If you want to add something a bit niche to your collection, check out these forgotten and underappreciated cars from over the years.
1965 Pontiac 2+2
Just look at this beauty! The 1965 Pontiac 2+2 got its name from the fact it could have two people in the front and two in the back, and everyone would fight for the chance to hitch a ride with you in this. Dubbed as the “big brother” of the GTO, this car was built for performance. The 376-horsepower version came with bucket seats and Hurst shifter, so you’d feel like a street racer in this Pontiac. It also did 0-60mph in 7 seconds flat.
1969 Chevrolet Kingswood 427
Wait… What? Yes, this is a station wagon muscle car – and an underappreciated one at that. The 1969 Chevrolet Kingswood 427 is sure to turn heads, solely for its sheer size… However, don’t be fooled by its family-friendly appearance. Not only could you take the kids to school in this, but they’d get there in record timing with an option for a 427 cubic-inch turbojet V8 that has a whopping 390-horsepower. This car is for when you’ve got to drop the kids off at 9am and hit the drag circuit at 10am.
1970 AMC Rebel Machine
We think this is what David Bowie was talking about when he sang, ‘Rebel, Rebel.’ Just look at it! Okay, so it may be a drag racer that was very thinly-disguised, but we’ll take it. The 1970 AMC Rebel Machine debuted at the NHRA World Championship Drag Race Finals back in 1969. To advertise this red, white and blue muscle car, AMC drove ten vehicles from the factory in Wisconsin and let them run on the drag circuit in the condition anyone could buy them in.
Buick Gran Sport 455
Plenty of muscle car fans will already know the Buick Gran Sport 455, but unfortunately, it just had too much competition when it was released. Popular vehicles such as the Chevelle, 442, and the GTO were all released in the same era, meaning this poor Buick was left struggling for position in the top charts. Luckily, we’re here to pay homage to an absolute beauty of a muscle car. Who needs a GTO when you could get your hands on the Buick Gran Sport 455?
1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna 454
Back in the 1970s, did you really have an American muscle car if you didn’t cruise down to the beach to show it off? Nope. The 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna 454 was designed for those who wanted to head to Laguna Beach and please crowds of adoring fans… But, unfortunately, sales for this vehicle didn’t really do as well as Chevy had hoped. We’re still looking for one that has one of the coolest options ever seen in a car – swing-out front bucket seats…
1970 Oldsmobile Rallye 350
Overshadowed when it first came out in 1970, this was actually a bargain performance vehicle for those who wanted to smoke the tarmac without breaking the bank. It was designed to fit in with cars like the Chevrolet Chevelle and Dodge Dart, but it never seemed to sell as many units as the competition.
1970 Buick Wildcat
For those who wanted a little bit of luxury with their muscle car, there was the 1970 Buick Wildcat. While most American muscle car manufacturers focused on performance, Buick wanted to make something that oozed comfort and class. However, that doesn’t mean that they scrimped on all of the performance you would want from a car like this! It still had 370-horsepower coming out of its 455 Buick big-block V8. Style, comfort, and speed. Yep, we’ll take ten of them!
1969 Ford Torino Talladega
Back in the late 1960s, NASCAR rules dictated that cars had to be in production and at least 500 of them made, to stop those ‘one-off’ specials designed solely for racing. So, Ford pulled this out of the bag. The 1969 Ford Torino Talladega was such a beast that it managed to win two championships and a total of 29 races in NASCAR, with an impressive 130mph top speed. Unfortunately, it was only in production for a year and has kind of been forgotten about.
1970 Chrysler Hurst 300
Only 501 of the 1970 Chrysler Hurst 300 were ever made, with two convertibles that were thought to be solely for promotional use. So, anyone who can get their hands on one of these beauties is going to have a real hidden gem in their garage. The most defining feature of the 300 is that ridiculously long hood and trunk, along with the super 1970s white and gold paint scheme. The cars were named after Hurst Performance, the aftermarket parts supplier.
1993 GMC Typhoon
If you consider yourself a muscle car purist, then you may want to look away now. However, if you’re a fan of something a little bit unique, then perhaps the 1993 GMC Typhoon is up your street! While the stats don’t sound like they’d give this car a lot of power, this colossal vehicle could manage 0-60mph in a whopping 5.3 seconds and do the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds. To put that in perspective, that’s faster than the Ferrari 348 of around the same time.
1971 GMC Sprint SP 454
What do you get when you combine an American muscle car with a pickup truck? The 1971 GMC Sprint SP 454, of course. The “unknown baby brother” of the famous Chevrolet El Camino, this car certainly proved to be the only thing like it on the market at the time. However, it seemed people weren’t too bothered about being able to move their belongings in the back of a pickup truck that could pump out 365-horsepower, as sales were slow.
1971 Plymouth Duster 340
Some of you may already give the 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 the appreciation it deserves, but for many, it’s still underappreciated. This was a real hidden gem among the rest of the MOPAR vehicles at the time, and people seem to have forgotten it ever existed – but not us! Luckily, back then, they were cheap to buy, and so there’s bound to be some people with one rotting away in their garage. Just look at that hood and tell us you don’t want one?
1971 AMC Hornet SC/360
One of the biggest concerns people have always had with American muscle cars is their impact on the environment. Back in 1971, AMC decided to release the Hornet SC/360 which was supposed to be a more efficient vehicle that still packed a punch. With people wanting more compact cars, you’d think that this would do well. It didn’t. However, you could get yourself a coupe, sedan, or a wagon version of it and feel like you were doing your bit for the environment.
1987 Buick GNX
The 1987 Buick GNX – with GNX meaning Grand National Experimental – was manufactured with the help of McLaren Performance Technologies. Yep, the same McLaren who are known for their classic racing cars. What made this so special, other than that totally 1980s vibe, was its 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds. That was pretty much unheard of in 1987, and it could even beat the V12 Ferrari Testarossa that came out the same year. This is the definition of an underrated beast!
1964 Mercury Super Marauder
The 1964 Mercury Super Marauder is one of the rarest cars on our list, with only 42 built that had the special R-Code in the VIN. That little letter meant that this particular Super model had an insane 425-horsepower pumping out of the 427 cubic-inch V8 engine. This car was a real head-turner, combining good looks with impressive power. In fact, Parnelli Jones won an impressive seven USAC stock-car races with a 427 powered Marauder. Super indeed! You’d be lucky if you got hold of one, though.
1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 442
The Vista Cruiser rose to fame as Eric Foreman’s car in the sitcom That ‘70s Show, but unfortunately for him, he didn’t own a 442 version. Nope, he just had a regular ol’ brown Vista Cruiser. 1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 442 was so much more, as it had a four-speed manual transmission, four-barrel carburetor, and twin exhausts. 4-4-2, get it? This is not the kind of thing you’d see on any regular station wagon, but this is no regular station wagon.
1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am
Welcome to the 1980s! The 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am is a prime example of cars in this decade, but it seems to have been completely forgotten about. While it may have had all of the right looks, unfortunately, it left a lot to be desired when you opened up the hood. Many critics and Pontiac fans called this car “underpowered,” and the manufacturer decided to go back to the drawing board. If you have one of these originals, however, you’ve got a real hidden gem.
Mid-90s Chevy Impala
Hear us out with this one… We know it’s quite possibly one of the worst looking muscle cars on our list, but it had some kind of charm about it. There’s no way you’d be turning heads driving this around until you put your foot down to the floor. This Mid-90s Chevy Impala had all of the power you’d expect from a Chevy, but with none of the looks. This meant sales plummeted and it’s very rare you’ll find one of these on the road today.
Not a muscle car, right? Wrong. They called the Dodge Magnum an “American muscle wagon,” which kind of makes sense when you see the size of it. With a total of 425-horsepower and the sort of acceleration that would blow your wig off if it was a convertible, Dodge didn’t let us down with this one. Unfortunately, people just couldn’t get over the fact it looked like something you’d take the kids to soccer practice in. It’s a shame, as this could burn some serious rubber!
So far, we’ve seen family sedans, wagons, and some strange pickup truck combination. Now, it’s time to meet the GMC Syclone. Yep, it’s another truck that packs some serious power. If you wanted to get from 0-60mph in under six seconds, then this would have been the car for you. Yet again, however, people couldn’t get past the whole combining of two vehicles to make one. So, this didn’t do so well – but it’s still one heck of a truck if you can get your hands on one.
1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone
Back in the early ’60s, Mercury added this beauty of a car to their Comet collection. With a 210-horsepower engine to its name, the Cyclone had all the makings of a ’60s classic. It even had its very own “dress-up kit” where owners could chrome up various parts of the vehicle, including wheels and engine accessories. Seeing that the Cyclone was supposed to be part of Edsel Motor Company, which folded in 1960, the car became a part of Mercury.
1970 Ford Falcon 429 Cobra Jet
Having survived over a decade and three generations of production, the Ford Falcon was certainly a hit. However, this 1970 Cobra Jet was fairly short-lived. This two-door coupe had a variety of redeeming qualities, such as it’s 302 and 351 V8s, as well as a six-cylinder engine. Ultimately though, this would be the last edition in the Ford Falcon’s run. Failure to meet safety standards and a decline in sales brought this era to a glorious, albeit abrupt, end.
1992 Dodge Daytona
This particular car might be the prettiest one on this list. However, its place in automobile history is definitely noteworthy. First being unveiled in the early 1990s, the 1992 Dodge Daytona was best known for having a K chassis, a feature that had a big part to play in keeping Chrysler on the map. Although it hasn’t aged well, its sheer power is worth mentioning. It packed as much of punch as a Mustang while being a cheaper option.
1990 Chevrolet 454 SS
With a V8 engine to its name, as well as two doors and a rear wheel, the 1990 Chevrolet 454 SS is a muscle car that has been forgotten over the years. The car managed to produce 230 horsepower with its engine, which was very powerful at the time. It might not have been as quick as the Syclone or the Typhoon, but it definitely packed a punch. In an era when pickup trucks are over-the-top in design, the subtleness of this 1990 classic is quite refreshing.
1969 Mercury Cyclone CJ
In case you were wondering what CJ actually stands for after all these years, then look no further. It stands for Cobra Jet. This is because of the motor underneath this forgotten car’s hood. It was added to the Cyclone line-up by Mercury back in 1969 and impressed early on with its 335-horsepower potential. However, the car didn’t manage to last too long in the market due to lackluster sales. But you can’t deny the car’s awesome performance.
We’ve spent all this time talking about American muscle cars, but did you know the Brits tried their hand at some beasts in their time too? The Jensen Interceptor is a prime example of what British car manufacturers could do when they put their minds to it. However, because it wasn’t made in America, very few people took to it. Brits didn’t want a muscle car, and the Americans didn’t want a British car. If you step foot in this, though, you’ll never want to get out.
Most of the first generation of Mazda RX-7s, amounting to close to half a million cars, were sold in the U.S., so you can still find some of these around. It’s got rear-wheel drive, pop-up headlights, and an awesome design. The engine was a 1.1 to 1.3 liter Wankel rotary that gave the light car up to 135 horsepower. Despite this being a very cool feature, it is hard to find replacement parts because Wankel engines are uncommon. You can find bargains on these as low as $2,000.
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
The Ford Mustang SVT Cobra was inspired by the SVT Cobra Rs from the 1990s and represented a first for Mustang, rolling off the assembly line in 2003 with a factory supercharged engine and independent suspension. Managing to reach from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 4.7 seconds, this car is a drag racer’s dream. You should be able to find one in perfect condition for $20,000. Although they’re not too expensive at the moment, these will likely skyrocket in value in the decades to come.
Triumph has been defunct for years, but that only means that its TR6 is a collector’s item. There’s a 2.5-liter engine that gives the car 150 horsepower, which makes it a delight to take a joyride in. The vehicle handles and drives great, so the price tag of between $10-20 thousand isn’t too bad for this real beauty. It’s got a sleek design that always manages to turn heads! Finding replacement parts shouldn’t be too hard, as most of the 90,000 units the company produced found their way stateside.
Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit GTI Mk1
The Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit GTI Mk1 was possibly the most influential and popular “hot hatch,” a nickname for high-performance hatch-back cars. When it came out in 1976, 90 horsepower out of a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine was pretty impressive. Although zero to 60 miles per hour in nine seconds isn’t something to write home about, back then that was a lot for a compact economy car. Convertible models might set you back a bit more, but you shouldn’t have to spend more than $10,000 to buy one of these.
Chevrolet Corvette C4
The Chevrolet Corvette C4 is another classic car, this time from the ’80s, that shouldn’t set you back more than $10,000. It’s an awesome car whose chassis is still used in modified form in the current C7 generation. Why the low price? At this point, the Corvette didn’t boast the power it could in the 1990s when it came out with the ZR-1, but that’s around twice the price. Back in 1984, the C4 saved the Corvette from almost certain doom because the C3 had been terrible.
The Datsun 240Z was among the early sports cars from Japan that made waves in America. They were comfortable, cool, dependable, and handled great. It went from zero to 60 miles per hour in 7.8 seconds, and its top speed was faster than a Porsche 911T or Jaguar E-Type when the Z was in production from 1970 to 1973. They have a gorgeous design, come in sweet colors, and are quite cheap, too — you can find them low priced, even less than $15,000.
SAAB 900 Turbo
SAAB 900 Turbos are classic cars that used to be all over the roads if you remember, and back in the late ’70s when they came out they were hot, hot, hot. Turbocharging was fairly new, and this was for a short period the only non-sports car with this feature. In the beginning, the 2.0 cylinder got up to 143 horsepower with forced induction in the four cylinders giving the engine an extra boost, but this reached 185 horsepower with improvements after several years.
Pontiacs were a proud brand for years before going out of business. One of the premier muscle cars, the successful GTO is what prompted other carmakers to make similar vehicles. It was designed with the help of the legendary John Delorian and was released in 1964. By 1973 sales had dropped and it ceased to be a muscle car. Despite being redesigned as a compact car, it didn’t sell and the original line was discontinued. This 360 horse-powered beast can be found for under $30,000.
Toyota’s MR2 can speed up to 60 miles per hour in seven seconds, which was a lot for a mid-engine sports car when the Japanese car manufacturer released it in 1984. A 1.5 or 1.6-liter engine was mounted behind the driver so it could power the car from between the cabin and rear axle, giving the car great handling. A supercharged (SC) version was also released with a 1.6-liter engine that unleashed 145 horsepower and 140 pounds-per-feet of torque.
Subaru later renamed its SVX the Alcyone SVX, which is the brightest star in the Pleiades constellation (the company’s logo). Notably, its sleek, curved design was a marked difference from the angular XT, which the company stopped producing in 1991, the same year it came out with the SVX. There was also a prototype station wagon that was never released but displayed. Although this isn’t the most desired vintage car to own, this vehicle has a cult following.
Maserati 222 BiTurbo
You might think a Maserati is on this list by mistake, but the BiTurbo they introduced in 1981 and stopped producing in 1994 go for as low as $10,000 nowadays. There’s actually a pretty good reason for this, as most of the 40,000 produced aren’t on the road. Despite the turbocharged engine that provided 270 horsepower in later years and the luxurious interior, it was intended to be an entry-level Maserati that would be affordable, but the finished product is prone to mechanical issues and isn’t very dependable.
The Porsche 914 isn’t the 911, which is what you’d expect out of a car that says Porsche and looks like the 914 does. Even though it’s not as good of a car, that hardly means it’s not an awesome, fun car to drive around in. Porsche released it in 1969 and discontinued it in 1974, seeing as it wasn’t selling that well at the end of its run. The best part? You can snag one cheap from anywhere around $8,000 to $12,000.
BMW 325i E30
Over 2.2 million E30s were produced by BMW between the years 1982 and 1992. These cars were small and had rear-wheel drive, which is a trend you can see is popular to this day. It came with both four- and six-cylinder engines, but it’s the six you want. In those models, the engine gives the vehicle 170 horsepower and the handling is phenomenal. The replacement parts are fairly common, so upkeep shouldn’t set you back too much. You can definitely buy these cheap, and their price will only increase in value in years to come.
Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
As far as classic Volkswagens go, most people are familiar with the Beetle and the Bus, but sadly the Karmann Ghia was forgotten. Available as both a two-plus-two coupe and a two-plus-two convertible, it’s definitely one of the better-looking cars they’ve produced. These beauties were in production from 1955 to 1974. Throughout these years, the model remained practically the same, which is quite a rarity. While this car was based on the Beetle, its successor, the Scirocco, was based on the Golf.
Ford introduced its Ranchero in 1957 and didn’t stop the production line until 1979, as the company correctly assumed that consumers would want a truck that’s more car-like. People needed a car that could carry cargo, but when there wasn’t a need for a full-size truck to do the job, that’s where the Ranchero stepped in. Ford cut up a full-size passenger car, gave it a truck bed, and voila! It still had enough power to do some towing, and there was always the option to upgrade to a V8 engine.
The Mercury Cougar is the forgotten little sibling of the Mustang, as its first two generations were quite heavily based on the Mustang. It only lasted as a pony car from 1967 to 1973, so watch out which generation it is because in later generations it was definitely not a Mustang. Mercury later transformed the pony car to a personal luxury car, a midsize car, and finally a sports compact by the time it stopped production in 2002.
The Honda CRX was built between 1983 to 1991 and was based on the Civic, but had lower seats and only two of them. It had front-wheel drive and gave 140 horsepower, which isn’t a lot until you consider the car only weighed 1,800 pounds. The only real downside is that it’s not the safest car, so don’t get into an accident! The handling is very good (it is said it matches sports cars of the same era) and it doesn’t take up too much fuel.
The Fiat 500 is the classic star, but that doesn’t mean the 600, its forgotten brother, isn’t as deserving of reverence. It’s bigger so it’s not as cute nor does it look that awesome in today’s optics, yet the design was very fresh when it came out in 1955. It was in production until 1969, spawning a lot of variants, such as the 600 Multipla, the 600 Jolly, and the Abarth 750. These models are even better-looking.
The Jeep Gladiator is based on the Willys Jeep Pickup and debuted in 1963. Very quickly, it became evident it had no equal when it came to off-road vehicles. The Gladiator is the first truck to feature independent front suspension and a four-by-four drivetrain. Even the U.S. Army used versions of it. The six-cylinder V8 engines were strong enough for any off-roading that needed to be done. For the first time, the average car customer had the option of driving such a beast off the road.
The Studebaker could never compete with the “Big Three” that dominated U.S. automakers (Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors), so it eventually failed. Before it did, though, it offered some interesting models for customers. The Lark was one such car that the company released from 1959 to 1966. While it sold a lot earlier on, the company was unable to compete with the other companies rolling out cars in Detroit. Soon, other companies’ compact cars overtook the Lark and sales plummeted.
1989 Ford Taurus SHO
The Ford Taurus became the best-selling car in America after it was introduced in the mid-’80s. The innovative front-wheel design helped save Ford from bankruptcy after a slump. When you see a price tag of under $2,000 for a car, you’d think that something’s wrong with it, but don’t forget that there were over two million first-generation Tauruses that were sold. In 1989, they introduced their Taurus SHO (super high output), which took a good design and made it an even better car with a Yamaha engine. This goes for about a thousand more.
2008 Pontiac G8 GXP
Definitions of vintage cars vary depending on where you are, but the Pontiac G8 GXP definitely isn’t old enough to be one. It’ll set you back over $20,000, but we still have to include it for the following reasons. Firstly, it was the last of the great Pontiacs before they were discontinued. The GXP was the top-of-the-line version of the G8, which GM realized was a mistake to let go of and now sells the similar Chevrolet SS. They sold less than 2,000 GXPs, so they’re quite rare.
1994 Jaguar XJ6
Jaguar was acquired by Ford in 1990, and it was thought that they could turn around the car’s reputation for being unreliable. It’s gorgeous, but it probably deserved a bad reputation due to numerous problems that you shouldn’t need to deal with after buying an expensive car. However, now you buy one of these for under $2,000 and for the performance that the XJ6 offers (370 horsepower from a supercharged V8 engine), it’s well worth it to give it the routine maintenance needed to ensure this car is in driving condition.
1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E
In 1985, Mercedes-Benz broke into the U.S. small sport sedan market that had been dominated by BMW. The 190E was the result of billions invested in research and development that went on for years. When the finished product rolled off, it was a legitimate contender that was a match for its competitor, although the BMW 3-Series is more widely raved about today. The 190E doesn’t get enough love and you can have your own for under $5,000 if you look hard enough.
1980 AMC Eagle
Chrysler gobbled up American Motors in 1988, signaling the end of the independent auto era in America. In the years leading up to the merger, they had some pretty creative solutions to deal with their constant financial issues. The Eagle was the company’s swan song, as it was a hit as a conventional four-wheel-drive that was available as a station wagon as well. But it went down with the ship, in production from 1980 to 1987, AMC’s last year. Nowadays, it’s perhaps started to gain some recognition, though you can find a fixer-upper for under $2,000.
1978-1992 Toyota Cressida
Toyota Cressidas enjoy far less fame than other models, but the Cressida’s legacy speaks for itself. When it was introduced to the U.S. market in 1978, it proved to be a worthy competitor to American full-sized sedans. The company had the wisdom to see that there would be a shift to European models for classy cars, and Toyota restyled the Cressida to compete better with German luxury vehicles. The Lexus was the next step in Toyota’s bid for the market and the Cressida was forgotten, discontinued in 1992. Watch for deals as low as $1,000!
1967-1970 Cadillac Eldorado
The Cadillac Eldorado was a trailblazer when it came out with a redesign for its eighth generation in 1967. It was the second front-wheel drive to be produced by GM and began a trend of sleek personal luxury coupés that could be seen with other competitors like the Lincoln Mark III or Chevy Monte Carlo. This generation ended in 1970, so there are only so many of these around despite selling relatively many units for the company. They can be found for lower than $15,000.
1962 MGB GT
The British Motor Company created the MGB GT, which have become some of the U.K.’s most popular vintage cars that were produced until 1980. You can buy a good model for less than $5,000, though some of the different variations, such as the Roadster, will cost you quite a lot more and may be an investment of tens of thousands. In addition, it’s worthwhile to note that U.S. versions from 1975 on had diminished performance because emissions standards required them to be de-tuned in subsequent years.
1963 Studebaker Avanti
Studebaker’s Avanti was a star in the ’60s, with a top speed of 168 miles an hour in the supercharged model. This car was so beloved that Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, would have it shipped to wherever he was going so he could drive his awesome Studebaker around the world. The maker is defunct and having one of these will draw the kind of attention you want. You can buy one for as low as $14,000.
Chrysler TC By Maserati
First introduced in 1986 at the Los Angles Auto Show, this car was a joint venture of two major automobile producers: Chrysler and Maserati. It was marketed as a grand tourer, a type of sports car that combines luxury features with the ability to travel long distances.
Despite a two-year delay in development, the car was launched in 1988, with a total of 7,300 units produced in Milan, Italy.
The Reatta came in two versions: a grand tourer that was offered as a coupe or a convertible. It was Buick’s first convertible to see the light of day since 1985. The vehicle had undergone a special assembly process at the Lansing Craft Center in Michigan.
In just four years, over 21,000 cars were produced. Both versions featured a 3.6-liter V6 engine, a low-volume transverse front-engine, and front-wheel drive.
Produced between 1982 to 1988 the Cadillac Cimarron was designed to compete against European cars of the same category that flooded the North American market during those times. The Cimarron was considered to be an entry-level luxury car.
Development and production were carried out by the Cadillac division of General Motors. In an attempt to rebrand the vehicle, it shared many similarities with Chevrolet Cavalier — an act that was considered to be controversial at the time.
Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible
This could easily be the most iconic pick-up from the ‘80s, given its immense popularity. It was developed by Chrysler as a medium-sized pickup. To save costs, many of the vehicle’s components were shared with existing car models.
Even the production line was shared with other Dodge models that were produced by the company. The Dakota Sport was produced between 1986 and 1996. Some versions even came with an impressive V8 engine.
Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler
The CJ-8 Scrambler is another version in the long (and glorious) line of open-bodied off-road vehicles. It was first introduced in 1981 and produced through 1986. The big difference between this model and its predecessors was that it was more leisure-oriented, despite retaining its off-road capabilities.
A unique version of the Scrambler was produced for the Alaskan Postal Service, featuring a full-length steel hardtop, right-hand drive, and automatic transmission.
This vehicle may seem odd to many Americans and for a good reason. It’s actually based on the European version of the Ford Sierra XR4i. The Merkur was produced in North America between 1985 to 1989.
The idea behind selling a European-like car in the US was rooted in the fact that Ford wanted to fend off competition from BMW, Mercedez-Benz, and Audi. For this reason, Ford chose a name that also sounded German.
Facel Vega HK500
Although the French company that produced the car is no longer in existence (the factory was shut down in 1964), the cars they produced, and in particular, the Vega HK 500 are worthy of your attention.
The Vega HK 500 was based on the Vega FVS, which was first introduced in 1954. The FVS was produced between 1954 to 1959, and in 1962, production continued under a new model name which was the Vega HK 500.
Originally intended for the European market, Eagle Vision was a four-door sports sedan, produced between 1992 to 1997. The Vision was actually derived from the AMC/Renault-designed Eagle Premier.
In Europe, the car was sold as Chrysler Vision. The car made its debut appearance in 1992 at the North American International Auto Show. Another interesting fact about the car is that it was the only Eagle model that was entirely designed and built by Chrysler.
This Fiat’s curious name, “Dino,” derives from its engine name, the Ferrari Dino V6. Also known as Type 135, the Dino was produced between 1966 to 1973. It was first introduced at the Turin Motor Show in October 1966.
It came in two versions: spider and coupe. The coupe version was built on a longer wheelbase (by 10.6 inches). Both versions had a manual, five-speed transmission, a front-engine, and rear-wheel drive.
This may be a little know fact, but Switzerland had its own car industry in the ‘60s. The Monteverdi 375 belongs to a series of sports cars called Monteverdi High Speed. Each model in the series featured a unique body.
The cars were produced between 1967 to 1976. Models were available as a coupe, sedan, and convertible. The car featured a V8 Chrysler engine, which gave it a satisfying 375 horsepower.
The first generation of this new line of cars appeared in 1990. The new car was produced by Saturn automobile company, a subsidiary of America’s car giant, General Motors. The first generation of this car featured a Z-body.
This gave it a unique “spacy” look. It was an attempt to retake the market share that was taken by the Japanese in the ‘80s. By 1995, over a million cars were produced.
The Lele is an Italian 2+2 seater, produced by Iso Automoveicoli S.p.A., between 1969 to 1974. The car’s name comes from Lele Rivolta, the wife of Piero Revolta, who is the son of the company’s original founder.
Its stylistic design was done by Marcello Gandini, from Bertone. The car was first unveiled to the public at the 1969 New York International Auto Show. Interestingly enough, the car was meant as a present to Piero Revolta’s wife Rachelle (nicknamed Lele).
There is a good reason why an Italian car has a Spanish name. Jarama meant to recall the name of the fighting bulls that are bred in the Jarama river area in Spain. Despite sharing the name with the fighting bull ring in Madrid, the name indeed refers to the river area.
The Lamborghini Jarama is a 2+2 grand tourer that was produced by Lamborghini between 1970 to 1976. It was styled by Marcello Gandini.
Originally developed by the German automobile manufacturer NSU, the Volkswagen K70 was a four-door, front-engine, front-wheel-drive sedan. It was sold between 1970 and 1975 by Volkswagen following its acquisition of NSU in 1969.
A total number of 211,127 units of the K70 were sold during the five-year period of its production. The K in its name comes from the German word for piston — kolben, and 70 simply refers to the engine output.
The French, just like their Italian counterparts, have their own version of a luxury sports vehicle. Produced between 1972 and 1974, and with a total number of 40 units produced, the Monica 560 was considered by many to be the pinnacle of French luxury grand touring.
The car was equipped with a Chrysler V8 engine (5.6 liters), longitudinal front-engine, and rear-wheel drive. Monica made its last public appearance in October 1974, at the Paris Auto Show.
1978 Porsche 928
The Porsche 928 was intended to replace the flagship 911. Sales were slumping in the mid-’70s and Porsche thought that the 928’s larger size as a luxury grand tourer would offset some issues with the 911. The 911 continues to be popular, though. This was Porsche’s first attempt at a V-8 engine, and is the only coupé they’ve made with this engine powering a front-wheel drive. The older design might look funny and the glamor of the 911 makes the 928 less desirable, perhaps, but it can be found for under $10,000.
Pontiac Firebird 400
This is one of the most beautiful muscle cars of all time and looks a little bit like it could be related to the Trans Am. So, why didn’t it do very well in the market at the time? Well, people weren’t buying muscle cars when Pontiac released their Firebird 400, and so sales were at an all-time low. Because of this, very few people actually got their hands on one of these, making it one of the rarest (and most stunning) muscle cars out there.
1994 Audi Avant
Audi isn’t the kind of car manufacturer you’d even hear in the same sentence as the word ‘muscle car,’ but that didn’t stop them trying their hand at making one. The 1994 Audi Avant may not ooze the class and sophistication as some of the other cars on this list, but it’s still underappreciated in our eyes. It could definitely do with some more features, but the 311 horsepower was quite a big deal in ‘94. It just about makes our list!
So, you want a muscle car, but you also want to impress your clients when you turn up for business meetings? If this sounds like you, you probably need a Jaguar S-Type in your life – complete with a driver, of course. This was a real muscle car thanks to the sheer amount of power under the hood, but it has all of the elegance of a First Class Business Lounge at LAX. 420 horsepower just finishes it off nicely, too.
This may look like your regular Mercedes Benz, but it had a deep, dark secret under the hood. This baby was upgraded with a whopping 5.0 liter V8 that meant it could burn some serious rubber on the highway. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell as many as Mercedes were hoping – not compared to the kind of numbers their cars reach now. So, it ended up in the ‘lost and forgotten about’ pile, until we brought it back!
Equipped with the necessary tools and a passion for auto restoration, a small but dedicated group of people make it a point to resurrect old cars, and some incredible work is included in this list. The transformation of some of these rust buckets will really surprise you!
The Time Traveler
This 1970 Plymouth Barracuda was fixed up by Mark Worman and his crew on Graveyard Carz, an automobile TV show that follows him as he fixes up and restores classic muscle cars in as bad of a condition as he can find. Many cars on this list are the product of his work, as credit is deserved where credit is due. After he was done with this one, it looks so new it’s as if it traveled half a century forward in time.
This Porsche was restored by Jon Sibal, an incredible artist who reimagines auto bodies. It’s painful to think that the RWB Porsche was neglected for so long — in what universe is that white patch an acceptable way to treat such an awesome sportscar? After Sibal was done, though, the car lost the classic Porsche hubcaps as part of his effort to truly make it his own. People don’t usually want rivets to be seen on the exterior, yet here they really pull the car together.
A Master of Disguise
So many people passed by this Aston Martin in the scrapyard, unaware of its potential just as they were unaware of its prestigious past. It makes sense that James Bond drove one of these luxurious British beauties. This 1959 Mark II Sports Saloon can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction, which is hard to believe considering the condition of the car before it underwent restoration! The beautiful red finish gives this car its classy sheen, and that’s how we like our Aston Martins.
Up for the Challenge?
This 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A, definitely a collector’s item considering that Dodge only made 2,399 of these beauties, was lying around out in the open, allowed to rust for years. You’d think it was supposed to be red in the front! Just look at the hubcaps… the truck lid also looks like it’s completely caved in, bearing testament to how badly this car needed love. Luckily, someone spotted this rare vehicle and saved it from ending up getting scrapped.
Check Out the Charger
This Dodge Charger doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as some of the others on this list, but that doesn’t make the finished product any less magnificent. Although this car wasn’t yet in the junkyard, where cars go to die, it was making its way there with its rusty finish and lack of luster. Any shine it had was ancient news, and it finally got the much-deserved facelift. The redone upholstery is beautiful, but the hubcaps on the bottom are the cherry on top.
Here’s yet another Plymouth Barracuda, this time a 1971 model, that’s undergone a complete refurbishing. It’s a crime how many of these ‘Cudas have been abandoned or sold for parts, but isn’t that just a testament to how well these machines were built? Indeed, they were one of the premier vehicles coming out of the U.S. at a time when “American car” meant power, and they were powered by the impressive Chrysler Hemi engines. One downside of emissions control legislation was it took Chrysler decades to redesign a popular Hemi engine.
How Could They Af-Ford This?
There isn’t that much information surrounding the following car transformation. What we do know though is that it is a ’69 Ford Mustang that is owned by a couple by the names of Tim and Cici Spencer. As you can see, it was once a shadow of its former self. However, with the help of Goolsby Customs, the vehicle underwent an incredible reconstruction – so much so that it won the Mothers Shine Award back in 2015. And it’s understandable why.
BMW = Best Makeover Winner
There’s not too much online information surrounding the context behind this incredible transformation, but it sure is a sight to behold. This BMW M3 had certainly seen better days. In fact, you could say that this is an absolute understatement! With a lot of hard work and persistence, this shell of a car had many new parts installed, including wheels and an engine, and to finish off the transformation, it underwent a paint job with a completely different color, and a sleek, shiny finish.
A transformation completed by the well-respected Project Owners Club, this Subaru Impreza looked more like the Delorean from Back to the Future when this team first got their hands on it. However, with some deep digging, hard work and patience, they managed to bring the car back to its former glory. They found the appropriate bumpers for the car, while also giving it a neat, red paint job. Now, this Impreza lives up to the name, and is extremely impressive, to say the least.
Putting the “Toy” in Toyota
There is an entire online forum surrounding the radical reconstruction of this Toyota GT86. Without a hood or bumper after a number of road accidents, the owner thought that they would have to write off this car completely. As proven time and time again, no car is a lost cause. It did take a fair amount of money though to get the job done. $4250 for the repair parts and another $2500 for the modifications, to be precise. Seems like it was worth every penny.
French repair team Transformation Auto Body does a pretty neat job of taking severely damaged cars and restoring them to their former glory. Take this, 2006 Nissan Altima, for example, which had suffered a lot of damage to its front left. Its left headlight was completely decimated and the bumper needed a complete replacement. Needless to say, this repair team had everything under control and made the car look as good as new, providing a new headlight and a new bumper.
Return of the Pontiac
This Pontiac lowrider was completely down in the dumps when repair team Serpents CC took it and restored it to its glory days! Not only had it already lost its hood, but it was left in a garage to rust and rot for years. Then, these guys took it, installed and replaced the necessary parts and gave it a much-needed glossy paint job. When everything was said and done, the new and improved Pontiac looked like a completely different car.
The Phantom Menace
This was a truly special episode of Graveyard Carz that diehard and casual fans alike simply could not miss. The team was alerted to a ’71 Phantom ‘Cuda that in their words, had been left for dead after it suffered a terrible accident in a hotly contested driving race. It ended up getting a truly comprehensive “soup to nuts” restoration. After all of that hard work and persistence, the ’71 Phantom ‘Cuda is back on the road and ready to win some races!
All it Needed Was Some TLC
This before and after photo was shared by Collision Works and shows how a GMC Sierra went through hell and back before being left completely for dead. Even the windows had been vandalized, which hits home just how neglected it had been. However, a team of dedicated repairmen gave the wreckage a ton of TLC and after a few months, the Sierra was as good as new. In Collision Works’s words, “Jaws of life were used on roof of this truck!”
Porsche, of Course
A car repair team posted this incredible split of a Porsche 997 Carrera S that had suffered tremendously from a nasty road accident. Not only did they heal the severe wounds, they also gave the car some beautiful modifications, most notably the hints of red on the wheels and on the side-view mirrors. If there is one car brand that simply can’t be ignored when it comes to its appearance alone, it’s Porsche. This team treated this 997 Carrera S with respect.
Restoring Plymouth Pride
These Plymouth Barracudas keep showing up on this list, and it’s no surprise why they’re so popular among Mark Worman and the Graveyard Carz crew. Actually, good job to them for correctly identifying this 1970 ‘Cuda, because it’s so stripped down that someone without as sharp of an eye could have easily gotten mistaken. The body is in great condition, despite the rust all over. Completely replacing everything took a lot of effort, but they boast that they prefer cars in as bad of condition as possible.
This renovation was done by a Redditor showing off his restoration job, which only cost $5.26! On the inside, the car was already in better condition, as there’s a bottle of 409 there to make sure the dashboard is spick and span. He still needs to go back and fix the hubcaps, which look kind of rusty, but it looks like all the original parts are still good. If it’s in working order, a thorough cleaning and paint job can do wonders.
A Complete Facelift
Another awesome piece of repair work by Transformation Auto Body came when someone brought a 2008 Nissan Sentra Spec-V to its parking lot. Similar to the other Nissan, this one had suffered even more damage than the previous one. It appears that the car must have crashed into the back of another car or at the very least, hit a hard surface. Not only was the bumper destroyed, but so was the hood and the engine. A complete overhaul of the front was required.
Road Runner, Road Runner!
It’s shocking to see just how the incredible Mark Worman and his crew can bring previously unrecognizable cars back to their former glory. When you look at the before picture, you can see this Plymouth Road Runner being prepped for its new paint job. The bent chassis needed a hammering, and there was extensive metal work needed to replace all the rusted out parts. But now that’s all in the past, because now that the Graveyard Carz crew is done with it, they added a lemon twist paint job, replaced the missing components, and attached the car’s namesake: Warner Brothers’ Road Runner character.
“That Thing Got a Hemi?”
This Charger R/T looks like it had been through a lot before getting the special treatment it deserved. Actually, it looks as wherever it has been, it decided to leave most of itself back there, too. But when you look at the paint, it bears witness to the frame being in much better condition than its stripped-down appearance would have you believe. Make no mistake: it needed a lot of work before the mechanics added the “Hemi” finishing touch on the side.
AC Ace, Always Classy
The 2-liter AC Ace is one classy car, with the prestige of having placed seventh in the 1959 Le Mans race, with all six cars coming before having the benefit of a 3-liter engine. However, this car had seen more than its share of tough days before it arrived by trailer to this auto shop in Redding, California. It took an immense amount of effort and almost three years before the finished result was unveiled, but they weren’t dilly-dallying! AC stopped making these cars in 1963.
A Laudable First Attempt
Done by a muscle car enthusiast, this 1969 Ford Mustang had been stripped down to an unrecognizable skeleton. He did a fan-tastic job, yet the amateur admitted getting a dose of reality when the car broke down on the way back from a vintage car show — initiation, he said, into the community of vintage car owners. While these cars doubtlessly require upkeep and deft mechanical skills to get into tip-top driving condition, the beauty of this amateur’s restoration is a clutch maneuver in itself.
A Rare Bugatti
Before Bugatti became well-known for selling expensive, high-end exotic supercars, they were a manufacturer of classics like this type 57S Atalante. This rare Bugatti disappeared shortly after its purchase over half a century ago by his owner. When it was discovered in the garage, this magnificent car was in a state of neglect and rusted over, as we can see. But this 80-year-old beauty made a comeback and was restored before finally being evaluated and then sold.
Smooth Like a Jaguar
The Jaguar XKE was one of the most iconic cars of the ‘60s. This particular XKE had been parked in the same location since the 1970s, in a simple carport. Finally, in the ‘90s, the owner of this beat-up beauty listed the car for sale, and the new buyer then had it restored and thoroughly cleaned, and afterward, the car was still intact and healthy. Today, this Jaguar XKE looks impeccable, harkening back to its former days as one of the most beautiful cars on the planet.
The Datsun 240Z was from the first generation of Z GT two-seat coupes produced by Nissan, and the car was reliable and fun to drive. Unfortunately, this particular one has seen better days, as the back wheels are missing, the door’s about to fall off, and the whole thing is in an utter state of disrepair. Luckily, this ’73 240Z was given new life and a second chance. We think this brown, hard-top is a pretty sleek color. If you’re picking one up for restoration, know that these cars like to rust from the inside out.
Oh La La
As we can see, this classic Ferrari from the 1950s was in pretty poor shape when it was found unused in a barn in Italy before its exciting uncovering. It was then bought for a small amount of $8,000, and its discovery surprised those in Ferrari collector circles. Now, all it needed was to be spit-shined to its former glory, and as we can guess, that’s precisely what happened next. The gleam from this car’s restoration is a monumental achievement of revamping.
The Best Shade of Orange
This Camaro has had its fair share of time in the sun. The first-generation Camaro, from 1967-69, was a heavy-hitting car that can take on the Mustang. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t willing and able in its current state. As we can see, in its beautiful orange, restored sheen, this ’69 Camaro could take on any Mustang. This car originally had eight engine options when it was first released, and by the end of the first batch, that list grew to 12 more.
The Bird of Thunder
Another absolute classic in the car collector world is the first rendition of Ford Thunderbird. This version of the Thunderbird was the best and also final real Thunderbird. The iconic styling set the standard for future cars, even though the following generations would slowly let down their clients and wander further away from what made this car spectacular. The owner of this one didn’t know how valuable the car could be if it were well maintained. A car in this pristine condition is quite rare and could fetch quite a sweet bundle.
33 Years Later
Peter Trant is a restorer of old and rare cars, and this is his prized possession, the Canadian-built, 1944 McLaughlin Buick Series 80 Victoria Coupe. He paid $300 for this dilapidated mass in 1966, when it was 35 years old. In 1979, he then proceeded to take it apart for restoration. He finally finished the renovation 33 years later. It just goes to show that if you really put the time in to make something pristine and beautiful, you can succeed.
This 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T only had its frame to identify it for what it was, but Mark Worman once again managed to work his magic. Looking back on this, he remarked that it was one of the biggest transformations the show ever did. They made sure to redo the sunroof, all the power windows, added houndstooth design in the interior, and more features to bring this car back from the graveyard. While the engine and luggage rack were nice, it was the 8-track that tied together this vintage vehicle.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The second-generation Chevrolet Bel Air was a very iconic and classic car. There’s no mistaking it when you first catch a glimpse: it’s spherical bubble top combined with sleek, dramatic rear fins. The Bel Air was sold from 1950 to 1981, and this is the version collectors are most interested in. These cars have been steadily climbing in value in recent years, glorious versions like this teal beauty are in high demand if you can get your hands on a second-gen model, though, do it.
Catch That Bird
The Pontiac Firebird was first introduced back in 1967. It took inspiration from both the Pontiac GTO and the Chevy Camaro, but it was also its own animal. This 1970 Firebird Trans Am was found in rotting in a barn, and as we can see, the wheels were misplaced, and it was in terrible shape. But boy, did this restoration team do a fantastic job of bringing it back to its former glory, and fit for any open road!
A Beautiful Creature
This next classic holds an extraordinary place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of US citizens. This is the 1964 Chevrolet Impala, and this specific generation of Impala was produced from 1960 to 1964 and was the third generation of what would become one of the most iconic sets of wheels on the Chevrolet market. They are still in production today! This beautiful piece of US history was restored at Bills Auto Restoration and Repair in St. Petersburg, Florida.
What these mechanics did was truly a service to this classic Plymouth Barracuda convertible. They were only produced for a decade, as the line was discontinued in 1974, which makes this car a very special collector’s item.
Dang! Must Restore
It’s not really surprising that Ford Mustangs have a lot of die-hard fans, so when a few of these Mustang fans saw the sad state of this model, they took it upon themselves to make sure it looked like a proper Mustang should! This car must have been abandoned for ages before people spotted it and decided to take matters into their own hands. Instead of an elegant curve guiding your hand along the body to the door, it looked like someone kicked it in.
Work on this wreck had actually already been started by someone else, but restoring old cars is just plain hard work. It’s hard to blame them for giving up, and it was important for them to pass it on to someone who could take care of this car’s restoration. Thankfully there are saints like the one who saved this 1956 Ford Customline from the scrapyard. According to the guy who finally fixed her up, this cruiser had “an amazing amount of original pieces still on it.” Kudos to him for the phenomenal finished product!
Bring Back the Beetle!
A blast from the past, this 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle was in storage for many, many years, which explains why the original paint was still in such good condition. Despite that, the rest of the car had been allowed to wallow in disrepair for years. The first issue you’d probably notice is that every window has completely shattered, but that’s not the only cosmetic improvement done to this vehicle. A mechanic also had at the engine, making it practically new.
Practically Back From the Dead
This Chevy had a long, fulfilling life before it was left to sit in a lot for years. Classic cars like these, though, should never be allowed to retire, and thankfully someone else feels the same way. After cleaning it up, replacing each of the individual parts that were broken or missing, and adding a new coat of paint, this old car was given a fresh look that it hadn’t had in years. Let’s hope the new engine gives it’s owner better mileage than it did originally!
Road Trip to Catalina
This 1968 Catalina looks like it had been sitting on someone’s front yard for quite a while. But presto! With a little love and a good paint job, it’s sleek and stylish and ready to turn heads like it did when it came off the Pontiac assembly line. This model was part of the company’s full-sized line. In fact, the Catalina was the premier model in this line and might just be the perfect way to cruise down to Catalina Island.
Hitting the Track
When this car was picked up from the junkyard, it may not have looked like it could race the streets of Monte Carlo. But with some hard work and a lot of elbow grease, the car turned into a vehicle you could picture James Bond and some beautiful yet dangerous woman in. Imagine swerving around the tight corners of the tiny kingdom that is known for casinos and the rich and famous!
That is One Cherry Paint Job
The Ford Mustang has been an iconic muscle car for decades, but one of the most iconic and most collectible is the first generation, like this 1966 model. So when this person stumbled upon one that needed a little love and care, they knew they had found a gold mine. After some buffing and painting, along with tons of work under the hood, they ended up with this amazing vehicle. There is no way they don’t look cool riding down the streets of their town with the windows down and radio blasting.
Coming in Third is…
The 60s and 70s were known for their muscle cars, and one of the biggest was the Pontiac GTO. In 1970, which is the year of this model, it was actually the third most purchased after the Chevelle and the Road Runner. This classic car enthusiast clearly wanted to stick with the stock paint job and recreate this fast and imposing car in all its glory. Just looking at it, it’s like you can hear the rumble of the engine!
Love This Bug
In the 60s and 70s, the Volkswagen Bug became a popular choice for many people across the US. These cute little beetle shaped cars even starred in a series of beloved films. They have found a place in the collectible heart of the country. As a passion project, this car enthusiast picked a 1972 model up from the local junkyard and rebuilt it into a beautiful red love bug.
Sports Cars and Coastlines
There is nothing like sporting up the coastal highway with beautiful vistas around every turn. Nothing that is except doing it in this fantastic 1973 sports car. The car had seen better days when a loving individual came upon it and knew he had to restore it to its former glory. Taking it out for a drive, he must have realized the best place to take the final picture was with a stunning backdrop.
From Zero to Hero
Whether you call it a Pontiac Trans Am or a Firebird, this 70s and 80s classic is just plain cool. In the late 70s, this car would become synonymous with the hit movie Smokey and the Bandit, but that model was a ’77, not a ’74. Even so, this car still has that fast and smooth vibe that any kid of the 70s would love to recreate. Luckily this Trans Am had been sitting in the garage and had little to no rust, which made it easier to get back into shape.
What a Transformation!
When most people think of classic cars, names like Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger usually come to mind. But this 1985 Buick Grand National is just as cool of a classic car, especially once it is all fixed. The gloss black paint adds a little style to what typically would be more like a family car than the hot rod reconstructed vehicle we have been looking for. Guess that just goes to show you even the simplest car can be something special with just a little love and a ton of hard work.
Let’s Go Off-Roading
Up until now, we looked at sport or family cars but there are some mighty cool old trucks as well. Like this Dodge! This truck looks like a junker when you see the top image, but with a fresh coat of paint and a little bodywork, it turns into a nice looking truck that can easily be taken off-road to enjoy a weekend in the wilderness.
Don’t Spoil This For Me!
This car really didn’t have a whole-body restoration, but that front end definitely required a little attention to get it race-ready. The Honda Integra was a car that could be turned into a race car easily, and in fact, many street racers favored this model.
Too many cars from America’s classic muscle car era lay somewhere forgotten, collecting dust in pieces. As painful as it is to see, this renovator did something about it and picked out an awesome example of the kind of car that is a pleasure to work with. You see, here the rust isn’t too bad on the body itself. When it comes to the engine, that can be replaced, but it doesn’t matter how good your engine is if the car starts breaking up on the highway.
Some Things Aren’t Meant to Be Understood…
Somewhere in China is a lot with a number of luxury and collectors’ cars, just sitting there exposed to the elements. It’s hard to tell why these cars have been allowed to just sit out like that, but in a decade or two, these cars will be more than ready for some restoration! Let’s hope the owner, who probably has a lot of money, comes to his senses and just buys a garage to store these absolute beauties.
Here we have a 1970 Dodge Challenger. Although this R/T — “Road/Track” — performance model is now considered a classic, it had a relatively short run upon its release before disappearing altogether until the 2008 revival. In any event, after this particular car in the photo was stripped completely of its colors, it was then repainted this brilliant blue. The car was also internally repaired. SE (special edition) features were added including leather seats, a vinyl roof, a smaller “formal” rear window, and an overhead console that contains three warning lights — door ajar, low fuel, and seatbelts.
Datsun — Reliable Yet Fun!
Upon its release in 1969, Datsun 240Z — also sold as the Nissan S30 — was a huge success. The first generation of Z GT two-seat coupes to be produced by Nissan Motors, Datsun 240Z cars quickly gained a reputation of safe and reliable yet fun! If you’re interested in restoring one of these beauts, it’s important to note that they tend to rust from the inside out. If the 240Z you come across appears to be in pretty decent shape already, make sure that you’re attentive and thorough when it comes to checking for rust before getting it up and running…
Fourth Generation of Luxury
There’s really no denying that the fourth-generation Lincoln Continental was one of the most luxurious lines — and as a matter of fact — still is. After all, its solid construction reflects the very fact that Ford was committed to making the finest mass-produced domestic automobiles of its time. While someone that may want to restore this kind of vehicle won’t have a huge issue finding parts, it might be good to know that pricing isn’t necessarily affordable. With that being said, though, this customized restoration could easily be one of the best projects you’ll ever take on…
Although the Land Rover Defender made its debut in 1983, it wasn’t until seven years later — in 1990 — that the Defender name was used in order to distinguish the existing vehicle from the then-new Land Rover Discovery. Arguably the most iconic body style for this vehicle, the LR90’s iconic look is still highly valued to this day. The Defender is one of the best cars to restore. With that being said, while the diesel may be argued as more reliable, chances are you’ll want to restore the car with at least a V6 engine for optimal performance…
Late ‘60s Ford Mustang
The first-generation Ford Mustang, manufactured from March 1964 to 1973, introduced a new class of automobile that we all know as the “pony car.” There’s no denying that the Mustang’s sleek styling proved to be wildly popular among consumers and inevitably inspired much competition. In any event, you really can’t go wrong by restoring and customizing a classic like this. It makes no difference what year or trim you ultimately choose — it won’t be a problem finding cheap and readily-available parts.
A Few Tears for a Masterpiece
Well, well, well — what do we have here? Yet another classic American muscle car…the Dodge Challenger. It seems as though many of these vehicles have been abandoned by one only to be rescued by another. Just look at this car, for instance. Before its restoration, it was nothing more than a rusty piece of junk. We can only assume that it took a bit of sweat, time, hard work, and probably some tears to turn this hunk of metal into a shiny, red masterpiece.
Considering that the Thunderbird lasted 11 generations, we think it’s safe to say that Ford pretty much nailed it on their very first try. The best part? This car was actually introduced as a rival to the Chevy Corvette and ended up outselling the Corvette 23 to one in its very first year. The second-generation Thunderbird was just as successful thanks to the addition of a four-door model, although this version strayed from their original idea of personal luxury cars. You can tell just how luxurious a vehicle the Thunderbird is when looking at this unbelievable transformation…
Life in the Fast Lane
If we’re being completely honest, this is probably one of the coolest restorations we’ve seen. There’s no doubt that Toyota knew what they were when they created a reliably-sturdy truck like this J40 Toyota Land Cruiser. While this may not be considered a road car, you can go just about anywhere in this jeep and still feel certain that you’ll make it back too. If you’re interested in restoring one of these bad boys, it’ll help to know that Japanese brands generally make for better car projects because of the cheap and available parts.
Seeing awesome muscle cars allowed to rust in a junkyard is really motivating to some people, who do these renovations as a matter of principle. This car hasn’t been allowed to sit outside for nearly as long as some others, thankfully, and there was quite a lot to work with. The hood was replaced, as you can see, but that’s not where the improvements ended. The finished product is awesome, and it’s impossible to tell that this car ever looked as run down as it once did.
This 1970 Plymouth Superbird had seen better days. Seeing the rust growing, merging with what was once a mesmerizing red finish is really heartbreaking to anyone who has had the privilege of driving one of these rare cars, but thankfully another one is once again fit to be put on display. Tests proved Superbirds were actually slower than the Road Runner model from which they were modified, as the spoiler didn’t make enough of a difference and the nose just added drag. A fun feature is the iconic Road Runner “beep-beep” horn, licensed from Warner Brothers.
Ready for the Races
This Dodge Charger is one of the most classic stock cars that feature in NASCAR, with the honor of having set the speed record on a NASCAR track in 2007. It was also the star of the Dukes of Hazzard, better known as the General Lee. This car is the same 1969 model as the General, and needed to be fixed up before it could be fit to take to the road once again. After it was brought to the autobody shop, it didn’t take long for the willing and skillful mechanics at the autobody shop to work their magic. The results speak for themselves!
Stealing the Superbird’s Thunder
If you thought the Plymouth Superbird needed some competition, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Included on this list are a who’s who of awesome stock racing cars from a bygone age, and it’s only fair that we include its great NASCAR rival, the Dodge Charger Daytona. They only produced these for two years starting in 1969, but they definitely made their mark with that iconic spoiler jutting out from the back. Broken when it entered the shop, after it was fixed up they made sure to highlight this feature in white.
Road-Worthy Speed Car
This 1981 Porsche 924 had been off the road for almost a decade before someone decided to give it the care it deserves. There was a lot to work with here — just look at those tires! Besides the new coat of paint, changes that you can’t see include a new engine, a new stiffer spring in the wastegate, and a new front-mounted intercooler. Luckily, this guy recognized the beauty in the hubcaps and preserved what he needed to, all the while making sure that this sportscar is ready for the streets.