I love these lists. It’s the rare opportunity to show a little insight into how someone thinks, what they like, what they don’t like. And if you have been following my blog, you know there is one car in particular that I really don’t like – The Pontiac Aztek. Man that is one ugly car, I cringe every time I see one…every time. But now it is time to shift gears – so to speak. Now it is time to take a look at the cars that I love. It is a HUGE list, so big; I am going to split it up into several lists. So without further ado, the TOP TEN List of Classic American Cars… since I was born. Which was a long time ago… as many of my friends constantly remind me. Right Hobby Boy?
When you look at this list, you may notice something pretty obvious. They are all from the 60’s. I looked at many cars from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, but I could not really add any of them to the list. American automotive design took a dive starting about 1973 (the same year as the mandatory 5-MPH bumpers were bolted to the front and rear of every car). They were hideous and therefore not on the list. It seemed that Landau Tops, port holes and ginormous unadorned steel bumpers were all the rage. The 80’s? The 90’s? Not much there, nothing really grabbed me. But those cars from the 60’s? They do it for me and I suspect many of you too. Just look at the prices many of these cars fetch at the auctions. There are a lot of guys reliving their teenage dream snapping them up for 6 figures. Ahhh, to be young again.
10. 1964 Lincoln Continental 4-Door Convertible – How could you not love this car, it is about a mile long, a large family could live in the trunk and the interior is large enough for a small village. But those lines are just fantastic and the suicide doors finish it all off, leaving us wanting to take about 8 friends for a long cruise; with the top down no less.
9. 1963 Studebaker Avanti – Raymond Lowey and his team at their best. It had fiberglass body panels and it was so edgy. It still is today. Studebaker (later AMC) was definitely on the slide, but this car shows that they still took chances. The car could even come with a Paxton Supercharger as an option, how good is that?
8. 1969 Pontiac GTO – There are a couple of muscle cars from the late sixties that really define both the genre and the time. For me, the years of 1967 to 1969 really showcased Detroit at its best, these designs are just timeless. I love the aggressive of the GTO and especially the Judge version. When I see one today, it still gives me the chills. But in a good way!
7. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T – Another great example of late 60’s muscle car. Really, you could pick any number of them, they all look good. But the Charger R/T just had the right vibe, and with a Hemi, it also had the HP to boot. I would love to have one of these in the garage…actually I would love to have any of these in my garage. But I digress.
6. 1965 Ford Thunderbird Convertible – Ford was on a roll in the 60’s. Really every automotive manufacturer was, but Ford in my opinion really got it, hitting all the automotive styling notes. I like the 50’s T-Birds (who doesn’t), but the T-Birds from 1961 to 1965 were the best.
5. 1968 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray – How do you top the 1963 to 1967 Corvette? Easy; with the Mako Shark inspired 1968 Vette. It looked good in both convertible and coupe from. I love the design right up until ’73 when Chevy had to add the oversized federally mandated safety bumpers. But those cars from 68-72, with up to 600HP under the hood? Man, that is what I am talking about!
4. 1968 AMC AMX – I know some of you are thinking how could two Studebaker / AMC cars make the Top 10 list. Yeah me too, but really the AMX was one of the best looking two seater coupes ever. That short wheelbase and aggressive short rear deck really tied it all together. Too bad customers did not flock to the showroom, it was gone by 1970.
3. 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 – How Iconic is this car? 1965 saw a transformational shift in sporty cars with the introduction of the Mustang. And if you are going to pick one, the Shelby is the best of the best. It was pretty close to what Ford was putting on the track. Man…ol’ Shel could really cook back then.
2. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette (Split Window Coupe) – This car looks great from every angle. When it came out, there were only a handful of cars that could combine the looks, power and handling like the Vette. Maybe a couple of Ferrari’s, Jag’s and Aston’s, but that was about it. It had Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) and engine options up to 360HP, it was a world class sports car.
1. 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500-KR (Yeah baby!!) – This is what I would put in my garage before any other classic car. But as you probably imagine, the price tag these days is pretty steep. I love the over the top look that Ford gave to the 1967 / 68 Mustang Shelby. But the GT500-KR version gave you even more. Lust after it, I know I do!!
Well there you have it. My all time classic American list. There will be a poll, so you can vote for your favorite too. Have fun!
Until next week.