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35 ’60s Muscle Cars Destined For The Junkyard

Cameron EittreimNovember 9, 2020

Photo Credit: Hot Rod

11: Buick Riviera GS

The Rivera GS is known as being the early precursor to the Grand National, but early models had their fair share of drawbacks. First was the heaviness of the design. The vehicle was a literal wedge on the roadways. Then you had the engine, which was underpowered compared to other muscle cars of the period. There was also the fact that the Riviera GS was much more expensive than its competition.

Buick Riviera GS
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

The interesting thing about the Riviera GS was that it has an iconic design. When drivers think of Buicks from this era, they think of the Riviera. But the reality of it is that the design is somewhat problematic and a lot of owners had headaches dealing with this car. Avoiding the Riviera is probably the best thing when it comes to a muscle car.

1965 Chevrolet Nova SS
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

10: 1965 Chevrolet Nova SS

As Chevrolet tried to create smaller scale vehicles the Nova was introduced to the public. What was a great initial concept ended up costing the company? The design of the Nova wasn’t perfect by any means and the lack of design cost the reliability. Few cars were as unreliable as the Nova and although it was exceptional on the track, its general driving characteristics were not very good.

1965 Chevrolet Nova SS
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

Chevy tried for years to improve the Nova but it was always an also-ran compared to the other models in the lineup. Sure, you got the muscle car aesthetic of the Nova, but it was lacking in a lot of other aspects. That’s why there are better muscle car choices than the Nova when drivers are choosing a classic 1960s muscle car.

1965 Ford Mustang 289 HiPo
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

9: 1965 Ford Mustang 289 HiPo

Ford did a lot of experimentation with the Mustang during this period, and the 289 HiPo was no different. The overall look of the HiPo was the same but the appeal was the added performance of the car. Unfortunately, Ford rushed into the design of the car and a lot of people were off-put by this. Thus the general Mustang models far outsold this one for several reasons.

1965 Ford Mustang 289 HiPo
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

The 271 HP was sufficient but it was nothing to get excited about, and thus a lot of consumers just went for the GT. The resale value of these Mustang models is not as good as you’d think, especially when you compare it to other models. Mustang fans just generally avoid this model altogether.

1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

8: 1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2

Pontiac was the performance division of GM during the ’60s, and that was a good thing. But that didn’t bold well for the Catalina. Pontiac was attempting to market a sort of family sedan with the heart of a performance car. The result wasn’t either; in fact, it was a car that lacked in a lot of aspects. The performance wasn’t what you’d expect and the reliability wasn’t good either.

1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

Pontiac did a lot to improve the overall quality of the Catalina, but it still fell short in a lot of aspects. The look and feel of the car weren’t what consumers were looking for and let’s face it, the name was a bit lackluster as well.

1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

7: 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

As 1966 rolled around, the Chevelle was designed and in full swing. But the design of the car wasn’t all that revolutionary when you looked at it. Overall the finished package was less than what consumers were hoping for. The SS 396 had blazing performance out the door, but sadly a lot of things were missing with the rest of the car. The look wasn’t what you’d expect in a performance car of this caliber.

1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

The interior was also a letdown for most of the consumers who were vying for this car. Thus sales were not what you’d expect, and the SS 396 was not the sales success GM had hoped for. Naturally, these cars still hold their value from a consumer standpoint, a good thing for collectors.

1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Hemi
Photo Credit: Mopar

6: 1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Hemi

The Coronet unfortunately never was able to capture the type of market share that other muscle cars were. This car was relegated to being a police cruiser, and would often be found on the used car market. The performance wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible either, and that is why a lot of consumers still go for them. The 426 Hemi wasn’t a reliable engine but it could perform very well indeed.

1966 Dodge Coronet 426 Hemi
Photo Credit: Mopar

Few cars have made as little of an impact on the muscle car industry as the Coronet 426 did. The reception was lukewarm, to say the least, and thus a lot of these have ended up in the junkyard. If you want a cheap Mopar that requires a lot of work, the Coronet 426 is the car for you.

1966 Dodge Charger
Photo Credit: Mecum

5: 1966 Dodge Charger

The original Charger was a comeback car for Dodge, which was trying to target a much younger demographic. The car had a lot of things that made it cool such as its exterior style. But the reliability of the Charger was lackluster at best. This is why a lot of consumers went the other way when it came to choosing a car. The Charger did manage to get a lot of younger buyers into the showroom, similar to how the current model has done.

1966 Dodge Charger
Photo Credit: Mecum

Rusting issues and the reliability issues make the Charger a difficult proposition to work with. A lot of consumers have gone the other way and opted for other muscle cars that were in this segment.

Camaro Z/28
Photo Credit: Gas Monkey

4: 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is perhaps one of the most well-known pony cars to ever grace the road. But sadly, the prices of these cars have been vastly overinflated, and the majority of these things are going to be destined for the junkyard. You’ve got people who are holding onto to rusting examples with stripped engines just to price gouge. For a car that was affordable when it was first released, this is a travesty.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Photo Credit: Mecum

Not to mention the fact that the Camaro Z/28 had a lot of reliability issues with the factory engine. Working on these cars was not an easy thing to do, and unless you are going to do a modern engine swap, you are looking at a lot of work.

1967 Plymouth GTX
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

3: 1967 Plymouth GTX

Plymouth or Chrysler has never had the most reliable cars on the road, but they resonated with consumers nonetheless. The 1967 Plymouth GTX is a notable exception to this because of the unique styling of the car. It was positioned as a luxury car but still managed to have muscle car attributes. The 426 Hemi was an optional engine and although it performed well, its follow-up and reliability were slim.

1967 Plymouth GTX
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

If you find any of these Plymouths still on the road they are generally reserved for the junkyard. Road salt did not do these bodies justice and rusting was a major problem. If you could beat the rust you would have a decent-looking muscle car, but that isn’t likely.

1967 Mercury Cougar
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

2: 1967 Mercury Cougar

The Cougar was based on the Mustang, which bode well for the design. But the reliability was a bit different. The Cougar had a lot of shortcomings such as the faulty electrical components in the interior of the car. The carbureted engine had a lot of reliability issues, and this caused a lot of consumers to shift away from the car. You can find these from time to time but they are rare and maintenance is costly.

1967 Mercury Cougar
Photo Credit: Mercury

When you think of the Cougar, you think of the luxury companion to the Ford Mustang. The sad truth is that the Cougar was a let down in a lot of aspects, and the fact that it remains a junkyard find is a testament to that.

1968 AMC Javelin and AMX
Photo Credit: Automobile

1: 1968 AMC Javelin and AMX

The truth is that most AMC models are found in the junkyard. It doesn’t mean that they were explicitly bad cars. But the build quality just wasn’t there at a time when the automotive industry was evolving. The Javelin was known for impressive off-the-line performance and a futuristic design, but when it came to reliability, it just wasn’t there. That’s not to say that the Javelin is a bad car, because it was good in a lot of aspects.

1968 AMC Javelin and AMX
Photo Credit: Automobile

Sadly, if you are going to go for one, you’re probably going to encounter rust. Another thing that happens is that these cars are very hard to come by, and thus parts are hard to come by as well.

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