The original Camaro ZL1 was a model that debuted in 1969 and sold through just a few selected dealerships. It was basically a backdoor model, and not a lot of people even knew about it. It had all-aluminum 427 V8 with over 550 hp, race suspension, and heavy-duty components. It as a real drag racing monster, though, and only 69 were made. These things are still sturdy and dependable by today’s standards, and owning one is a true gift.
America has produced some truly spectacular cars and if you were to draw up a list of some of the greatest cars in its history I can guarantee you that both the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang would feature in it heavily. For over half a century these two premier American sports cars have been leading the way in terms of performance, engineering, and innovation.
The world was first introduced to the Chevy Corvette in 1953 at the General Motors Motorama Auto Show in New York City. It was named after a small class of warships that were used during the second world war. Equipped with a 3.9-liter six-cylinder engine the first C1 Corvette rolled off the assembly line, 299 more examples would follow after that.
Over 10 years after its Chevrolet counterpart, the original Ford Mustang went into production. It was a collaborative effort between Ford and Shelby American which produced one of the greatest American Muscle cars of all time.
To be a true American Icon you must have the spirit of an American, you have to be industry-defining and most importantly you have to be a truly special car.
The Corvette was originally a publicity stunt launched by former GM Chief Designer Harley J. Earl. The idea was that America needed a sports car to compete with European carmakers, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. His ingenious idea succeeded and the Chevrolet Corvette was released in 1953. It was the first American sports car and it was ready to take one the world.
The only problem was that the car didn’t sell, well, at first. Despite its sporty look, the car didn’t have a powerful enough engine and this made it unappealing to customers. After a couple of years trying to find its identity, the Corvette was finally equipped with an engine worthy of a sportscar.
In 1969 the Corvette became recognized as the official car for astronauts after members of the Apollo 12 were pictured with their custom 390-hp 427 Corvette Stingray coupes. This unofficial endorsement boosted the car’s popularity and cemented it as America’s premier sports car.
Unlike its Chevy compatriot, the Ford Mustang was anything but a slow burner. When it was released in 1964 the car was an instant hit! It sold almost half a million units in its first year, creating its own vehicle class in the process. The pony car can attribute most of its early success to the Steve Mcqueen movie Bullit which was released in 1968.
When Plymouth initiated the ‘Cuda’ series back in 1964, it was a fastback coupe based on the valiant known as the Barracuda. The first-generation was famous for its distinctive wraparound rear glass. But Plymouth made a facelift, with a switch to an all-out muscle-car, the Hemi Cuda. The move was well-received, but looking back, maybe fans shouldn’t have.
WHILE THE HEMI CUDA PROBABLY HAD GOOD LOOKS WITH 425 HORSEPOWER AND DECENT RACING PEDIGREE, IT HAD STEERING ISSUES AND TONS OF BODY TOLL. LOOKING AT IT TODAY, THE LOOKS WEREN’T THAT GOOD, AFTER ALL.
1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
Those who drove between the ’60s and ’80s can testify the thrill the El Camino offered on the streets. It was an intersection of a muscle car and pickup that came with 454-cubic-inch LS6 V8 as standard, and a rear-wheel-drive with an impressive 365 horsepower. Unfortunately, due to its body styled like a coupe-fashioned pickup, the El Camino SS454 was a handful to drive.And it does seem a bit ridiculous to offer a 365 horsepower pickup, only to move the power to the rear, which, when you’re not hauling anything isn’t useful.
The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 was a second-generation muscle car that rocked. Back then the American muscle was dubbed ‘Super Hugger’. It came with a 6 cylinder overhead valve, 350-cubic inch V8, 155-horsepower, and a rear-wheel drive. But the car was not what a muscle car should be. If muscle cars were built to attract attention, this car certainly did– in all the wrong ways. It had very heavy and ugly chrome bumpers. The lower portion of the body below the crease was tucked in, and its strong horizontal crease enhanced its muscular stance but gave the car an awful build. Just the sheer look of it alone ranks among the worst muscle cars ever built.
When asked which is the best classic Mustang design, most people would say 67-68 or 69-70. This time we have a beautiful trio of Mach 1 Mustangs for those who love the 1969-70 Fastbacks. The trio was spotted at a local car show in Helsinki, Finland and the American muscle car enthusiasts over there seems to appreciate them. Check out Jamboolio’s video to see these beautiful classic Mach 1 Mustangs and make sure you watch till the end to see the one from the picture above racing a Corvette.
You definitely don’t see one of these every day. Out of Aurora, Illinois, comes this incredible 1968 Ambassador SST two-door hardtop. A while it may look like something your grandpa used to drive, it does have a few “secrets.” Under the hood is a Typhoon 343 high compression engine married to an automatic. Add to that an Edelbrock carburetor and intake, a performance lift cam, MSD ignition and a performance exhaust. The paint looks showroom qualit
The rarest AMC muscle car is the 1971 Matador with “The Machine Go Package” option. Only 60 of the two-door hardtops were known to be produced. And those 60 people got dual exhaust heavy-duty suspension but had to choose between, “a 360-V8 at 290 horses or the preferred 401-inch V8 with 330-horsepower,” according to the Hannibal Courier-Post. Hopefully, they chose wisely as Fastest Laps has the 330hp version clocking 0-60 times of 6.2 seconds.
Take a run-of-the-mill Rambler and throw in a 390-cu.in. OHV V-8 with a Hurst-shifted Borg-Warner T-10 manual transmission. Add a 3.54 Twin-Grip rear end, large hood scoop and outrageous patriotic color scheme, and you’ve got the coveted 1969 AMC Hurst SC/Rambler. How coveted? They only made 1,512 of the things because nobody wanted to drive around in a clown car. This particular vehicle was one of the first 10 off the assembly line.
Pontiac launched Firebird for the 1967 model year and the first generation lasted until 1969. The Firebird 400 you see here was fitted with a 6.6 Liter (400 cubic inch) V8. Firebird was also available with a base six cylinder, 250 cubic inch 4.1L and also a 350 cubic inch 5.7L V8 engine.
75,362 hardtops and 11,649 convertible Firebirds were sold in the 1969 model year. There were quite a few styling changes for this year even though the model was getting a full revamp for 1970. These changes included a new roofline, every panel was different, a new look front and the fuel filler was moved to behind the rear license plate – a great place to put it as it kept the car’s lines clean without the need for a filler door on the side of the vehicle! The car also gained about an inch in length.
Also this year saw the introduction of the “Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package”. This Trans-Am package launched late in the model year (March 1969) and resulted in just 689 hardtops and 8 convertibles sold. The Trans-Am was no more powerful than a standard Firebird and was primarily cosmetic although did featured an improved suspension.