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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

10 Best Muscle Cars from Manufacturers That Have Gone Missing

Some of the greatest muscle cars ever made come from manufacturers that no longer exist.  Companies like Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Pontiac have given us some of the coolest muscle cars to ever roam the streets.  Despite creating some cars with some serious brawn, these companies have gone out of business leaving vehicles behind that remind us of how mighty they once were.

Luckily for us, these mighty muscle cars still exist.  While some of our favorites are rarer than others, each of them has a place on this list of the top ten muscle cars built by automakers that are no longer with us.

Plymouth Duster – Numerous trim and option package variants of the Duster were available back in the day which included the Feather Duster, Gold Duster, Silver Duster, Space Duster, Duster Twister, 340 Duster and 360 Duster. These variations of the basic Duster design were intended to attract customers looking for economy, cargo space, and performance all from the same basic car.

Mercury Cyclone Spoiler – Mercury made the Cyclone for 4 consecutive years from 1968 – 1971. Technically, the first cyclones were being made from 1964 – 1967 as the Mercury Comet Cyclone, but “Comet” was dropped for the 1968 model. That was just in time for the Cyclone to win at the 1968 Daytona 500.  Production ended after the 1971 model year. For the 1972 model year, the Cyclone returned as an option package for the Montego; only 30 examples were produced.

SONY DSC

Oldsmobile Toronado – The designers at Oldsmobile gave us some really cool features throughout the lifespan of the Toronado including hidden headlights and front-wheel drive. The Toronado was a fairly big success for Oldsmobile. Front-wheel drive designs got a big boost as well when the Toronado was able to handle the torque of the Olds Rocket V8.

Mercury Cougar – The Cougar is the cousin to the Mustang and has a lot of similarities, but for some reason never caught on quite like the little pony. Nevertheless, we think they look great and you can pick up a 1960s Mercury Cougar for relatively cheap. They were made with the full array of Ford motors (289, 302, 390, 427, and 428), but the 427 & 428 versions are going to run you a little more because they are harder to find.

1972 AMC Javelin AMX tubbed and customized at AMO 2015 show

AMC Javelin AMX – It is undeniable that the demand for muscle and pony cars is on the higher end of the spectrum. The golden age of this genre was short lived, but somehow the Javelin, produced by American Motor Company, slipped through the cracks in the collector’s market. Maybe everyone is too busy chasing down Chevy Camaros to notice the sleek looks and raw V8 power that AMC put into this ride.  This is good news for the average Joe as the Javelin is an ideal way to enter the muscle-car world without breaking the bank.

Plymouth Roadrunner – The Roadrunner is named after the Looney Toons cartoon character of the same name. Plymouth actually had to fork over a big sum of money to be able to use the cartoon bird’s likeness. This muscle car was originally marketed to a younger crowd.  It was famous for its design and style and was undeniably fast.  Even Wile E. Coyote could not catch the Plymouth Roadrunner.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – For years it has been accused as being a copycat Camaro and there is a bit of truth to that. However, the Firebird has managed to blaze its own trail of classic car history with four generations of Pontiac power. It was made from 1969 until 2002. It is arguably one of the most recognizable muscle cars out there. Likely due to its infamous role in Smokey and the Bandit.

Oldsmobile 442 – We have an entire article on the Oldsmobile 442. It is fairly well known that the 442 name comes from its four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual, and dual exhausts. Many know that it was based off the GM platform of the Chevy Cutlass just like the Chevy Chevelle and the Pontiac GTO. The 442 also had a similarity with the GTO that it was only available as a trim package when first introduced. By 1970 the Oldsmobile 442 was producing 360 horsepower out of the 455 cubic-inch V8 when it was also equipped with additional W30 parts. Some were even able to produce 500 lb-ft of torque. All this muscle allowed the Olds 442 to go from 0-60 in under 6 seconds. That is pretty fast even for today’s cars.

Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda – Although sometimes criticized for its nose-heavy weight distribution, no one can deny that this 425 horsepower was anything short of awesome. The Hemi Cuda had the track record to prove it belonged with the best, putting down low 13 second quarter miles, which is still quick even by today’s standards.

 

– We would like to believe that the Pontiac GTO would make any top ten list regardless of who is judging. Considered by many to be the one of the first true muscle cars, the iconic GTO has become one of the most sought-after muscle cars for collectors, enthusiasts and dreamers everywhere.

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