3. Pontiac Can-Am
Back in the late ’70s, the American performance car segment was a shadow of its former glory. Tight ecological and safety standards killed those high compression engines and ruined performance. Although there were a few surviving models, “performance” was just a word people used in magazine ads. But in 1977, everything changed when Pontiac introduced the Can-Am. The Can-Am was a one-year-only model and the last real muscle car. It had big-block power packed into its unique body style. Under the hood scoop sourced from the Firebird Trans Am, a big 455 engine was delivering 200 HP. That was more than any other muscle car on the market at the moment.
The Can-Am package consisted of special rear window louvers, rear spoilers, and optional extras. Pontiac introduced the Can-Am in early 1977 and the market responded well. Pontiac received between 5,000 and 10,000 reservations but only sold 1,377 of them. The problem was that the outside contractor that assembled the Can-Am suffered equipment failure. They had to wait three months for the new equipment, but Pontiac couldn’t wait, so they canceled all orders. This killed the Can-Am, and they didn’t offer this model again until 1978.