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Mystery Muscle: These Strange GM Muscle Cars Will Blow Your Mind

Vukasin Herbez April 10, 2023

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Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2

Domestic car buyers were surprised when Pontiac introduced an attractive 2+2 package for its popular luxury coupe in 1986. It was a muscle car the company had lacked since the late ’60s and an exciting version of a rather dull car the Grand Prix was in the ’80s (via Motor Trend).

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Very similar to Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe, the Grand Prix 2+2 used the same platform, rear glass, and rear spoiler intended for NASCAR races. Unfortunately, Pontiac didn’t provide 2+2 with exciting performance for street use since all cars got 305 V8 with 165 HP. On the other hand, Grand Prix 2+2 handled much better than the Aerocoupe. Since, gas-filled shocks, stiffer springs, sway bars, and high-performance tires were a part of the standard package. Pontiac produced this model for two years, and during that time it made 1225 cars.

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Pontiac Fiero

The story of the Fiero is one of the greatest “what if” tales of the American car industry. This classic sports car caused a big sensation in the early ’80s. Everybody expected another GTO from Pontiac. But they got a small sports car similar to something Italians would build. It was a bold move for Pontiac to introduce a compact, rear-wheel drive car with the engine positioned behind the driver and to pair it up with a five-speed manual transaxle gearbox (via Motor Trend).

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For the standards of the day, this was the most advanced American production model. The Fiero’s appearance hyped customers, and with its cool and modern design and advanced technology, the initial response was more than good. For example, the 1983 sales figures topped over 130,000 examples. Unfortunately, Pontiac didn’t develop the Fiero, and early models needed to be better put-together. Engine power could have been better and the interior was cramped.

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Pontiac Trans Am 20th Anniversary Model

In 1989, Pontiac celebrated the 20th anniversary of its favorite muscle car, the Trans Am. They decided to introduce a limited run of 1,500 vehicles to commemorate the occasion. But, they wanted their anniversary edition to be unique and not just another decal and paint job. So Pontiac installed Buick’s 3.8-liter turbo V6 from GNX to create the fastest Trans Am of the decade (via Top Speed).

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It turned out to be an extremely rare and expensive one. The white commemorative edition could accelerate 0.1 seconds faster from 0 to 60 mph than the GNX at 4.6 seconds. The reason was simple. It had a better weight distribution and gearing from a Pontiac gearbox. Today, those cars are rare and highly-prized collector’s pieces.

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Buick Roadmaster Wagon

The legendary Roadmaster name returned to Buick’s lineup in 1991 after a 33-year-long hiatus. Gracing the freshly styled luxurious sedan and station wagon model. The car was the same as other offerings from General Motors in the same class. However, the Roadmaster had some more luxury options and one interesting engine, which turned this comfy cruiser into a muscle car (via Motor Trend).

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Buick engineers found a way to install Corvette’s LT1 5.7-liter V8 engine into Roadmaster’s engine bay. The LT1 had 300 HP in the Corvette, and the Buick had 260 HP, which was more than enough to turn this heavy wagon into a proper hot rod. Despite the curb weight of over 4400 pounds, this car could outrun many of the muscle cars of the day.

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Chevrolet SSR

During the mid-2000s retro craze, the Chevrolet development team came up with a crazy idea to produce a nostalgic two-seater convertible pickup with muscle car performance. The result was the SSR. A vehicle that looked different from any other car on the market, not necessarily in a good way. The 1950s-inspired design didn’t work well, so the SSR looked plain odd (via Car and Driver).

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Despite many efforts to make the SSR appealing to the intended audience, Chevrolet managed to sell just around 24,000 of these oddballs in a painful realization that they needed much more than wild imagination to make that concept work. The SSR wasn’t a Corvette, and it wasn’t a truck. It was simply pointless overall.

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Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

For years, Cadillac was without a proper performance series needed to compete with BMW or Mercedes. But finally, the V-Series arrived. It was all that Cadillac lovers dreamed of powerful engines, world-class handling and suspension setups, and exclusive production. Even the competitors noticed when Cadillac rolled up the brand-new V-Series models (via Car and Driver).

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Under the hood was a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with 556 HP, making the CTS-V the most powerful performance sedan on the market. Cadillac produced three body styles, and CTS-V could be a sedan, a coupe, and, interestingly a wagon too. However, the wagon body style was something Cadillac buyers should have expected. The car was still a blast to drive and extremely fast. It was just that the majority of the customers turned to sedans or coupes. Some buyers even needed to be made aware that the wagon existed.

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