Muscle tends to blow us away. They usually end up impressing us, whether they are on a guy, on a plate in a fancy restaurant, or in a car. So, as far as high-performance coupes with V8 engines go, we expect our socks to be knocked off and stay knocked off for a good number of years. Most of the time, they are, and they do, but then there are those times that the majestic creations cease to be manufactured, which can either disappoint or surprise muscle car lovers.
Now whether they do the former or the latter depends on why they were kept from making our world a cooler place. Apparently, some of them bombed losing to competition, some were doomed by oil embargoes, but some only lost the game to too good a job of restyling.
You might want to tune in while we list 8 disappointments and 8 cars that surprised us.
16. 1968 Beaumont Sport Coupe (Failed)
The 1968 Beaumont Sport Coupe was the same as the 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle: same powerplants, OHV inline six-cylinder, same versions of V8 engines, and transmission including a 3-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmissions, but GM Canada just put their logo and nameplate on it and marketed to Canadians, who didn’t fall for it, causing it to cease production after two years.
15. 1978 AMC Gremlin GT (Failed)
via Barn Finds
When its sales dropped 52% in 1978, AMC Gremlin was discontinued after an eight-year model run, during which the exterior failed to present any exciting change and its competitions in the subcompact world, did better in weight, convenience, and performance departments: they were lighter, had four doors, and operated front-wheel drive, and they even beat Gremlin in terms of the interior.
14. 1980 Plymouth Volaré Duster (Failed)
In mid-1976, the Plymouth Duster, a semi-fastback two-door coupe, was replaced by Plymouth Volare, whose body was the same, they both came with solid B-pillar and fixed rear glasses. This was done to boost sales by having it compete with the likes of more posh Mercury Monarch and Ford Granada but lost after four years of hanging in there.
13. 1977 AMC Hornet AMX (Failed)
The Hornet went through a line of changes for seven years to keep up with the economy-focused market, until 1977, when improvements to boost fuel efficiency didn’t boost sales enough. So, the Hornet was re-engineered and restyled into the 1978 Concord, aiming at sales of the luxury compact market, where buyers paid more for status and higher value.
12. 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 (Failed)
via Mecum Auctions
Despite being characterized as "one of the more significant milestones of the postwar industry," and the fastest production car in the world upon release, offering stunning looks, unparalleled safety, and extraordinary top-speed performance, reaching over 178 mph, and breaking 29 world speed records, the Studebaker Avanti stopped being produced due to Studebaker's factory closure in 1963.
11. 1984 Mercury Capri RS (Failed)
via Curbside Classic
A second generation of Mercury Capri was introduced in 1979 by the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Company, with inline-four, inline-6, and V8 engines. Slight changes were made to its front fascia in 1984, leaving the rest of the exterior unchanged, and continued production through to 1986, when Mercury canceled the Capri.
10. 1970 AMC Rebel Machine (Failed)
AMC Rebel went through a restyling in rear-end, hardtop, exterior trim, and color departments; and modifications to safety features, The engine for the Rebel Machine was a 390 cu V8, which appealed to owners for its performance, durability, and being trouble-free. But its production lasted only one year before a further restyle led to the AMC Matador.
9. 1974 AMC Javelin AMX (Failed)
via Cars with Muscles
The second-generation AMC Javelin released in 1971 was longer, lower, wider, and heavier, but with the same powertrain as its predecessor. The Javelin AMX came a with 401 cu V8, and it was doing pretty well until the whole automobile industry, especially high-performance vehicle marketplace took a hit in 1973 due to the oil embargo.
8. 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt (Worth It)
The Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt combined the lightweight of Ford's mid-sized body with the high performance of 427 cu V8 engine, producing close to 425 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 480 lb-ft of torque. It discontinued after a year only since it was an experimental drag racing version of the Ford Fairlane, meant for limited production.
7. 1994 Chevrolet Impala SS (Worth It)
The Chevrolet Impala Super Sport's 1994 version was back as a concept car after a 7-year absence. It was powered by a 350 cu engine, a derivation of Corvette engines, producing 260 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. The signature five-spoke aluminum wheels being in short supply. The production stopped after 69,768 were sold.
6. 1969 Dodge Super Bee Six Pack (Worth It)
A "six-pack" version of Dodge's 440 cu in engine was added to build a special order of Dodge Super Bees, in 1969, putting out 390 bhp, and 490 lb-ft of torque. With a heavy-duty automatic transmission/4-speed manual, 11" drum brakes, and high performance G-70 15" tires, Only 1,907 of it were produced. It was completely restyled in 1971.
5. 1968 Chevrolet El Camino SS (Worth It)
A third-generation high-performance Super Sport version of Chevrolet El Camino was launched as a separate model in 1968, of which two versions were offered: the Turbo-Jet 396 came in 325 bhp or 350 bhp options, or the L78 engine with 375 bhp. The base model was offered with the manual transmission but to respect your customization there was a choice between 4-speed manual and automatic as well.
4. 1968 Pontiac Grand Prix (Worth It)
The standard 350 hp V8 of the first generation launched in 1962 was revised in 1968 to power the B-bodied, full-sized Pontiac Grand Prix since the new emission regulations required so. Both the optional and the base version of which generated higher powers, in the 375-390 hp range. The 1968 counted as its first model year.
3. 1969 Mercury Cyclone Cobra Jet (Worth It)
via Hemmings Motor News
As the last model year of the third generation, The Cyclone Cobra Jet is armored with a 428 cu in producing 335 hp with some engine improvements, including engine dress-up kit (chromed parts), dual exhausts, and hood stripes. Sometime in 1969, the production line ceased as the car gave its place to the fourth generation.
2. 1972 Buick Gran Sport GSX (Worth It)
It was 1970 that it was entitled “A Brand New Buick.” It soon became the main rival of the Pontiac's GTO Judge, Oldsmobile's 442 W-30, and Chevrolet's Chevelle SS. Although things didn’t go well about this car as it lost its fortune in 1971 and 1972 with just 124 and 44 examples produced.
1. 1970 Ford Torino GT (Worth It)
via Mecum Auctions
The second-generation Ford Torino's range-topping version, Torino GT, was produced in Sportsroof body style with a 429 cu engine, and according to Motor Trend, it did a 0-60 mph time in 6.0 seconds. The exterior features listed as E70-14 fiberglass belted as standard tires, with the convertibles sporting F70-14s, a reflective laser stripe, and hideaway headlamps.