8 Rarest Muscle Cars Ever Made

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Muscle cars were first launched during the late 1940s and it grew widely in the following two decades. The idea behind creating the muscle car was to offer extremely high-performance cars at an affordable price.

In order to achieve this, automobile companies across the US began to produce cars that were equipped with extremely powerful engines but had relatively bare-bones light-weight bodies. 

Several companies came up with their version of muscle cars to take advantage of this newly emerging market. They experimented with different engines and chassis to offer the best possible car at the best possible rate.

Here we made a list of 8 muscle cars that were produced in small numbers and extremely rare to find.

8. Chevrolet Impala Z 11

Number of units produces: 57
Year: 1963
Original price: $4,100
Engine: 7.0-liter V-8 engine
Chevrolet Impala Z 11
photo source: s1.cdn.autoevolution.com

Chevrolet launched the first model of its Impala car in 1958. The third generation was released in 1963, named Chevrolet Impala Z 11. Fifty-seven units of this car left the assembly line, and only a handful of them survived.

It was an aluminum-bodied Sport Coupe-based model available as a two-door hardtop. The car was fitted with a 7.0-liter V-8 engine and was capable of 430 horsepower and 575 pound-feet torque. However, the official rating was lower than this estimate.

Did you know?

Companies often used to remove the radio, front sway bar, heater, and sound-deadening materials from the muscle car models to minimize the weight. 

7. Dodge Coronet WO23 And Plymouth Belvedere RO23

Number of units produces: 55
Year: 1967
Original price: $4,700
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 engine
Dodge Coronet WO23 And Plymouth Belvedere RO23
photo source: cdn2.mecum.com

In 1967 Mopar launched two almost identical street-legal dragsters, Dodge Coronet WO23 and Plymouth Belvedere RO23. The cars were specifically designed for Stock class competition. 

Both had similar features with some minute variations in details. They were equipped with a 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 engine capable of 425 horsepower. 

The battery of the car was placed on the right side of the trunk. The radio, heater, and sound-deadening material were discarded.

A basic cloth or vinyl bench seat was installed, and the floor was fully carpeted. In some cases, the rear seat was omitted too. 

Did you know?

In the 1960s and 70s, automobile companies would often mention a reduced horsepower for the muscle cars than the actual capability. Companies came up with this tactic to comply with the rule that required the horsepower to be less than one for every 10 pounds of the curb weight.

6. Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible

Number of units produces: 21
Year: 1970-71
Original price: $4, 348
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 engine
Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible
photo source: www.sportscarmarket.com

Plymouth Hemi Cuda was a convertible car with a 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 engine. Only 21 Plymouth Barracudas were fitted with this high-power engine and turned into muscle cars.

In 1970, Plymouth made 10 Hemi Cuda, and in 1971, 11 were made1.

This car is not suitable for the drag strip and is not a homologation model. However, the model is comparable to any other car on this list in terms of power and performance.

Did you know?

In 1971, out of 16,159 Barracudas, 11 were converted to Hemi Cuda. Among them, only three had four-speed manual transmission, and only one of them survived. In 2014, this sole survivor was sold for $3,500,000.  

5. Chevrolet Corvette L88

Number of units produces: 20
Year: 1967
Original price: $6,600 (Approx.)
Engine: 7.0-liter V-8 engine
Chevrolet Corvette L88
photo source: barrettjacksoncdn.azureedge.net

Chevrolet Corvette L88 was a brainchild of Zora Arkus-Duntov, known as the Corvette godfather. The car was fitted with a 7.0-liter V-8 engine officially rated at 430 hp.

However, the actual engine capability was reportedly well over 500 hp. Duntov underrated it so that it could attract the race teams and not the general public.

The car came with a warning label stating that only 103-octane fuel should be used in the car. Besides, like most other muscle cars, the air conditioner, radio, and other not-so-necessary features were removed in this car too.

Did you know?

1967 was the last year of the C2 Corvette. Next year Chevrolet redesigned the Corvette and released the C3 model based on a coke bottle shape design. The engine was also replaced with a more powerful option. However, Chevrolet continued to offer the L88, and in two years of span, a total of 216 units of C3 Corvette L88 were produced. 

4. Dodge Coronet r/t 426 Hemi Convertible

Number of units produces: 2 each year
Year: 1969 and 1970
Original price: $5,000 (Approx.)
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 engine
Dodge Coronet r/t 426 Hemi Convertible
photo source: www.streetmusclemag.com

While Coronet WO23 was drag-ready, a Road and Track package for Coronet was also introduced by Dodge the same year. The car was produced for four years, and a total of 30,000 units were sold.           

It was equipped with a 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 engine rated at 425 hp. In 1967, only a few units of this model were manufactured, and only two were convertible.

In 1970, the company ungraded the Hemi engine for Coronet R/T, and again, only two were convertibles. It makes the 1967 and 1970 Coronet R/T convertibles extremely rare finds.

Did you know?

Muscle cars were never really a part of the counterculture, but they were perceived as a sign of a rebel. When first launched, the older generation didn’t quite like the idea of making cars with the highest possible powerful engines and lightest possible bodies.

3. Chevrolet Corvette ZL-1

Number of units produces: 3
Year: 1969
Original price: $10,050 (Approx.)
Engine: 7.0-liter V-8 engine
Chevrolet Corvette ZL-1
photo source: www.corvsport.com

During the late 1960s, Chevrolet was continuously experimenting with muscle car designs. In 1968, the Chief of the Product Performance Division of Chevrolet, Vince Piggins, pushed the company to replace the legendary L88 with the all-aluminum big-block engine.

He believed that Chevrolet Corvette could dominate the Canadian-American racing circuit if they could nail the correct racing setup.

Thanks to his lobbying effort, in 1969, the company launched ZL-1 Corvette, packed with a new big-block engine option with a capacity to produce more horsepower than any Corvette produced before.

The new all-aluminum 427 C.I. engine featuring a dry-sump oil system was introduced in all the ZL1 Corvettes. The weight of this new engine was 100 pounds less than the previous L88 engine. Moreover, the engine also featured sturdier connecting rods and open-chamber heads.   

The engine was officially rated at 430 HP, the same as the L88 engine, but the real output was between 560 and 585 HP.

Did you know?

The ZL1 Corvettes required some mandatory options, including G81 Positraction Rear Axle, J56 Special Heavy-Duty Brakes, F41 Special Front and Rear Suspension, and others.    

2. Shelby Cobra Super Snake

Number of units produces: 2
Year: 1967
Original price: NA
Engine: 7.0-liter Hemi V-8 engine
Shelby Cobra Super Snake
photo source: hips.hearstapps.com

The design of the Shelby Cobra Super Snake was based on the existing fast and powerful S/C model. The idea behind creating this beast was to make it road-legal while retaining race-spec components. To achieve this, the company added mufflers, a windshield, and bumpers to the existing design.

Besides, a pair of Praxton superchargers were added to boost the power of the 7.0-liter V-8 engine.       

This car could hit 60 mph within about three seconds and had a top speed close to 200mph. Only two units of Shelby Cobra Super Snake were ever made.

Among the two cars, Caroll Shelby kept one for himself and gifted the other one to his close friend, comedian Bill Cosby. However, Cosby found it too difficult to maneuver the car and returned it to Shelby.

Did you know?

After receiving the car from Cosby, Shelby shipped it to San Fransisco to a customer. It is not sure what happened to that car, but many believe the owner lost control while driving and fell into the Pacific Ocean. That makes the Shelby-owned Cobra Super Snake the only surviving one, which was sold in 2021 for an astonishing $5.5 million.

1. Shelby Mustang Gt500 Super Snake

Number of units produces: 1
Year: 1967
Original price: $10,000
Engine: 7.0-liter V-8 engine
Shelby Mustang Gt500 Super Snake
photo source: hips.hearstapps.com

Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake is the rarest Muscle Car with only one example.

Ford introduced Mustang in 1965. The next year, Carroll Shelby began rolling out beefed-up versions of the car. In 1967, he created GT350 and GT500. The same year he collaborated with Goodyear, a tire manufacturing company, to promote their new line of economy Thunderbolt tires.

As part of this collaboration, Caroll created Super Snake by adding a 427 ci V-8 engine from the Ford GT40 MkII race car to GT500. He ran the car for 500 miles at a speed of 142 mph to test whether the tires had the capacity to hold up. The test run was successful and the tired retained 97% of their original tread.  

Ford had a plan to make 50 units of this super powerful car. However, when they found that the cost of building this car was twice as much as a normal GT500, they decided to shelve the project.

Thus, this extra-ordinary car has only one example which was sold for $2.2 million in 2019.

Did you know?

Muscle cars lost their popularity in the early 1970s due to several factors, including rising fuel costs, the enactment of the Clean Air Act, and increasing insurance costs.         


Head of Content at Rarest.org


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