10 Incredibly Rare American Sports And Muscle Cars We’d Love To Drive

Thanks to a robust car market, the United States is one of the major players in the global automotive landscape. Moreover, America is up there with China and Japan as the world’s leading car manufacturing nations. Although they are very popular for their mass-produced sports cars, American car manufacturers have also created their fair share of ultra-rare models. Some of these cars are so rare that even top collectors can’t place their hands on them, and the odds of actually seeing one on the road are next to zero.

On the rare occasions when one of them pops up for sale, they often command a respectable price tag. Whether they were built as working prototypes, expensive one-offs, or trim levels that few people optioned for, there is something inherently captivating about them. One common theme about these special cars is their impressive styling, technology, and performance, and that is why we would love to drive this incredible ten.

10 Vector W8 (19 units)

The W8 is an advanced supercar that Vector Aeromotive Corporation built largely with aluminum, kevlar, and carbon fiber from 1989 to 1993. Boasting a jaw-dropping styling, it had a luxurious cabin with 4 display screens, leather and suede upholstery, air conditioning, and power Recaro leather seats.

A twin-turbocharged 6-liter V8 mill produced 625 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque to drive the W8 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Arriving about one decade late and priced above $400,000, only 19 W8s were built before the company went into receivership.

9 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible (12 Units)

Not to be confused with the outstanding Plymouth Barracuda, the Hemi ‘Cuda was a special breed that was only offered in 1970 and 1971. Power was supplied by a 426 ci (7-liter) Hemi V8 mill that churned out 425 hp and 490 lb -ft of torque to power the rear wheels.

The hardcore ‘Cuda’s suspension was upgraded and the structure reinforced to better handle the fury generated by the legendary engine. Offered at a much higher price tag than the hardtop versions, a total of 12 convertibles were produced including seven for the US market.

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8th Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible (17 Units)

Introduced for the 1969 model year, “The Judge” was a stripped-down special edition of the GTO developed as a rival to the Plymouth Road Runner. With 108 produced in 1969, 162 in 1970, and only 17 in 1971, the convertible versions are the rarest models of the Pontiac GTO Judge.

Like the hardtop versions, the convertibles were powered by a 455 ci (7.5-liter) High-Output Pontiac V8, but tuned to produce 335 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. In terms of performance, the ’71 GTO Judge could hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and clear the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds.


7 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 (4 units)

Originally named the XP-20, the 1954 F-88 was a futuristic concept car that Oldsmobile built on the Chevrolet Corvette’s chassis and showed at GM’s Motorama. Displayed next to the Oldsmobile Cutlass fastback coupe, the F-88 was the star of the show with its bullet tail lights, elliptical grille, and gold paintwork.

Boasting a fiberglass body like the Corvette, it was powered by a Rocket 88 5.3-liter V8 engine that routed 250 hp through a 4-speed automatic transmission. Although 4 were built originally, the only surviving car was auctioned for $3,240,000 in 2005.

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6 1954 Packard Panther Daytona Roadster (4 Units)

The 1954 Packard Panther was a low-slung 2-seater concept car that was based on the Cavalier’s steel chassis and built entirely from fiberglass. Stuffed under the hood of the first 2 cars was a supercharged straight-8 engine that displaced 5.9 liters to produce up to 275 hp.

Hooked to a 2-speed automatic “Ultramatic” transmission, it was capable of sending the Panther to a top speed of 131.1 mph. Although the Panther never made it to production, Packard built a total of four cars which fetch huge sums each time they pop up at auction.


5 1970 Ford Torino King Cobra (3 units)

The Ford Torino King Cobra was a prototype vehicle built in 1970 to best the Hemi-powered Plymouth Superbird and Dodge Charger Daytona. Under the hood, it sported the same engine that powered the Boss 429 Mustang, a 7-liter Semi-Hemi V8 that the engineers had planned to tune to 700 hp.

Unlike the standard Torino, the King Cobra got a sharper nose fascia and new front fenders while the rear end got a narrower bumper and horizontal taillights. Unfortunately, after building only three cars, Ford had to shelf the King Cobra project due to changes in NASCAR’S rules.

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4 Dodge Coronet 426 Hemi Convertible (2 Units)

With only two units built, the Dodge Coronet 426 Hemi convertible is one of the rarest and most desirable muscle cars from the ’70s. Under the hood, they sported the legendary 426 ci (7-liter) Hemi V8 power plant that churned out a healthy 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque.

One of the cars was outfitted with the standard 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission while its twin got the optional 4-speed manual transmission. Other features that adorned these unicorns were power front disc brakes, power windows, Ramcharger hood, wood grain floor console, a clock, and a radio.


3 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL-1 (2 units)

The 1969 ZL-1 was an expensive high-performance package that was offered with mandatory options that pushed the final price tag to double the base Corvette. Weighing in at about 100 pounds lighter than the legendary L88 engine it was replacing, the new all-aluminum engine boasted stronger connecting rods.

The iconic ZL-1 was pushed by 430 ponies and was able to hit 60 mph in 4 seconds and clear the quarter-mile in 12.1 seconds at 116 mph. With mind-boggling numbers like these, it is not surprising that it was dubbed ” the fastest production car ever produced” in the late ’60s.

RELATED: 10 Obscure American Sports Cars We’d Love To Own

2 Shelby Cobra Super Snake (2 Units)

Described as “The Cobra to End All Cobras”, the Shelby Cobra Super Snake remains one of the craziest sports cars of the ’60s. Under the hood, a 7-liter water-cooled V8 mill hooked to twin Paxton superchargers lays down 800 hp and 462 lb-ft of torque.

Routed through a 4-speed manual transmission, it sends the Super Snake to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds and the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds. While one of the two cars built ended up in the Pacific Ocean, its twin has been busy setting records under Barrett-Jackson’s hammer.


1 1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500 Super Snake (1 Unit)

Another product of the legendary partnership between Ford and Carroll Shelby, the 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake was an excellent piece of craftsmanship. It was developed to help test and promote Goodyear’s new line of “Thunderbolt” tires and built to outperform other cars rolling on the same tires.

To achieve this, Shelby stuffed it with a 7-liter racing V8 engine from the Ford GT40 that pumped out 520 hp for a top speed of 170 hp. Being a one-off, it is always a hot item each time it comes up for auction.


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