To a newly minted teenage driver, such cars - the 400-cubic-inch Firebirds, 396 Chevelles and Boss Mustangs - were high-powered subjects for study-hall scribblings.
The sound of a whining Mopar starter and cylinders firing with high-test fuel created sounds and smells that stopped me, er, young drivers in their tracks to watch and listen.
Skinny tires were no match for the ground-plowing torque that those hefty V-8s channeled to the rear wheels but, my, how they could burn rubber.
Those cars were too expensive for most high-schoolers. They were bought by older guys, like recently returned Vietnam vets who had the money and time to wrestle with such deadly and raw power.
Now, 38 years later, Dodge is giving baby boomers another chance to be the owner of a new Hemi Daytona or Super Bee.
And they're affordable, too - barely the price of a midsize European sedan and tens of thousands less than a restored version of the real thing.
The 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T - a package for the Charger R/T - has a list price of $32,695. And it comes in those '60s colors of Go ManGo!, Top Banana or TorRed.
There's a Hemi V-8 under the hood, but the "small" 5.7 liter version that has been bumped up to 350 horsepower - 10 more horses than the R/T - and backed by a five-speed autostick transmission.
Inside there are sport-style front bucket seats with suede inserts and embroidered "Daytona" logos on the headrests. The dashboard has a body-color painted center stack, and there is body-color stitching on the seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
A numbered Daytona badge on the passenger side of the dash identifies each "limited edition" as one of 4,000.
You can't miss one of these cars on the road with the black honeycomb grille, black "Daytona" and "HEMI" decals, R/T badging and a black rear decklid spoiler.
It's so loud-looking that it's almost embarrassing not to be able to say, "Yeah, it's got the big Hemi."
Dodge saved that for the Charger SRT8 Super Bee that goes on sale this fall. It has the 6.1-liter Hemi - 425 hp and 420 foot-pounds of torque - and other go-fast credentials from Chrysler's Street and Racing Technology group.
Pricing won't be released until close to the on-sale date, but SRT8 models generally cost a couple of thousand dollars over the topline model.
The SRT effect gives this Super Bee the statistics its namesake would admire: 0-60 mph in the low 5 seconds, 0-100-0 in less than 17 seconds and 60-0 mph braking in approximately 110 feet.
The Super Bee comes in Detonator Yellow paint with black hood and deck lid, Super Bee logos on front and rear fenders, and yellow stitching on the seats, steering wheel and shift knob.
Bright yellow, orange and red Mopars are fun nostalgia, but is it still cool to drive around with big logos and stripes?
Yeah, as long as it has the big Hemi.
SIDEBAR: SPECS BOX
2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T
Body style: Large, 5-passenger sedan
Engine: 350 horsepower 5.7 liter Hemi V-8 with 390 foot-pounds of torque
Transmission: 5-speed autostick
Acceleration: 0 to 60 mph, 6 seconds
EPA fuel economy estimates: 17 mpg city, 25 highway; 89 octane recommended, 87 octane acceptable
Standard equipment: Remote locking, air conditioning, halogen headlights and black headlight bezels, fog lights, leather-trimmed front sport seats, 8-way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, tilt-telescoping steering wheel, 275-watt CD audio system with 6 Boston Acoustics speakers, 60/40 split folding back seat, front dual-stage air bags
Daytona package: R/T badge, trunklid spoiler, performance seats with suede inserts, painted Hemi engine cover, front fascia spoiler, performance steering and suspension, high-performance exhaust, 18-inch tires and alloy wheels, numbered badge, load leveling and height control, dual-zone air conditioning, heated (power) front seats, power-adjustable pedals, performance 4-wheel disc brakes, all-speed traction control, electronic stability
Base: $32,695; price as tested, $34,920
Options on test car: Sound group II, $535, 322-watt cassette, 6-disc-CD, MP3 audio with 6 Boston Acoustics speakers with subwoofer; navigation system, $1,495, Sirius satellite radio, $195
Where assembled: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
PLUSES: Another reason to want a Dodge. Multiple Displacement System for cylinder control to stretch fuel economy.
MINUSES: Anything in banana yellow should have the big Hemi and an exhaust tone that pushes the legal limit.
SIDEBAR: COLLECTOR BMW
Got $127? Get a limited-edition BMW
BMW's Art Cars are available as 1:18 scale diecast models. Mixing cars and art is what BMW considers the interaction of technology and culture.
And now those "cultural communications" can be arranged in acrylic display cases on the bookshelves in a den or living room.
The first Art Car was done in 1975 by American Alexander Calder for his friend Herve Poulain, a driver in the 24-hour race at Le Mans. The last car was done in 1999. The 16th car will be the hydrogen-powered 750 H2R.
The BMW Art Car collection features 15 miniatures to date, with timed releases through this year. The cars have detailed interiors with opening doors and hoods.
Each costs $127 available through BMW dealers, online at www.bmw-online.com or by calling (888) 269-6654.