The popularity of American muscle cars has never wavered. It is the favorite toy for most of the big boys. The American muscle car is the ultimate symbol of power in the car world. That roaring power of the engine attracts many fans and even today the classic American muscle cars are still being sought after.

For people who are new, a muscle car is an American breed with 2-doors and a long hard hood with a powerful V8 engine under. There are a few muscle cars that have 4 doors and also some convertibles. The only thing that matters is its powerful roaring engine. While most have the V8 engine, a few select have the larger V12 engine.

Some companies have revived the American muscle cars and also made modern versions but they are not as precious as the classics. The true classic American muscle cars are made from 1960 to early 1980s.

  1. 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird

1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird

The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird was the race modification of Plymouth’s Roadrunner. The Superbird was specifically for competition, especially the NASCAR. Rumors says this car was the one used by Plymouth to win back the NASCAR legend Richard Petty who left Plymouth and joined FORD in 1969. Driven by Richard, the Superbird dominated the 1970 NASCAR. The Plymouth Hemi Superbird was powered by a 426 cubic inch Hemi engine, hence its name.

Because the Superbird was built mainly for racing, only 135 were built in 1970 and stopped production by the end of the year.

  1. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1

1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1

The ZL-1 is the upgraded 1969 Chevrolet Camaro equipped with the 427 cubic inched V8 engine known as the ZL-1. The ZL-1 engine built purely with aluminum instead of the standard metal sheet. The ZL-1 was known to fire up to 560 horsepower but probably due to insurance issues, the factory details say it can only go up to 430 horsepower.

The ZL-1 engine was based on the L88 engine but was a lot light because it was made of pure aluminum giving the Camaro ZL-1 a great power-weight ratio. The power of the Camaro ZL-1 immediately made its way to drag racing strips. It was sold to the public with a base price of $7,200. Although the performance was indeed successful, the price on it deterred customers and eventually the production was cancelled. By the end 1970, only 69 Camaro ZL-1s were produced.

  1. 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 R-Code

1967 Ford Fairlane 500 R-Code

The Ford Fairlane series was first introduced in 1955 and its standard continued until 1962. The Fairlane series was getting behind in the muscle car evolutions so Ford heavily redesigned the Fairlane. The new Fairlane design became the father to many of Fords later designs including the Torino and Cobra series.

The 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 R-Code was the racing package for the Fairlines. Installed with dual carburetors, the 500 R-Code reach 425 horsepower. The production for the Fairlane 500 stopped and was only able to build 57 cars.

  1. 1967 Plymouth R023 GTX

1967 Plymouth R023 GTX

The Plymouth R023 GTX was the underdog of the Plymouth cars, outshined by the popular Roadrunner and the powerful Barracuda series. The GTX R023 was specifically built for racing and discarded unnecessary GTX parts such as the hub caps, radio, heater, carpet, and body insulations making it 500 pounds lighter than the GTX. Powered by the 426 cubic inch Hemi engine and larger hood scoops for increased air flow, the R023 was able to reach speeds from 0 to 60 in just 4.8 seconds. Outperforming other cars in the 1967.

Even though it had great performance, the R023’s low popularity ended the production and only 55 were produced.

  1. 1970-71 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible

1970-71 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible

Every American muscle car enthusiast will know the Plymouth Cuda line. From its famous Barracuda line, it eventually called simply as the Plymouth Cuda. The 1970-71 Plymouth Cuda had 5 different engines to choose from. From the 340 cubic inch to the 426 cubic inch Hemi. Although famous for its raw power, the Plymouth hemi Cuda was very rare as they were very expensive. Most people just go for the 440+6 cubic inch engine because it was cheaper and still had power as it was only an additional $250 compared to the $871 Hemi engine upgrade. The rarest of them all is the Plymouth Hemi Cuda convertible, only 21 were produced.

  1. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88

1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88

Produced from 1967 to 1968, the Chevrolet Corvette L88s were exclusively built at the Chevrolet factory in St. Louis, Missouri. Equipped with the powerful 427 cubic inch Chevy big block engine made the L88 a race ready package of the Chevrolet Corvette. The L88 was not intended for street use so Chevy was not keen in selling it to the public consumers as the power of the L88 could cause serious damage. It was advertised to give only 435 horsepower, not much difference from the regular corvette but later testing revealed that the L88 was actually giving up to 560 horsepower. The heavy emissions from the L88s forced the company to stop its production. There are only 196 Chevrolet Corvette produced and the 1967 model are the rarest, only 20 were produced.

  1. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6  

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6

In 1970, Chevrolet only built 20 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 making them the rarest of the Chevelles. Chevrolet made two Chevelle SS models, the RPO225 that had the 402 cubic inch engine or the RPO215 that had the 440 cubic inch engine. The LS6 upgrade was available for the RPO215 model which produce an amazing 560 horsepower.

In 1970, Chevrolet only built 20 Chevelle SS 454 LS6 making them the rarest of the Chevelles. Chevrolet made two Chevelle SS models, the RPO225 that had the 402 cubic inch engine or the RPO215 that had the 440 cubic inch engine. The LS6 upgrade was available for the RPO215 model which produce an amazing 560 horsepower.

  1. 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible

1971 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible

The 1971 Pontiac GTO was designed by John DeLorean and was based on the Ferrari 250 GTO. The GTO used to be an upgrade package option for Pontiac’s Tempest series. It separated from the Tempest line and became its own line. The Judge a racing package upgrade for the GTO. Stripped off the unnecessary weight and installed the 455 cubic inch engine, the Judge became a powerful car not to be ignored. Although it was famous during its time, very few convertibles were built. Pontiac was only able to produce 207 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible before the company was forced to cancel the line due to strict emission standards in 1971. Out of the 207 convertibles, only 17 were made in 1971.

  1. 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL-1

1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL-1

Only 3 Chevrolet Corvettes were installed with the pure aluminum ZL-1 engine block including the #9 on this list, the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1, and the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL-1. The Corvette ZL-1 was not actually sold to the public, it was custom ordered by Chevrolet factory workers at St. Louis, Missouri. Only 3 were custom ordered. The L88 special turbo jet 427 cubic inch engine gave this rare corvette a roaring 500 horsepower. The cost of the build was $10,771 in 1969, $3000 more expensive than the standard Corvette.

  1. 1967/1970 Dodge Coronet R/T 426 Hemi Convertible

1967-1970 Dodge Coronet RT 426 Hemi Convertible

Dodge built 487 Dodge Coronet R/Ts equipped with Hemi engine. Out of 487, only 4 were convertibles. 2 from 1967 and the other 2 from 1970. The model name “R/T” means “Road and Track”. The 1967 Coronet R/T was the first R/T of the model and later in 1970 it received an overhaul. The newer 1970 Coronet R/T 426 Hemi Convertible was able to power up to 425 horsepower.

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  1. Gary Buelow December 4, 2016

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