The automobile industry has been moving really fast to match the demands of consumers, and also due to changing standards such as ecological and safety ones. New technologies have also forced manufacturers to adapt them for a better overall experience for the users and well, to make money obviously. Some of the cars that have been released onto the market have had amazing features, some of which no one could have predicted 50 years ago, although they still cannot fly yet but hey, that is what aircraft are for. With all of the modern standards in the automobile industry, people have forgotten about the classics and the many great cars that once ruled the automobile world.
Back then, because of the lack of standards, automobile manufacturers had all the freedom to experiment with different designs and technologies and the muscle cars were all the rage in North America. Some classic cars were good enough that they did not end up being just a collector's piece but can still be driven around town if well maintained. This is something that a lot of car enthusiasts feel is lacking from modern automobiles. Pretty much everyone knows about the Mustang and the Camaro but very few now remember the classics such as the Mercury Cyclone or Ford Torino that were once every teenager's dream cars. To showcase those cars, we've put together this list of 20 cars in the US that we all forgot were a thing.
20 Dodge Super Bee
The Super Bee had different variants such as the Six Pack and the Hemi. The Super Bee Six Pack was created by Chrysler engineers and they created one of the best muscle cars from that era thanks to the hot-rodding they used on the car.
They improved the 375 bhp 440 ci Magnum V8 engine and got it to an output of 390 bhp all thanks to a hotter camshaft, magnafluxed connecting rods, and some other changes.
The Super Bee back then cost around $463 which was about $500 lesser than a Hemi, and although it was not as good as the Hemi it could still create some noise on the road and reach up to 70 mph.
19 Ford Torino
The Ford Torino was produced from 1968 to 1976 and they were a replacement for successful Fairlanes series from Ford. Until 1971 the Ford Torinos were still known as Fairlanes but they were dropped that year. The Torino came in 4 variants; two-door fastback, four-door sedan, convertible, and a station wagon. This car is mainly famous for being the car used for Starsky & Hutch, other than being a really great muscle car in its time. The car came with a standard engine which was the 302ci V8 however if you wanted more power the most powerful option you had was the 428ci Cobra Jet V8 which gave 335 bhp. The Torino at most power could 0-60 mph and it was a total beast back in the day while keeping it stylish.
18 Oldsmobile 442
The Oldsmobile 442 has many variants but out of all of them if you had to choose then the 70 442 W-30 convertible would be the best option there. It basically has everything you would expect from a classic muscle car.
The engine options are great, good torque, it is not that common making it somewhat special and it looks great giving like every muscle car used in the movies.
Only 96 of these sweet American muscles having four-speed transmissions were produced and maybe a few ones with valid paperwork are circulating the market. A few of these cars pop up every now and then when they do the market notices as this is one of the best muscle cars ever made.
17 Chevy Bel Air
This car was an epitome of classic cars and it represents the shape cars had in the 1950s. The Chevy Bel Air 1957 is one of the most iconic cars in the history of America thanks to the unique styling. Back in the day, the Bel air had a good price tag which was reasonable for the style it came with and the performance it gave out making it a favorite when it showed up in the showrooms. Unfortunately, the Bel Air was much known for its fashionable and stylish looks even though it was an excellent car on the technical side. This is a classic car from America maybe no one would forget.
16 Oldsmobile Starfire
The Oldsmobile Starfire was a five-seat, sports luxury convertible with one of the most powerful V-8 engines of that time. It was a muscle car that not only appealed to the younger generations but also businessmen as it was a good mix of luxury and muscle.
They don’t make it like these anymore, because most large luxury cars nowadays find it hard to produce the kind of performance the Starfire did.
The Starfire could produce 345hp thanks to the 394-cu.in Ultra High compression V-8 engine in it. Muscle Cars like the Starfire should be an inspiration for designing muscle cars nowadays because this was truly a work of an art.
15 Ford XL
Many car collectors nowadays and back in the day enjoy collecting Ford cars and this has become more of a trend now. This is solely because the value of Ford classics is rising as people are slowly realizing how good they were. The Ford XL showed up in the showroom in the year 1964 and it was better and stronger than the Ford XK making it a big hit. To begin with, it was also better than the XP in terms of shape and looks, so Ford basically learned from their past cars and made the XL a good one.
14 Dodge Polara
During the 1960s most cars that were liked were usually big, but Dodge went ahead to make a slightly smaller car compared to big cars but they were still big.
The Polara was lighter and sportier compared to other cars on the market and the Polara 500 which was a convertible and they were unbeatable in drag racing.
The Polara 500 came with standard bucket seats and 305 bhp V-8 engine. Since people at that time preferred big cars Dodge did drop some sales with the Polara however it was still a great car especially for drag racing at that time and it ruled the tracks.
13 Buick Sportwagon
The Buick Sportwagon is a classic car that can be seen in many old movies and shows and is another car that has an iconic shape from the 1960s. The Buick Sportwagon is a spacious and comfortable 5-door wagon body type. The engine is a 350-2 V8 and it is a simple one which produces 230 hp more than enough for the family car. It has a top speed of 110 mph which is again sufficient for in city drives or going for camping trips with the family. The Sportwagon can be a good guy if it does not require much work on it, and be a good classic car for collection nevertheless.
12 Ford F-100 Ranger
The Ford F-100 back in the day was a great truck that gave people the multi-purpose vehicle in one package. They were not anything special for people who wanted something stylish or fast, but it was just a simple truck that served all of its purposes.
The F-100 Ranger could be used to transport things, hauling, towing or even for delivering furniture or machines.
Many of the F-100 Rangers were produced in the assembly lines, however, since they were manufactured with the purpose of heavy loads and work, they were disposed off or replaced. There may be still some of these great vintages available now in good condition even though they may not be in condition to do the work they were once made for.
11 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans AM
Pontiac has produced some of the best cars in terms of speed and how fierce these cars are. The 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans AM was one of them, and maybe even better than most cars Pontiac has produced. The Turbo Trans AM had only 1,555 produced and so not only are they great in performance but also rare which makes it even better to own and collect. A 3.8 Liter V-6 Buick engine has been used and the car is lightweight, aerodynamic and offers great handling. The Pontiac Turbo Trans AM is one of the best cars Pontiac has produced and also one of the best cars during that time period making it a great classic.
10 1971 AMC Hornet SC360
Muscle cars were at a peak during the 1960s and the early 1970s and the AMC Hornet SC/360 is one of the rarest productions from AMC. AMC had planned to produce 10,000 units but only 784 were made and just close to 80 can be found today.
The Hornet SC/360 was advertised by AMC as “a sensible alternative to the money squeezing, insurance-strangling muscle cars of America.”
If it was not for regulatory standards for emissions, insurance companies the Hornet SC/360 was of the best muscle cars engine wise however they had to dumb it down to match standards. People who own this when compare it to other cars are awestruck by the performance and handling this one has even with lower specs.
9 Mercury Marauder
Mercury Marauders in their time can be described with two words that are “Apex Predator.” This is because they offered what no other cars did back in the day. It is a great classic mainly because of how rare it is, only 11,000 were produced considering it was the last best Mercury car worth buying. Secondly, this was a spacious sedan that offered a V8 engine while being very robust which makes other options of classic sedans bite the dust. Although it was expected to be much quicker, the Marauder still did a great job at being a spacious sedan and there was none like it on a market making it a really good classic.
8 Jensen Interceptor
The Jensen Interceptor is one of the best classics out there, and so it was a 007 car. The Interceptor was designed in Italy and built in England and had some of the best features and specs. It was powered by a 6.3 liter Chrysler “Golden Commando” V-8, and it had Connolly leather seats and other luxury features.
To add on to all of that the Interceptor is styled exceptionally making it very unique and stylish.
The Jensen also had a bubble backed glass rear hatch which later was used by cars such as Mazda RX-7, C3 Corvette and many more big names. All in all, it was a great car of its time and so it featured on 007 making it a great classic.
7 Pontiac Firebird Formula
The Firebird Formula followed the philosophy that the General Manager of Pontiac Motor division kept in mind for product sales. The philosophy as stated by him is “You can sell an old man a young man’s car, but you cannot sell a young man an old man’s car.” Hence along with other Pontiac cars, the Firebird Formula was as youthful as it gets. The Firebird Formula first showed up in 1970 and it was simply high performance while being quite affordable. Being a younger brother to the famous Pontiac Trans Am, the Firebird also made its name by being less powerful but at a lower price and performing great in the streets which made it a great muscle car overall.
6 1993 Dodge Daytona
Based mostly on Plymouth Reliant and Dodge Aries, the Dodge Daytona first debuted in 1984 along with a very similar Chrysler Laser. Both of the cars had 2.2 liter four-cylinder engines and were seemingly sophisticated sports cars which gave excellent performance.
The Daytona was the first US made front-drive sports car which had a turbocharged engine that helped it produce a 142 bhp.
The Daytona got a facelift in the 1992-1993 models along with a few other changes to the headlights and tail. Antilock brakes were now available and IROC models were now available offering 3-liter V6 engines. Overall any of the Daytona’s were great cars by the final ones during the year 1993 were even better than the old making them good classics.
5 Chrysler 300 Hurst
The Chrysler 300 was a legendary car and remained a flagship for many years for Chrysler. Mainly the 300 back in the 1950s was a high performance which led to its success. Over time with a change in demand the car had to grow in size and the 300 Hurst was basically a high-performance luxury muscle car. The Hurst edition was supposed to have Hurst shifters installed in it, however, Hurst was made to do improvements on the body such as removing the sheet metal hood skin and instead of putting on a fiberglass piece, and a non-functional hood scoop. The 300H could have been even better if it had what was already planned nevertheless it was still a great car in its time.
4 1968 Pontiac Grand Prix
The Grand Prix was a large car, and some critics even said that it was too big making it perform worse than it should, however, some enthusiasts disagreed about that fact as the Grand Prix was a great care nevertheless.
The 1968 Grand Prix had a bumped up variant with a 428 engine with a four-speed transmission, and this classic had power windows, temperature control and many such features which made the drive more enjoyable.
The standard versions, however, rocked a 400 cid/350 hp fur barrel V-8 with manual three speeds. Even though it was really heavy the car can still back an old man to feel 17 again while driving it which makes it a great car for people who can learn to appreciate it.
3 Mercury Cyclone
The Mercury Cyclone is another classic, and believe it or not this thing is anything but a car that can be enjoyed only by older folk. To become a part of the muscle era the Cyclone was brought into being by Mercury as a performance version of their Comet. The changes were that it was made to look sportier by using a spoked steering wheel and bucket seats, and a 289 V8 engine offering 210 hp. Furthermore 50 high-performance Cyclones that had a two-carburetor 427 V8 made specifically for A/FX racing. The cyclone could have turned things around for Mercury but at that time Ford made it less relevant due to all the great muscle they had been producing those years.
2 1974 Pontiac Ventura GTO
Muscle car enthusiasts believe that the GTO was the car that made muscle cars a thing which was thanks to large displacement engines in small car bodies. The true muscle car idea died out unfortunately because of increasing vehicle sizes which led to a loss of small body profiles of the cars and also emission standards which forced the engines to lose performance to match standards. The 1974 GTO was based off the X-body Ventura and they offered packages which included dual exhausts, a ride, and handling package to maintain the sporty feel. The engine was strong and it produced 200 hp. Nowadays this car could be a good collector car even though back in the day it was one of the greatest.
1 Buick Wildcat
The Buick Wildcat although had features similar to muscle cars, it was not considered as one. Instead, the Wildcat was regarded as a luxury sports coupe, even though it was intended to be a performance machine. The Wildcat series began in 1963 and the Buick Invicta was removed from the market.
Wildcat had some new styling but it had the same old 401 CID Nailhead V8 engine that offered 325 bhp.
Out of the three models available for the Wildcat, the four-door one sold the most and by a large margin. The last model of the Wildcat was introduced in the year 1970 and it incorporated the largest engine offered by Buick. Although the Wildcat was short lived the car was a thing of its own at the time.