The 5 Most Rare Factory-built Muscle Cars

Most car enthusiasts know that some of the most rare cars in the world were special ordered with very specific requests and that hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent to make them that way.  The cars that were factory-made, but still incredibly rare, get casted in the shadows because they are considered not as glamorous and sold for less money.  This article wants to commend these rare, factory-built vehicles and bring them out into the spotlight they deserve.

The 1970 Dodge Super Bee 426 Hemi Fastback is the first rare vehicle we will look at today.  With only 4 ever produced (all manual) with the 426 Hemi engine, the car could produce 425hp at 5000rpm and rip from 0 to 60mph in 5.3 seconds.  All of the Super Bee’s in 1970 were given an extreme new nose design to go with Dodge’s new motto that their cars had to be “new and radical”.  Dodge also added new colors like Plum Crazy (which was the most popular color) and Panther Pink (which was the least popular).  Dodge also offered the vehicles at a lower base price of $3,074, but the majority of the public found these changes to be a bit too much for them, and sales for this vehicle year dropped “radically.”

One hundred and fifty-two 1970 Plymouth Road Runners 426 Hemi’s were built, but only three of them were in the convertible style (1 manual, 2 automatic).  In all of the ’70 Road Runners, new standard options were added like a new grille, leather seats, front fenders, quarter panels and single-piston Kelsey-Hayes disc brakes.  When adding the Hemi engine options, the cost increased by $715, but also included the Air Grabber hood that could be controlled by a button from under the dash and went from solid to hydraulic lifters.  This particular model produced 425hp at 5000rpm and went from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds.

The 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL-1 427 2D Coupe was originally ordered as a company car for a corvette plant resident engineer from St. Louis.  It ended up being one of only 3 of these type of vehicles ever produced.  This vehicle boasted a L88 special turbo jet 427 V8 engine, F41 special purpose suspension, a ZL-1 aluminum cylinder block and a heavy duty transmission and brake system.  This seemed to be GM’s last big stand against emission controls on economy cars, as it produced 500hp.  The ZL-1 style added over $3,000 to the price tag, which gave the vehicle an astounding total of $10,771.

The 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T 426 Convertible was special because while 296 vehicles were made in the convertible style, only two of them had the 426 Hemi engine, which cost $718 more than other engines.  During this year, the Coronet model received all new front sheet metal, a smooth, split grille, a bumble bee stripe along the rear and dummy rear fender scoops.  The 426 Hemi engine could put out 425bhp/5,000rpm and could roar from 0-60mph in around 6 seconds.  Due to low sales of the convertible styles in all of the Coronets, 1970 became the last year the convertible style was used for the Coronet.

Two hundred and thirty-eight 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T 426 Hemi’s were produced, but only two of them were in the convertible style (one automatic and one manual).  During this model year, Dodge started offering the R/T (Road and Track) versions of the Coronet.  They also gave the model a facelift for both the front and rear by giving it simulated air vents, a Charger like grille, and racing stripes.  Bucket seats also became an option, though this year did not offer retractable headlights like the Charger offered.  This vehicle sold for $3895 ($3438 base + $457 Hemi engine).

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25 Responses to The 5 Most Rare Factory-built Muscle Cars

  1. How about the first year Hemi? 1951 Chrysler Saratoga (smaller body) with the 331 Hemi.
    I took my brothers ’51 Hemi on a trip. No Fords, Chevrolets, nor Olds. that I could remember could beat me off the line with this car.

  2. Seth says:

    A nice selection.
    In terms of rarity how about my 1973 Chevrolet Can-Am.
    Only 100 made for homologation purposes.

  3. Don Antilla says:

    Thanks for the interesting five MoPars and Chevys listed as the most rare factory cars. I know it’s hard to assemble a list like this when you are trying to make a list of low production, high performance vehicles.
    The 1966 427 Fairlane – also known as the “R-Code” Fairlane – had a total production run of 57 cars, and all were produced at Ford’s Atlanta Assembly Plant. All 57 cars were built the same (with minor exceptions), and were produced without sound deadener/sealant. All cars were “radio delete”.Driving in the rain is not a good idea with these cars (ask me how I know).
    The ’66 427 Fairlane was more rare than the famous 1964 Thunderbolt which had a production run of well over 100 units.
    I suggest you might want to update your list of rare high performance cars. I can provide photos if you need them.

  4. kenneth says:

    ok but my brother inlaw owns a corvett with a 454 one of three made .. deals returned them because they were to fast …. talk about rare …blaklee tranmission PA

  5. Thomas A. Willet says:

    You people never mentioned another extremely rare car the ’72 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Custom. Limited #’s were produced, and most were converted for NASCAR racing use. As of 2002 only 4 of these cars are registered w/ the National Monte Carlo Owners Association. Do your research poeple !

  6. Gary Gilligan says:

    Back in the early 1970’s I owned a rare ’66 Plymouth Valiant Signet hardtop which was really an early Cuda Coupe. It had all of the same options as a Barracuda except the large rear window. It had a high performance 273, Hurst 4-speed, posi rear, front disc brakes, & bucket seats. I don’t know how many were made, but I’ll bet they are mostly all gone by now. A kid ran mine thru an intersection & totaled it in about 1973 or ’74. A friend found it at Wedge Auto Wrecking in Woodinville, WA many years ago.

  7. Gary Timmerman says:

    I grew up in the 50-60-70’s (born in 1946) when these “Monsters of The Midway’ were all released onto the U S A cities streets & highways. What a “Great Time to be a Kid” !! The very low production was for a good reason & vitrually all of these ( with a few exceptions sure–) went directly into the nations racers to rewrite the records books on the dragstrips across the U S. Even when they were “New” the average guys didn’t come across them at “The Stoplight GranPrix”
    Checkout “The Kenosha Giant Killers” the Hurst SS/AMX’s ,some 52 + were built, and while they weren’t Hemi’s,etc. they set & still hold many NHRA ET & MPH Records in SS/C Class. This adds to the “Lore” about ” Purposely Factory Built Speed Demons” and that great era of speed.
    In closing one has to impressed with the recent revival of “Super Cars ” made by several Detriot Icons present day———-Wow they really fly & get decent mileage on this junk gas offered today !!!

  8. Gary Kinsland says:

    My family let a friend stay with us while he trained at the Pontiac dealership in our town, Coquille, Oregon. He then started his own dealership in Cottage Grove, Oregon and made my father “a deal he could not refuse.” My father was driving standards in his work and in our pickup so he ordered a 1958 Pontiac Chieftain with special paint job…only the arrow on the side was white, not the top, rest was catalina red…and a standard transmission (three on the tree). The factory sent it with the usual high gear rear-end used with the automatics of the day and the 389 tri-power at 348 hp. Dad drove it like that a bit before he had the tri-power removed and replaced with the 2bbl. With that set up it would still do 95 in second gear (when I turned 16 in 1963)…ask me how I know. “Hey, buddy….how do you get this thing out….of…second gear.”

  9. Kylie says:

    My dad owns his childhood muscle car a 1971 GTO Judge 455 HO 3 Speed

  10. Gary C White says:

    Today rarity would be 2011 dodge drag pak v10 challenger. Fully assembled race car sold to public. Produced one year. Only 50 made. Vehicle can not be driven on street. Full documentation was furnished from Dodge/ Mopar.

  11. Ronald J says:

    How about a 1964 Buick Wildcat convertible with the 465? and four speed standard shift. Bucket seats, console, power windows and more. Red with a white top and white leather interior. Awesome car to drive. Not sure how rare it is, but I’ve only seen one in 60 years. Not sure of the engine size as it’s been about 45 years since I’ve seen the car.

    • rm says:

      Wildcat 465″ was a 425 CID V8 that produced 465 ft·lbf (630 N·m) of torque. The “dual quad” version of the Wildcat 465 was dubbed “Super Wildcat.”

  12. This is a list of production line specified vehicles constructed to perform. They were normally constructed in confined amounts to meet homologation governs for hustling. Regular autos that meet this criteria could be:

    Passage: Australian assembled GT Hawks from XR to XB, Chief and Shelby Colts.

    Holden/GM: Exhibition Camaro’s, GTO’s and Corvette’s, 62 – 64 Chev Impala 409, HK – HG GTS Monaro’s, XU1 Torana’s, A9X Torana’s, HDT Commodore’s.

    Chrysler: Avoid Charger’s and Challengers, Hemi Barracuda. There are countless more makes and models but this is just a specimen of the production line muscle autos that are suitable.

  13. Pingback: 1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air III | Fossil Cars Blog

  14. Carl Reed says:

    I had a 1965 chevelle ss 396`375 hp. 4 speed, red with black interior and black vinyl roof. .It seems like no one remembers this car and I Don`t see any photos or refrences to them anywhere . I have no idea how many were produced.

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  16. Carl Anderson says:

    I remember reading a magazine when I was a kid (many years ago) and in the Reader’s Photo section there was an old Mopar, maybe a Coronet, that had a customer license plate “1 of 1”. The guy had talked the dealer into coding his order for a color that wasn’t supposed to be available on that model, and the factory did it. When he got his car it was like the postage stamp with the upside down airplane. Cool pic, but I have googled and searched and can’t find any reference to it anymore.

  17. steve says:

    what about a 69 GTO Lemans rag top only 500 ever made

  18. Great post will likely be posting this on my blog today maintain up the great function.

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