8 Muscle Cars Of The ’70s We’d Buy Over The Pontiac Firebird

With all the horsepower wars going on in the late ’60s, plenty of great powerful muscle car models were produced into the ’70s…until increasingly tough emissions standards and the oil crisis hit and put a stop to all the fun. One American automaker that particularly shined in this decade was Pontiac. The company is still remembered for some of the coolest and most recognizable muscle cars in history, including producing several of the quickest automobiles of the 1970s.

Many automotive historians consider the Firebird models of the early 1970s to be among GM’s finest. Some of them dubbed the early Firebird models “rolling sculptures” throughout the years. The minimalism and beautiful exhilaration of the 1970 Firebird redesign was astonishing. In 1971, Pontiac’s commercial campaign featured the tagline “Pure Pontiac!”. That was very appropriate for the new Firebird variants. However, by the end of the decade, the heyday had come to an end because of the aforementioned reasons. Even so, there are still gems among the dross, and here are a few 1970s muscle cars we’d consider worthy rivals to the renowned Pontiac Firebird.

8 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

Rare 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible Classic
Via: Mecum

The ‘Cuda’ was already a fantastic car, thanks to the available 426 Hemi (7.0-liter) V8 engine under the hood. Which, while being rated at 425 horsepower, had an actual power output of more than 500 horsepower. That makes it one of the quickest ’70s muscle cars.

Rare 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible Classic Car
Via: Mecum

The 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda offer sweetens even further by the addition of the convertible option, limited to only 11 automobiles. Those drop tops are exceptionally rare, extremely fast, and stunning to look at. And a ’71 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible is also one of the most coveted muscle cars on the planet, with the most recent example selling for $3.5 million at bidding.

Related: This Is How Much The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Costs Today

7 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird

1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird front
Via Mecum Auction

The Plymouth Superbird has to be one of America’s most famous muscle cars and has created a name of its own as one of the most distinctive-looking automobiles in history. It could be had with the 426 Hemi V8 with 425 horsepower. It took just 5.5 seconds to speed up from 0 to 60 mph.

1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird rear
Via Mecum Auction

This car remains mainly recognized for its revolutionary style at the time. We widely regarded the Superbird as one of the wildest automobiles to ever emerge from Detroit’s horsepower battles.

Related: 10 Things Everyone Forgot About The Dodge Charger Daytona And Plymouth Superbird

6 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429

Ford Mustang Boss 429 - Front Quarter
Via WSupercars

Nothing compares to the Mustang in terms of sales, popularity, and recognition. In the first John Wick movie, they famously used it as our beloved assassin’s car of choice. We recognize many of its models as stylish, but the coolest of them all has to be the Boss 429.

Ford Mustang Boss 429 - Rear Quarter
Via WSupercars

It’s the most powerful Mustang of that time. Only 1,359 examples of this magnificent, aggressive-looking muscle car have seen the light of day, making it one of the rarest muscle cars ever manufactured.

Related: 18 Pictures Of John Wick’s Sweet Rides

5 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454

Chevellle SS 454 - Front Quarter
Via Barrett-Jackson

People of the ’70s dubbed the Chevelle SS 454 as the “King of the Streets” for a worthy reason. This demon was unrivaled in a period when horsepower played a central role.

Chevelle SS 454 - Rear Quarter
Via Barrett-Jackson

It swiftly became one of America’s top favorite muscle cars. The Chevelle was a strong and attractive automobile in and of itself. However, when the SS 454’s optional LS6 (a higher-output version of the 454) was ordered, it was among the most ferocious muscle cars available.

4 De Tomaso Pantera

1971 De Tomaso Pantera Classic Car
Via: Mecum

The De Tomaso Pantera will not have the same name recognition as most other muscle cars in this ranking. But it does have a long and illustrious history dating back to the 1970s. De Tomaso powered the Pantera with a Ford 351 ‘Cleveland’ V8 engine that produced 330 horsepower and was connected to a ZF five-speed manual transmission.

1971 De Tomaso Pantera Classic Car
Via: Mecum

It had a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph, putting its competitors to shame. Giampaolo Dallara, the car’s stylist, also contributed to the development of the Lamborghini Miura.

Related: 10 Coolest Headlights Of The 1970s

3 1973 AMC Javelin AMX

AMC AMX - Front Quarter
Via Mecum Auctions

Dick Teague, the famed automotive designer behind several ground-breaking cars, including the Jeep Cherokee XJ, designed the Javelin. The AMX version could be optioned with a 401 c.i. (6.5-liter) V8 engine with 330 horsepower, making it a vital vehicle.

AMC Javelin AMX 401 - Rear Quarter
Via Car From UK

This car was so popular that police agencies, including the American highway patrol, adopted it as their professional vehicle.

Related: Is It Worth Buying An AMC Javelin Today?

2 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 426 Hemi

After Putting Terror In The Hearts Of All Muscle Cars In The ‘70s, The Black Ghost Vanished As Quietly As It Came
via Hemmings

The Dodge Challenger is, without a doubt, one of the most legendary muscle vehicles ever produced. You likely think of the white 426 Hemi from the film Vanishing Point when you think of a 1970 Challenger.

Godfrey Qualls Put In An Order For A Dodge Challenger R/T And Added In The SE Package, Thus Getting The 7.0-Liter Hemi, Officially Rated At 425 Horse, But Close To 470 Horses On The Sly
via Pinterest

The 426 Hemi version could go from 0 to 60 mph in under 5.6 seconds. The Dodge Challenger became one of the most celebrated muscle car names in history, with the most powerful and rarest versions fetching six-figure sums today.

1 1970 Oldsmobile 442

Crimson 1970 Oldsmobile 442
Via Mecum Auctions

The American muscle car’s golden age would be incomplete without mention of this Oldsmobile. The 442 has one of the most powerful engines ever offered by an American muscle automobile from the golden period. On the street, the large, meaty Oldsmobile was a thriller.

1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 Classic Muscle Car In Burgundy Mist
Via: Mecum

It had a 455 c.i. (7.5-liter) V8 engine that produced 365 horsepower and enough thrust to spin the universe. It was a heavy car, but it had no trouble shrugging off its bulk and reaching 60 mph in under six seconds.

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