10 Underrated American Classics Only Real Gearheads Know About | Taza Khabre

The American car segment is a competitive market, and it’s a country where engines roar and motors roar. If we talk about American classic cars, names like the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 1968 Plymouth Road Runner, and 1966 Shelby GT350 proudly join the conversation. While they all deserve to be talked about, there are plenty of lesser known gems that hold a special place in the hearts of true gearheads and still give them butterflies.

RELATED: Unseen Gems: 10 Rare American Cars Worth Your Attention

Maybe it’s their timeless look, unique craftsmanship, or exclusivity that true gearheads still talk about to this day. Whatever it is, there’s nothing quite like this forgotten American classic. Today we’re going to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane to rediscover these diamonds in the rough that may or may not have been overlooked over the years.

This list of classic, overlooked gems of the American auto industry features performance figures taken from Acceleration Times and Zero to 60 Times.

10 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix

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This underrated gem was designed by John DeLorean (head of Pontiac’s Advanced Engineering division) in 1962. It is best known as the first full-size performance coupe in history. The Grand Prix was also the most expensive Pontiac coupe offered by General Motors until the 1970s.

It had amazing features like a center console with gear shifter, tachometer, 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. It also delivered a 389 cubic inch V8 that produced a mighty 303 horsepower. The V8 engine gave it the power to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds. Today, the Pontiac Grand Prix often commands a high value on the used car market, but it’s still one of the most forgotten cars compared to mainstream giants like the Mustang and Camaro.

Productivity

Producer

Pontiac

Configuration

V8

Moving

6.4 liter

power

303 hp

A turning point

425 lb-ft

fuel

gas

9 1964 Mercury Super Marauder 427

Mercury Super Marauder 427
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The 1964 Mercury Super Marauder is at home in the hearts of gearheads and avid muscle car enthusiasts. Unfortunately, it received almost no attention during its initial launch. It was built by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company and was probably part of the company’s luxury line of cars.

Although later models never quite made an impression, the original Marauder remained in production for seven and a half years, seeing two generations between 1963 and 1970. This luxury muscle car was powered by a top quality 7.0 liter V8. which could pump out 425 horses and 480 lb-ft of torque.

Productivity

Producer

Ford

Configuration

V8

Moving

7.0 liter

power

425 hp

A turning point

480 lb-ft

fuel

gas

8 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

A parked 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
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The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado remains one of the most underrated muscle cars of the 60s. It was developed by Oldsmobile, one of the long-forgotten divisions of General Motors.

The Toronado is the first GM passenger car to use a torsion beam front suspension. It is also widely recognized as the first production front-wheel drive car from General Motors. Fun fact: The name “Toronado” had no prior meaning and was originally chosen for a 1963 Chevrolet show car.

Productivity

Producer

General Motors

Configuration

V8

Moving

7.0 liter

power

385 hp

A turning point

475 lb-ft

fuel

gas

7 1966 Dodge Coronet

1966 Dodge Hemi Coronet 500 Black
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The Dodge Coronet is a true American muscle car that deserves more respect. It managed to stay in production for an impressive seven generations, starting in 1949 and initially being offered as the company’s top-of-the-range flagship model.

The name “Coronet” was reintroduced from 1965 to 1976. In 1965, muscle car versions of the Dodge Coronet became available to match the growing trends in the segment. In its most powerful trim, the ’66 Dodge Coronet could produce 425 horses and 490 lb-ft of torque from the 7.0-liter V8 under the hood. This is without a doubt one of the coolest classic muscle cars still available on the cheap.

Productivity

Producer

Dodge

Configuration

V8

Moving

7.0 liter

power

425 hp

A turning point

490 lb-ft

fuel

gas

6 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne 427

Chevrolet Biscayne 427
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The 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne 427 was known as a big block Chevy built for racing. Capable of generating 425 horsepower, it was a real powerhouse for its time. In fact, it even had more horsepower than the 2023 Ford Mustang Ecoboost, which is only rated at 330 horses.

It was the cheapest model in Chevrolet’s full-size lineup, and also the fastest, as many car enthusiasts called it by the code name “The Bisquick.” It was named after Biscayne Bay, which was near Miami, Florida. As for performances, let’s say they called it “Bisquick” for a reason.

Productivity

Producer

Chevrolet

Configuration

V8

Moving

7.0 liter

power

425 hp

A turning point

460 lb-ft

fuel

gas

RELATED: 10 Forgotten American Cars That Deserve a Grand Comeback

5 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna Wagon in black
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The 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna was relatively unknown in the famous Chevelle family, despite being one of the most revered classic cars to grace the roads of the 60s and 70s. The 1973 Laguna lineup included coupes, sedans, and wagons, one of the most underrated cars to take on GM’s famous body platform.

The Laguna had a rather memorable front end that easily distinguished it from other Chevelles. Chevrolet once again paid homage to the California beach by calling its top-of-the-line 1973 Chevelle the Laguna, with the Malibu taking the mid-spec slot, while the base line was simply the Deluxe.

Productivity

Producer

Chevrolet

Configuration

V8

Moving

5.7 liter

power

145 hp

A turning point

255 lb-ft

fuel

gas

4 1974 Dodge Dart

Blue 1974 Dodge Dart Sport 360
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After managing to remain in production for an impressive 17 years between 1959 and 1976, the 1974 Dodge Dart entered the market near the end of its remarkable production run. Although many confused it with the Maverick, the muscle car gained its own identity and was offered in two versions: a hardtop and a two-door convertible. Not stopping there, it also provided a wagon variant and a four-door version with a hard top.

It had innovative features for its time, such as high-back bucket seats with folding armrests, carpeted door panels, wood-textured dashboards, luxurious wheel covers, and a TorqueFlite automatic transmission. While the Challenger and Charger are still the most recognizable names in the company’s lineup, the Dodge Dart is an often-overlooked cheap classic.

Productivity

Producer

Dodge Chrysler

Configuration

V8

Moving

5.2 liter

power

150 hp

A turning point

185 lb-ft

fuel

gas

3 1971 AMC Javelin

Parked green 1971 AMC Javelin SST
Mecum Auctions

There is no doubt that AMC was not as famous as other brands of the time, such as Chevrolet and Ford. But it really punched above its weight, delivering a bunch of muscle cars that deserved to be noticed. One of them is the 1971 AMC Javelin. For a moment during the golden era of muscle cars, it looked like AMC might dethrone the market’s heavyweights, all thanks to the initial success of the Javelin.

Gearheads love this car not only for its sporty looks or the fact that it was ready to race, but also for its fancy features such as an electric clock that came as standard, an option for tinted glass, power steering, air conditioning and more. steering wheel tilt The exterior was also quite impressive. Under the hood, the Javelin had two engine options: a 5.9-liter V8 and a 6.6-liter V8.

Productivity

Producer

American Motor Corporation

Configuration

V8

Moving

6.6 liter

power

315 hp

A turning point

430 lb-ft

fuel

gas

2 1968 Ford Torino

1968 Ford Torino GT front three quarters
Mecum Auctions

In the late 1960s, the Torino became a Ford novelty in the highly competitive muscle car segment. The mid-size family muscle car was able to stay in production for 8 years between 1968 and 1976, but it never gained the same recognition as other heavyweights in the Ford lineup, such as the Mustang. Also, this was around the same time period that Ford Mercury’s luxury division was also finding success with its impressive line-up, leading to the Torino being overlooked by almost everyone.

The Torino was produced in five different body styles: station wagon, hardtop, fastback, convertible and sedan. An interesting fact is that it was originally created for NASCAR racing, so the mass-produced versions also had powerful characteristics.

Productivity

Producer

Ford

Configuration

V8

Moving

5.8 liter

power

335 hp

A turning point

280 lb-ft

fuel

gas

1 1974 Ford Maverick Grabber

White 1974 Ford Maverick Grabber
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The Ford Maverick is a compact car that was produced and sold by Ford for seven years from 1970 to 1977. In its first year on the market, it was very popular as it managed to sell an impressive 519,000 units, which was also quite close to the sales of the Mustang, with an approximate 31,000 difference in sales between the two Ford vehicles.

The Maverick was originally intended to compete with new Japanese rivals and was marketed as a subcompact “import fighter”. It’s truly one of the hidden gems of the 70s, but one that couldn’t outlast the Mustang. Despite its initial success, the Maverick ultimately fell short and is widely regarded as one of the most underrated Ford muscle cars of the classic era.

Productivity

Producer

Ford

Configuration

V8

Moving

4.9 liter

power

129 hp

A turning point

230 lb-ft

fuel

gas

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