Time can be cruel sometimes—the hot ticket, in-thing today might be completely forgotten tomorrow.

And the automotive world is no exception.

Plenty of awesome rides hit the streets with throngs of admirers, only to be dismissed as soon as next year’s models rolled into showrooms. So the Summit Racing folks wanted to shed some light on these oft-overlooked classics and posted the following question on their Instagram and Facebook pages:

What’s a forgotten muscle car that should get more attention?

As they always do, the Reader Contributions poured in from all across the gearhead spectrum. Some folks offered up some well-known examples, while others dug deep into the muscle car crates—heck, some folks even stretched the very definition of the term “muscle car” to offer up some interesting takes.

We read through the hundreds of suggestions, tallied them up, and picked 10 of the most prevalent rides. (To be fair, it wasn’t 100% based on a pure vote calculation, as some folks suggested very specific year/make/models, while others offered ranges and entire vehicle families/sub-models, so we tabulated the results the best we could.)

Check out the top 10 list here, and let us know your thoughts on the list in the comments section below.

10 of the Most Forgotten & Overlooked Muscle Cars


10. 1976-80 Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré

tight shot of a Dodge Aspen A43 & Plymouth Volare Super Coupe at Summit Racing
(Image/Summit Racing – Patrick Miller)

“So help me God—Great, here come the F-body Mopar people.”

Jacob M.

While he may have been a tad facetious, Jacob’s assessment was spot-on—the Aspen/Volaré faithful quickly flooded the comments section with the various iterations of the underdog 1976-80 Mopars. After all, you could get these rear-wheel drive coupes with V8 power and a pistol-grip four-speed, so what’s not to like here?

Still not convinced the Aspen/Volaré twins deserve to be on the list? Check out these special Petty and Super Coupe editions and reconsider.

Oh, and the Aspen is our favorite muscle car named after a tree, so that’s got to count for something.


9. 1969-72 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ

1969 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ passenger side quarter with hood up

“Pontiac Grand Prix…especially the SJs.”

– Mark B.

With all the hubbub surround the GTO, it’s easy to overlook its close cousin, the 1969+ Grand Prix. Riding on a modified version of the intermediate A-body—soon to be known as the G-body—the reborn Grand Prix fulfilled John DeLorean’s vision of a a luxury performance coupe. Though base models came with a standard V8, heavy-footed buyers could opt for the SJ trim, which upped the Grand Prix’s performance via a 370 horsepower 428ci Pontiac powerplant, robust gauge package, and some other refinements.

If that wasn’t enough, you could grab the SJ H.O. package which upped power output of the 428 to 390 horsepower. So yeah, muscle car territory all the way.

You can learn more about this era of the Pontiac Grand Prix here.


8. 1983-88 Ford Thunderbird

late model ford thunderbird coupe at a car show

“The 1983-88 T-bird dominated racetracks across the country in NASCAR and Pro Stock.”

Tim H.

Tim and quite a few other folks brought up the 1983+ Ford Thunderbird, and it’s easy to understand why. For starters, they were derived from the beloved Fox platform and, depending on the year, you could get these T-birds with V8 power or turbocharged four cylinders—along with a five-speed manual. In fact, Roy D. made specific mention of the 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, saying it’s “basically an SVO Mustang with a little more roomy, upscale interior.”

Yet at the same time, these potent coupes are still somewhat overshadowed by the GM G-bodies of similar vintage. With more and more folks gaining appreciation for these Thunderbird/Cougar/Continental triplets though, we expect these coupes to be increasingly common at car shows.


7. 1977 Pontiac Can Am

1977 Pontiac Can Am LeMans at SRE

“Pontiac Can Am…beautiful car.”

Earl B.

Rear-wheel drive? Check. V8 power? Check. Shaker hood? Whoa nelly—double check.

The LeMans-derived Can Am was created as an homage to the short-lived Can Am race series and wore a not-so-subtle stripe package to broadcast its racing-inspired moniker too—fortunately, it came equipped with the mighty 6.6L W72 400ci V8 plucked from the Trans-Am to back up its go-fast looks. Though it came about at the waning years of the muscle car heyday, Can Ams were still making about 200 horsepower, which was quite respectable for the era.

Toss in some side window louvers and a unique decklid spoiler, and we’re in love—too bad the Pontiac Can Am was a one-year-only offering for 1977.


6. 1969-70 Mercury Cougar Eliminator

1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator on display

“Definitely the Cougar Eliminator.”

Kevin W.

The luxury-biased Cougar was always a tad restrained when compared to the Mustang—but that didn’t mean it couldn’t let loose when called upon. Case in point, the Cougar Eliminator. Partly conceived as a way to let Mercury fans order a Cougar equipped with the then-new Boss 302 engine, the Eliminator trim could be considered the Mercury equivalent to, say, a Ford Mustang Mach 1.

Boss 302 aside, you could get an Eliminator with a lineup of other engines, including a Ford 390-4V or, in 1970, and 351 Cleveland—better still, if you were feeling particularly rambunctious that day, you could opt for a 428 Cobra Jet or Super Cobra Jet, with the latter boasting a functional Ram Air setup.

Outside of the engine, Eliminators wore a unique stripe package, a facelifted front end with an Trans-Am inspired air dam, and a rad rear wing. If you’ve never heard of one, you can get a closer look at the Eliminator here.


5. 1973-74 Olds Omega/Pontiac Ventura/Buick Apollo

1973 buick apollo x-body parked at Summit Racing
(Image/OnAllCylinders – Matt Griswold)

“Everyone knows the Marsha Brady of those 4 sister cars.”

James S.

We love that analogy James, and in case you missed it, he’s referring to the long shadow cast by the Chevy Nova.

Sharing similar sheetmetal and options packages, the Nova, Omega, Ventura, and Apollo formed the X-body N-O-V-A quartet in 1973. Yet despite performance variants, a mix of available V8 engines, and even a hatchback tent option, the B-O-P cars never quite achieved the fame of their Bowtie stablemate.

The silver lining here though, is that they have all the performance potential and good looks of the Nova, while still carrying the unique styling cues of their distinctive marques. Who doesn’t love seeing these interesting GM rarities at car shows?


4. 1962-63 Studebaker Lark Daytona R2

1963 studebaker lark daytona r2 with a supercharged engine

“The Flying Tomato. Look it up.”

Jo D.G.

When we compiled the list of your favorite, most underrated engines, the Studebaker V8 was front and center. So it’s logical then, that a bevvy of supercharged R2-powered Studes appeared prominently in the votes here. The R2 Lark narrowly edged out the Wagonaire Daytona though, and we’re glad to feature it here.

In R2 spec, the supercharged 289 Studebaker V8 made close to 300 horsepower, which was pretty dang impressive for the time. Better still, the engine itself was seriously overbuilt, so it easily took to boost well.

But as we all know, by 1963, the writing was already on the wall in South Bend, and even the mighty supercharged Lark wasn’t enough to keep the factory doors open. Studebaker closed for good in 1966.

Get a ton of insight into Studebaker’s performance legacy in this podcast episode:


3. 1970-71 Pontiac GT-37

root beer brown 1971-Pontiac-GT-37

“The T-37…and the GT-37.”

Waylon H.

The T-37 is a curious chapter in Pontiac history. It was a relatively mundane, stripper-spec trim on the Pontiac A-body platform—we’re talking rubber floormats here. But things got really interesting when savvy buyers checked the GT-37 box on the order sheet.

GT-37s got a host of performance upgrades like a Muncie three-speed floor shifter, the GTO’s exhaust system, hood pins, rally wheels, and special badges and stripes. Even better, you had a smorgasbord of engine options, including the 335 horsepower Pontiac 455 V8 in 1971.

So yeah, if you wanted a GTO—but didn’t want the sticker price and insurance premiums that went along with it—the GT-37 was the way to go. Explore the Pontiac GT-37 in more detail here.


2. 1974-76 Chevy Chevelle Laguna S-3

1974 Chevy Chevelle Laguna Type S-3 front grille

“The Laguna is not something you hear about often.”

Dean S.

It’s no secret that the mid-to-late 1970s weren’t exactly high water marks for automotive performance. But as this list bears out, there were still a handful of bright spots—with perhaps the brightest being the Chevelle Laguna S-3.

A lot of comments mentioned the S-3, along with some other V8-powered Chevys from the 1970s, like the Monte Carlo 454 and the Monza Spider. But thanks to its homologation pedigree, the S-3 gets the nod on the list here.

The Laguna replaced the Chevelle SS as the top performance model on Chevy’s colonnade coupe, and could be had with a 454 and a four-speed manual—so yeah, it’s got the goods. But aside from a few discrete badges, it’s easy to walk right past an S-3 thinking it’s just another malaise-era Chevy coupe.

That’s why it ranks high on the list here.


1. 1969 AMC SC/Rambler

AMC SC/Rambler at Dallas Autorama 2018 (Dale Minnix)
(Image/Dale Minnix)

“Any of the AMC muscle cars.”

Bill P.

Look, we get it. You like—no LOVE—American Motors. So when we started seeing comments like “Any of the AMC muscle cars” and “Everything AMC,” we weren’t shocked in the least.

Problem is, this is a list of only 10 vehicles, and we couldn’t have half of the entries here be cars like the AMX 390, Javelin SST, Gremlin X 401, Hornet SC/360, and The Rebel Machine. As awesome as those are though, the SC/Rambler overshadowed them all, garnering all sorts of votes and suggestions, so it was easy to pick it from the admittedly crowded AMC field.

From the “Look at ME!” graphics and mail-slot scoop, to the rip snortin’ 390 mercilessly stuffed under the hood, the SC/Rambler is one of our favorite rides too. To be frank, there’s nothing subtle about this car—which makes it all-the-more surprising that a lot of folks aren’t even aware it exists.

But you do. And that’s why you made it number one on our list.


Honorable Mention: 1986-87 Dodge Omni Shelby GLH & GLH-S

a dodge omni shelby glhs getting worked on between rounds during the summit racing midwest drags

A handful of people brought up the Dodge Omni GLH and GLH-S, so we wanted to include them in a small addendum.

In a nutshell, Carrol Shelby got his hands on the humble Dodge Omni econobox and, thanks to things like intercooling and Koni shocks, turned it into one of the most potent hot hatches of the 1980s.

How impressive was it? It could rip-off 14s in the quarter and dance over 130 mph—which put it smack-dab in the Corvette’s ballpark. But our favorite aspect of these cars are the acronyms themselves. As many gearheads already know, in 1986 Shelby assigned the first batch of hot rod Omnis that name GLH, which stands for “Goes Like Hell.”

And of course, the tuned-up successors in 1987 were dubbed GLH-S, for “Goes Like Hell S’More.”

Slow clap, Mr. Shelby. Slow clap.


So, what do you think? Did the Mustang II King Cobra get snubbed? What about the Oldsmobile Toronado? Let us know about some of your forgotten musclecar favorites in the comments section below!

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.