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32 American Cars That Weren’t Sold In The U.S.

Vukasin Herbez October 13, 2018

12. Ford Sierra XR8

You might remember the Ford Sierra, the definitive ’80s Ford’s mid-size family model with rear-wheel drive. The car was sold in America as Merkur XR4Ti with a 2.3-liter turbo engine with modest success. But South Africans had a different idea.

The Ford SA produced a limited run of Sierra XR8 models, which featured a 5.0-liter V8 engine with 220 HP straight out of a Mustang. With its light body and manual transmission, the Sierra XR8 could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than seven seconds, making it perfect as a basis for a successful racing car. Since this was a homologation special, the production was small at just 250 examples which looked almost stock.

10. IKA Torino

The IKA factory was established in 1955 as a Kaiser subsidiary in Argentina, which produced American-designed models for the local buyers. However, in 1964, IKA, now a part of American Motors Company, needed a modern-looking and powerful car in order to compete on the Argentinean market. AMC provided IKA with a 1965 Rambler American platform, including body panels and drivetrain, while IKA designed and produced the front and rear end design and interior.

The Torino debuted in 1966 and was pretty modern and advanced for Argentinean standards of the day. However, IKA realized that the Torino had more potential of just being a right road car and started upgrading the engine as soon as 1969 with the Torino 380W model. This version included a 3.8-liter engine with 176 HP and unique exterior trim.

The Torino was the premium Argentinean muscle car since it was a nice-looking coupe with luxury appointments and excellent driving dynamics. The company continued to produce more and more powerful versions like Torino TSX, Torino GS, and Torino ZX with the same 3.8-liter engine but with power ranging from 200 to 215 HP.

9. Ford Maverick GT V8

The American buyers got to know Maverick as Ford’s base economy model introduced in 1969 in order to fight the foreign compact car invasion. The American Maverick wasn’t anything special, just another affordable runabout with no defining features, but it was one of the premium muscle cars in GT trim in Brazil.

But for muscle car connoisseurs and enthusiasts, Ford produced the Maverick GT V8 equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 (302 CID) producing 199 HP, a significant number for the standards of the day. In this relatively light package and with a four-speed manual transmission, the Maverick GT was one of the fastest Brazilian cars at the moment and a very popular muscle car.

In 1975, Ford introduced Maverick GT with Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, which raised the power level to 255 HP and made this compact very fast. This model came with famous Ford’s Grabber colors, front and rear spoiler, sports wheels, and lots more. Even today, this is one of the most popular and sought-after Brazilian muscle cars.

8. Ford OSI 20M TS

Back in the ’60s, Italy was full of small design houses producing interesting variants of regular production cars. Most of those little body shops looked for lucrative contracts with big companies, which will provide them with financial security and a chance to present their creations to a worldwide audience.

One of those small firms was OSI, which concentrated on producing bodies based on a Fiat chassis. However, their best-known model was, in fact, a Ford. Back in the mid-’60s, OSI teamed with European Ford to produce a limited run of sports cars based on mid-size Taunus chassis. The vehicle was called Ford OSI 20M TS and had a gorgeous and elegant coupe body, a 2.3-liter V6 engine, and around 110 HP. Not much, but since it was light, performance was satisfying to most customers.

7. Chevrolet 400 Super Sport

In the early ’60s, Ford and Chrysler introduced modern and affordable versions of US models for the Argentinean market, which left Chevrolet without a proper competitor. In order to attract more buyers and regain position on the market, Chevrolet decided to introduce a model called 400, which was basically the American Chevy II or Nova. The main version was a modest four-door sedan with a 3.2-liter straight-six engine.

The car proved to be decently popular, but the rising racing and muscle car scene demanded a more powerful version. So in 1967, Chevrolet presented the 400 SuperSport, one of the first domestic muscle cars in Argentina in whole South America. The 400 SuperSport had better brakes and suspension and a tuned version of the venerable 250 CID (4.1-liter) straight-six with 155 HP.

The car could be easily distinguished from the American-made Chevy II since the 400 SuperSport had four headlights, a blackout grille, and fake hood scoops similar to the 1966 Chevelle SS. Despite the fact it was a four-door sedan, the 400 Super Sport was popular with Argentinean racers of the day.

6. Ford Cortina XR6 Interceptor

Introduced in 1982, the Cortina XR Interceptor was a high-performance version of the regular MK3 Cortina sold all over the world. Ford South Africa wanted something to spark the sales and also reintroduce muscle cars to the market, and Cortina’s rear-wheel-drive platform was perfect for the job.

The Cortina XR6 Interceptor was a performance four-door sedan with a 3.0-liter V6 engine with three Webber carburetors, hotter cam, and high compression heads. The power was not very high at 140 HP, but the Cortina was reasonably light and stable. Since it featured a pretty ordinary look, it was the favorite getaway car for armed robberies. Simply, it featured a straightforward design perfect for blending with the traffic and engine powerful enough to get you away fast. Maybe that’s why Ford built only 250 of them.

5. Dodge GTX V8

The Chrysler Corporation was pretty active in Argentina during the ’60s and the ’70s, and it produced several models aimed directly at the local market. Their most significant and most luxurious offering was Dodge GT, a Dart-based sedan with better equipment powered by the famous 225 Slant Six engine. The car was introduced in 1968, but in 1970, Chrysler Argentina decided to present the proper muscle version in the form of the Dodge GTX.

Borrowing the name from the eponymous Plymouth car, Dodge GTX was also a luxury muscle car, at least for South American standards of the day, with power windows and air conditioning as standard. It featured a cool-looking coupe body and optional 318 V8, which delivered 212 HP or 230 HP depending on model year and transformed this Dodge in one of the most powerful domestic cars of the period. Production lasted until 1973, and due to its high price, the GTX wasn’t produced in many examples.

4. Ford RS200

Back in the mid-’80s, motorsports were all about rallying and famous and terrifyingly dangerous Group B. Group B was a part of the World Rally Championship, which featured factory prototypes loosely based on production cars with insane turbocharged engines and all-wheel-drive systems. The vehicles were crazy fast and crazy dangerous and much loved by fans all over the world. Eventually, Group B was canceled by FIA, but manufacturers battled each other for supremacy on the dirt and mud of rally stages for a few years. This brought us many exciting and fast road cars since manufacturers were obligated to produce a number of road-going vehicles for homologation purposes.

That was precisely the insane Ford RS200. Introduced in 1984, it was a mid-engined, turbocharged sports car that featured a lightweight body construction, a 2.1-liter engine with 250 hp, and two seats. It was a race car with no intention of hiding it Thanks to all-wheel drive, it was capable of jumping from 0 to 60 mph in just 5 seconds flat. The road version, of which 200 were made, was detuned from 450 compared to 500 hp of the race version.

3. Ford Racing Puma

In the late ’90s, Ford UK presented the Puma, a small compact performance model that was based on Fiesta. The Puma looked fast, but it wasn’t much faster than the economy Fiesta with the same engine in reality. So, in 1999, the Ford rally team prepared a limited production model called Racing Puma, which was produced in only 500 examples.

The Racing Puma had special paint, bodywork, wheels, and suspension setup while retaining the stock 1.7-liter four-cylinder although a bit modified. The power output was modest at 150, but the car was light and elegant, which provided the driver with an exhilarating driving experience.

2. Shelby Europa

When Shelby introduced its line of mighty Mustangs, European enthusiasts took notice. Soon the cars were popular on the continent as well as in the United States. One of the first Shelby dealers was Belgian racing driver Claude Dubois. After the Shelby production stopped in 1970, Dubois approached Carroll Shelby and asked him for the rights to produce a unique line of European spec 1971/72 Mustangs under the Shelby name.

In two years, only about 14 cars were made, which makes Shelby Europe an incredibly rare muscle car. Most of them got 351 V8 engines, and some received the 429 Cobra Jet.

1. Ford Fairmont GT

Introduced in 1970, the Fairmont was a full-size sedan designed and constructed by Ford’s Australia division but built and sold by the South African branch too. It was basically a version of Australian Ford Falcon XY.

As you know, the Falcon GT was one of the first and most popular Australian muscle cars, so South African dealers wanted their own local version. That is how the Fairmont GT came to be. Powered by Ford’s 351 V8 engine, the 1970 model had a 2 barrel carburetor, while the 1971 to 1973 model had a 4 bbl version with 300 HP, making it one of the fastest and most powerful cars in South Africa at the time. The 0 to 60 mph time was pretty respectable 7.2 seconds. Of course, the Fairmont GT was an expensive and rare car, and in four years of production, Ford built just 1824 examples.

 

 

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