In the history of muscle cars, there has been a wide range of hits and misses. Though we were glad to see some of them go, like the DeLorean DMC, the Ford Pinto, and the Chevrolet Chevette — some muscle cars broke our hearts with their goodbyes. These were the stalwarts of the muscle car lineup and played an important role in making muscle cars do so well. These are the cars that need to make a comeback, even though it may well be impossible, considering some of the car brands themselves went defunct. Still, we muscle car devotees can hope, right?
10 Pontiac GTO: The Goat
Introduced in 1964, the Pontiac GTO ran well for a decade before it fell victim to the oil embargo. And this is the car which is known to have kickstarted the muscle car trend, with the Detroit Three soon flexing their muscles in the market. Engine options were 6.4-liter and 6.8-liter V8 that pumped out 325 and 348 horsepower respectively — making it one powerful car for its time. Now while the rebirth of the Pontiac GTO in 2004 to 2006 was no great shakes, the original Goat would be welcomed back with open arms by the muscle car enthusiasts of today for sure.
9 Plymouth Barracuda: Not The Panda
The Plymouth Barracuda was Ford’s worst-kept secret because even before its launch, everyone knew Ford was developing a new sports car on the Valiant’s wheelbase. The Barracuda was going to be named the Panda, but thankfully, the Barracuda nameplate prevailed, else muscle car history would never have been the same. The engine options were 2.8-liter and 3.4-liter slant-6s and the 4.5-liter V8 — with horsepower ranging from 101 to 180. Later on, the Hemi engines proved to make this car a favorite with the burgeoning muscle car boomers. The Barracuda sounded great and looked stunning — and there have been rumors floating about its comeback under Dodge or FCA. It’s a wait-and-watch for fans…
8 Dodge Charger Daytona: Bringing Racing Back
The Dodge Charger Daytona made a quartet of appearances — in 1969-70, 2006-2009, 2013 and the last appearance in 2017. But the latter three were just an appearance trim with a few modifications made to the suspension. Now if 1969 Charger Daytona could make a comeback with that enormous NASCAR rear wing, that Hemi V8, coupled with as aerodynamic a body a stock car is allowed, there would be a frenzy of customers lining up at the dealers' to get their hands on this one. Only 504 of these were ever made, and the car managed a top speed of 217mph from the stock engine alone, with a more aerodynamic body of course.
7 Ford Torino: A Badder Mustang
Now the Mustang may still be alive and well, but the Ford Torino managed to push aside the GM and Chrysler muscles with its serious under-the-hood muscle — the 6.4-liter and 7.0-liter Cobra Jet V8 engines. The Torino survived from 1968 to 1976, and these two performance variants jetted out 360 and 375 horses respectively, making the Torino a serious muscle car to contend with. The luxurious size and beautiful design made the Torino a hit, and it still holds value for many muscle car fans today. If brought back, the Torino could widen Ford’s muscle car stable because retro is always cool, and the Torino would fit right in with a retro-inspired modern design.
6 Chevrolet Monte Carlo: Powerful Class
The Monte Carlo ran from 1969 to 2007 in intermittent years, with the sixth and the last generation moving away from the muscle car tag to passenger cars, powered with three V6 options. In 1970, the Chevy Monte Carlo SS454 trim was released, and while it didn’t do too well in sales, it gained a reputation as being serious racing material in NASCAR. Since the Monte Carlo was always marketed more as a luxury vehicle than a muscle car, the 7.5-liter turbo-Jet V8 engine option was soon discontinued, but this is the 365-horsepower muscle car that Monte Carlo fans would love to see a come back. A good rear-wheel drive, with some cool V8 engine options should make Monte Carlo a road killer.
5 Pontiac Firebird: Retro Cool
While the Pontiac marque has been retired by GM, the Firebird is one car that could easily make a comeback considering it shares the Camaro platform. And with the Camaro doing so well, why can’t the Firebird be its usually fiery self? Introduced in 1967, the Pontiac Firebird survived until 2002, so that’s reason enough to believe that a rebirth of the Firebird would eagerly be lapped up by the public. Also, if the Firebird comes with a retro-inspired look and the same Camaro engines and underpinning options, it is sure to be a big hit.
4 AMC Javelin: Crowd Favorite
The AMC Javelin was a gem of a pony car that lasted two generations — 1968-70 and then 1971-74. What set the Javelin apart was its smooth semi-fastback roof design that looked way different from the Mustangs, Camaros, and Firebirds of that time. Even at launch, it was an inexpensive but powerful car to have. And if the company or the nameplate ever revives, this is what most of its buyers would expect from it — a zippy but low-frill drive in a car that stands apart from the crowd. The 6.5-liter V8 jetted out 315 horses and made the Javelin enter the muscle car market while the smaller engines satisfied the pony car buyers as well.
3 Ford Galaxie 7-Litre: The Monster Mill
The Ford Galaxie 7-Litre (Ford gave the liter European spellings for style) is an almost-forgotten model since it lasted just a single production year, way back in 1966. A limited-edition model, the car may have looked like an ordinary Galaxie, but with a 7.0-liter V8 engine under the hood, this Galaxie spurted out 345 horses that made its tires squeal with impatience. To make it a top trim, Ford put everything they could find in it like air-con, bucket seats, heavy-duty suspension and everything that could be powered at the time. There were special colors for this version, as well as the shiny 7-Litre badges to make this beauty recognizable. If it comes back in the market now, there may be a riot to get one.
2 Chevrolet Chevelle: Panache On Wheels
The Chevelle (as opposed to the inane Chevette) was a gorgeous car with impeccable style and many a powerful engine option. It was in production from 1964 to 1977 and did pretty well in redefining Chevrolet’s name as a top-notch carmaker. Later, the Chevelle was replaced by the El Camino and finally, the Malibu. If a modern-day Chevelle is launched, Chevy may have to elongate the wheelbase to a Camaro-sized frame to better fit today’s large-vehicle market, and of course, add plenty of LS V8 options to suit various buyer needs like speed, speed, and more speed. And of course, power and style.
1 Mercury Cougar: The Cat On Wheels
The Mercury Cougar was conceived as the more luxurious sibling of the Ford Mustang, and when it came out in 1967, it created a market for itself. The Cougar came with only V8 engines and was built on a stretched Mustang platform, becoming Mercury’s bestselling car ever with almost 3 million units produced. The dual grille in the front remains iconic to date, and the Mercury Cougar looked every bit as good, if not better than the Ford Mustang. The Cougar nameplate was a pony car only in its first generation, and this is the one we’d all like to see make a comeback, considering the Mustang’s almost-eternal run.