Even before muscle cars were a thing, Chrysler produced a series of high-performance coupes and convertibles. They delivered an unbelievable performance with unmistakable style. Chrysler named the model the 300. They followed it with the letters of the alphabet, with the C300 being the first model in 1955. Chrysler called it the Letter Series. Chrysler equipped the first models with early Hemi engines that could produce 300 HP; hence, the name. Those early Chrysler “Letter Series” models were the first American made cars with 300 HP ratings. With the introduction of advanced intake setups, power levels rose, so those big, heavy cars achieved impressive acceleration times.
However, the “Letter Series” models were always expensive and came in limited numbers. During the 10-year production run, Chrysler often made less than 1,000 examples per model year. This means 300 Letter Series cars are pricey and rare. They are also quite hard to restore since the parts are scarce. But one fan favorite is the 1958 Chrysler 300 D with a massive 392 CID Hemi engine and 380 HP. This glorious machine captivated the automobile public with its elegance and uncompromised performance. It even broke a few records on the Bonneville speed trials. Chrysler only made 618 coupes and 191 convertibles that year. However, this model is the perfect example of an early luxury muscle car.
Once successful and highly popular, the Studebaker is now a long-forgotten American brand. Studebaker closed its doors in 1966 after suffering poor sales for over a decade and losing ground to Detroit’s Big Three. However, just before this legendary brand left the market, it produced one interesting luxury model with muscle car credentials: the Studebaker Avanti R2. In the early â60s, Studebaker management decided to invest in a luxury coupe to fight poor sales. They thought a new, fancy upscale model would attract customers and attract attention back to Studebaker. So, in 1962, they introduced the sleek, modern-looking Avanti. The innovative design, construction, and technology earned praises from the motoring press.
The base version was not powerful, but soon Studebaker introduced a supercharged R2 option with 289 HP. But, the R2 version didn’t come with an automatic transmission. It was only available with a close-ratio manual gearbox and air conditioning was not available. Besides that, they included lots of performance upgrades, turning the Avanti into a fast machine. In fact, the R2 model broke 28 world speed records, achieving top speeds of 170 mph. This was a big deal back in 1963. The acceleration numbers were impressive because the R2 could sprint to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. Unfortunately, Studebaker had problems with production, so the Avanti had limited availability. This affected its popularity and by 1964, they discontinued it. Today, people recognize the Avanti R2 as one of the coolest ’60s cars and an early luxury muscle car. During its short production run of just over 4,600 Studebaker Avanti cars, they built only a handful of R2s.
Back in the late â90s, the Acura Integra Type R was one of the purest performance cars you could buy on the American market. With a high-revving four-cylinder engine, 195 HP, a lightweight, and a balanced chassis, the Integra Type R was a car enthusiast’s dream in a compact package. It was like the Honda CRX from the ’80s, but better in all aspects. It was even capable of killing much more expensive and powerful sports cars. They stripped the Integra Type R down to the essentials, so the only option was air conditioning and it only came in two colors.
After they discontinued it in the early 2000s, Honda never produced a precision driving machine again. Although the S2000 roadster was close and had a similar engine as the Integra Type R, it was not the same. That is why many car fans wish Honda would introduce a perfect driver’s coupe again. Since the new Civic Type R with more than 300 HP is here, transplanting this drivetrain into a coupe body could be a possibility.
Cadillac discontinued the Eldorado nameplate in 2003. Although they introduced several interesting coupes and convertible models, they couldn’t come up with an appropriate replacement. The CTS and ATS coupes are great and the XLR was an interesting model. However, Cadillac needs a powerful flagship model to remind consumers they are still one of the best premium car manufacturers in the world. The Eldorado model came out in 1953 as a limited production convertible. It featured the best of what Cadillac had to offer in the early 1950s. It was expensive, big and full of style.
For the next 50 years, Eldorado models were popular choices in the personal luxury segment. Since 1967, Eldorado has moved on to front-wheel drive, which was a radical move for a big U.S. coupe. The convertible option was also a common choice. Everybody remembers the mid-70s Eldorado Convertible with the 500 CID V8 engine and enormous dimensions. It was the true definition of a land yacht and the last proper American convertible.
Honda has always been a sporty car company offering nimble, lightweight vehicles with high-revving engines. They built the fantastic NSX sports model, but in recent years, it seems like Honda is oriented towards crossovers and SUV models. That’s too bad since Honda’s true heritage lies in performance models, rather than big SUVs with third-row seating. Car fans may have the new Honda Civic Type R, but what they want is to see the Honda Prelude make a comeback. The Prelude was an attractive, two-door coupe.
Honda produced it in several generations, from the late 1970s to 2001 until they discontinued it. During its production run, the Prelude always offered affordable performance and perfect road holding in elegant style. The last generation went up to 200 HP and produced a vivid performance for the â90s. And that’s the reason it is unclear why Honda killed the Prelude. But now is the time to revive the nameplate in a sleek two-door sports model with the Honda Civic Type R drivetrain.
From a variety of racetracks to the famous James Bond movies, the Lotus Esprit was one of the best sports cars of the late â70s and â80s. Colin Chapman conceived the Esprit in the mid-70s as the most ambitious Lotus project up to that date. With new construction, an Italian designed body, and low weight, consumers praised the Lotus Esprit for its handling and performance. Since it was a British-built car, it had a few problems with reliability.
But once drivers got it moving, they forgot about the dodgy electronics, rust, and disintegrating interior panels. Powered by a small 2.2-liter turbocharged engine, the Esprit eventually moved to V8 engines in the late â80s. The production eventually stopped in 1996 and the Lotus has been without a replacement since. There were a few concepts for a 21st century Esprit, but nothing seemed to materialize in production-ready form. Car fans want to see the Esprit back since there is a space in the overcrowded sports car market for a legendary British brand with a unique way of building cars.
Back in the mid-80s, the U.S. Military started using the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), which they affectionately called the Humvee. This was a big, heavy military truck capable of running over anything and surviving landmines. Even though they made the Humvee for the military, constant requests for a street-legal version got AM General thinking about entering the lucrative civilian market. Finally, in 1992, they introduced the civilian Hummer H1. It looked the same as the military version with similar technology and engines. The power came from a 6.2-liter diesel V8 with just 165 HP and loads of torque. Basically, the only real difference between the military and civilian Hummer was the interior.
The street-legal model had a plush interior with air conditioning, leather upholstery, and a premium audio system. The Hummer H1 was expensive, huge, and difficult to drive, making it impractical for most drivers. However, it was extremely popular with customers who wanted something different and opulent. So, for those who didn’t care about practicality or fuel economy, the Hummer H1 was a perfect choice. Besides, the H1 was as pure as it gets, making it oddly popular in the first place.
One of the most compact and affordable sports cars that car fans want back is the Toyota MR2. Toyota introduced it in 1984 and sold it until 2007 in three generations. The MR2 was always a great handling and lively performing two-seater model with great driving dynamics.
Toyota invested in the GT86 sports model in recent years. But many car enthusiasts think what they should do instead is to remake the MR2. They feel that it would have a better impact on the market than the GT 86, which is not the global bestseller Toyota hoped it would be.
Even though the 2004 to 2006 GTO wasn’t a successful model, it was a good and powerful muscle car with great features. But it did miss the mark, so Pontiac enthusiasts all over the world deserve another model. However, this time it should be a proper muscle car and an instant classic.
GM has several components and advanced platforms like the Alpha that could be the basis for a modern-day GTO. And the power is no problem since GM has one of the best lineups of performance V8s in the world. Many car fans would be delighted to see a modern-day GTO hit the streets and racetracks.
With a 6.2-liter V8, 412 HP, precise steering, and neutral handling, the Chevrolet SS rival Europe’s finest sports sedans. But what most people don’t know is that they rebadged Holden from Australia as a Chevrolet and fine-tuned it for U.S. customers. The performance numbers are respectable since a 0 to 60 mph sprint is possible in just 4.7 seconds.
The top speed is over 150 mph. So, the Chevrolet SS is for people who need a practical sedan but who want a sports car. So, although they discontinued the SS, most people would love to see it come back.
The Fleetwood name was in use from 1934 to 1992 on various models. But it’s been decades since Cadillac used the Fleetwood name as a designation for its flagship model. So, car fans all over the world feel this legendary brand needs to dust off this famous nameplate.
They could use it on a new prestigious model that could battle their foreign competitors. Even though the new CT6 model is a truly amazing luxury car, Cadillac can do better. In fact, they need to present an over the top sedan with all the best features and big power.
In 1963, they unveiled the Buick Riviera. Almost immediately, it became one of the most interesting cars on the American market. The combination of sleek and elegant styling, a modern interior, and the powerful Buick Nailhead engine made the Riviera an instant bestseller.
Also, it was the first real competitor to the famous Ford Thunderbird. The Riviera stayed in production until 1993. But the first three generations, especially the GS, remained the most desirable luxury muscle cars Detroit ever produced.
The Grand Wagoneer is one of the cars most car enthusiasts want to see again. Happily, Chrysler will introduce the 21st-century version of the legendary Wagoneer in 2019 as the 2020 model. All anyone knows so far is that they will build the new Grand Wagoneer on a modified Cherokee chassis.
Also, it will feature more luxurious features, powerful engines, and possibly a cool Woodgrain panel option. Car enthusiasts and collectors alike would love to see the Wagoneer make a comeback. It brought something special to the car market and could still do so today.
One of the best news from Ford is the return of the legendary Bronco for the 2020/2021 model year. In the sea of shapeless modern SUVs, the return of a classic boxy Bronco with a powerful engine and true off-road usability is refreshing. It would be more than a welcomed addition to the lineup.
Although there isn’t much information on the car, it will look something like the Bronco Concept Ford introduced in the early 2000s. They will definitely use Eco Boost turbo engine, but Bronco fans are hoping they will feature a good old naturally-aspirated V8 under the hood.
One of the most interesting compact and affordable cars is the legendary Honda CRX. They built it from 1983 to 1991, basing it on the Civic. However, it came with a lower and sportier body and only two seats. Since it was light, nimble, and had precise steering, the CRX was a true sports car except with front-wheel drive and up to 140 HP.
But the biggest selling points of this model were the extremely light body of just 1,800 pounds and the high revving four-cylinder engine. Honda never repeated the success of the CRX and most of their fans feel their lineup can use a car like this.
They conceived the idea for the Subaru BRAT or “Bi-Drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter” in the late `70s. In fact, Subaru designed it to take advantage of the popularity of compact trucks in America. However, there were steep import taxes for foreign trucks that would kill all of Subaru’s profits.
So the company thought of a genius way of selling the truck as a passenger car by installing two seats in the back. The BRAT became popular and legendary in its own right. So, today’s Subaru could use some of that charm and uniqueness to revive its magic.
Today, the Lincoln brand struggles with recognition and its future is unclear. Divided between the production of old-fashioned sedans and modern upscale SUV models, Lincoln needs a signature car, something that will remind its customers what this brand is all about. So, how about a cool, luxury coupe like the legendary Mark III?
Lincoln introduced the Mark III in late 1968, building it on a Thunderbird chassis using the new, powerful 460 V8 engine. The front was dominated by a big chrome grille, reminiscent of Rolls Royce models. The hideaway headlights were an interesting touch and the trunk had a cool-looking spare wheel hump with Continental lettering. In combination with the vinyl top, all that made the Mark III design unique and special.
Toyota might have the GT86 as its entry-level sports car. But somehow, this model lacks the coolness and appeal of the original Celica. Built on a standard Toyota Carina basis, the Celica was one step above the popular Corolla in terms of size, technology, and engine power.
Toyota presented the new Celica to their American buyers in 1970 with two body styles, a regular two-door coupe, and a hardtop fastback. The Celica proved to be popular, so by the end of 1977, they sold more than 200,000 of them. The best versions were with the 2.0 and 2.2-liter engines. They delivered a solid performance and satisfying driving dynamics at a modest price.
The Scout was a small and usable off-road SUV with choices of engines ranging from the 2.5-liter straight four to the 4.4-liter V8. They introduced it in 1961 and produced it until 1980. The International Harvester company still exists today, so it has the capacity to produce a new-age Scout.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any rumors of this happening anytime soon. But, there is an army of classic SUV fans who are craving a small, compact, and attractive SUV with an unmistakable design and off-road capabilities.
There’s no need to explain this one in too much detail. The Viper is the quintessential American sports car with tons of power, a fantastic design, and thrilling performance. And as such, its demise truly affected Viper enthusiasts globally. Everyone knows that Chrysler can produce it again. They just need to find a financially stable model because the car industry without the Viper is a boring mess.
These are the 25 discontinued cars we would love to see back. While that is a possibility for some of them, others will never see the light of day again. If you happen to see one of them, be sure to snap it up while it is still available.