10 of the Most Obscure, Offbeat Muscle Cars
Most car enthusiasts know about Chevelles, Chargers and Barracudas, but these cars are equally fantastic.
Mercury Cyclone CJ
Mercury doesn’t spring to mind immediately when you think of muscle cars, but in 1969, it built a car that fit the muscle car template perfectly, the Mercury Cyclone CJ . With a 428 cubic inch Cobra Jet V8 under the hood, the Cyclone CJ could run the quarter mile in under 14 seconds.
Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 455
The Vista Cruiser is an icon of 1970s suburban America, but did you know you could have one with a 455 V8? Yep. Oldsmobile began offering the big 7.5-liter V8 in 1970, making the ultimate family hauling sleeper.
Ford Galaxie 500 7-Litre
The big Ford Galaxie 500 wasn’t the most exciting performance car offered by Ford in the mid-1960s, but the handful it equipped with the venerable 428 cubic inch V8 are pretty spectacular. The Galaxie 500 7-Litre was Ford’s best highway cruiser with 345 horsepower on tap. Jay Leno owns one too, so you know its cool.
Studebaker Super Lark
The Studebaker (pictured left) is arguably the first muscle car ever built. Studebaker took the supercharged V8 from the Avanti sports car, which made 335 horsepower in R2 form, and stuffed it, along with a limited-slip differential and front disc brakes, in the humdrum Lark. It turned a normal economy car into something that ran 15s quarter mile, impressive stuff for 1963.
AMC never enjoyed the love or success of its rivals in the so-called “big three,” but it still managed to turn out some very impressive muscle cars. The Javelin–overshadowed by its sports car sibling, the AMX–was a respectable pony car, but its racing success seals its place in the history books. With Mark Donohue behind the wheel of a Javelin in the 1971 Trans Am season, the competition didn’t stand much of a chance.
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