Big Muscle host Mike Musto knows a thing or two about cars and driving. He’s an NASA instructor, he’s run events like Bullrun and One Lap of America and he’s been a Mopar muscle car guy for longer than we’ve known him.
In other words, he practices what he preaches. Musto has a rather full garage these days, since his pair of vintage Dodge Chargers (a 1968 and a 1969 Charger Daytona replica) share space with a Chevy Caprice Wagon camera car (affectionally known as Moby Dick) and a Ford Mustang GT.
As anyone who’s ever filmed a car review will tell you, it’s almost impossible to review a car you own and have built from the ground up. There’s too many details and too many stories to cover, and what starts out as a ten minute video soon evolves into a three-hour extravaganza that no one will watch.
Fans of Big Muscle have asked Musto to show off his Chargers since season one, so the host did the only prudent thing: he tossed the keys to other Drive channel hosts so they could review the cars for him.
J.F. Musial, the brains behind Drive, gets a stint behind the wheel of “Mr. Angrier,” the Daytona replica built to be the most impressive (and possibly only) Charger Daytona pro-tourer in the world. In case you can’t tell from the video, the car is massive, and “sinister” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Under the hood lurks a 471 cubic-inch V-8, rated at some 515 horsepower. Though the suspension and brakes have been updated to modern standards, Musial describes the car’s initial turn in with a guttural “aaaauuugh,” to which we’d agree. As for the Playboy Mansion story, it’s 100-percent valid, as we’ve seen the (uncensored) pictures.
It’s ironic that cleanliness-obsessed Larry Kosilla was chosen to drive “Mr. Angry,” Musto’s 1968 Charger and the starting point of his muscle car career. We’ve done road trips with Musto, so we can tell you from experience that keeping the car clean, inside and out, is not a high priority.
The Charger is semi-famous for its appearance in Bullrun, and Musto has campaigned the car in One Lap of America, too. The takeaway from this is that classic muscle cars are a blast to drive on short trips, but they quickly lose their charm on week-long, high-speed, cross-country events.
We take Mike’s closing advise to heart as well. Life is too short to be a brand loyalist, and we love anything that delivers entertainment value behind the wheel.