By Jacob Hampton
Quite possibly one of the biggest
rivalries on BeamNG.drive would have
to be the rivalry of the two muscle cars
on the game: the 1969-1971 Gavril
Barstow and the 1973-1978 Bruckell
Moonhawk. Unlike most other rivalries
in BeamNG.drive, which are either
between vehicles of the same brand or
from completely different decades, these
two high-power rear-wheel-drive coupes
are the most hotly-contested of the 20
standard cars in the game. As both the
Moonhawk and the Barstow are from the
late-1960’s/early-1970’s golden age of
muscle cars, and both are relatively
similar in many aspects, it would make
sense that these two would compete against each other for supremacy. Between these two cars, however, I would pick the Barstow over the Moonhawk for the former’s performance supremacy, better styling, and greater engine choice.
There are quite a few advantages with going for the Moonhawk. For example, it is very inexpensive for its performance. At a mere 12,000 credits – the same price as a Barstow 291 V8 with 196 horsepower – the Bruckell Moonhawk V8 Special has 316 horsepower from its 378-cubic-inch Stage-1-supercharged engine. The Special Moonhawk can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds (compared to the 6.6-second time of the Barstow 291), and when it comes to the corners, the Moonhawk’s added power can overcome its understeer-y nature while the 291 Barstow has to struggle with grip. Also, the Drag version of the Moonhawk costs only 14,500 credits – a third of the price of the 42,000-credit Barstow Drag – but has 115 more horsepower (1,442 vs. 1,327), takes half a second less time to get to 60 mph (2.4 vs. 3.0), and can be more appealing to beginner draggers with its higher controllability. The Bruckell coupe can be fitted with six different transmissions (three-speed automatic/manual, four-speed drag automatic, and 4/5/6-speed manual), and there are six intake options for the V8 (two-barrel carburetors, four-barrel carburetors, and four stages of supercharger). In other words, if an inexpensive muscle car is needed, the Moonhawk will more than suitably fill that requirement.
On the outside, there are quite a few different choices when it comes to customizing the appearance of the Moonhawk. From standard, three different front fascias (1973-1975 pre-facelift, 1976-1978 facelifted, and 1973-1975 Special), two hoods (standard or cut), two fender flare types (black or body colored), a rear plate spoiler, and nine trim-and-paint options (black/body-colored/chrome/white trim, Special decals, stripes, and inverted versions of the stripes and Special decals) are available for exterior modification of any version of the monstrous coupe. This extremity of modification increases the appeal of the car to customizers who specialize in more than engine and suspension mods.
However, those advantages come with some serious downsides. Although it may be quite powerful, the big Bruckell is not a very light car, weighing in at anywhere from 3,594 to 3,924 pounds for a standard model. That is a serious amount of weight for a car, and when Barstows with similar (if not identical) performance weigh 150-600 pounds less, that weight can be a frustration. Also, the Moonhawk’s power isn’t very much in comparison to its titanic mass. With only 195 horsepower from the V8 Sport versions of this car, the big V8 has 20.123 pounds per horsepower (at most) to lug around without resorting to a supercharger. The Barstow, though, can have a mighty 284 horsepower in its 423-cubic-inch V8 without ever needing a supercharger, and it will weigh a few hundred pounds less besides. The lack of engine options in the Moonhawk – it has only a 244-cubic-inch inline-six and the aforementioned V8 – is another major drawback for the big coupe, as it has a rather limited amount of options in terms of how to build one for racing.
While the Moonhawk struggles with ship-like mass and limited power, the Barstow has neither of those problems to contend with. Gavril’s muscle car has a mighty five different engine choices (232-cubic-inch inline-six, 291/353/423 V8, and even a straight-piped inline-six); six different intake options (standard two-barrel carburetors, four-barrel carburetors, and four stages of supercharger), with the four-barrel carbs and Stage 1 supercharger available on all three V8s; and five transmissions to pick from (3-speed auto, 4-speed drag auto, and 4/5/6-speed manual). Although most often the 423 V8 will be used in custom Barstows, the option to go for a lighter, less-expensive engine with the 291 and 353 V8s can certainly be helpful when all that is needed is a decently fast and great-handling race car.
Although the Moonhawk may have the Barstow beat in terms of exterior customization, the older car still has quite an impressive amount of cosmetic enhancements available. From standard, the Gavril can have two different kinds of bumpers (chrome or body-colored), four different hoods (standard, scooped, cowl-induction, and cut), and two headlight options (static or hidden). The variety of exterior mods in the Barstow means that its already good looks can be enhanced tastefully if desired, without the use of any downloadable mods.
Like the Moonhawk, though, the Barstow also has its own disadvantages. Its cost is one of its biggest drawbacks; at nearly four times the price of the 13,200-credit Class 7 Elite Custom Moonhawk, the 52,000-credit Class 9 Barstow Nightsnake is one very expensive car for its performance. Also, the Gavril giant is not as safe as the brawny Bruckell; in side impacts, the whole front end can detach from the rest of the car, shooting off into an opposing lane and posing a major threat to other drivers. It may have more power than the Moonhawk, but it is not exactly as controllable around a race track. Even though the Barstow might be the lighter of the two cars, a 3,274-to-3,690-pound muscle car isn’t exactly the lightest thing in the world (especially compared to the 1982-1989 Ibishu Pigeon, which weighs 1,190-1,304 pounds).
Sure, the Barstow may be quite a lot more expensive for its performance compared to the Moonhawk, and the Bruckell may have the benefit of having more power in the Drag version and far greater exterior customizability. However, considering its great performance, high style, and amazing engine options, the Gavril Barstow would have to be my favorite of the two BeamNG.drive muscle cars. Fast enough to beat supercars, stylish enough to turn heads while driving down the street, and a good all-rounded car for learning the game physics, the mighty Gavril is the better car of the two by a long shot.