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American Muscle Cars Even Dedicated Auto Fans Don’t Love

Cameron EittreimJuly 30, 2021

Photo Credit: Mecum

9: 1960 Chrysler 300F

You might be used to seeing the Chrysler 300C on American roads, but have you ever heard of the 300F? Probably not, and there’s a good reason for that. The car was not only universally panned by critics but it also lacked in the performance department.

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Chrysler was still making its way through the development process of their sedans. The 300F was released with too much fanfare but once people figured out how the car drove the initial response was lukewarm at best. The 300F was lacking in a lot of areas that made consumers scratch their heads.

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8: 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS

The Chevrolet Impala SS is an iconic car that has a huge following behind it, but when it comes to dedicated fans the ’61 model had some issues. The elongated body of the car had a tremendous amount of curb weight behind it, making the steering ratio troubling at best. Likewise, the performance of the original V8 engine has been outclassed by many cars over the years.

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In the lowrider scene, 1961 is one of the most popular models. But as far as performance goes it’s lackluster at best. To be able to turn one of these things into a performance titan would take a lot of work and dedicated engineering. You can spend money better in a lot of other places when it comes to a 1960s performance car.

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7: Pontiac Catalina 421 Super Duty

The Pontiac Catalina 421 Super Duty was a well-known entity early on in the Pontiac lineup. However, later on, the car failed to catch on with consumers in the same way as the other models did. The 421 V8 engine was by far one of the most powerful that GM put out at the time, leading to a sales resurgence.

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Sadly, the car just couldn’t attract enough consumers to stay on the market and the 421 Super Duty was dropped from the lineup. There were several reliability issues and questionable build quality that made the car get a bad reputation with consumers.

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6: 1961 Oldsmobile Starfire

The Oldsmobile brand had many great performance cars over the brand’s lifespan, so what was the deal with the Starfire? The car just fell off when it came to performance and build quality. The interior was shoddy and there were a lot of reliability issues that consumers would complain about early on.

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Likewise, the powerplant was not one of the best that GM has put into a vehicle. Oldsmobile was still in the development stages back then, and thus the Starfire was an unfinished product. These days you’ll seldom see a Starfire on the road as the cars are a rarity nowadays after all of the reliability issues.

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5: 1962 Dodge Dart 412 Max Wedge

Another well-known performance car from this era was the Dodge Dart. But when the company introduced the 412 Max Wedge there wasn’t as warm of a welcome. The 1962 Dodge Dart 412 Max Wedge was made as a performance car with attitude. Unfortunately, the result was a car that had a lot of reliability issues and lacked performance.

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The 1962 Dodge Dart 412 Max Wedge had a great-looking exterior, and at the time it was a lot smaller in size than other vehicles in this class. But the reliability issues and the lack of a quality design and feel made the car drop in sales. The 412 Max Wedge is one of the failed Mopar attempts from the 1960s.

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4: 1962 Plymouth Savoy Super Stock 413

Also based on the same platform as the 412 Max Wedge the 1962 Plymouth Savoy Super Stock 413 was another attempt at capturing sales success. Unfortunately, the Savoy Super Stock 413 suffered from a lot of the same reliability issues. The car was lacking in a lot of the elements that you’d expect from a so-called muscle car and it showed.

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The V8 engine was one of the worst powerplants Chrysler released at the time. There were a lot of reliability issues that hampered the overall design of the car. Likewise, the car was also lacking a unique identity in its design, which made for a confusing scenario among consumers.

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3: 1962 Ford Galaxie 406

Ford for all of its faults had tried very hard to sell consumers on the Galaxie line of cars. The Galaxie 406 was another attempt at trying their hand at a performance vehicle. From a design standpoint, the 1962 Ford Galaxie 406 was a well-put-together car for the most part. Its reliability, however, was another issue altogether and it didn’t end well for the car.

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The Galaxie 406 had a powerplant that was lacking the reliability that you’d expect from Ford. The off-the-line performance was also slower than a lot of cars in this segment, which left a bad taste in enthusiasts’ mouths. Overall, the 1962 Ford Galaxie 406 is probably one of the most disappointing aspects in the history of the Galaxie brand.

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2: 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2

The Studebaker Avanti R2 is a car that you’ll often see at car shows, but it was designed to compete with muscle cars. The design of a mixture of overrated ambition and the idea to jump on the European design bandwagon. The car had a lot of features that consumers liked but there were more that they didn’t.

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A lack of reliability was the first and most present issue with the Avanti R2. From a performance standpoint, the Avanti R2 didn’t stack up to other muscle cars that were on the market. You were paying a premium for a car that just wasn’t there when it comes right now to it.

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1: 1963 Plymouth Max Wedge 426

After the failure of the last Wedge, Chrysler was at it again in 1963, this time with the Max Wedge 426. The idea behind this car was brute force performance, but when it came down to it, the car was lacking in a lot of areas. First and foremost, the Max Wedge 426 had an engine that had a lot of reliability issues, which aren’t appealing for a brand-new car.

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Likewise, the Max Wedge 426 was also lacking in interior design, and a lot of buyers were looking for a comfortable driving experience. The 1963 Plymouth Max Wedge 426 isn’t as well-known as a lot of other muscle cars for this period, and its build quality issues were the main reason behind this.

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