Contrary to popular belief, the first GTO was actually born as a trim package for the Tempest. The car came out of the factory with tire-blazing speed, but the next generation of the car was even better. This is the GTO that you want if you are a serious collector. The powerful V8 was exclusive to Pontiac at a time when the brand was being touted as the performance division of GM.
Pontiac has a way of designing compelling muscle cars, and the GTO just managed to connect with owners on a deeper level. The car has become iconic with the muscle car world and is one of the first nameplates that comes to mind.
When it came time to switch things up and give the GTO its own nameplate, the brand introduced the Judge. Known as one of the fastest muscle cars on the market the Judge was quite the catch. Equipped with a powerful V8 engine and a host of performance modifications, this was a street-legal drag car.
Of course, comfort was still important and this car could seat six with no problem. Coupled with the limited-edition exterior paint and you had one heck of a performance car. The Judge is among one of the highest-rated GTO packages, and it’s also one of the most expensive. Auction prices have been going up on these, especially since the Pontiac brand was disbanded.
With the GTO gaining considerable notoriety and the Mustang hot on the heels of GM, the company had to give Chevy a fighting chance as well. The Chevelle got its own version of the SS package. If the car looks familiar, that is because it shares its body with the GTO and the Cutlass. But the three cars were marketed toward different consumer segments.
The GTO was built for performance, while the Cutlass built on a luxury reputation, and the Chevelle was all-American. The car had a lot going for it and the SS is distinct for its split headlights and oval taillights. To this day, the Chevelle SS is one of the most popular versions of the GM muscle car trio. A common modification these days has been to cram a modern LS V8 engine into it. The value on the Chevelle SS is going up substantially.
The El Camino also had a special-edition model. The El Camino SS was designed to take the retail customers who wanted a truck and a muscle car. The SS was pretty much a pickup truck version of the Chevelle SS, and that was alright with customers. Its performance was exceptional at the time and propelled the El Camino into sales success.
The SS only lasted as long as the Chevelle version of the car, but that enhanced the value. Finding an El Camino SS is hard, especially since there were so few of these made. But if you can get your hands on one, you’re in for a treat. The El Camino SS is known as one of the most desirable muscle cars on the road today.
When you think about blazing fast sports cars, the Cobra is one of the first that comes to mind. This is a purpose-built race car drivers can take out just about anywhere. The design was masterminded by Carroll Shelby and still looks great to this day. In fact, various versions of the Cobra are still built in modern renditions. The 1963 Shelby Cobra 260 was instrumental in giving the car a footing in the performance world.
Why drive a Corvette convertible when you could take this roadster out for a spin? The Cobra is known as the pinnacle of performance cars. Carroll Shelby put a lot of effort into the Cobra. This was one of his prize-winning designs that managed to combine exceptional driving characteristics and road manners. If you wanted performance in the 1960s, the 1963 Shelby Cobra 260 was the way to go.
The corporate twin of the GTO and the Chevelle, the Cutlass was built with its own purpose. This car was designed for drivers who wanted performance but didn’t want to give up creature comforts such as power windows. This car was a monster on the track right out of the factory, combining elegant exterior styling and all of the features that you’d come to expect in an Oldsmobile vehicle.
The 442 is especially sought-after because of the Oldsmobile built powerplant. Performance is a given with this car and the enthusiasts are still seeking these out. Generally, the Oldsmobile models were well taken care of and you can still find these in reasonable shape.
Finally, we get to the 1969 Buick Skylark, a sheer marvel in the history of Buick. What made this car special was not that it shared its bones with the Chevelle and the GTO, but that it was a Buick. With that said, the car was designed to handle just about anything you’d throw at it. The powerful V8 engine was enough to excite even the most discerning muscle car owner, and its luxury features made it comfortable.
Buick has still managed to continuously captivate the minds of muscle car owners to this day. Whether you’re a fan of the Skylark or the later Grand National, the company was known for creating luxury performance. The 1969 Buick Skylark is perhaps a rarer option then the Chevelle and GTO models, and that makes it more desirable in many ways.