Some automobile enthusiasts cite the Pontiac GTO as the first muscle car, however, many others credit the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 with the title. Muscle cars have been around as far back as the 1950s, but the class didn’t get its huge break till the 1960s. In 1964, the Ford Mustang hit the scene and the muscle car class gained unprecedented popularity.
The early Mustangs which were referred to as pony cars hit the ground running and achieved massive sales success. As a result, other manufacturers copied the trend and started building muscle cars. Today, some American muscle cars from the ’60s and ’70s are still celebrated, however, other muscle cars from that era seem to have faded into the background. As a result, they’re not as expensive as popular rivals. Here, we highlight ten forgotten muscle cars you can now get as used cars for a bargain price.
10 1964 Mercury Cyclone
The Mercury division of Ford has been defunct for over a decade, so it’s no surprise that its cars are mostly forgotten. In 1964, the Mercury Cyclone was introduced, and it was a clone of Ford’s experimental car – the Fairlane Thunderbolt. During the Cyclone’s production years, it was overshadowed by other muscle cars including the Mercury Montego.
By 1971, Mercury ended production of the Cyclone, but in 1974, they offered the model as a package option for the Mercury Montego. The 1964 Mercury Cyclone can now be gotten for around $23,995 – $50,000.
9 1970 Oldsmobile Rallye 350
Even though the 70s was a great time for muscle cars, the manufacturers seem to have faced lots of obstacles. Firstly, there were increasing fuel costs and then, increased insurance for muscle cars with big-block engines. Available only in a striking yellow color, the Oldsmobile Rallye 350 changed the game with its release in 1970.
To overcome the challenges, the Oldsmobile Rallye 350 was built without a big-block engine. Instead, the manufacturer used a 350 cubic inch V8 with 310 horsepower output. Only 3,547 units were made and after 1970, the model was discontinued. Oldsmobile dealers had a difficult time selling the car. You can get the 1970 Oldsmobile Rallye 350 for about $25,000 to $42,995.
8 1970 Chrysler Hurst 300
If there’s one thing you should know about the Chrysler Hurst 300, it’s that it was long. At 225 inches of length, the Hurst 300 was considered one of the longest muscle cars of its time. The Chrysler Hurst 300 was a collaboration between Chrysler Corporation and George Hurst of Hurst Performance.
Most importantly, the muscle car was built to advertise and promote the Hurst shifter. The Hurst shifter later became a huge success and sensation in the 70s. A 1970 Chrysler Hurst 300 could be gotten for $29,000 to $41,800.
7 1967 Buick Wildcat
Before Buick released the Wildcat, they built three different experimental cars with the Wildcat name and badge. Since the Wildcat was Buick’s first take on performance cars, they used the concept cars to test and analyze their potential market. The Buick Wildcat is an iconic luxury sports car that leans performance and was marketed as a family car.
The Wildcat was available in a plethora of body styles including convertible, four-door hardtop, two-door hardtop, and sedan. Most Buick Wildcats are sold at auctions, but you can buy a 1967 model for about $37,500 to $63,000.
6 1970 AMC Rebel Machine
Many people born after the ’80s might not remember AMC (American Motors Corporation) as the company went defunct in 1988. Though the AMC Rebel Machine is grossly underrated and doesn’t get as much love as other classic cars, it was once a hit in the US. The vehicle is even sometimes referred to as one of the best of its time.
For power, AMC provided the Rebel Machine with a standard V8 engine that produced 380 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. According to NADA pricing, an AMC Rebel Machine in good condition is worth $50,000 and above. However, with about $39,500 to $63,000, you can own this collectible.
5 1971 AMC Hornet SC/360
Amongst all the cars AMC produced, the Hornet and Gremlin models are the best-selling. Unlike the AMC Rebel Machine, the AMC Hornet SC/360 was conventionally styled, and the Hornet is a small car. Despite its small size, the AMC Hornet SC/360 had exceptional handling and cornering capabilities.
The muscle car has a standard 245 horsepower and an optional 288 horsepower package. The Hornet’s ”Go Package” included a ram-air hood scoop, four-barrel, and a Hurst four-speed manual shifter for $199. Due to increased premiums, AMC ended up making only 784 units. Since the AMC Hornet SC/360 is a rare collectible, you can get it at a bargain for $50,000 to $70,000.
4 1974 Pontiac Ventura GTO
Everyone always talks about the awesome Pontiac GTO, and rightly so, but almost remembers talks about the Pontiac Ventura GTO. Well, in truth, the Ventura was in the shadow of the Pontiac GTO. Some gearheads still argue that the Ventura should not have been called a GTO.
Even though Pontiac labeled the Ventura model as a GTO, the vehicle is simply a compact muscle car. Also, due to its underwhelming performance, the Ventura GTO suffered from poor sales in 1974. We can’t blame Pontiac because it was the 1970s and so much was happening in the automobile scene. The company also didn’t have much of a budget. Today, you can get the Pontiac Ventura GTO for around $35,000 – $50,000.
3 1980 Buick GNX
The Buick GNX was made as a high-performance limited edition of the Buick Grand National. To achieve the project, Buick collaborated with McLaren Engines and ASC Incorporated. They modified the Grand National’s turbocharged V6 engine, suspension system, wheels, and the exhaust system.
As a result of the modifications, the Buick GNX could complete 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds. The GNX was way ahead of its time with regard to speed. While the Buick GNX can cost up to $550,000 at auctions, you can buy it for $37,000 to $90,000.
2 1992 Dodge Daytona IROC R/T
The Dodge Daytona IROC R/T was different from other muscle cars in so many ways. Firstly, it doesn’t come with the signature grille style associated with muscle cars from the 80s. The Dodge Daytona IROC also has pop-up headlights. In the earlier years of the Daytona IROC R/T, the car’s performance was quite lukewarm.
However, in 1992, the company made several changes and the Daytona IROC was fitted with an engine that has over 200 horsepower. As the one car’s name implies, the Daytona IROC is a track race legend. The 1992 Dodge Daytona IROC R/T costs around $8,000 to 30,000.
1 1969 Mercury Marauder X-100
Though the Mercury Marauder X-100 is not so popular, the car is known for its distinct styling and speed. The muscle car’s exterior design is quite similar to the Mercury Grand Marquis. Under the hood, the 1969 Mercury Marauder X-100 is equipped with a powerful V8 engine complete with a four-barrel carburetor.
The V8 engine in question also has 360 horsepower. As a luxurious performance car, the muscle car comes with standard comfortable leather seats. Like other classic cars, the Mercury Marauder X-100 costs a lot at auctions, but you can get it for $22,429 to $60,000.
10 Bargain Performance Cars Every Gearhead Should Own