 Stage 1
Creator: Andrew Thompson Copyright: VisualEchos Photography

#1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W-30 455

The 72 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W-30 came in second with 8.5:1 compression, 300 horsepower, and 410 lb-ft torque.

A 4-4-2 W-30 ran a 14.37-second quarter-mile time while traveling 98 miles per hour in the August 1972 issue of Hi-Performance Cars magazine.

Oldsmobile produced 9,843 4-4-2 units, with 770 W-30s, according to GM documents.

Key Specs

Engine

455 CID V8

Horsepower

300

Torque

410 lb-ft

ET

14.37 Seconds

MPH

98

Source

8/72, HPC

1972 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W-30 455
copyright @ barrett-jackson.com/

#1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 350

The 72 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 finished third with 9.0:1 compression, 255 horsepower, and 280 lb-ft torque.

A Z/28 ran a 14.5-second quarter-mile at 93 miles per hour in the October 1971 issue of Motor Trend magazine.

In 1972, Chevrolet produced 2,575 Z28s. All of the cars were hardtops.

Key Specs

Engine

350 CID V8

Horsepower

255

Torque

280 lb-ft

ET

14.5 Seconds

MPH

93

Source

10/72, MT

1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 350
copyright @ Lou Costabile

# 1972 Ford Mustang 351 HO

The 72 Ford Mustang, powered by a 351 HO CID V8 with 8.8:1 compression, 275 horsepower, and 286 lb-ft torque, came in the sixth position.

In 1972, the high-output R-code 351 HO was a factory-detuned Boss 351 with reduced compression.

A 351 HO Mustang ran a best of 15.1 seconds quarter-mile at 95.6 miles per hour in the March 1972 issue of Car & Driver magazine.

Ford produced 398 Mustangs with a 351 HO engine this year. All were 4-speed models without air conditioning.

Key Specs

Engine

351 CID V8

Horsepower

275

Torque

286 lb-ft

ET

15.1 Seconds

MPH

95.6

Source

3/72, MT

# 1972 Dodge Demon 340

The 72 Demon, powered by a 340 CID V8 with 8.5:1 compression, 240 horsepower, and 290 lb-ft torque, takes the seventh position.

A Demon 340 ran a best of 15.18 seconds quarter-mile at 91.7 miles per hour in the June 1972 issue of Super Stock & Drag Illustrated.

This year, Dodge produced 10,222 Demons. All of them were Sport Coupes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Specs

Engine

340 CID V8

Horsepower

240

Torque

290 lb-ft

ET

15.18

MPH

91.7

Source

6/72, SSDI

#1972 Hurst/Olds 455 HO

The 72 Hurst/Olds, with a 455 HO, 8.5:1 compression, 300 horsepower, and 410 lb-ft torque, takes eighth place.

A Hurst/Olds ran a best of 15.30 seconds quarter-mile at 93 miles per hour in the August 1972 issue of Hi-Performance Cars magazine.

This year, Oldsmobile built 629 Hurst/Olds, with 499 hardtops and 130 convertibles. 

Key Specs

Engine

455 CID V8

Horsepower

300

Torque

410 lb-ft

ET

15.30 Seconds

MPH

93

Source

8/72, HPC

# 1972 Plymouth Barracuda 340

The 72 Barracuda, which has a 340 CID V8 with 8.5:1 compression, 240 horsepower, and 290 lb-ft torque, is in ninth position.

A Barracuda 340 ran a best of 15.5 seconds quarter-mile at 91.7 miles per hour in the January 1972 issue of Car & Driver magazine.

Plymouth built 7,828 ‘Cudas, with a 340 CID V8 powering 5,864 of them. 

Key Specs

Engine

340 CID V8

Horsepower

240

Torque

290 lb-ft

ET

15.5 Seconds

MPH

91.7

Source

1/72, CD

# 1972 Pontiac Firebird Formula 455 HO

The 72 Firebird Formula, which has a 455 CID V8 with 8.4:1 compression, 300 horsepower, and 415 lb-ft torque, is in third place.

A Firebird Formula ran a best of 15.5 seconds at 89.5 miles per hour in the October 1971 issue of Motor Trend magazine.

Only 276 of the 5,249 Firebird Formulas made by Pontiac were powered by the 455 HO engine. All of them were hardtops. 

BY MICHAEL VAN RUNKLE

Key Specs

Engine

455 CID V8

Horsepower

300

Torque

415 lb-ft

ET

15.5 Seconds

MPH

89.5

Source

10/72, MT

Quick Comparison: 1972 vs 1971

  •   In 1972, the quickest muscle car ran a quarter-mile time of 14.1 seconds. In 1971, the fastest quarter-mile time was 13.30 seconds.
  •   In 1972, all ten competitors ran quarter-mile speeds of 14 seconds or faster. All ten of them ran 13-second quarter-mile marks in 1971.
  •   In 1972, big blocks accounted for 60% of the entries, while small blocks accounted for 40%. In 1971, giant blocks made up 90% of the total, while small blocks made up 10%.

·   • Horsepower was a net rating in 1972. Horsepower was a gross rating in 1971.

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