AMC is a car company with quite a few notable classics. The Hornet is notable because it was a compact V8-powered muscle car. The 5.9-liter V-8 rated at 285 horsepower was fairly powerful for the time it was released. Where the Hornet SC/360 fell short was the reliability, and that caused a shortcoming with consumers (via Hemmings).
There were only 784 units built as high insurance premiums had killed the car off early. The design of the AMC Hornet SC/360 was similar to other popular muscle cars. When it comes to the design of the Hornet, upgrading to a modern engine is fairly straightforward. Many enthusiasts don’t know what this car is, which has kept prices low.
Although the El Camino is the most well-known GM car/truck hybrid, there was also a GMC version. The GMC Sprint SP is a rarer and fairly unknown corporate clone of the El Camino. This rarity has kept the resale value of the Sprint justifiable. The 7.4-liter V-8 was a powerful engine that can still be upgraded today (via Midwest Dream Car).
The fact that the Sprint is a GMC is unique, as there has never been a GMC car. With the right amount of work, the Sprint can be a unique muscle car. The shared platform with the Chevy Chevelle means there are plenty of aftermarket parts. When it comes to uniqueness and rarity, the GMC Sprint is one of the rarest cars on the road.
Contrary to popular belief, there was also a compact version of the Pontiac GTO. Although the 5.7-liter V-8 engine only had 200 HP, the car still had a lot of appeal. The styling was comparable to many other cars from the time period. The fuel crisis was in full swing by 1974 and muscle cars weren’t fashionable anymore (via Hagerty).
Domestic automakers hadn’t yet figured out how to build fuel-efficient cars. Thus, the smaller size of the 1974 Pontiac Ventura GTO was a stop-gap method. Pontiac was going through a transitional period at this time, and the Ventura didn’t do well. Being fairly unknown, the 1974 Pontiac Ventura GTO is a relatively affordable classic car.
Not quite a Chevelle and not quite a Monte Carlo, the Chevrolet Laguna was a weird mixture. The design was pioneering in some aspects, and it fell short in others. One unique aspect of the Laguna was the 7.4-liter big-block V-8. That was one of the last big block motors that made its way into a muscle car (via Motor Week).
Chevrolet is a brand synonymous with muscle cars, but the 1975 Chevrolet Laguna stands out. With the right bit of work, you can turn this into a capable muscle car with a lot of appeal. The GM big block motor is one of the most common motors on the market. There are many upgrades you can do to this engine.
There is no denying precisely how rare the Buick GNX is. The car is one of the most iconic Buick models ever witnessed. But the value of these cars hasn’t yet peaked, and you can still snatch one up. The G-Body had a lot of potential, and the GNX took a turbocharged engine and brought the platform to the next level (via Road & Track).
The 1987 Buick GNX has many unique quirks that separate it from the other GM G-Body cars. From a performance standpoint, there was no comparison at the time. The turbocharged V6 engine is still one of the best to come out of GM. Likewise, the styling has become an iconic piece of Buick history.
The Mercury products of the 1960s were some of the best automotive products to come out of Detroit. This was at a time when Mercury attempted new advances in styling and performance. The 1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone took the styling of the decade and infused it with stellar road manners and off-the-line speed (via Old Ride).
The 289-cubic-inch V8 is often credited as one of the best engines to come out of Ford. Dubbed a compact car, the Mercury Comet Cyclone was anything but that. However, the unique design and build quality took the car to the next level. Enthusiasts are starting to recognize this car, and the values will rise.
Although the El Camino gets the most fame for being a hybrid truck, Ford also had a version of the car. The 1968 Ford Ranchero 500 is no slouch when it comes to performance. Ford infused a 335-horsepower Cobra Jet 428 V8 into the Ranchero. With the combination of performance and styling, the Ranchero had just about everything you’d expect (via Nada Guides).
Enthusiasts often gravitate toward the Ranchero because it was a unique piece of Ford history. There is an enormous aftermarket community for the car, and many parts are interchangeable with the Mustang. If you want a classic Ford with some personality, the Ranchero is certainly a standout.
You’ll seldom hear the nameplate Chevy Kingswood 427, but it’s a unique vehicle. Not only is the 1969 Chevy Kingswood 427 a wagon, but it’s also a big-block station wagon. The styling is synonymous with that era of the prominent family car. Nowadays, you can cram all kinds of muscle car technology into the thing (via Automobile Catalog).
There are only 527 examples with the 427 V8 engine as an option. The GM big block is by far one of the most reliable engines ever produced. The styling of the car is also something that you can’t just walk past. These heavy wagons are becoming harder to find, and the 1969 Chevy Kingswood 427 is one of the rarest.
Not only does this car share its design with the Monte Carlo, but it’s also scarce. We’re not sure what happened to most other Pontiacs from this era but you never come across them. Because of its rarity, the 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ has also maintained a less expensive price than its Chevy counterparts (via PontiacCV8).
You can find one of these in reasonable shape, and there are many upgrades that you can do. Muscle cars are well known, but the 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ wasn’t on most enthusiasts’ radars. With a little work, the Grand Prix can be built into something unique and noteworthy.