Following the end of world war, the American economy boomed like never before. One aspect of the economy that mushroomed is the automobile industry. Looking back at the lineups of most prominent car companies, it is fair to say that there were far more choices. There used to be a great vehicle for anyone looking for pretty much every purse.
Classics in pristine conditions have appreciated like fine wine. The best American sports cars to buy used in 2023 are exhilarating. They do have this special feel that makes other gearheads go wow. Classic American cars, whether sports car or land boats, are marvelous. They embody an entire era that is now long gone.
10 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
European car fans will say that America does not have any luxury car brands. Although nowhere as luxurious as Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, Cadillacs are far fancier than any Ford or Pontiac cars ever made. Some of the post-war Cadillacs are absolutely bonkers and extremely hard to find. The Eldorado Brougham is one of them.
There are several things classic car fans love about the Cadillac Eldorado. Its classic look is the main attraction. Nothing screams America like a classic Eldorado. The ’57 Eldorado Brougham is special. With only 400 units produced in 1957, this particular Eldorado is a collector’s special. Powered by a 365 cu in V8, the Eldorado Brougham is the epitome of American luxury.
9 1961 Lincoln Continental Convertible
It is not a secret that the Big Three is made of a plethora of brands. Ford Motors once owned Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln. Targeting different market segments, these brands were far from being equal. Top-line Lincoln cars were rivaling Cadillacs and still are to this day. The most popular Lincoln ever made, the Continental, is a gem collectors should watch closely.
The Lincoln Continental is one of America’s most relevant cars. Reserved to the most fortunate, Lincoln would go on to offer a limited version of its flagship car. Less than 3,000 drop-top Continentals were produced in 1961. The Continental Convertible comes with a 430 cu in V8 rated at 300 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. The four-door Lincoln Continental Convertible will forever be associated with John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
8 1966 Dodge Coronet Hemi 500
Ford and Chevrolet were all the rage back in the mid-60s. With the release of the Mustang and the Camaro, cars made by Dodge fell under the radar. With that said, hardcore muscle heads were quick to recognize that Dodge fitted its cars with some of the most robust and powerful engines found on the market.
The 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 is a great alternative to other classic Dodge cars. Its stern and classic physique hide a serious pony-making machine. Under the hood is Mopar’s emblematic 426 cu in V8. With an output of 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque, the Coronet 500 is far from being the average Dodge. In 1966, 340 Coronet 500 with the 426 engine crate rolled off Dodge’s assembly lines.
7 1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E
The late ’60s saw the apparition of some of the nicest American cars ever produced. From the Shelby 350GT KR to the Corvette Stingray L88, it is fair to say that America had a good grip on how to build outstanding vehicles. Mercury, Ford’s defunct mid-range brand, once included some serious monsters in its lineup.
The ’68 Mercury Cougar GT-E is exactly what any collector with a knack for classic muscle cars would fall in love with. With only 101 GT-Es made in 1968, this Mercury is one of the rarest ever made. The GT-E comes stock with a 427 cu in Ford V8 rated at 390 hp at 5,600 rpm and 460 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm.
6 1969 Plymouth Road Runner
Defunct carmaker Plymouth completely lost the plot before it went out of business in 2001. The only vehicle that was worth anything was the Prowler. Things were very different before the Malaise Era set in. The Plymouth Road Runner is one of those American classics every muscle head should drive at least once.
The ’69 Plymouth Road Runner is one of those American classics collectors consider holy grail models. It is hard to think today that such a game-changing muscle car belonged to the low-range market segment. This particular Road Runner comes with a six-barrel 440 cu in V8 capable of churning out 390 hp at 5,700 rpm and 490 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. Mercury manufactured only 422 Road Runners with a hardtop, a six-barrel 440, and a four-speed transmission that year.
5 1970 AMC Javelin SST Trans-Am
American Motors Corporation, mostly known as AMC, used to be an obscure brand that most people completely forgot about. The brand changed its name in 1988 and eventually merged with Chrysler in 1990. True AMC cars are rare as they were manufactured in low numbers. Getting one’s hands on a special edition AMC in pristine condition is like finding a needle in a haystack.
AMC cars become popular in the restomod scene thanks to Ringbrothers’ 1100-hp Javelin. While AMCs are great to modify, some of them are better left in their original condition. The Javelin SST Trans-Am is one of them. This underrated collectible comes with a 390 cu in V8 rated at 326 hp at 5,000 rpm and 435 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. AMC manufactured roughly 100 Javelin Trans-Ams.
4 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado GT W34
Oldsmobile is another American car brand that disappeared following a slow and painful death. Oldsmobile cars were all disappointing by the time the company was shut down in 2004. While the Alero does not ring a bell, the first-generation Toronado remains a reference among classic two-door car fans.
The gorgeous entry-level Toronado is a gorgeous land boat from yesteryear. Although nowhere as powerful as muscly two-door cars released in the 1970s, the Toronado GT W34 comes with a gigantic 455 cu in Rocket V8 making 400 hp at 5,000 rpm and 500 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. Oldsmobile manufactured less than 10,000 Toronado GT W34s between 1969 and 1970.
3 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454
The restomod fad boomed over the last 10 years, and purists are losing their minds. While they may get their panties in a bunch for no apparent reason, it is important to do some research before turning a classic into a project car. Something as common as a Chevrolet Chevelle SS could turn out to be a rare gem.
The 1970 Chevelle SS 454 Convertible combines a lot of rare options. The first great surprise is the 454 cu in LS6 V8. Being grossly underrated by Chevy, the LS6 was factory-rated at 450 and 500 lb-ft of torque. Needless to say, the Chevelle SS with the LS6 option is brutal. In 1970, Chevy fitted 4,475 of its cars with LS6 engines. It is unclear how many Chevelle SS LS6s rolled off GM’s assembly lines.
2 1970 Ford Ranchero GT
In the land down under, a type of vehicle is popular among petrol heads. Utes are utility trucks with a car feel. In the United States, this type of vehicle completely disappeared. However, domestic carmakers used to manufacture utes. They majestically combined muscle and utility. Today, cars such as the Ranchero GT are worth a lot.
When taking a detailed look back at the Ford Ranchero GT, it is fair to say that it is grossly underrated. The Chevy El Camino sold far better than the Ranchero. It does not mean that Ford did not actively fight back. In 1971, the Ranchero GT came with a 429 cu in Cobra Jet V8 rated at 370 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Ford made only 153 Ranchero GTs with the 429 Cobra Jet.
1 1972 Buick Rivera GS
Classic car fans tend to focus on cars that were meant to perform on the drag strip. While power is fun, there are times when a nice cruise along the coast is equally as enjoyable. In the early 1970s, Buick offered the wonderful and sporty GSX. The lineup also included the gorgeous Riviera GS.
The 1972 Buick Riviera GS is the last of a rare breed. The Riviera’s stylish boat-tail design gives it a true ’70s look. In 1972, legislation introduced by the EPA wreaked havoc on the car industry. The ’72 Riviera GS comes with a 455 cu in Buick V8 that cranks out only 250 hp. On a brighter note, less than 2,500 Riviera GS were sold in 1972. Collectors should be on the lookout.