Power to the People 2 - '98 Budget Muscle [Complete]

1998 Budget Muscle

It’s the dark age of the muscle car, with the underwhelming SN95 failing to even meet advertised horsepower. Time to do something about it. Rev your V8, spool your turbos, and hop to it!


Your goal is to create an affordable car that’s quick in a straight line, but usable as a daily driver. It should be stylish, preferably loudly so, and comfortable. Also, it must be cheap!

The Rules

  • Final estimated cost of $28,400 or less, based on the 1998 Ford Mustang GT, the lowest trim available with a V8.
  • Trim snd Variant year may be 1998 or older.
  • Must be 50-state road legal (ish), meaning catalytic converter, front and rear plates, two headlights in the corners of the front, separate indicators in the front, braking lights that either include or work as indicators, and reverse lights. They don’t have to be marked as such in Automation, just have the fixture.
  • You must have 90s safety or better. Safety equipment may not have negative quality.
  • Vehicles must seat 2+2 or better.
  • Fuel must be Unleaded pump gas of some description.
  • Fuel system must be some sort of EFI to reflect OBD2 compliance.
  • Loudness may not exceed 55.
  • Downforce may not exceed 0 lbs.
  • No cross-ply tires.
  • Mod fixtures are allowed. Use mod bodies at your own risk; if it has some glaring issue like unlimited engine bay space, massive interior/cargo space, etc, your car will be binned.
  • Model and Family name must be “PTP2 - [your forum username]”.
  • .car files should be sent to me in a PM thread called “PTP2 - [your forum username]”.

You have a total of 30 points. No more than 6 may be placed in one category.

The Market

Most Important
  • Variant: The engine is key. Good throttle response, good engine reliability, and big power are what consumers want to see. V8 engines are greatly preferred, and buyers are not interested in 4-cylinder engines.
  • Trim: Practicality and comfort are essential. A good muscle car has spacious front seats, back seats that at least exist, and a large trunk. Alternatively, buyers will overlook practicality in favor of a convertible configuration.
  • Design: The subjective part. I love the Ford Probe and Mustang. They’re my favorite American cars of this era. However, originality is key. This market is mostly American, so give it a 90s muscle feel while maintaining creativity and detail to win. Interiors not judged, though slapping two seats and a dash in so the car looks better from outside is advised.
Secondary Concerns
  • Variant: A strong torque curve improves driving feel, and if you can pull it off without boost, buyers will be very impressed.
  • Trimmer: Low service costs are ideal. Buyers would prefer square tires, although reliability isn’t a big deal to them.
  • Design: Aesthetic aero and generally aerodynamic looking cars are the thing at this time.
  • Engine: Nobody cares about thermal efficiency or how many cams you have. It’s a game of numbers, the bigger the better.
  • Trim: Buyers aren’t that concerned about reliability or fuel economy, but anything below 55 reliability will draw some attention, and the vehicles should achieve at least 10 US MPG.
  • Design: Anything with “retro” or “restomod” looks (a la the next generation of Mustang) will be looked down on as dated.










I don’t actually like the looks of the Falcon, but I would have felt bad leaving it out. It’s okay if you ignore those awful lights on the sides.


  • Bins: Failure to meet the above requirements will result in a bin. No resubmissions: get it right the first time. However, that’s the only way to be binned.
  • Bad/losing cars: If you are sensitive about being called out in public, mention it in our DM thread and I will not post a review if you don’t win. Otherwise your car’s flaws and qualities will be mentioned in a brief summary of why it didn’t win.
  • Runners up: If you almost win you’ll get a mention. Remember that design judging is subjective and if a design is clearly better to you, it may simply be lacking the personal appeal I feel from something else.
  • Deadline: 11:59 PM EST on January 9 of 2023. No late submissions will be reviewed.
  • Results: Should be posted within a few days, ideally less than 48h after the deadline.

I have a little problem with the inspirations, a BMW M5 is barely a budget muscle, so is an A8. A German equivalent might be a VW Corrado and Opel Calibra.


Those are more just visual food for German V8 cars of the era I like the styling of. I could put those, but they’d be misleading, and I don’t want someone to lose because I posted a car I don’t like the looks of.


Understandable and I totally get what you mean.

However, unlike the previous PTP, I can now recycle some lore cars which is a good thing. The body is a mod one and rarely used because it’s really really old, however, its engine capacity is well filled with a V8, so at least here no problems.

1993 Globus Phoenix

The new second generation Phoenix brings the muscle car into the 21st century - and this already in 1993! Efficiency was a thing, and the new fluent shape has a low drag coefficent, and the SC “Super Coupe” uses a V6 because you won’t miss the V8, and if you want a mighty one, there is still the GT.

Rumors say that for 1998, some new trim will be even faster, called Dominator to remind of the glory days when Globus muscles made ROOAAAARRRRRRR, not using the GTs advanced engine parts but having nothing but displacement and raw power, willing to prove that there is still a wild beast under the smooth and more restrained shape…


Given that OBD2 was mandated in 1996, I think some form of EFI should be mandatory. Also, your preference against retro styling is justified - the retro trend had not yet taken off by 1998.

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Seems legit, carburetors were already outmoded in 1990, and only a few budget cars or really old models used it back then. After 1995, I actually don’t know any new car with one.


Looks like you are correct- the last new carburetted vehicle in the US market was a '94 Isuzu pickup. Regulations will be updated. My mistake.

Also, with this round being set in 1998, I think we must use that exact year for the variant and trim. However, you should allow us to make the model and/or family years older - but not by too much.

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…is there a limited selection of body options (coupes, sedans, etc) or is it so long as it can be 2+2?


If the body can accommodate at least +2 seating in the second row, then it’s in. However, the “client” is most likely not looking for a truck/SUV body style, and would rather prefer a 2-door coupe/convertible as long as it has even the slightest hint of a rear seat (in other words, that +2 second row I mentioned earlier). I suspect the market also seems to prefer front-engined RWD cars over anything else.

And as of now, I have a test car ready - I just need to evaluate it to see if it can be made viable.

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Thanks, also forgot to include the 1998 or older in my post. I won’t disallow older cars, but I will advance them to 1998 for comparisons. And no the market doesn’t strictly prefer FR cars; that’s the real life preference but it’s been removed to allow better variety.

You’re right that they probably won’t like trucks though.

1998 Globus Phoenix Dominator Randy Miller Edition

The 1998 facelift of the Phoenix introduces the Dominator, reminding of the 1969 beast with the same name. Over 400 horsepower make sure the car keeps what the name promises. Randy Miller, famous and successful race driver on Globus from 1979 to 1998, retires this season and for his farewell he created this special edition with his signature and the special color “Gold Medal” and carbon decorations. It is limited to 1000 units, hurry up!


Darn, I guess my totally not an extended cab GMC Syclone won’t work…

Edit: The knock-off Syclone

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Just for some clarification, will there be scoring for going below this value or is it a hard limit?

It’s a hard limit; this is intended to create cars that are all mustang gt competitors, and that value is rounded up from the '98 GT MSRP (adjusted to 2012 USD)

How important is realism? Like if I can fit all carbon body panels within the budget will it score high or low? Obviously no car in that price range would ever have carbon body panels in real life

Engineering wise I’m not sweating it much, but just remember your budget and consumer priorities. PTP isn’t intended to be super detailed or arduous to develop for.

My car is kinda retro inspired - I think the rules say that is a negative, but 1998 was the beginning of the retro fad (New Beetle, PT Cruiser, the introduction of retro cues to the Fox Mustang, the new Thunderbird, and the HHR followed not much later.

You’ve listed some of the most infamous vehicles in terms of design, though. The retro fad did begin in '98, but it wouldn’t catch on until more like the mid 00s with muscle car enthusiasts- particularly the next-gen Mustang. You’re free to submit it, but while I like that kind of car, the market of this challenge doesn’t and it’ll be penalized visually.

Review Excerpt from Pony and Muscle Car Monthly, August 1998

1998 FMC Goshawk SP

The Goshawk (usually affectionally called “The Hawk”) is a 2+2 coupe available in a huge variety of trims and is brother to the FMC family of “bird of prey” sports cars, like the more track-oriented (and expensive!) Osprey. In fact, the two share the same basic chassis and parts-bin raiding between the two is something the bulletin boards are fond of sharing regarding tips and tricks. (Editor note: See our upcoming article on the top 20 parts that swap from the Osprey to the Goshawk and how to install them.) The SP trim gets bigger wheels, tires, brakes, and those lovely T-Tops that store in the luggage compartment on nice days. The SP also gets more aggressive ducting for those bigger brakes, and an acceptably large front and rear spoiler setup for anti-lift purposes. In case you are wondering, FMC finally got the T-tops right in '95 with a new seal design, and its worth mentioning that top sales doubled since then.

Our test unit here is painted in color-shift pearl blue called “Teal Myst”. One thing we love about the Hawk is the wide variety of color available, including three color-shift pearls. The fact that the company does not charge extra for the sublime paints is just a testament to how much they want those wild colors out there. We think it’s effective marketing, but just a warning: DO expect a body painter to charge quite a bit more if you need to repair a fender-bender, though.

The “Hawk” lives on in 1998 with pop up headlights, but eschews the old sealed beams for some new bi-xenon lamps in a more “sleepy-eyed” setup. The design helps with aerodynamics when the lights are on, too. The Goshawk moved to in-body projector beams in 2001 but the Osprey got them sooner.

We think Goshawk is a looker in every trim available, but SP 18" wheels fit the wells much better than the base and mid-trim levels. The ones shown here are the split 5-spoke design but there are quite a few variants to order from.

More pics of the Hawk

The SP comes with one of two engines, depending on your level of planned hooliganism. The one equipped here is the more mild 4.9L SOHC with 3 valves per cylinder, mated to the standard 6-speed manual. The gears are long and 0-62mph (100kph) comes in only 4.9s, with a top speed electronically-limited to 168. For those willing to put it all on the line, the electronic governor easily can be programmed out, thanks to FMC’s ground-breaking (and sometimes, engine-breaking) open-source engine programming protocols. Doing that gets the Hawk SP to an as-tested 178 MPH.

317 HP and 325 lb-ft of TQ on our dyno.

In SP with no additional options, the Hawk goes for $27,800.