Home Cars These Classic Cars Were Only Sold For One Model Year

These Classic Cars Were Only Sold For One Model Year

Vukasin Herbez December 16, 2022

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Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1

The Camaro ZL-1 was the same as the regular 1969 Camaro on the outside. But it was so fast that it was barely street-legal. The official 1969 Chevrolet literature doesn’t mention the ZL-1 option for the Camaro. But if you were a successful drag racer or a dealer, you knew about this expensive option. That is why only 69 Camaros ZL-1 left the factory (via Supercars).

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The secret of the Camaro ZL-1 was its engine. It was high revving, 7.0-liter V8 with around 550 HP in mild tune. Chevrolet produced about 200 of those engines, and while most of them went to Can-Am racing teams, 69 of ZL-1 were installed in C.O.P.O Camaros and sold to drag racing teams.

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Ford Mustang HO

In 1972, Ford discontinued Boss 351 and Cobra Jet Mustangs while Shelby models were killed two years prior. However, the performance Mustang buyers were given a choice, and Ford offered the HO model. HO stood for High Output, a kind of Boss 351 for 1972.

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It featured a performance 351 V8 rated at 275 HP, which was healthy for early ’70s standards. In the end, Ford only made about 60 of those interesting machines in all three body styles (via Motor Trend).

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Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

In 1969, Pontiac wanted to present a model which could be homologated for Trans Am racing. As a part of GM, the factory was still under the racing ban. To mask its intentions, Pontiac introduced the Firebird Trans Am as a loaded version that featured big block power from the famous 400 V8 engine equipped with the Ram Air III or IV intake system (via Motor Trend).

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However, this particular version with signature white paint, blue stripes, and Rally II wheels proved challenging. Only 634 Firebird Trans Ams left the factory. Among those, only eight were convertibles. As you probably know, Trans Am later became a full-fledged member of the Firebird range. But for the first generation of this legendary muscle car, the Firebird Trans Am was a one-year-only model.

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Ford Focus RS 500

Known for its affordable performance cars, Ford invested a lot of time in the second-generation Focus RS in 2009. The car featured a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with 305 HP and brutal performance. However, it was an old-fashioned hot hatch. With all that power delivered to the front axle. It had a trick front suspension to keep the front end in check, but it still had a torque steer effect (via Auto Express).

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Ford was getting ready to turn to all-wheel drive for the Focus RS Mk3 but wanted to say goodbye to the front-wheel-drive model with a bang. That bang was the Focus RS 500. A limited production model with 350 HP, matte black paint, and a plaque with the serial number on the dash. It was sold out in just a few days and earned its place in history as the most powerful factory front-wheel-drive hot hatch.

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Plymouth Barracuda 440

The 1969 Barracuda featured a classic body style before the Plymouth E-Body muscle car got the thorough restyle for the 1970 model year. The biggest news was the new 440 model with the biggest engine ever installed under the hood of a car in that segment.

The Barracuda 440 was a one-year-only model with 375 HP and a massive 480 lb.-ft of torque, making it fast but also hard to launch due to loads of wheel spin. Due to the tight fit of the engine, there wasn’t space for the power steering pump. So you had to use your muscles to turn this compact but powerful car. Plymouth only made a handful of these models, which makes them sought-after today (via Motor Trend).

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Chevrolet Monza Estate Wagon

This was a strange and obscure model in Chevrolet’s history. It was a crossbreed of two cars, the Chevrolet Monza and Vega. Both of those models were economy cars from the ’70s, which were produced in big numbers and were quite common on the roads. However, for the 1978 model year, Chevrolet Introduced Monza Estate Wagon. It was, in fact, a Vega with a three-door wagon body (via Automobile Catalog).

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The base engine was a 2.5-liter Iron Duke four-cylinder unit, but the bigger V6 was available for some areas. Since the Monza Estate Wagon used the leftover Chevrolet Vega bodies, it wasn’t a particularly desirable model, and Chevrolet produced less than 3000 before discontinuing it in late 1978.

Chrysler 300 - Chrysler
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Chrysler 300 Hurst

Introduced in 1970, the special limited edition 300 Hurst was a unique model based on the new full-size Chrysler platform. It was built in very limited numbers of around 500 with the help of the famous transmission company Hurst. It featured a special white and gold paint job, a similarly-styled interior, and a rear spoiler integrated into the rear deck lid (via Supercars).

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Under the hood, a mighty 440 V8 engine with 395 HP could propel the two-ton beast to respectful acceleration times. The model was on the market for only one year, but true Mopar aficionados will never forget these gold and white behemoths.

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AMC Hornet 360

The early ’70s marked the beginning of the end for muscle cars with downsizing, tightening emissions, and safety standards. The AMC was one of the first companies to realize that a new breed of muscle cars was needed to keep power-hungry customers happy. So in 1971, they introduced the Hornet 360 (via Hemmings).

AMC Hornet SC/360
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Based on a regular economy car called Hornet, it was equipped with better suspension, sharper steering, and a 360 V8. This hot Hornet turned from an ordinary compact into a proper muscle car. The power wasn’t big at 245 HP. But those horses could make the Hornet fly in a lightweight body. The rest of the muscle cars offerings in 1971 all had problems with big size and weight as well as engines that didn’t make power anymore. But the Hornet 360 was one of the fastest cars on sale. Unfortunately, buyers needed to understand the forward-thinking of AMC and less than 800 Hornets were sold in 1971, making them very rare and obscure muscle cars.

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Ford Torino Talladega

In contrast to some models from our list, which were produced for 12 months or so, the Torino Talladega was made for only a couple of weeks in early 1969. This car was Ford’s answer to Dodge Daytona and Mopar’s efforts to win in NASCAR.

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The idea behind the Talladega, named after the infamous NASCAR track, was to take standard Torino, give it a unique front end and a few slippery details, and homologate it for superspeedways. A total of 754 Talladegas left the factory in such a short time and many were used for racing (via Silodrome).

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Chevrolet Vega Cosworth

After the debacle of the Corvair in the ’60s, Chevrolet was reluctant to enter the compact market again. But since the segment grew, Chevy didn’t have a choice. So a brand-new Vega was introduced as a 1971 model. The Vega was a compact, modernly-styled model with three basic body styles. The two-door coupe, two-door sedan, and practical three-door wagon. The front end resembled closely to the design of the 1971 Camaro with a similar grille, headlights, and bumper.

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In 1975, Chevrolet even introduced the very interesting but unsuccessful Vega Cosworth. The model featured a high-revving 2.0-liter four-cylinder twin-cam motor with 110 HP. Although it wasn’t particularly fast or powerful, the Vega Cosworth was good-looking. Along with an attractive black and gold paint job and unique wheels. GM produced the model in cooperation with British engine engineering company Cosworth known for their Formula One engines (via Auto Evolution).

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