Home Cars 30 Obscure American Cars Drivers Can Still Find Today

30 Obscure American Cars Drivers Can Still Find Today

Cameron Eittreim June 12, 2020

The automotive industry is constantly changing. The domestic industry here in the US has lagged behind foreign counterparts in the last couple of decades. That’s not to say that American cars aren’t innovative. There are a lot of innovations that the American automakers have contributed to the industry as a whole. And some of those go a bit unnoticed. True, some celebrities own truly elite American sports cars, but some also fall under the radar.

So were going to take a look at obscure American cars that you can still find from time to time. This includes notable additions such as the Chevy SSR roadster. These short-lived concept cars became a reality for quite a few owners. Read on as we take a look at some of the most obscure cars you can still find on the road today.

Eagle Premier
Photo Credit: Chrysler

30: Eagle Premier

We’re not sure why Chrysler thought it was wise to launch an entirely new brand at the dawn of the ’90s decade, but they did. The brand which was called “Eagle” was sold under the Jeep marquee and featured premium all-wheel-drive imports. These so-called “captive” imports at the time were positioned as a premium entry that would compete with the likes of Subaru and Audi. The final package however was a bit lackluster and the cars failed to live up to expectation.

Eagle Premier
Photo Credit: Chrysler

That’s not to say that the Premier was a particularly bad car because it did offer some cool features for the price. The AWD portion of the car was effective and the interior was large enough to accommodate an entire family. Nevertheless, the Premier just didn’t seem to connect with buyers at the time and it was quickly phased out.

Eagle Vision
Photo Credit: Auto Trader

29: Eagle Vision

This one was based on the already existing Dodge Intrepid and there was not much to differentiate the car. Once again, Eagle was given an AWD platform to toy around with but the final product was lacking. The original design for the Vision was a handsome car with most of the sheet metal being shared with the Intrepid. In the AWD trim, the Eagle Vision is a capable car that you can drive just about anywhere. With the added comfort of the standard V6 engine and large interior, the Vision makes for an exceptional used car.

Eagle Vision
Photo Credit: Auto Trader

There’s still a good portion of these cars on the road today and that is a testament to the reliability of the engine. Sadly the Eagle Vision didn’t sell according to the expectations and the model was phased out by 1997. The Eagle Vision is a great deal for a used car that you can pick up in most markets for almostf nothing.

Geo Spectrum
Photo Credit: Car Domain

28: Geo Spectrum

When GM introduced the Geo line to the market in 1989, the company was looking to target a young demographic with buyers. All of the Geo cars were known as captive imports and the Spectrum was the first model to wear a Geo badge. What makes this car extremely desirable is the fact that it shares all of its components with the Toyota Corolla, making for a reliable and easy-to-maintain compact car that still has a lot of life in it. The Geo brand always featured some sort of rebadged Toyota product and this was its introductory model.

Geo Spectrum
Photo Credit: Car Domain

The Spectrum also has notable exterior upgrades that make it stand apart from the Corolla. The headlights are flush and feature a cleaner look to them. Overall, the rest of the car looks very similar to the Corolla and that’s a good thing because you can find one for hundreds less than you would a Toyota.

Buick Terraza CXL
Photo Credit: Auto Trader

27: Buick Terraza CXL

Buick did market a minivan to the masses and that was the Terraza CXL. The interesting thing about the Terraza is that it wasn’t a bad minivan, instead, it offered a good deal of luxury for the price. The upright position of the minivan was designed to look more like an SUV than an actual minivan. You could say that this vehicle was one of the early adopters of the crossover phase that we are seeing today. The Buick Terraza CXL has an abundance of interior luxury features that are nice to this day.

Buick Terraza CXL
Photo Credit: Auto Trader

The resale value on these vans is minuscule at best which means that you can scoop one up for a good deal. In addition to that, the added luxury features the Terraza is still a fairly new-looking car, which bodes well for it being used. You’ll have a stellar minivan that still looks and rides great to this day.

Cadillac Cimarron
Photo Credit: Auto Wise

26: Cadillac Cimarron

Affectionately dubbed the worst car in GM history, the Cimarron gets a lot of bad press. The car was based on the Chevy Cavalier and that is why a lot of luxury buyers squawked at it. But for a used car that you can get for next to nothing, the Cimarron provides a luxurious driving experience. Complete with a gas-efficient engine, the Cimarron performs well even to this day if it was well-maintained. Because the car shares its components with the Cavalier finding parts is easy as can be.

Photo Credit: Auto Trader

Few cars have managed to create as much of a negative stir as the Cimarron did, but for what you get, the car wasn’t a bad choice. The Cadillac brand has changed a lot in the last few decades and the Cimarron is one of the cars that helped to usher in that change. If you’ve always wanted a classic Cadillac on a budget then the Cimarron is the way to go.

Chevrolet SSR
Photo Credit: Autowise

25: Chevrolet SSR

The Chevy SSR was a rather unique rendition of the modern El Camino. Around this period, GM had exited the pony car market and needed a halo car. The SSR had a lot going for it, especially when compared to the Plymouth Prowler. V8 power was standard on the SSR. But a lot of corners were cut when it came to interior quality and design. The bed of the truck was useless similar to the Lincoln Blackwood.

Chevrolet SSR
Photo Credit: Auto World

However, if you want a ‘sports truck’ unlike anything else on the road, this is it. The SSR is unique from the ground up. Somehow the design still manages to attract looks to this day. Even if the beak of the car is downright ugly. There are sure to be collectors of the SSR as time goes on.

Plymouth Prowler
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

24: Plymouth Prowler

By the late 1990s, the Plymouth brand had become all but a shell at Chrysler dealerships. Every Plymouth model was just a rebadged Dodge. With the brand lacking anything unique to differentiate itself on the market, the Prowler was released. From the outside, the Prowler is something downright beautiful. It is a modern roadster even by today’s standards.

via: Hemmings
via: Hemmings

The Prowler was as close to a concept car as you can legally buy. Featuring an all-aluminum design the Prowler was more or less a test car for Chrysler. The design was lightweight and looked like a modern hot rod. You can still find the Prowler for sale on the open market. The good thing about this car is that it generally has a low mileage and has been garage-kept.

Photo Credit: Top Speed

23: HHR SS Panel

If there is one car no one can understand, it’s the HHR SS Panel. This unique cargo vehicle was released in very low volume. The HHR was GM’s answer to the PT Cruiser, but sadly, it never caught on. There are quite a few of them on the road, but the SS Panel is special. The factory SS rims gave the car an aggressive look and the panel design is sure to make people stare.

Photo Credit: Car Gurus

But this wasn’t just a useless halo vehicle. You can use the HHR panel for work and play. These vehicles are often purchased by locksmiths and other companies that can use the space. The design of the SS was following in line with the GM’s design theme at the time focusing on renewed interior and a more intuitive exterior.

PT Cruiser
Photo Credit: Honest John

22: PT Cruiser

The PT Cruiser was a compact car that Chrysler released at the turn of the new millennium. The car was a retro-themed hatchback similar to how Volkswagen had done with the new Beetle a few years prior. The PT wasn’t exactly the greatest car, but the unique styling gained a cult following. The styling was only skin deep though, and its reliability was lackluster at best.

PT Cruiser
Photo Credit: Chrysler

There was a turbo version of the PT that followed later on, as well as a two-door convertible. You can still find PT Cruisers on the market for a little bit of nothing. These cars have a slew of aftermarket parts available. If you want a unique car that has a pretty unique following the PT Cruiser is a perfect choice.

Shelby CSX
Photo Credit: Dealeraccelerate

21: Shelby CSX

Chrysler was throwing everything into the wind during the ’80s and ’90s. The Shelby CSX is evident of that. The tiny Dodge Shadow was put on steroids by one of the most famous people in the automotive industry. Don’t let the CSX fool you, this little car could move with authority. The limited production run vehicle is one of the rarest Dodges on the road. The design was something the Shelby team put a lot of effort into.

Shelby CSX
Photo Credit: Dealeraccelerate

Long before the hot hatch scene became what it is today, the CSX was a new breed of car. These are perhaps one of the rarest American cars from this period. But there are quite a few CSX’s for sale in the country. The car is not only fun to drive but repairs are fairly cheap as well. The CSX might just be one of the best sleepers you can get.

Dodge Dakota Convertible
Photo Credit: Mecum

20: Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible

The Dodge Dakota was a revolutionary little truck. It was the first midsize truck sold and was the first midsize truck with a full-size V8 engine. For the pickup truck buyer who didn’t need a full size, this was a godsend. The Dakota Sport Convertible was a very rare model released during the early ’90s. The truck featured a full convertible top, which at the time was unheard of for a pickup truck.

Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible
Photo Credit: Hagerty

The truck didn’t sell well for obvious reasons, as most don’t need a convertible pickup. But funny enough, almost 30 years later the Jeep Gladiator used a similar design. It would appear that the world just wasn’t ready for the Dakota Convertible. You can still find these rare little trucks at the auction and various car shows.

Lincoln Blackwood
Photo Credit: Car Domain

19: Lincoln Blackwood

Oh, the Blackwood, a truck that was about as short-lived as it was bland. The Blackwood was developed to ride the wave of new luxury SUV customers. But in reality, the truck was nothing more than a fired-up F-150. The “satin” bed made the truck unusable to most people who used their pickups. There were some cool features to the Blackwood such as the authentic wood paneling and the integrated navigation system.

Lincoln Blackwood
Photo Credit: Automobile Magazine

The In-tech V8 engine is one of the best that Ford has produced. If driving an obscure pickup truck sounds good to you, then the Blackwood might be a great choice. The limited production means that this truck will get stares. The unique nameplate and history of the Blackwood are a sticking point with many Ford enthusiasts.

Photo Credit: Gaddidekho

18: Anteros

When you think of European performance, the Corvette isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But in California, there’s a company that will build you a C6 Corvette that looks and feels like an Aston Martin. The Anteros is a rare sports car that’s built on the bones of the C6 Corvette. The LS3 engine is capable of producing 600 Horsepower. The coach-built vehicle has been around for quite some time now.

Photo Credit: Gaddideho

The market for these is very limited. If you own one you are in for something special. When you look at the Anteros from the outside you don’t even recognize the vehicle. It has the sculp[ted lines of an expensive foreign. But the thing has Corvette power underneath the hood, which makes it a blast to drive.

Drakan Spyder
Photo Credit: Hiconsumption

17: Drakan Spyder

It seems like the market for half-baked Corvettes is on the rise. In addition to the Anteros, there’s also the Drakan Spyder. This unique vehicle resembles a Can-Am more than anything else. Powered by an LS3 Motor, the Spyder is just about the most unique car on the street. This vehicle does resemble a spider, but there are some dead giveaways to it.

Drakan Spyder
Photo Credit: Team Speed

The Corvette-inspired alloys are the first inclination of what this is. Then you have that signature exhaust growl that only a Corvette can deliver. The Spyder has been gaining some favorability in recent years as more consumers look at different ways to modify their existing sports cars. If you want something fun to drive in the open road with Corvette power, this is about as good as you can get.

Equus Bass 770
Photo Credit: Shopify

16: Equus Bass 770

Probably not what we’d call obscure, the Equus Bass 770 has a look all its own. The vehicle is designed to resemble the original 1968 Mustang. With a modern twist, to help connect a new generation of drivers. This is not your typical weekend vehicle, and it’s going to set you back a pretty penny.The design of the 770 is nothing like you’ve seen before.

Equus Bass
Photo Credit: Picofile

There’s a great amount of detail that goes into the creation of the 770 down to the specific powerplant put in it. The Bass 770 is a very limited production vehicle. They are built to order, which makes them increasingly valuable. If you don’t mind losing the Ford badge to get something that’s both modern and powerful, the Bass 770 is it.

Equus Throwback
Photo Credit: The Drive

15: Equus Throwback

Another interesting piece of Americana is the Equus Throwback. Wondering about the name? The Throwback is actually based on the new Corvette platform. But take a look at the rear end and the interior and you’ll find a vehicle that’s a blend of generations. This interesting take on a modern sports car is what has made Equus so unique. The throwback is a seamless package with a 1000-HP engine that can pull a 0-60 run in about 2.5 seconds.

Equus Throwback
Photo Credit: Car Depot

The American vehicle has been designed from the ground up to please even the most discerning Corvette owners. Interestingly enough, the Throwback has many of the same features that you’d find in the Bass 770. You can tell that the designers thoroughly enjoyed the original car. Drivers will be hard-pressed to find something as unique on the domestic market as the Throwback.

Falcon F7
Photo Credit: Guysgab

14: Falcon F7

For a supercar you’ve never heard of, the Falcon F7 sure gets around rapidly. Take one look at this breathtaking American design and you are sure to be in love. The F7 is a sports car that’s built from the ground up. The Falcon F7 looks like something out of a futuristic movie. You might mistake this beautiful sports car for McLaren. The F7 has an aluminum composite body which makes the sports car extremely lightweight.

Falcon F7
Photo Credit: Top Speed

Pricing on the Falcon can be pretty steep for an American car. A fully-loaded model could set you back a good $395,000. For the price, you get Corvette power wrapped in a body that looks like an ’80s Lamborghini Countach. That’s pretty cool in our book.

Fisker Surf
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

13: Fisker SUV

Fisker is the American brand that was most well-known for bringing us the Karma. Yes, before the Tesla Model S there was the Karma electric sports sedan. Now the automaker has designed an SUV that’s poised to take on Tesla. Designwise the Fisker SUV is going to be the same as the Karma Sedan. The clean lines and elegant interior are going to be the focal points of this SUV.

Fisker Surf
Photo Credit: CDN

If you’ve never had the chance to experience the original Karma then you won’t understand the significance of this SUV. Electric vehicles are only going to keep getting better. Since American crossovers are becoming the norm, it’s no surprise that the Fisker SUV is going to hit the stage. The Fisker will have competition from Rivian and the R1T. Time will tell how this new Fisker addition will add to the already crowded crossover market.

Hennessey Venom F5
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

12: Hennessey Venom F5

Hennessey Performance has been notable for creating some of the most standout American muscle cars and performance parts. The Venom F5 has been on the market for a while now. Utilizing the same type of design theme as other supercars, the Venom hands out blistering dyno numbers. This isn’t going to be your everyday performance car and with obvious reasons.

Mclaren F5
Photo Credit: The Auto Channel

The Venom F5 is well-documented as one of the fastest cars in the world. With a 1,600-horsepower V8 engine, the Venom is touted as being able to reach a land speed record of 300 mph. That has yet to be confirmed by anyone except for the manufacturer. Could the Venom F5 be the best exotic performance car to come out of America? Time will tell.

Lucra LC470
Photo Credit: Blog CDN

11: Lucra LC470

Elegant lines are only a small part of what makes the LC470 great. The roadster design is enough to persuade any hotrod lover into a purchase. The LC470 is designed to give you Corvette performance with a classic shell. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill performance car, but if you want something different this is it. Performance-wise the LC470 has 505 horsepower at the rear wheels.

Lucra LC470
Photo Credit: Blog CDN

The Corvette-derived LS3 is the same engine that you’d get in a C6 Corvette. The LC470 is built in San Marcos, California. The design is something that you don’t see too often anymore. You might notice that the design is reminiscent of the Shelby Roadster.

Panoz Avezzano
Photo Credit: Panoz.com

10: Panoz Avezzano

Don’t let the nameplate fool you, the Panoz Avezzano is built in Braselton, Georgia. The company builds a series of road cars and specifically this model. The curvaceous exterior is meant to go for an upscale look. The Avezzano is more than just a pretty vehicle though. There is some serious power under the hood.

Panoz Avenzanno
Photo Credit: Art of Gears

The 6.2-liter V8 delivering 430 horsepower will get you where you need to go in a hurry.Pricewise the Avezzano is going to set you back a pretty penny. The $168,900 is going to be an expensive proposition for anyone who wants a sports car. But, for an American-made model like the Avezzano you can’t go wrong.

Photo Credit: Exotic Car List

9: Panoz Esperante GTR-1

When it comes to choosing a street-legal “racecar” there aren’t too many options to choose from. But Panoz has been making a dent in the supercar market for some time. While most of us are never going to have use for something like the GTR-1, it’s still nice to be able to achieve top speeds at this level.

Panoz Esperante GTR-1
Photo Credit: Edmunds

A car like the GTR-1 only feels at home on a long twisting road. The interior is about as barebones as you can get, and with good reason. The GTR-1 was designed for track driving.

Rezvani Beast Alpha
Photo Credit: Luxatic

8: Rezvani Beast Alpha

Rezvani is an American company that’s best known for the Rezvani Tank. Owned by celebrities like Jamie Foxx and Chris Brown, the Tank is a step out of the norm. The Beast Alpha is the sports car version of the tank. It gives sports car lovers a way to enjoy something completely different. The Beast Alpha has a 700-Horsepower motor to deliver a blistering 2.9 seconds 0-60 time.

Rezvani Beast Alpha
Photo Credit: Top Speed

On top of that, you get a beautifully-designed exterior. Some drivers swear it’s one of the best-looking sports cars on the road. Rezvani is not a brand you’ll see all too often. But if you’re in the high-income bracket and you want a fun toy, the Beast Alpha is it. The sports car is a pleasant mixture of American innovation and pure horsepower.

Rossion Q1
Photo Credit: My Auto World

7: Rossion Q1

Made in Pompano Beach, Florida, the Q1 is an elegant mixture of sports car beauty and powerful performance. You can’t go wrong with what the Rossion company has done to create a sports car. The 508-horsepower V8 engine takes to the track like a Maserati. In addition, the sports car handles like you’d expect it to. Handcrafted on demand, these cars are built to the owner’s specifications.

Rossion Q1
Photo Credit: CC Public Blog

The Q1 will not disappoint. It has that elegant look that will get lots of stares. In addition to delivering the performance that most buyers in this price range demand. The Rossion Q1 is a pleasant surprise in an already-crowded performance car market.

Saleen S1
Photo Credit: Top Speed

6: Saleen S1

Saleen is a brand drivers have seen for a long time. The automotive company specializes in souping up Mustangs right out of the factory. But Saleen does more than just juice up pony cars. The brand also makes a collection of exotic sports cars, one of which is the S1. This hand-built exotic is one of the fastest cars in the world. The 450 horsepower engine is blisteringly fast, boasting a stellar 0-60 time.

Saleen S1
Photo Credit: Google APIS

Price-wise, the S1 isn’t as expensive as other vehicles on the list either. The price tag comes in at just under $100,000. That means drivers are getting a well-priced supercar. There are a lot of options that you can add to the S1 that make it a great choice.

Photo Credit: USSV

5: USSV Rhino GX

The Rhino GX is a street-legal army tank. But this one can fit the whole family. The Rhino GX is designed and implemented on the Ford F-Series heavy-duty platform. If that’s not enough to keep you interested the powerful V8 motor will. Because although this thing is very heavy, it also provides more than adequate performance.

USSV Rhino
Photo Credit: Automobile Mag

The Rhino GX comes in two options, gas or diesel. You can expect to pay about $229,000. These things are built to order, so you won’t have very much luck finding a used model. For the features and the price, the Rhino GX is a stellar deal.

Venderhall Venice
Photo Credit: Venderhall

4: Vanderhall Venice

Three-wheelers have recently been gaining momentum and acceptance in the performance car community. Venice is about as unique as you can get in terms of design. The stellar look of the car is just what you’d expect out of a roadster. It is also usable for daily driving.

Photo Credit: Venderhall

The top is easily accessible and there’s a good amount of cargo room for a long-term voyage. Creature comforts such as an upmarket stereo keep the Venice looking great. The 200 horsepower engine can reach 0-60 in about 4.5 seconds. Not bad by any stretch of the imagination, especially for a three-wheeler.

VLF Force 1
Photo Credit: YTIMG

3: VLF Force 1

Another blistering American performance car is the VLF Force 1. This is adjusted about as unique as a performance car as you can get. The exterior styling is meant to look very upmarket, and the designers went all out. VLF Force 1 is about as futuristic looking as you can get. The deeply sculpted lines let you know that this car was designed to garner attention.

VLF Force 1
Photo Credit: VLF

But the VLF isn’t just about looks, the Force 1 also performs just as well. While not as obscene-looking as some of the other cars on the list. VLF Force 1 is a seriously fast performance car. With the features to take it to the next level of track driving, there are very few vehicles that can match the performance.

Ford Thunderbird
Photo Credit: Dealer Accelerate

2: 2003 Ford Thunderbird

The Ford Thunderbird was a retro rendition of a well-known classic. At this point in the industry, Ford was looking for something unique. Chrysler had the Prowler and the PT Cruiser, Chevy had the SSR, and Ford needed a halo car. The Thunderbird was retro-inspired complete with a Jaguar-derived V8 powerplant.

Ford Thunderbird
Photo Credit: Vantage Sports Cars

The overall design of the car is still beautiful to this day. Ford spared no expense to make the Thunderbird an American classic that would stick out. The 2003 Thunderbird is one of the most coveted Fords to come out of the last few decades. The resale price of these cars has remained consistent. You can expect to pay a pretty penny for a low mileage Thunderbird.

Dodge Viper
Photo Credit: Mopar

1: Dodge Viper

The original Dodge Viper is the first American vehicle to cram a powerful V12 engine into a lightweight design. The look of the Viper was something that hadn’t been seen in a sports car before. The long, sloping body and the almost toy-like alloy wheels were a real treat. The Viper was the first serious competitor for the Chevy Corvette, and people were loving it.

Dodge Viper ACR
Photo Credit: Cloud Front

The Viper nameplate lasted for almost 30 years but was eventually exiled from production. For a truly unique piece of American design, the Dodge Viper is worth noting. You can still find these on the open market. A Viper in good condition isn’t going to be cheap, so be prepared to drop some serious dollar bills on one.

Please wait 5 sec.