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The late 1960s and early 1970s are often considered the peak of the American auto-industry, with brawny brutes like the Chevy Chevelle and the ultra-rare Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda Convertible being on the market. Today, many of these classic cars are seen as untouchable, only owned by older, rich collectors with the pockets to restore and upkeep them, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many cars of the time were totally forgotten about, or many buyers just saw them as any other used car: allowing everyday people to afford them and add them to their collections. Over the years, many of these cars have become extremely valuable. Many of these cars are still affordable, or may help you know what cool old car to invest in next. Here are 10 American classic cars nobody wanted 50 years ago, that are now worth a fortune, based on values from Hagerty valuation tool!
10 1969 Dodge Dart GTS – $37,200
The Dodge Dart was seen as a bare-bones economy car that offered some performance and comfort features for those willing to fork up the extra dough. The GTS gave buyers some muscle car goodies like a big-block V8 and 4-barrel carburetor.
Today, Hagerty values the 1969 Dodge Dart GTS at $37,200 in standard condition. Some restored examples have even found their way to the top of the classic car market. Quite the glow up for a car that began life as an economy car for elementary school teachers and secretaries.
9 1969 Ford Torino Cobra – $39,100
Ford released the Torino to compete with cars like the Dodge Charger and Plymouth Roadrunner in the NASCAR circuit. Hollywood often used the Dodge Charger in films and TV shows, and the Roadrunner became a NASCAR legend thanks to Richard Petty, causing many buyers to completely overlook the Torino.
Hindsight is 20/20 and collectors are starting to see the value in Ford’s NASCAR chassis. Hagerty appraises the 1969 Ford Torino Cobra at $39,100. Not too shabby for one of the biggest underdogs of the muscle car era.
8 1970 American Motors Rebel Machine – $48,100
American Motors (or AMC) struggled to keep up with GM, Ford, and Chrysler throughout the muscle car wars, but that doesn’t mean they made bad cars. The Rebel Machine was an absolute beast, capable of a 6.6 seconds 0-60 mph time. Unfortunately, buyers passed it over for more popular options like the Chevelle and Super-Bee.
Now, Hagerty appraises a Rebel Machine in average condition for $48,100. Unexpected from a car once deemed to be the outcast of American muscle. No one in 1969 would have expected an AMC to be one of the hottest (and rarest) vintage cars for sale.
7 1969 Ford Torino Talladega – $39,943
As previously mentioned, the Ford Torino was Ford’s attempt to beat Plymouth and Dodge in NASCAR. So what did Ford do when Dodge unleashed the aerodynamic Dodge Daytona? They added an aerodynamic fastback and hood to the Torino, and named the Talladega after one of NASCAR’s fastest tracks.
The Talladega was mostly forgotten about and cast under the Daytona’s and Superbird’s shadow until recently. Buyers are now willing to pay around $39,943 for a clean example according to Classic.Com.
6 1967 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser – $21,400
Believe it or not, station wagons were common place on American streets and seen as everyday cars, similar to the way we see SUV’s and crossovers today. In the present, station wagons are somewhat of a novelty, and until the Audi RS6 hit the scene, it seemed as though the segment would die.
It would be a great shock to anyone in 1967 if they were told their Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser is worth $21,400. That’s the appraisal given by Hagerty for Vista Cruisers in average shape, some pristine examples can be sold for even more.
5 1970 Dodge Coronet Super Bee – $31,500
The Super-Bee was Dodge’s full sized offering to the muscle car market, built upon the popular Coronet sedan. Tragically, it was cast under the shadow of the Dodge Charger thanks to its NASCAR success and screen presence.
Hagerty appraises the once forgotten Super-Bee at $31,500, a little more than ten times the 1970 Dodge Super-Bee’s original asking price in 1970; proving muscle cars can be a great investment. The Dodge Super-Bee is one of the coolest old cars on the market today.
4 1968 Oldsmobile Toronado – $18,100
Rear-wheel drive was the industry standard in 1968, especially in the United States. Oldsmobile switching to a front-wheel drive set up was unprecedented, and many critics of the time were skeptical of the front-engine and front-drive set up.
What was once an oddball personal luxury coupe is now worth a small fortune, Hagerty appraises the Tornado at $18,100. It’s worth noting, the Toronado has become a one of the hottest old cars on the market, whilst the same year Thunderbird has fallen into relative obscurity.
3 1970 Mercury Marauder X-100 – $15,200
The 1960s and early 1970s were the age of the muscle car, and luxury cars were mostly forgotten about. Mercury’s Marauder is the exception though. A 429 cubic-inch V8 and sport-shifter gave this cozy car a bit of muscle.
Hagerty appraises this brawny luxury car at $15,200 in 2023, not half bad for a car that was all but forgotten just 10 years ago. The Mercury Marauder is still a cool and affordable classic.
2 1970 American Motors AMX – $27,600
Could you name what car the AMX competed against? Many would say the Ford Mustang due to its pony car styling, but AMC actually built the AMX to go directly against the C3 Corvette. How could the AMX ever have a lasting legacy against such a stunning (albeit expensive) and iconic sports car?
Buyers are now starting to appreciate the AMX, with Hagerty appraising it at $27,600; roughly what a C3 Corvette would go for.
1 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder – $15,300
Chevy defied many of the norms in American automakers. Rear engined, air cooled, and turbocharging were all out of the norm in 1964; yet Chevy put it on one of their most badass muscle cars that no one bought, unfortunately.
The Corvair is now worth a small fortune at $15,300 according Hagerty. Quite the underdog for a story for a car once deemed “unsafe at any speed” by Ralph Nader.