The current popularity of the muscle cars of the ’60s and ’70s is hard to miss when we look at the amount of money that well-restored examples can bring under hammer, or even the price a dilapidated barn finds fetch. Things like clubs, local Car and Coffee meets, national show gatherings, social media posts, and available manufacturer merchandise underline the obvious fascination with the rides of the muscle car era.
While most of the originals that define the time – more than a half-century ago – have ceased production; there are a handful that have stood the test of time and still hit the asphalt as modern muscle. Chevy’s C8 Corvette Z06 And Camaro ZL1, as well as the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R and the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat immediately come to mind.
That brings up the question, what about the rest? What about a new era of muscle, a full reboot of the category? If it were up to us, these classic muscle cars would already be in the works. Here are the 10 coolest muscle cars we’d love to revive.
10 Buick Wildcat
Production of the Buick Wildcat was discontinued in 1970, after a seven-year run. The Wildcat got its start as a Buick concept car in the ‘50s and came to market in 1963 as a subseries of the Buick Invicta.
The first-gen Wildcat debuted with two Nailhead engine options, a 401 and a 425 cubic-inch V8. The 1966 model was offered with a factory-installed Super Wildcat 465, a 425 cubic-inch V8 with 465 lb-ft of torque, and dual four-barrel carbs.
9 Chevy Chevelle
The model year 1964 saw the launch of the Chevy Chevelle. In 1977 the Chevelle ceased production. The Chevelle Super Sport SS wore Malibu SS badging in ’64 and ’65.
Chevy’s 1970 Chevelle SS developed 450-horsepower when ordered with the LS6 454 cubic-inch V8, with 500 lb-ft of torque.
8 Chevy El Camino
Inspired by the Ford Ranchero, the Chevy El Camino saw two different production runs. The car-truck hybrid debuted with a short-lived from 1959 to 1960.
The second went from 1964 to 1987. In 1970, Chevy offered the El Co powered with their LS6 454 cubic-inch V8.
7 Chevy II/Nova
Like the El Camino, Chevy gave the Nova two chances at life with a run from 1962 to 1979 and again from 1985 to 1988. Although it started as a small economical vehicle, the Nova spawned into one of the best-known muscle cars of its time.
The 1969 Yenko Nova, with a 396 to 427 cubic-inch engine swap produced 450-horsepower. The rare version only sold 37 units.
6 Ford Torino
The Ford Torino came off the line from 1968 to 1976. In 1970, The Torino Cobra was available with a 429 Cobra jet.
It was rated at 365- hp power and 450 lb-ft of torque. It was also Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1970.
5 Ford Thunderbird
After two runs through the line, the Ford Thunderbird was discontinued over 15 years ago. The first production exceeded four decades, ranging from 1954 to 1997.
After a five-year hiatus, a reboot of the Thunderbird tempted buyers from 2002 to 2005. Autoevolution described the engine that pushed the 1968 Thunderbird into the muscle car arena as Ford’s 7.0-liter V8.
4 Oldsmobile 442
The Olds 4-4-2 was introduced for model year 1964 and discontinued in 1987. Upon release, the four-four-two spoke to its four-barrel carburetor, four-speed transmission, and dual exhaust.
In 1969, the 442 was offered with a 455-cubic-inch V8. At the time, the 455 was rated at 365-horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque.
3 Plymouth Duster
The Plymouth Duster was produced for the model years 1970 through 1976. The trim and option packages were designed to target varied demographics.
Buyers had options such as the Feather Duster for fuel economy, the Space Duster for more cargo room, or the Duster 360 for a higher performance model. The Plymouth Duster 360 ran a 5.9-liter V8 with a four-barrel carburetor. While it wasn’t as powerful as its bigger siblings, its 245 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque in this lightweight muscle cars was more than enough to glue the driver to the seat. We just wish Dodge made its own version today.
2 Pontiac Firebird
The Pontiac Firebird was produced for 34 years, with model years 1967 through 2002. The first generation ran from 1967 to 1969, the second went 1970 to 1981, the third from 1982 to 1992, and the fourth and final gen closed out the Firebird’s life with a run from 1993 to 2002.
The highest sales were seen after the popularity of the 1977 silver screen blockbuster Smokey and the Bandit. Available in 1969 and ’70 models, the 400 cubic-inch V8 with the Ram Air IV option was the most powerful production package, creating 345 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque.
1 Pontiac Tempest
The Pontiac Tempest originally came off the line for a decade from 1960 to 1970. It saw life again in the model years 1987 to 1991.
The 1964 Pontiac Tempest LeMans with the GTO option is touted as having ushered in the “muscle car era”. The Tempest’s GTO package showed out with GTO badging and was powered by a 389 cubic-inch V8, developing up to 348 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque.
Classic Muscle Cars Take On Their New Rivals In Old Vs. New Drag Racing
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