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Question Of The Day: What Late Model Car Do You Think Will Make The Next Great Hot Rod?

Question Of The Day: What Late Model Car Do You Think Will Make The Next Great Hot Rod?


Until I found this 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis on eBay, I wouldn’t have even bothered with this question. After all, late-model cars (for the sake of this discussion, anything newer than 1990) can be easily paired off into a good and bad category. Pretty much every muscle and pony car makes the grade, along with pickup trucks and certain other cars. Like SRT-4 Neons or either version of the Cobalt SS? Okay, you’re doing good. On the other side of the coin are a lot of cars worth avoiding, like Oldsmobiles made after 1997, Cobalts that aren’t turbocharged or supercharged, and any 2.7L powered Mopar product.

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We aren’t going to list the winners or the losers, but what we want to know is this: what is going to be the “dark horse” car? Our money is going straight to the Panther platform, Ford’s new-for-1979, long in the tooth, body-on-frame sedan that finally got the ax in 2012. Sure, everybody wants an ex-cop car, the Marauder was a looker and Grandpa still loves his Lincoln, but what about the basic Grand Marquis? This car is twenty years on, has been slightly lowered in the front, is sitting on Cragars, and has a paint-matched Marauder spoiler. All you would need to do is give the 215 horsepower lump of a 4.6L V8 enough steroids to be somebody (did we hear “supercharger”?) and you have the newest version of an old-school muscle car. Keep everything underhood and quiet, and you could sucker people all day long. There’s even details out there on how to convert these barges to manual transmissions, so you could be slamming gears in a beige Bingo-mobile and having a blast. The best part is, these are cheap…since it isn’t a cop car, you can find them for very reasonable prices.

But that’s just one vehicle. What do you think…do you see a trend of people going after 1994-01 Dodge Rams? Maybe there is a case for the Ford Escort ZX2 S/R? (Hint: there is.) What do you think will become cheap hot-rodding fodder in the years to come?

eBay Link: 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS

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9 thoughts on “Question Of The Day: What Late Model Car Do You Think Will Make The Next Great Hot Rod?

  1. BeaverMartin

    I think the future will be filled with LS swapped Pontiac Solstices and Miatas. As far as late models that can keep their engine, last gen F-Bodies are a hot ticket, Cummins powered Dodges will always kick ass, and the long money is on stripper 2wd Cummins V8 powered Nissan Titans.

  2. Chevy Hatin\' Mad Geordie

    For me it would be a late-series Jaguar XJ6 Coupe.

    I\’d swap in a late-model supercharged Jaguar V8 and transmission, lowered XK8 suspension, put on some 17\” Cragars and paint it gloss black.

    And the best thing – not an LS in sight!

  3. jerry z

    It’s going to tough modifying anything after 1996, not impossible but it will harder. Full size V8 short bed pickups will be my guess.

  4. Brett

    If history has taught us anything, it’s a simple formula that makes and keeps otherwise undesirable automobiles popular. V8 + plentiful + inexpensive = race car! ’32 Ford, Shoebox Fords and Mercs, Tri-Five Chevys, Camaros, and now the last gen Crown Vic is filling that void.

  5. Anthony

    Ls swap GBodies, new Chargers and 300s the always venerable Mustangs. Pickups too.

  6. Mitch

    As someone who owns both a 2005 Grand Marquis (with bullit wheels and a marauder style spoiler) and a 2001 Dodge Ram, I approve of this article haha.

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