It's true — many of us admire high-performance vehicles from afar while only dreaming about having one of our own. But the price tags on many of our favorite classics are way too high to even consider. There are precious few, however, that have endured over the years without becoming rotten old junk piles or rare sought-after finds, and can even be found at affordable prices. Check them out!
1970 Mercury Cyclone GT
Valued today at $12,000-$19,000, the Cyclone's price tag doesn't give it nearly enough credit for the hype back in the 70's. The Mercury Cyclone features a classic, eye-catching design and a 250-hp 5L V8 engine. Though this unique car isn't for everyone, it's definitely a great find.
1973 Pontiac GTO
As the GTO model died out from Pontiac's productions, Pontiac didn't put much effort into hyping and marketing the car, and so it made a small splash without notice. This doesn't mean that it should be ignored; it sports a 6.6L V8 engine, and can be purchased today for as little as $11,000-$20,000.
1967 Mercury Cougar
Similar to the Mustang in almost all but name, the Cougar usually sells for around $15,000, though in brand new condition the price can jump up quite a bit. However, sporting a similar V8 to the Mustangs of its time, we can say for certain that this car was lost in the shadow of more popular machines.
Image by: Vanguard Motor Sales
1. Ford Accidentally Sold the First Mustang
While the first model of the Mustang was touring dealerships in Newfoundland, the car was accidentally sold in a mix-up. The buyer of model 0001, an airline pilot, kept the car for years before trading in for a newer Mustang.
2. It Could've Had a Completely Different Name
During most of its development, the Mustang was actually called the 'Cougar'. In fact, the decision on the name was a very long procedure; other names considered were the Cheetah, the Bronco, and Puma.
3. The Mustang's First Day of Sales Saw 22,000 Cars Sold
Ford's show at the World's Fair, as well as their aggressive, patriotic marketing campaign, peaked interest in a powerful American muscle car. Much like the debut of a new video game console today, dealerships were scrambling and selling out all through the first month of sales.
4. It Was Almost Switched to Front-Wheel Drive
The FWD pitches never made it to production, but there have been a few close calls. Several times, Ford has considered distancing the Mustang from RWD. Most of the designs copied Japanese innovations, but America was already in love with the old-fashioned rear-wheel-powered muscle machine.
The 410 cu in (7.0 L) can produce 345 hp (257.266 kW) at 4600 rpm and would deliver a walloping 475 ft-lb (644.01 N-m) of torque to the wheels at 2600 RPM. This variation was initially only available for the short lived Edsel in the ’58 and ’59 model year, but the Mercury Parklane is powered by the 410 engine through 1967.
The standard equipment engine for the uptown Lincoln and Continental brands is the 430 cu in (7.4 L) from 1958 through ’65. This large engine could also be ordered optionally for the smaller but still plushy equipped Mercury from ’58 until the end of the 1960 model year. The 1959 and ’60 Thunderbird could also have the 430 engine, with the alternate moniker of the MEL engine “Bulldozer”, justly applied. The 430 has a stroke of 3.7” which it shares with the 410, but the 430 bore is larger at 4.30 inches (109.2 mm). Ford takes top spot again in 1958 with the Super Marauder option for the 430 which includes three two barrel carburetors to produce 400 hp (298. 27 kW) and is the first American made production engine to achieve such a high rating. The carburetors are three Holley 2300 models for the complete three year production run although the engines 10.51:1 compression ratio in ’58 is down to a lower 10.0:1 through the 1959 model year. The horse power ratings also decline from a high point of 400 hp (261 kW) in ’58 to a low of 315hp (235 kW) throughout 1960. A Lincoln Mark III could have been optioned with a Holley 4150 four barrel carb with a 590 flow rating.
Some 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark lll came brand new with the Holly 4150 4 barrel carburetor, list1405 rated at 590 flow rate. The 430 engine has new pistons for 1963 and the new 10.1:1 compression rating kicks the horse power rating of the three two barrels back up to 345 (257 kW) in the same year.
The hot rodding life of the 430 MEL engine is not as long as the TE it is a colorful one. Bertram Yachts made a name for themselves when the twin MEL 430’s powering their ship brought them first place in the first Miami to Nassau race. Johnny Beauchamp took a photo second place in his “T”bird 430-just a hair behind Lee Petty in the 1959 Daytona 500 race. Holman Moody raced a number of Thunderbirds with the 430 under the hood and with at least one of these cars surviving until today. The supercharged Lincoln powered dragster with Rodney Singer piloting and pit crew headed by Karol Miller won the NHRA Nationals top Eliminator class in 1959. The car makes history as the first supercharged winner in NHRA history. There still may be an unknown number of these unique modified race cars still in modestly good condition. The intake manifolds, pistons and heads are major items but still undergo frequent designing changes mean there are few mass produced aftermarket speed equipment items for the 430. The specialized, Edelbrock did make a 6x2 ported manifold plus a water cooled marine manifold called the M4 and Weiand manufacture a 8x2 manifold for drag applications as well. There are/were also oversized pistons for early drag racers with blown 430’s, including the “Forged True” brand made by the now defunct Jahns Pistons. The Forged true piston is precisely 13:1 and .150 inches over standard size and were guaranteed to help make the engine purr-form at high revs. There is also a number of unsubstantiated reports of other unique and interesting ideas, add-ons and adjustments to make your 430 turn in quicker times that have been tried over the years.
In 1966 the 430 is retired and replaced by the MEL 462 cu in (7.6 L) engine which has a longer stroke and a larger bore than its predecessor. The new version has a Carter AFB four barrel carburetor with hydraulic lifters and will produce 340 hp (254 kW) while developing as much as 485 lb-ft (658 N-m) of torque. This engine is factory equipment for the Lincoln Continental and will be replaced by the Ford 385 engine family at the end of 1968.