Legendary classic cars can be a great investment. Over the years, some of the world’s most iconic vehicles have skyrocketed in value. Whether that’d be a low mileage Ferrari F40 or a Verde Lamborghini Miura Super Veloce, the majority of these cars were always the center of attention.
On the other hand, some cars that perform better than the icons of the automotive world were simply overshadowed by their popular rivals. In effect, these great-performing vehicles fell between the cracks. How many of these cars have you heard about?
AMC Hornet SC/360
In 1971, AMC released a souped-up variant of the compact Hornet. Although the car already featured a V8 motor for the previous model year, this time the American manufacturer fitted the 2-door compact with a 360 cubic inch 5.9L V8. Much like Plymouth, AMC decided to take a cheap-to-make platform and replace the motor with a giant, powerful V8 engine instead.
The 1971 AMC Hornet fitted with the 5.9L V8 peaked at 245 horsepower, though an optional Go package bumped up the power by 40 more horsepower. All that performance was available for $40 less than the previously mentioned Plymouth Duster.
Buick Gran Sport 455
The Gran Sport fitted with the massive 455-cubic inch V8 powerplant was first introduced for the 1970 model year. Unfortunately, the muscle car was overshadowed by its competitors, such as the Ford Mustang Boss 302, the Chevy Chevelle, or the Oldsmobile 442 that were all on the market the same year.
Nonetheless, the Buick Gran Sport 455 deserves an equal amount of attention. The base model was rated at 350 horsepower, a stage one trim bumped the power by an additional 10 horsepower. Today, the Gran Sport is available at a fraction of the cost of its popular competitors.
The Ferrari Mondial isn’t exactly as overlooked as some of the other cars included in this list. However, it is the cheapest classic Ferrari you can buy right now.
The Mondial is available as either a coupe or a convertible. Either way, the sports car is equipped with a powerful V8 under the hood. The earlier models peak at 214 horsepower, whilst the newer ones can produce up to 300 horsepower, resulting in a 5.6-second long sprint to 60 miles per hour.
The 1970s saw the global oil crisis that affected carmakers around the world. Due to the ongoing crisis, Porsche executives decided to add a grand tourer to the lineup, as the 911 wasn’t particularly fuel-efficient. The Porsche 928 was supposed to replace the iconic 911 and become Porsche’s new flagship model.
The German automaker ended up continuing the production of the 911 sports car, and the 928 ended up being overshadowed by the flagship, despite equally impressive performance figures. In fact, the base model was powered by a 237-horsepower 4.5L water-cooled V8 motor. The souped-up S4 variant can accelerate to 60 miles per hour in just 5.5 seconds!
1987 marked the final year of production of the second generation Buick Regal. Buick decided to cease production in style and called McLaren for help. The American automaker built 547 units of the GN with a special interior trim. The cars were then sent over to McLaren, where they were upgraded further. The final product was the limited Buick GNX.
The cooperation between Buick and McLaren proved successful in terms of performance. The 1987 Buick GNX could outrun a Ferrari F40 from the same year! The GNX could sprint to 60 miles per hour in just 4.6 seconds, thanks to its 300-horsepower V8 beneath the hood.
1970 marked the end of the 5-year long production run of the second-generation Buick Wildcat. In order to stop the sales from plummeting, the American manufacturer introduced an all-new engine variant for the Wildcat’s final year. Buick fitted the 455-cubic inch big-block V8 (found in the previously mentioned Gran Sport, for example) under the hood of the Wildcat. The stylish muscle car peaked at a whopping 370 horsepower.
The 1970 Wildcat was available in 3 different body styles, all of which were custom. The second-gen Wildcat, unlike most muscle cars from its era, provided a great balance of luxury and performance.
Mazda RX7- 2nd Generation
The second generation of the Mazda RX7 is a great sports car that’s largely overlooked in favor of its successor, the third-gen RX7 FD. Unlike its successor, the second generation of the RX7 features a more boxy and classic exterior styling, yet the 2-door coupe is fitted with a similar Wankel rotary engine.
In its most powerful variant, the second generation Mazda RX7 is equipped with a turbocharged 1.3L rotary that produces around 180 horsepower. As the car weighs below 3000 pounds, its rotary engine can send it to 60 miles per hour in just 7.2 seconds! Over 250,000 units were made in total, and they can be bought a lot cheaper than the newer RX7 FD.
Toyota Supra Mk. III
Similar to the second-generation Mazda RX7, the Mark 3 Toyota Supra was overshadowed by its successor as well as its predecessor. Today, the Mark 4 is one of the most popular JDM cars of the 90s, whilst the Mark 2 is an icon of the early 1980s.
The Mark 3 Supra certainly deserves some credit, too. The 2-door coupe produces 300 horsepower from its optional turbocharged 3.0L flat-six, while the base model is equipped with a naturally-aspirated 2.0L motor. The souped-up variant has next to no lag from the turbocharger!
The Pontiac 2+2 was known as the big brother of the immensely popular Pontiac GTO. The massive 2-door coupe was also available as a convertible. The mighty 2+2 got its name from its seating capacity, 2 occupants in the front plus an extra 2 in the rear.
Back in the 1960s, the 2+2 was a great high-performance machine. The car was powered by a 421 cu in 6.9L V8 engine, naturally-aspirated of course. The Pontiac 2+2 peaked at 376 horsepower, resulting in a 7-second sprint to 60 miles per hour.
Mercury Comet Cyclone
The Mercury Comet Cyclone is a stunning 2-door muscle car introduced by Mercury, a division of Ford, for the 1964 model year. Despite being a great car for its time, it was largely overshadowed by its successor, the Cougar.
For its first model year, the Comet Cyclone was powered by a 210-horsepower 289 cubic inch V8. Just two years later, Ford introduced a second generation. The base model received a power bump up to 265 horsepower. A more powerful GT trim was launched for the second-gen, which featured a 335 horsepower 390 cubic inch V8, along with enhancements such as a fiberglass hood.
Ford Torino Talladega
NASCAR is the sole reason why the Ford Torino Talladega exists in the first place. Back in 1969, Ford had to make at least 500 units of the souped-up Torino Talladega to compete in NASCAR. A few years earlier, the race officials introduced a new homologation rule that required carmakers to create (and sell on the public market) at least half a thousand units of a vehicle in order to compete in the races.
It’s believed that Ford only built around 750 units of the Torino Talladega, all of which were produced in the first few weeks of 1969. The powerful 2-door muscle car can sprint to 60 miles per hour in just 5.8 seconds, and reach a top speed of 130mph.
Ford Falcon 429 Cobra Jet
Wait a minute, wasn’t the Ford Falcon a great-selling vehicle? Sure, the base model was. In fact, it was sold in Australia from 1960 all the way through to 2016, with over 3 million units sold in total. Despite the impressive sales figures of the Falcon, there was one variant that’s a forgotten jewel.
The Ford Falcon 429 Cobra Jet was only produced in 1970, during the final year of the Falcon’s 11-year long US production run. The great-looking muscle car was available with the massive 7.0L 429 cubic inch V8 under the muscular hood. Unfortunately, a decline in sales and failure to meet new, restrictive safety regulations ultimately led to discontinuing the model in the US after 1970.
Plymouth Duster 340
The 1970 Duster 340 was the effect of a rather simple formula. In order to create a budget-friendly muscle car, Plymouth utilized a platform that was cheap to build and replaced the existing powerplant with a roaring V8. In effect, the 1970 Plymouth Duster equipped with a 340 cubic inch V8 was available for just $2,547 at the time, or around $17,000 adjusted for inflation.
Officially, the 340 cu in V8 under the hood was rated at 275 horsepower. Owners of the car quickly noticed that their Dusters actually peaked at around 325hp. Unfortunately, the affordable Duster was overshadowed by its competitors.
Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 442
The Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser may look familiar. The car starred as Eric Foreman’s vehicle in That ’70s Show. However, the variant featured in the popular sitcom did not pack a 442 cubic inch V8 under the hood, and was a base model instead.
The souped-up Vista Cruiser was sold between 1970 and 1972. Under the hood was a powerful 442 cu. in. naturally-aspirated V8 taken from the Oldsmobile 442 muscle car. The addition of a powerful V8 suddenly turned a station wagon into an exciting machine.
Toyota MR2- 2nd Generation
The Toyota MR2 is a great, budget-friendly sports car. This small car features either a 2.0L or a 2.2L engine mounted in the middle, a low center of gravity, and sporty styling. However, it was always overshadowed by other Japanese sports cars of the 1990s.
The US variant of the turbocharged Toyota MR2 produces 200 horsepower. The turbo trim was only available with a 5-speed manual transmission in the United States. The MR2 Turbo could reach 60 miles per hour in just 6.1 seconds.
Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1
In 1976, Volkswagen revolutionized the compact car market. The idea of a hot hatch was not first introduced with the Golf GTI, though the Golf was arguably one of the most notable.
The tiny compact was powered by a 1.6L flat-four motor that produced 90 horsepower (115 in the European variant). Though that may not sound like much, the sprint to 60 miles per hour took just 8 seconds due to a very light body. Back in the ’80s, those were impressive numbers for a compact car!
Pontiac Turbo Trans AM
The Pontiac Turbo Trans AM was a turbocharged variant of the third-gen Trans AM. Produced in 1989, the TTA was the absolute definition of the 1980s in every way. Anything from the exterior styling all the way to the subtle details inside of the vehicle is a constant reminder of the eighties.
Under the hood, the Turbo Trans AM packed a 300-horsepower turbocharged V6. In effect, the TTA could sprint to 60 miles per hour in only 4.6 seconds.
1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala
The seventh-generation Impala is far from being the prettiest car ever made. In fact, the SS variant could be one of the ugliest muscle cars of all time. On the other hand, its tame looks paired with exceptional performance are exactly what makes the 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala a proper sleeper, and a great under-the-radar muscle car.
While the base model already isn’t that slow, the souped-up SS trim takes the 4-door Impala sedan to a whole new level. It’s powered by the same LT1 V8 motor found in the Corvette and Camaro from the same era! It’s a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The Syclone is a powerful pickup truck based on the GMC Sonoma. The sporty truck was made by GMC in 1991, with less than 3,000 units sold in total. Until fairly recently, the Syclone was often overlooked by car enthusiasts.
Back when GMC first unveiled the Syclone, it was the fastest production pickup truck ever made. Unlike the majority of the cars on this list, the Syclone isn’t powered by a V8 motor. In fact, it got its 280 horsepower from a 4.3L turbo V6 engine. In effect, the little truck could sprint to 60 miles per hour in just 4.3 seconds!
Chevrolet 454 SS
When asked about Chevy’s 454 cubic inch V8, most car enthusiasts instantly think of the legendary Chevrolet Chevelle or the El Camino fitted with that powerful big-block motor. However, the Chevrolet 454 SS produced between 1990 and 1993 is often overlooked in favor of the GMC Syclone.
Without a doubt, the Chevrolet 454 SS was a great pickup truck for its time. The big-block V8 motor fitted beneath the hood packed 230 horsepower. Though that may not sound like an awful lot today, don’t forget that Chevy’s massive engine was fitted in the automaker’s smallest pickup truck platform available at the time. What could be more fun than a relatively small truck powered by a V8?
Saab 900 Turbo
Back in the 1970s, Saab was a leader among carmakers known for manufacturing high-quality cars equipped with the latest tech. The 700 released at the end of the decade was no different. Its turbocharged variant, for a brief amount of time right after the release of the car, was the only turbocharged non-sports car in production. Note that this was back when turbocharged engines were nowhere near as common as they are today.
The newer, improved models received a power bump up to 185 horsepower, which was plentiful for its class. Both coupe and convertible body styles were available.
Chevrolet Corvette C4
The fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette was never a favorite among die-hard ‘Vette fans. After all its predecessor, the C3 Corvette Stingray, is likely one of the best-looking American cars of all time. Not to mention the original Corvette pictured above, which undeniably does look a lot more stylish than the C4 next to it.
Despite having arguably cooler predecessors and successors, the C4 Corvette remains a great sports car. The manual variant of the post-facelift C4 featured a 330-horsepower LT4 V8 powerplant, while the automatic version packed a 300-horsepower LT1 V8.
Unlike most of the cars on this list, the vehicle pictured above was made in Britain. The Interceptor is a grand tourer produced by Jensen for 10 years starting in 1966. Although the stylish vehicle was made by a British automaker, the body was designed by the Italian Carrozzeria Touring.
The Jensen Interceptor ticks all of the boxes. The small Grand Tourer looks as stylish as most Italian cars from the same era, the interior resembles what could be found on a Rolls Royce or a Bentley, and the vehicle is fitted with a powerful V8 under the hood.
The Spitfire is a small sports car produced by Triumph, a British automaker, between 1962 and 1980. Despite classy exterior styling and exceptional performance for its price, the Spitfire was never really as popular as its competitors.
During the car’s 18-year long production run, Triumph managed to create 5 different generations of the Spitfire. The rarest of them all, the second generation pictured above, was powered by a tiny flat-four that produced 67 horsepower. With a 14.7 second sprint to 60 miles per hour, the Spitfire was not exactly quick.
Much like the previously mentioned Triumph Spitfire, the Triumph TR6 was never as popular as its competitors sold by other automakers. The vehicle was only produced for 8 years starting in 1968, it was only available as a 2-door roadster with just one available engine option.
The tiny TR6 is powered by a 2.5L flat-six. Much like the Spitfire, its body is extremely light at just below 2,500 lb. The small TR6 was a lot quicker than the Spitfire, it could reach 60 miles per hour in just 8.2 seconds and had a top speed of 120mph.
Mercedes-Benz 450 SL
This generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL was in production between 1971 and 1989. Back then, it was the only roadster available in the entire Mercedes-Benz lineup. Despite beautiful styling and a powerful engine under the bonnet, the R107 generation of the SL was always overshadowed by its predecessor.
Today, the classic R107 is beginning to skyrocket in value. However, you could still pick one up for below $15,000. The 450 SL featured a 4.5L V8 that produced 225 horsepower, resulting in an 8.5-second sprint to 60 miles per hour and a top speed of 133.5 mph.
Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is anything but a rare vehicle. In fact, during its 19-year long production run, nearly 450,000 units were built at the German plant alone, as well as 41,000 more units that were made at the Brazil production line.
The Karmann Ghia is arguably one of the most beautiful cars of its time. However, it was always overshadowed by the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, over 23 million units of the Beetle were built compared with a mere 500,000 of the Karmann Ghia.
Before the Cougar became a personal luxury car for the model’s third generation in 1974, the 2-door vehicle was classified as a pony car. The first generation of the stylish 2-door Cougar was closely related to the first-gen Ford Mustang. The Cougar was produced as the Mustang’s counterpart marketed under the Mercury brand, sharing many of the car’s components.
In effect, the first-gen Cougar is essentially a great, more affordable alternative to the first-generation Ford Mustang. At first, the vehicle even was even offered with a selection of optional V8 motors that were exclusive to the Cougar. In its most powerful variant, the first-gen Cougar produced 320 horsepower.
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
The fourth generation of the Ford Mustang was never a favorite among car buyers. Just like the Chevrolet Camaro from the same era, the fourth-gen Mustang followed a weird design language. In effect, the fourth-gen Mustang was overlooked in favor of its predecessor, the Foxbody, or the following fifth-gen.
Until fairly recently, the fourth-gen Mustang was a great bargain, especially the rare SVT Cobra. The high-performance SVT Cobra based on the fourth-generation Mustang featured a supercharged 4.6L V8 that peaked at 390 horsepower, resulting in a 4.7-second sprint to 60 miles per hour.
This entry-level Maserati Biturbo was first introduced by the Italian automaker for the 1981 model year. The stylish series of affordable sports cars under the Biturbo name was nothing short of a proper Maserati, available for just a fraction of the cost.
The most powerful variant of the Biturbo, the Biturbo Racing, came powered by a 2.0L V6 that produced 281 horsepower. On the other hand, the base model featured a 178-horsepower V6 engine.
BMW 3-Series (E30)
While the souped-up E30 M3 variant of the BMW 3-Series is largely popular, its base model counterpart is forgotten about. The E30 is the second generation of the 3-Series, which had been in production between 1982 and 1994.
As standard, the base model E30 3-Series came fitted with an 89-horsepower inline-four. The E30 325, a more sporty variant, was powered by a 168-horsepower 2.5L inline-six. In effect, the E30 325 could sprint to 60 miles per hour in just around 7 seconds.
The Ford Ranchero is a great-looking pickup truck produced between 1957 and 1979. Unlike the vast majority of pickup trucks, the Ranchero was built on the platform of a 2-door station wagon, hence both the bed and the cab are integrated into the body. Despite the Ranchero being a great-looking pickup, it was always overshadowed by the Chevrolet El Camino.
The final seventh-generation was equipped with one of three different V8 motors, ranging from a 302 cubic inch 4.9L up to a massive 400 cubic inch 6.6L naturally-aspirated V8.
Much like the previously mentioned Volkswagen Golf GTI Mark 1, the Honda CRX is an exciting take on the otherwise boring world of compact cars. Although the car was based on the Civic, the CRX featured a lower, sportier body as well as only 2 seats.
The stock four-cylinder engine rated at 140 horsepower was just enough for the little compact, as the CRX weighed only around 1800 pounds in total. Today, the car is praised for its great handling and fuel efficiency, as well as unique styling.
Back when it was released as Porsche’s new flagship model, the 914 was heavily criticized. The car was made in cooperation with Volkswagen and packed a 100-horsepower flat-four fitted as standard, as well as an optional flat-six rated at 110 horsepower. Though that does not sound like much, the lightweight 914 had a low center of gravity and perfect weight distribution to enhance handling.
Today, the Porsche 914 is becoming more popular than ever. The value of this small sports car is skyrocketing, and it is nearly as sought-after as the legendary 911.
It’s very likely that you’ve never heard of the Lamborghini Jalpa unless you’re a die-hard fan of vintage Italian supercars. While the world’s first supercar, the Lamborghini Miura, or the extravagant Countach are both considered one of the greatest cars of all time, the Jalpa was never appreciated as much.
The Jalpa was Lamborghini’s entry-level vehicle sold between 1981 through 1988. Only 410 units were made in total! Surprisingly, the entry-level Jalpa was fitted with a V8 motor rather than a V12. Despite less than 500 units sold, the Jalpa remains the second most successful V8 car produced by the Italian automaker.
Back in the 1960s, the now-defunct Oldsmobile was a leader in the automotive market in the United States. The Toronado, first released for the 1966 model year, was a stylish 2-door coupe fitted with the latest stylish features at the time.
What’s surprising about the first-gen Oldsmobile Toronado is that the American manufacturer decided to equip this vehicle with a front-wheel-drive drivetrain, unlike most of the competitors. Under the hood, earlier units of the Toronado packed a 425 cubic inch 7.0L V8, while the units built after 1970 were powered by a 455 cubic inch V8 rated at 375 horsepower as standard.
At first glance, the stylish Reatta might remind you of the previously mentioned Mazda RX7 FC. In the late 1980s, Buick released this stylish 2-seater in both coupe and drop-top body variants. The sporty Reatta was the American automaker’s first 2-seater ever. However, it was always overshadowed by other models from the Buick lineup, such as the Riviera.
Due to its small size, a low center of gravity, and a low curb weight of just around 3,500 pounds, the Reatta handled like a proper sports car. What’s more, its 3.8L V6 gave the Reatta a proper kick, too.
The Subaru XT ticked all of the boxes to become a Japanese icon of the 1980s. It had all of the retro styling inside and out, pop-up headlights, and a once-advanced digital dashboard. Not to mention, the XT is a small 2-door coupe with Subaru’s world-class all-wheel-drive drivetrain. What’s more, 2.7L flat-six delivered plenty of power for this small coupe.
Despite all of this, it seems as if the XT was completely forgotten about by automotive enthusiasts. It was quickly overshadowed by other Japanese sports cars of the 80s. Today, the XT is a great under-the-radar JDM car.
We wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of the Vector W8. This extravagant supercar, built by American automaker Vector Aeromotive Corporation at the end of the 1980s, had a short 4-year long production run. What’s more, Vector only managed to sell 22 units of the W8 within those 4 years.
The idea behind the W8 was to create a high-tech supercar that would be ahead of its time, all by utilizing aeronautical technology and materials. Today, the Vector W8 is a sought-after V8-powered supercar that’s largely forgotten about.
The Noble M600 is the newest car on this list. It’s not particularly vintage or classic just yet, in fact, it’s been on the market since the 2011 model year. Despite not exactly fitting in as a classic car, it can definitely be classified as an underappreciated car that’s been forgotten about.
The M600 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 motor derived from Volvo. The 650-horsepower M600 could reach 60 miles per hour in just 3.0 seconds, as well as a top speed of 220 miles per hour.