Getting the right car is not an easy task. This is because consumers are the most volatile people where you can sell something. Sadly, they are the only ones who can sell something. Their tastes need and want to evolve rapidly, to keep companies in a whirlwind of efforts to stay in touch with the market while delivering exceptional products.
That means once they understand it well, manufacturers can never dare to change their formula, right? Mistake If Coke were to do that, what would stop the few American carmakers from going wild and going crazy with something they should not have touched in the first place? This is what happened to these 10 American muscle cars. Instead of building them and letting the market taste and dictate how they should drive and evolve, carmakers decided to change or even build them in the beginning with a few things they did slow, expensive, unattractive, or all that bitterness in a sugar-free lemonade serving.
1976 Plymouth Volare Road Runner
This vehicle slaughtered a strong legacy. In the 1960s, every brand with the Road Runner badge wrote on performance, speed and power. By 1978, this wild car had turned into a hedgehog with an incredibly large bumper. The performance was naked, the view was disgusting and not even a hitchhiker would want to be seen in one of them.
By 1976, the unstable engine housed under the hood of the Plymouth Volare Road Runner could only produce 140 hp. His 0-60mph time was a painful 10.2 seconds.
1975 Ford Maverick Grabber
The 1975 Ford Maverick Grabber certainly caught our attention. But it was entirely for the wrong reasons. The attraction to this brand was all in style but without substance. In fact, the package was so good that many buyers were fooled into believing they were getting a threatening car under the Detroit failure bodywork.
Indeed, the 1975 Ford Maverick Grabber was too slow to even deserve the name “vehicle” in its classification. Yes, the oil crisis, small engines, blah blah and all those other excuses did not cover the fact that Ford had just destroyed a muscle car.
1974 Pontiac Ventura GTO
GTO is not just a name that anyone can misuse. This wild designation represented an awakening in the Pontiac. Thus, any vehicle with that name was not expected to be a disappointing trip. But that was it.
The 1974 Pontiac Ventura GTO was desperately trying to make it before Smokey and Bandit made a not-too-distant cousin very famous. The problem was, trying to persuade people to buy a 200 hp car that is essentially a Ventura Sprint with a different badge would be tricky.
1984 Oldsmobile Hurst / Olds
Only 3500 Oldsmobile Hurst / Olds were ever produced in its short-lived production. If this were a collector’s gem, we would be sitting down as much as it could tear today. But it is not so. 1984 Oldsmobile Hurst / Olds is a muscle car that most gasoline heads want to forget.
Under that fancy name, Oldsmobile Hurst / Olds was simply the kissing cousin of Buick Grand National. The problem was, Oldsmobile took a tuner culture icon, Hurst, and turned it into a dealer option. The results were different. But the final production numbers show exactly how people got this move.
1987 Aerocoupe Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
Very few cars are hard to see like this ugly duck. The 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS was a victim of poor design. What made it look worse was the “aerodynamic” rear window that was inspired by NASCAR. Still, some people overlooked these flaws and bought them.
The 1986 models of this car, in particular, are very rare. Only 200 have ever been produced. Yes, under the hood lied a 305cu-in V8. Just by capacity, it was not a bad engine. But from the performance, especially since the V8 was paired with an automatic, walking to the end of the dragstrip was better than trusting this car to do a decent run.
1978 AMC Gremlin GT
1970 ½ AMC Gremlin was a destroyer vehicle. With this couple, AMC managed to introduce to the market the first car, made entirely in the USA. After that, nothing else went well for the company.
The AMC Gremlin GT is a testament to how badly it was done. Instead of improving performance and aesthetics, AMC instead turned its back on original projects and began producing a looser muscle machine over the years. The Gremlin GT looked like a cheese wedge and presented as a tired turtle. Surprisingly, almost 2,000 buyers lost their money for it.
1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra
Is it a horse, is it a snake? No, it is a lemon wrapped in spice sauce. This is the best way that can be described as the 1978 Ford Mustang II King Cobra. It is even unimaginable that Ford managed to survive the reaction of this car created for the brand and nameplate.
The first switch was the body design Ford designed for the Mustang II. A withered AMC Gremlin looked no different. The nail in the coffin was the 133-horsepower power unit that completely infuriated the Mustang community. Even the added ground effect and the pack of adhesives did not distract the enthusiasts from that awful performance.
2005 Chevy Monte Carlo SS
Until 2005, no one could justify why the performance of a muscle machine produced at that time could be impressive. No one was accumulating oil, engineers had found ways to produce more energy with fewer emissions, and the whole landscape looked heavenly. But still, Chevrolet managed to produce this.
The 2005 Chevy Monte Carlo SS was a disappointment. Yes, 240 hp is not a bad performance figure. But for a Chevy with the SS badge on it, this was sacrilegious. What made things worse was that Chevy had used a super-charged V6 to build this brand. The following year, reason prevailed and a V8 was all under the hood.
1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11
The 1982 Chevrolet Citation X-11 was built with a lot of anticipation. The muscle car segment had just passed an exhausting decade of limited performance that had seen so many manufacturers struggle. However, the markets were opening up and this trip was expected to be not only a beacon of hope, but also a testament to what the future holds. Sadly, it was not given in any of these areas.
Citation X-11 promised a lot. It could do zero to sixty to nine seconds and was announced to restore the shock of rushing through the streets in a dominated Coupe. However, below, the Citation X-11 offered so little that not so many petrol heads decided to buy it.
1980 Mercury Cougar XR-7
The 1980 Mercury Cougar XR-7 is surprisingly stylish. This car not only looks good, but also looks fast. But here is the thing about the look. They can cheat. And that was the case with the Mercury Cougar XR-7. In fact, no other car launched at the time knew how to spend performance like it did.
The XR-7 was powered by a 4.2L V8 engine. You would expect something north of 250 kf to come out of that power unit, right? Error This V8 was only good for 115 hp. Mercury simply could no longer take from him. Even worse, since they could not make the V8 perform, the car took 14.9 seconds to reach only 60 miles per hour from the start.
Muscle cars are some of the most iconic cars ever built and some of them are so rare that collectors will pay millions of dollars just to own them.
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