If you wonder what cars are the most interesting car classes in automotive history, the answer is simple – the muscle cars. Although they first appeared in the early 1960s they still charm and fascinate the fantasy of car lovers and addicts.
What makes them so popular and lovable is the incredible and fantastic design, strong and powerful engines, and excellent soundtracks. Muscle cars are not just a car class they are a cultural miracle and sensation which influences the way of life of generations of American young people side by side with their own music and movies.
The beginning of the glory of these muscle cars was in 1964 when the Pontiac GTO appeared. However, it ended in the early 1970s due to the standards for safety and nature protection. At that time nearly all car brands in America had their own challenger in the section.
Companies, for example, Chevrolet, Plymouth, or Dodge had even more car models at the same time. There were models that were undoubtedly extraordinary and limited and they are normally more interesting to the collectors.
Even some manufacturers which were more traditional, Buick, Mercury, or Oldsmobile had some extraordinary and unforgettable muscle cars.
Being produced in small numbers, for the car lovers, these muscle cars are well known but for most of us they are at the same time are more of a myth than an actual model. The following list gives you rare muscle cars that still can be found for sale. They are from the period from 1964 – 1972.
GTX which stands for The Grand Turismo Exterminator deserves more attention in muscle car history than it had had. It is a model that was based on the same platform as the Coronet or the Roadrunner, but with a little bit more luxury in its line.
It had the standard of 375 HP. Nearly all the possible, achievable, and available creature comforts were installed because Plymouth wanted GTX to challenge and fight against other luxury cars. The distinction from the rest of the GTX model lineup was made by adding a special trim on the outside.
All the options of a hot rod were included, wonderful inside and outside features and magnificent specific aspects, and only one possible and alternative engine choice – the powerful, mighty 426 Hemi, which was more than the 440 Magnum, the standard engine.
Even though it was quite more expensive than the other Mopar muscle cars in the listing, the GTX was not popular and it is hard to find today.
At the beginning of the 70s muscle cars started to lose power and torque figures and that is the reason why Plymouth terminated the production of GTX in 1971. This kept it from degradation and a bad reputation. Exactly this is ’71 GTX is the last of its class and brilliant muscle cars worth recognition and respect.
Mercury Cyclone Cobra Jet
In spite of not being Cyclone whose first muscle car name comes across car fans’ heads when the theme is mentioned this Mercury was popular back in the 60s. Nevertheless, the car and the brand are pretty forgotten today as Ford terminated the production a few years ago.
Mercury is a muscle car built on the Ford Fairlane / Torino platform as well as the compact size Mustang-based Cougar.
Considering the fact that Mercury was a fancy, stylish class, the Cyclone was a better name and destined than alike products from Ford. However, they had the same engine choices and performances.
Cyclone was introduced by Mercury in 1964 and stayed on the market until 1971. The most interesting version to the collectors is the best one, the Cyclone CJ. CJ stands for 428 Cobra Jet engine which was the first street–muscle engine built by Ford.
The Cobra Jet produced over 400 horses in real life only because of the 7.0 – liters displacement and an advertised 335 HP. This engine naturally increased and boosted the performance and the Cyclone CJ became a serious street racing challenger.
In the late 60s Mercury together with Ford was active in NASCAR racing. The Cyclone CJ had its achievements in racing efforts. However, in 1969, 3500 Cyclone CJ was produced, even though the common Cyclones without the option Cobra Jet were more well-known and attractive.
Two big independent car companies Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company merged in 1954 and the American Motors Company – AMC was started. The union, fusion of the two companies was due to the threatening of Detroit’s Big Three – Chrysler, GM, and Ford, to conquer and undertake the market.
Being an economy car manufacturer from the beginning to the end, just as AMC was meant that this company had to be active in producing new models and searching for new concepts if they wanted to survive in the market. AMC AMX is one of those concepts and is a creative and appealing model.
In 1968 AMC AMX was presented to the muscle market as a new performance model. Besides AMX there was the Javelin, another muscle car model by AMC. Despite the two models were similar.
Together with the Corvette AMC AMX were the only two-seated models on the U.SS. market AMC AMX was an attractive, strong, powerful muscle car with a shorter wheelbase, 390 V8 engine with 360 HP, and a lot of go-fast options. It could be bought at an acceptable price.
The Javelin was easier to sell which was not the case with AMC AMX. The two-seater AMX soon became out-of-date because people wanted more space in their muscle cars. It has been on the market for only two years. Today AMX is a forgotten and little-known muscle car despite its success in drag racing championships.
Pontiac Trans Am 455
It was the GTO which was Pontiac’s heyday, the best muscle car during the 60 s but Firebird showed up which was smaller and faster and economical, and cheaper. Because of the tightening regulations, the traditional muscle cars were losing ground.
Then it was the small pony cars such as the Pontiac Trans Am that got the attention, appreciation, and recognition on the streets as a result of their look and performance.
In the 1972Trans am which included 455 big-block engines and 300 HP was considered to be the most passionate offering. Its acceleration times were from0 to 60 mph times of 6.4 seconds. What’s more about those F-Body cars are the adequate handling packages and proper brakes, which transformed them into good sports cars.
If there hadn’t been for the fuel shortages and emissions regulations, it is only an imagination of how fast or capable muscle car this car could have been. Although it was the last classic muscle car in the early 70s Trans Am didn’t sell well. Today they are really exceptional and limited and very important and priceless cars.
Dodge Challenger R/T 440
Barracuda was introduced as the first pony car model by Plymouth, just two weeks before the Ford Mustang was introduced. Dodge entered the segment in 1970. According to some muscle car historians, Dodge was late.
However, the Challenger was too good that it was marked and placed in car history. Models line Mopar’s E-Body, the barracuda, and Challenger were the news for the 70s. They highlighted their new designs and better construction and they had a wider, longer body.
The Barracuda didn’t essentially differ from the Challenger at the point of their mechanics. They had a different design but the two cars had a few compatible, identical bodywork parts. Challenger was with the full firepower of Mopar engines.
A powerful 383 V8, a big 440, or the popular 426 Hemi were the options the buyer could get. Taking into consideration the specifications, differential ratio, and gearboxes maybe 440 and the Hemi were the best performers.
In the range of 5.5. to 5.7 seconds Challenger with 440 or the Hemi engines could accelerate to 60 mph. For 1970 it was actually and fully fast. Less than 4,000 Challenger models were produced only because they were more expensive than regular, common models.