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40 Muscle Cars That Were Only Produced For One Year

Vukasin HerbezFebruary 21, 2019

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5. AMC Hornet 360

Based on a regular economy car called Hornet, but equipped with better suspension, sharper steering, graphics package and a 360 V8, this hot Hornet was turned from an ordinary compact into a proper muscle car. The power was not that big at 245 HP, but those horses could really make the Hornet fly in a lightweight body. The rest of the muscle cars offerings in 1971 all had problems with big size and weight as well as engines that didn’t make power anymore, but the Hornet 360 was one of the fastest cars on sale.

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Unfortunately, buyers didn’t understand the forward-thinking of AMC, and less than 800 Hornets were sold in 1971, making them pretty rare and totally obscure muscle cars. In an era when bigger was always better, the Hornet 360 was unusual for its compact size and strong engine, and people failed to realize how genial was the idea behind it.

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4. Ford Mustang GT350 Anniversary Edition

In 1984, Mustang celebrated its 20th birthday, and Ford introduced a special edition called GT350. The car was available as a coupe or a convertible with all engines but with several unique features, a new white color and stripes identical to those on `65/66 Shelby GT350. The production was limited to only 5,260 copies, which were sold fast.

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However, this car proved to be problematic for Ford since immediately after its release, Carroll Shelby, the man behind the legendary Shelby Mustangs, sued Ford for unauthorized use of the “GT350” name. Apparently, the matter was settled out of the court, and Ford didn’t use the GT350 name until the 2015 model year.

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3. AMC Matador Machine

The famous AMC Rebel Machine was discontinued for 1971, but the package lived on Matador coupe. However, there was no signature red-white-and-blue color scheme, and the Machine package included steel wheels with performance rubber, heavy-duty suspension, dual exhaust, and 360 or 401 V8 engine with up to 330 HP.

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Technically, you could order a Machine package for a station wagon, too but there are no records of somebody did that. The Matador Machine was a very rare car with 50 examples known to be produced.

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2. Ford Mustang Mach I (2003)

The early 2000s saw the fourth-generation Mustang redesign and the introduction of some incredibly exciting and powerful versions. One of those is the Mach I, which featured a retro-inspired graphics package, new colors, and upgraded engine and exhaust. Clearly, the Mach I from 2003 was a loving homage to the fire breathing Mach I from the late ’60s and early ’70s.

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The 4.6-liter V8 engine was tuned to deliver 305 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, which was sent to rear wheels over a six-speed manual gearbox. The 0 to 60 time was pretty swift at 5.6 seconds, and the coolest details were those gorgeous retro-inspired five-spoke wheels. The ’03 Mach I was a one-year model produced from 2003 to 2004, and the total production number was exactly 6500 cars, which makes it a collector’s item and quite possibly a very valuable Mustang in the future.

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1. Pontiac Trans Am 455 SD

By 1974, almost all muscle cars were extinct from the market, and those who were left were robbed of their power and style. However, there was one model that managed to survive and to offer as much performance and power as possible, and that model was the ’74 Trans Am Super Duty 455.

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The year 1974 marked the first restyling of the whole Firebird range, and with new front and the rear end came the improved interior and details. The SD 455 model was carried over from 1973. It featured better suspension and brakes in the new package. The standard 455 V8 had only 215 HP, but it developed 290 HP in SD trim, which was fantastic for 1974. These one-year wonders are the rare muscle cars made for only one model year. So if you can find one of these rare gems, consider yourself lucky. Not many people have the pleasure of owning or driving these cars nowadays.

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