The Buick Grand National was a surprise hit for GM, even though it only had a turbo-charged V6 engine. That meant the company could experiment with other performance models at the time. The Firebird Trans Am was the next logical successor, due to the platforms overwhelming success and aging V8 engine (via Barrett Jackson).
The 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am was produced in low numbers. The car utilized the same engine and drivetrain as the Buick Grand National. Whether you liked Pontiac or not, the car was influential for having a V6 engine. This variation of the Firebird was released long before turbocharged V6 engines had become the norm as they are today.
Another rarity from the 1980s was the Oldsmobile Cutlass Hurst. Based on the GM G-Body, the Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best-selling car in America for many years. The Hurst Cutlass was among the best of any GM G-Body car. The 307 V8 engine was designed specifically for use in this model (via Hemmings).
The Hurst Oldsmobile Cutlass was by far one of the most unique GM cars to come out of the 1980s. The design and implementation were top-notch at a time when muscle cars had been somewhat forgotten.
The Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 is another well-regarded GM G-Body coupe. It’s perhaps the rarest in the bunch due to its relatively limited production. Style-wise, the Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 was designed to be more aerodynamic on the race track. In fact, the car was originally designed specifically for NASCAR, but a consumer version was put into production (via Barn Finds).
The main difference from an ordinary GM G-Body was the bubble back rear window. The front fascia was also vastly different from the main model. Rounded corners were used to try and alleviate some of the car’s rough edges. All-in-all, the design of the Grand Prix 2+2 was different than you’d expect from this era.
The 1982 model year is especially important for GM F-Body cars. This was the year the cars were redesigned for the new modern era. It was also an important year for the Trans Am, as the new design was featured in the hit TV show Knight Rider. From a design perspective, GM had come a long way with the Firebird (via Car Folio).
The unusual thing about the Firebird is that it was more unique this time around. GM engineers worked diligently to differentiate the car from its Camaro sibling. The end result was a completely revamped product that showcased what GM engineers could do. The design was both controversial and well-received by critics.
You’ve got to give GM credit for trying anything and they sought something different with the Camaro Berlinetta. The Berlinetta was known as the BMW of Camaros and was geared toward young professionals. The idea was that the Berlinetta would be the Camaro that your secretary or assistant would buy (via LS1 Tech).
The ambiance of the interior with all the luxury features was much different than an ordinary Camaro. Consumers poorly received the Berlinetta, and thus sales were modest. However, this car is a unique novelty that you don’t encounter often, which means it’s going to spike in value.
Released in 1968, the Mercury Capri was the corporate cousin of the Ford Mustang. With the 5.0 trim level, the Mercury Capri was basically a bubble-back Ford Mustang. Many enthusiasts don’t realize this and the Capri is slightly undervalued because of it. But with the Mustang 5.0 becoming scarcer, there has never been a better time to purchase one (via Hemmings).
The styling is similar to the Mustang, and most parts are interchangeable. There is also a massive aftermarket community where you can find any customization that you want. On top of all that, the 5.0 engine is seemingly bulletproof when it comes to reliability. The Capri is probably one of the most underrated muscle cars around and will rise in price soon.
The Wildcat isn’t an automotive nameplate that is often brought up. But for a short period, Buick was also selling massive-engined, powerful vehicles. Available with Buick’s largest engine at the time, the 7.5-Liter V8 engine. With a whopping 370 horsepower, the Wildcat was no slouch when it came to performance (via Hagerty).
The styling was in line with what you’d expect from a large and powerful muscle car. There were many luxury appointments that made the car stand out. Because the Wildcat is not a well-known nameplate, resale value has remained steady. A Wildcat is an excellent and affordable option for a classic muscle car that will surely skyrocket in value.
AMC is a fairly historic automotive brand responsible for bringing Jeep into the mainstream. But the company also had a few lesser-known muscle cars that will spike in value. Unfortunately, the AMC brand was never equated with the popular muscle car models drivers are familiar with like the Chevelle and the GTO (via Hemmings).
That’s okay though because the AMC models were instrumental. The Rebel Machine will definitely rise in value as interest in classic AMC cars continues to grow. AMC was an instrumental brand at a time when the automotive industry was changing. Few cars have as much a storied reputation as the AMC Rebel Machine did.
After the AMC Rebel Machine, there was another model that the company released. The Matador Machine is an upgrade to the Rebel Machine. Most of the car was improved over the outgoing muscle car. This was also during the fuel crisis, so the displacement was a bit different than the previous model (via Street Muscle Mag).
The 5.9- or 6.6-liter V-8 engines were both choices with the Matador Machine. The design of the car was tempting but didn’t quite connect with consumers. The Matador Machine was scarce, there were only fifty examples produced. Even for an AMC car, this was altogether a modest production number.
When it comes to Mopar muscle cars, Dodge is often a brand name that comes to mind. But the Challenger and Charger are often the most showcased. But the Dart Demon was an affordable and modern model often overshadowed. The 1971 Dodge Dart Demon had a Hemi engine and a fairly muscular design for a smaller car (via Hemmings).
Dodge was an instrumental brand during the muscle car era, and the 1971 Dart Demon was a notable car. Mopar enthusiasts are having to deal with the high price of classic cars right now. A car like the 1971 Dodge Dart Demon is affordable and there’s considerable upgrading that you can do to it.
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.