1970 Chevrolet El Camino SS 454
The Chevrolet El Camino is a coupé utility/pickup that was manufactured and marketed by Chevrolet between 1959 and 1960 and then from 1964 to 1987.
It made its debut in the 1959 to 1960 model years as a direct competitor to the successful Ford Ranchero pickup. However, its first run only lasted for two years. Production was revived in 1964 and lasted up to 1977.
These muscle cars were based on the Chevelle platform. Those produced for the 1978 to 1987 model years were based on General Motors’ G-body platform. While based on the corresponding Chevy vehicle lines, the El Camino was actually titled and classified in North America as a truck.
At one point, virtually every man who wanted to look cool and be respected had to own and drive a 1970 Chevy El Camino SS 454. It was possibly the first time in automotive history that a truck was not merely viewed as a truck, and a muscle car was regarded as more than just a ride with a powerful engine.
The 1970 Chevrolet El Camino SS 454 can be credited as the vehicle that changed the way people saw trucks and pioneered the truck/muscle car combo and set the benchmark for its rivals to follow.
1969 Boss 302 Mustang
The rivalry between the Mustang and the Camaro started in 1967 with the introduction of the latter by General Motors. The Camaro posed the biggest threat to the lead that the Blue Oval enjoyed in the pony car segment which was created by Ford with the debut of the Mustang in 1964.
The Mustang’s performance with 289 and 390 engines was simply not up to par with the Camaro, with its small block and big block V-8. In response, Ford developed a 428 Cobra Jet V-8 and a Boss 302 engine for the 1968 and 1969 models.
The Boss 302 cid engine was built by combining a Ford Cleveland 351 cid engine cylinder heads with a Ford Windsor 302 cid engine block.
This engine and the whole package, including aerodynamic and handling components, was offered for the sole purpose of complying with homologation rules to compete in the SCCA Trans-Am series, which restricted engine displacement to five liters (302 cid).
The design of the Boss 302 Mustang was credited to Larry Shinoda, a former employee of General Motors. The car sported a reflective “c-stripe,” while a blackout hood and a black horizontal rear window shade were optional.
The name “Boss” was born when Shinoda was asked what he was working on, and he answered “the boss’ car” since the project was a secret. He also called it the “Boss” as a tribute to Ford’s new President Semon “Bunkie” Knudson who brought him over from GM’s Chevrolet Division.
1967 Dodge Coronet R/T 426 Hemi Convertible
The 1967 model year was the year when Dodge unveiled its Coronet R/T, a sportier iteration of the Coronet with unique faux hood vents, simulated rear fender vents, and a heavy-duty transmission. In the same year, the Coronet was given even more Charger-esque styling cues, including a new single-piece grille.
The R/T in the name stands for Road and Track. It was offered in a 2-door hardtop and a rarer convertible version. In fact, only four convertibles were built – two cars in 1967 and another two in 1970. This makes the Coronet R/T 426 Hemi Convertible one of America’s rarest muscle cars.
Coronet R/Ts were powered by either the standard Magnum 440 cid or the optional 426 HEMI engine. The 1970 version was redesigned and given a power boost of up to 425 horsepower. Hop in and you’ll find an equally sportier cabin, complete with bucket seats.
Although the Charger and Coronet shared a similar design and featured similar engine options, the Coronet was advertised and sold as the muscle car for performance purists. Dodge marketed the Charger as more of a performance touring car.
However, it was the Coronet that was intended as a direct rival to Pontiac’s GTO. Oddly enough, the Charger emerged as the more popular muscle car model from Dodge’s classic lineup.
1969 Mercury Cyclone
One of the sleekest cars from the sixties, the 1969 Mercury Cyclone remains one of the most gorgeous muscle cars to this day. The Cyclone was given several engine options in 1969, including the 302 cubic inch engine rated at 220 horsepower.
Another engine, the 351 cubic inch unit, was offered in two versions: one was capable of producing 250 hp while the other was rated at 290 hp. The 390 cubic inch engine for the GTs generated up to 320 hp.
Mercury built a version of the Cyclone for NASCAR and named it as the Cyclone Spoiler II. It was offered in two versions: the street-going car was powered by a 351 cubic inch Windsor block, and was used for NASCAR.
The racing version was equipped with a 429 cubic inch Boss block, which was the same engine that powered the 1969 Boss Mustang. Mercury later added a new model to its Cyclone line: the Cobra Jet (CJ).
The car’s engine was a 428 cubic inch unit that cranked out 335 hp. The engine featured a Ram Air option and a 735 CFM Holley 4-barrel carburetor, although it did not indicate any difference in horsepower rating.
The Cyclone CJ had the following upgrades over the Cyclone and Cyclone GT: engine dress-up kit (chromed parts); hood stripes, a blacked-out grille; dual exhausts, and a competition handling package.
1959 Ford Galaxie
This car will go down in history as one of Elvis’s favorite rides, as well as Fidel Castro’s. The U.S. wasn’t well-liked in Cuba back in the ’60s for political reasons, but the Ford Galaxie was extremely popular in the Caribbean nation.
The Ford range for the 1959 model year was introduced in late 1958, and it was the Fairlane 500 that was positioned as the top trim level. The Galaxie was added in 1959 as an additional trim level and assumed the top spot from the Fairlane 500.
The Galaxie was available with the same hardtop and sedan body styles as the Fairlane 500, while the Skyliner and Sunliner convertibles were moved from the Fairlane 500 range.
Although the 1959 Galaxie models were a separate series from the Fairlane 500, they featured both Galaxie and Fairlane badging. The 1959 Galaxie was also bedecked in chrome and stainless steel to keep abreast with the other muscle cars from the area.
It was the exact image of late-1950s American excess in the automotive front, though a bit subdued when compared to its Chevrolet and Plymouth rivals. Ford placed a premium for safety and billed ‘safety anchorage’ for the front seats.
Double-door locks and a deep-dished steering wheel were standard, while a padded dashboard, seat belts and child-proof rear door locks were optional.