blank 11/15/12 08:10AM AMC AMX, Ford Shelby, Ford Torino, Guest Blog, Muscle Cars, Plymouth Barracuda, pontiac gto

The World’s Most Sought-after Muscle Cars
Guest Blog by Mark Humphrys

In the late 1960s the muscle cars were on the wave of fashion. Everybody seemed to love them and millions of them were made. History tends to repeat itself and the muscle car is back in the limelight once again. Today we’re looking at the rarest and most expensive examples.

Pontiac GTO Judge

The Judge was an attempt to revive the excitement of the 2nd generation GTO after it started to struggle amongst many new competitors. When John DeLorean launched the first generation in 1964, it had virtually no competition whatsoever – many historians consider this to be the world’s first real muscle car. By 1969 there were several dozens of muscle cars to choose from so the GTO lost the roof, gained bright colours and was freed of any “uncool” gadgets to attract a younger buyer. It is believed that the Judge name was devised by DeLorean inspired by his friend Sammy Davis Jr’s comedy routine. The sales figures were indeed comical – only 17 cars were built, but you’re only allowed to laugh if you can find one cheaper than quarter of a million on today’s market.

Ford Shelby GT Convertible

Cars simply don’t get rarer than this. Only one GT Convertible was ever built and it’s really difficult to estimate it’s current value. I’d say it’s priceless. This car is one of 3 Ford Mustangs that were ordered by Carroll Shelby for a special project. The remaining two were never completed. This car is the only dual-quad carb big block GT convertible built by Carroll Shelby. It was considered unique and expensive back in 1967. It was used as a company car by Shelby American Inc for a while and you would have to be a VIP or a special friend to get behind the wheel of this stunning car. After a short stint as a promo car, the company lost interest in it and sold it back to Ford. Although Dearborn keeps making good vehicles, it seems that most of the modern Ford cars lack the excitement that the 1960s Mustangs offered.

AMC AMX Super Stock

Today very few people remember the America’s last “independent” car manufacturer. In 1969 it was a valid competitor to the amazing Chevrolet Corvette. Although these cars were pitted against each other due to similarities in size, they were actually worlds apart and catered for entirely different markets. Looking back, the AMX sports a much more contemporary design; however, very few people saw it this way back in 1969. Nevertheless, the AMX was a popular car due to its low price and great capabilities. The Super Stock modification is one of the most desirable AMC vehicles of all time. Only 52 units were made especially for the hot rod enthusiasts. The car was stripped of all the creature comforts to make it as light as possible… and it was supplied without factory warranty!

Plymouth ‘Cuda Hemi Convertible

The 3rd generation Barracuda, unfortunately, hit the early 1970s when high fuel prices, insurance costs and public opinion begun a war against really exciting cars. Only a few hundred Barracudas were sold before the model was discontinued in 1974. Due to the low production volume, all ‘cudas are now considered collectible, however, it’s the 7.0-litre HEMI V8 version with eye-watering 350 horses that is the real rarity. According to record, only a dozen of convertible HEMIs were made. Price-wise – depending on the mileage and trim colour, you’d be looking at around $2 million. If you opted for the $1,200 extra HEMI upgrade back in 1971, I’d say you’ve made a great decision.

Ford Torino Talladega

The Talladega is a unique piece of muscle car history – it was specifically built as part of Ford’s NASCAR stock racing effort and the only reason why there were production cars made and sold was the homologation regulations of the late 1960s. The truth is that Ford didn’t want to build any surplus Talladegas, in fact they lost several million dollars on the whole campaign. Although around 750 cars were built in 1969, it is still considered a very rare car because you cannot just go out and buy one without a large dose of luck and a fat wallet. As far as collection cars go, this can still be a good investment. You’d struggle to get one below $40,000 mark but the price for a well restored vehicle is bound to go up. It is also an extremely beautiful car – based on the mainstream Ford Torino - the NASCAR version features unbelievably long overhangs both at the front and read, plus a very elegant liftback body.

Mark Humphrys
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F: +44/0 8717 509 892/3
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