10 muscle cars that deserve more recognition
We all know the ‘trinity’ of muscle cars – Mustang, Camaro, Charger. However, there are many other muscle cars (made in the USA) that don’t get the respect they deserve. The muscle car boom off the 1960s and 70s led to the birth of many great cars which today are forgotten and don’t get the respect they deserve. Here is a very minimal list of the 10 most forgotten muscle cars.
1. Equus Bass 770
Started in 2009 in Georgia, and currently in Detroit, Equus Automotive partnered with Panoz making the TOM1, which was displayed eatly in SEMA 2008. Equus later designed the BASS770 which was inspired by 1960s and 70s muscle cars from America. A carbon-fiber and aluminum chassis on aluminum frame, it is light and unique. The engine is and LS9 6.2 litre supercharged v8 and goes as high as 640 horsepower. It has a dual-clutch 6-speed gearbox and does 0-60 in just 3.4 seconds. It is truly a modern supercar’s performance in an old-school outfit.
2. Pontiac GTO
The GTO was built between 1964 and 1974 and later by GM’s subsidiary Holden from 2004 and 2006. First generation had a two door convertible, hardtop or coupe and had a 6 litre carburetor V8 with 325 horsepower. Second generation had similar chassis options but had a bigger 6.6 or 7.5 litre V8 (!!!). The third and last generation under Pontiac’s name had a smaller 5.7 V8.
3. AMC Javelin
One of the most underrated car company – AMC. AMC made a number of muscle cars, but none of them made it into being an ‘icon’. The Javelin, made between 1967 and 1974 had lots of engine options – 3.8 and 4.1 litre I6 or 4.8, 5.6 and 6.4 V8, hooked with 3 or 4 speed manuals, 4 speed automatic or a unique “Shift Command” on console. AMC remains the most underrated muscle cars maker despite having a number of muscle cars like Rebel, Matador, Hornet, Ambassador and the Javelin…
4. Ford Maverick Grabber
Made between 1970 and 1977 in America it was later built in Brazil between 1973 and 1979. Options for a two door or four doors were offered, which were very light – 1,320 kilos for the two doors and 1,366 for the four doors. It had a twin-barrel 4.9 litre v8 with 140 horsepower or 129 after the emissions strangle. It didn’t have the power, but it did have the look, and it just screams for a better engine. If only Ford would’ve had an option for the mustang’s engine of its time…
5. Ford Torino
From 1968 to 1776 the Ford Torino was rather ‘different’ from ford. The unique thing about was that it had a station wagon chassis option, along with a hardtop, fastback, convertible and a sedan. The car was hooked to a 3.3 litre I6 or 5 different V8s – 4.7, 4.9, 6.4 and two versions of a 7 litre. Just imagine a family car with a 7 litre engine, going a fast quarter mile drag race… With kids in the backseat! The Ford Torino is one of the more unique muscle cars and equivalents are super rare.
6. Dodge Dart
Looking similar to the Ford Maverick, it was made between 1959 and 1976. Like the Torino it also had a wagon option along with 2 and 4 door sedans, 2 and 4 doors hardtop and 2 door convertible. 3.7 inline 6 along 5.2, 5.9 and 6.3 litre V8s were offered hooked to either manual or automatic 3-speed gearbox in the first and second generation, 4-speed manuals in the 3rd and 4th generations. The last generation featured 3 inline-6 engines, and 8 different V8s (!!!) including a 7 litre Hemi.
7. Mercury Cyclone
Between 1964 and 1972 the Mercury cyclone was sold as a 2 door convertible or coupe. Mercury made 74,286 of them in different forms such as ‘spoiler’, ‘Cobra Jet’ and ‘GT’. Early generations had a 4.7 V8 and later 6.3 as well. Mercury Spoiler II was a NASCAR version with the same engine as the 1969 ‘Boss’ Mustang; it was available for the street or was used for actual NASCAR racing. With just 351 streets ‘Spoiler II’, they are highly collectible and desired.
8. Pontiac Ventura GTO
Started production in the 1960s as a full-size lowrider style and in 1971 moved to be a sedan or a coupe. The 2nd generation was the muscle type, which had a 4.1 inline-6, two 5 litre v8 and a 5.7 v8. It too had very little gears, a 4 and 3 speed manual, 3-speeds automatic and a 2… Yes, 2-speed automatic. What were Pontiac’s engineers thinking?! Either way, some limited versions were offered as a luxury-muscle car and in 1977 ceased production.
9. Chevrolet Chevelle
Not as underrated, but worth to mention, the Chevelle had number of generations. The famous of which is the second which was made between 1968 and 1972. The design was changed several times – in 1969, in 1970, 1971 and slightly in 1972. However, the car began production as early as 1963. There were two doors and four doors hardtops, coupes, convertibles, two doors and four doors sedans and two doors and four doors station wagons as well. There was a variety of engines including I6s, Small-Blocks and a big-block v8s. The car ceased production in 1978 and the Malibu was a successor to it.
10. Holden Monaro
It’s controversial, having an Australian car on the list, but bear with me on this. The Monaro started production in 1968. A base model featured a 2.6 litre inline-6 engine or a 3 litre inline-6, both taken from Pontiac. The options list included 5 different V8s – 4.2, two different 5 litres, 5.3 and 5.7 litres. The car was also exported to South Africa by GM and was assembled in Port Elizabeth. A second Generation debuted at 1971 and was available with fewer engine options – 2.9 or 3.3 Inline-6 as base models, 4.2, 5 and 5.7 litre v8s. The production stopped in 1977 but was relaunched in 2001 and lasted to 2006.