1. 1964 Pontiac GTO
A young engineer named John Z. DeLorean thought of a genius idea. He wanted to install a big, powerful 396 V8 into a light, intermediate Tempest two-door body. He knew it was an easy and affordable way to create a true performance machine. For just $295, buyers could get a high-performance 396 V8 with 325 HP in a standard or 348 HP in the famous Tri-Power form (via Muscle Car Facts).
The package included a manual transmission, unique trim, GTO decals, and dual exhaust. And since the car was light, the Tempest GTO delivered a convincing performance. In fact, in 1964, it was one of the quickest American cars on the market. Even Corvette owners weren’t safe from Tempest GTOs lurking at stop lights across the country. The big sales made it clear the GTO was a hit among younger buyers and that a star was born.