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3 Classic American Muscle Cars That Won’t Break the Bank

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.


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8 thoughts on “3 Classic American Muscle Cars That Won’t Break the Bank”


  1. I like ’67 Cougars better than any comparable Mustang….I think it stems from how cool Clooney and Tarantino looked driving theirs in Dusk til Dawn.


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Ford Thunderbird 1964 Convertible

We're looking at a 1964 Ford Thunderbird Convertible. This car features a hard cover over the back seat that provides a sporty two seater look. On the rear of the car is a “Continental Kit” with a spare tire. Nice one!!


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Chevrolet Nova SS 1969-Bob’s brag


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Jaguar XKE Series I-1961 to “68

The XKE Jaguar was made between 1961 and 1974. This automobile is renowned for its good looks and high performance as well as moderate price. It rated as the top sports car of the 60’s and according to Enzo Ferrari when he first saw it – he referred to the “E” type as the most beautiful automobile he’d ever seen. The first model released was a two seat convertible roadster with a “2+2” seat version released in 1966 with a slightly longer wheel base than the roadster. The original car had only 12 units produce with only half a dozen or so left in good condition have made this a very expensive and very desirable collector’s item. The New York City Museum of Modern Art has a blue roadster in its permanent collection.
Series I
jaguar xke 1961
                            © Babar760 | Dreamstime.com - Jaguar XKE Coupe 1961 Photo
The Series I “E” type was produced from 1961 until 1968 and are powered by a 3.8 liter six cylinder Jaguar XK6 engine with a triple “SU” carburetor. The initial production car was made for export and not available in the U.K. until July 1961. The most sought after of this first production run are the earliest rare models with an external “bonnet “ (hood) latch requiring a special tool to open it as well these earliest models have  flat floor boards; a little latter into production the hood latch was moved to under the dash with the floor boards dish shaped to accommodate  peoples legs.  Leather upholstered seats are standard with leather/vinyl combination after ’63 and spoked wheels are an available option. The “E Type” features coiled rear suspension, with torsion bar front end, and four wheel disc brakes. The series one models can be identified by the glass cover over the headlights (until ’67), small grill opening, duel exhaust below the rear plate, with front  and rear turn signals above the bumpers.
In 1964 the 3.8 liter engine is up graded to a 4.2 liter version with increased torque while both engines producing 198 kW (265 bhp) brake horse power. Either engine accelerates the same and will do 0-97 km/h (0-60 mph) in about 7 seconds the increased torque of the 4.2 liter offers the operator better throttle response at lower rpm. Both engines are connected to a Moss four speed standard transmission but the 3.8 liter model does not have synchromesh into first gear while the 4.2 liter gears are fully synchromesh. The 2+2 coupe has a removable hard top and offered an automatic transmission as an option.
jaguar xke 1965
© Babar760 | Dreamstime.com - Jaguar XKE Coupe 1965 Photo
In March 1968 the “E Type” was changed slightly with the glass covering removed from the headlights and they are unofficially called “Series 1 ½” models. Also the dash switches changed slightly and the original three SU carburetors are changed to two Zenith- Stromberg carburetors for the U.S. bound models. Some of the Series 1 ½  cars have twin cooling fans and adjustable seat backs as well. Many of these changes are to conform to changing U.S. environmental and safety regulations but also is the gradual integration of features found on the Series II XKE. One of the changes made is the winged wheel knock off nut used on the U.K. vehicles requiring a special factory tool which was not allowed in the U.S. where the hexagonal nuts are required.  Many collectors have modified this “upgraded feature” back to the original knock off wing nut style. The hexagonal nut becomes a standard feature in the Series II and III vehicles.


2 thoughts on “Jaguar XKE Series I-1961 to “68”


    1. Henry
      tell what is a muscle car or what you would like to read-I will oblige you but for me I would say the XKE is a sports car with muscle and I like any vehicle that performs well-I like to offer my readers a VARIETY of knowledge on any vehicle with POWER-including lesser powered models of American cars to give an over view of the high profile models
      Web definitions-this is a British dictionary definition of “muscle car”
      Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as “any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving. …
      Thanks for the feedback Editor musclecarfan-you can call me Ross-or Joe-just don’t call me late for dinner


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Ford Mustang California Special 1968

The now coveted California Special or Mustang GT/CS arrived at dealers in the middle of February 1968, and Ford assembled the last unit in early August of the same year. The original production order called for 5,000 units, but only 4,118 were actually produced, which included 251 that Ford rebadged as the “High Country Special ’68” and sold in Colorado.

Mustang California Special 1968 (2)

 Ford expected strong entries in the pony class for the ’68 model year, with formidable competition coming from the Camaro, Trans Am, Javelin, and the Mercury Cougar, even from Ford’s own Torino. In the continental United States, 20 percent of Mustang and Thunderbird sales, 1965 through ‘67, took place in California, which gave the dealers’ organization a lot of clout back in the head office. These retailers collectively tried a number of special or unique options in an attempt to create a California-exclusive Mustang.

Mustang California Special 1968 (3)

Ford’s Southern California district sales manager at the time was Lee Gray, and he was always looking for a way to increase Ford sales in his area. Gray and the dealerships agreed the California Special presented a possible solution for the dealers’ needs and would also help Ford meet the upcoming competition head on.

Mustang California Special 1968 (1)

The national catchphrase for marketing was “Only Mustang makes it happen.” but for the ’68 model year, it became “California made it happen” for the limited-edition Mustang GT/CS.

Mustang California Special 1968 (4)

In 1969, there was the Mustang GT package, but the California Special GT/CS was a model name; this car may or may not have had the GT package. The GT/CS option included fog lamps, DZUS hood pins, spring-loaded gas cap, side scoops, a rear deck lid-mounted spoiler with end caps, non-sequential Thunderbird taillights, side stripes with GT/CS inscribed, plus the lengthwise double stripe on the rear deck and on the hood. The GT/CS was available in any Mustang color, but the stripes were only in metallic medium blue, red, black, or white.

Mustang California Special 1968 (7)

 Any other non-conflicting Mustang package would complete the California Special trim option, including engine and powertrain combinations, but most CS units had a two-barrel carburetor on the 289-cubic-inch (4.74L) engine coupled to the C-4 automatic transmission; the 427/C6 combination wasn’t available for any Mustang in ’68. There were very few units assembled with a 390 and the 428 Cobra Jet engines under the hood, making them extremely rare today..

Mustang California Special 1968 (6)

Lee Gray was already forming a plan to help his dealers when he attended an auto show in August ’67 held at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The pre-release name for the soon-to-be Shelby GT-500 prototype was ‘Little Red” and got its power from a supercharged 428 bolted to the C-6 automatic transmission. This first Shelby-made vehicle was eventually destroyed. The vehicle was testing the waters for the release of an ultimate high-performance machine, but Gray saw many features he wanted to incorporate in his California market special-release vehicle. At a later meeting with Lee Iaccoca, they decided to have Dearborn fine-tune a limited-production Mustang called the GT/SC. But this later changed to GT/CS, with the CS standing for California Special.

The GT/CS was the first prototype Carroll Shelby engineered, but while Little Red was on display, he was at work on a second prototype, the EXP-500, later known as the Green Hornet, which still exists today. It’s anybody’s guess, but the original name for the California Special was GT/SC, which stood for “sport coupe,” but it also could have stood for Carroll Shelby. What did CS really stand for?

Mustang California Special 1968 (5)


One thought on “Ford Mustang California Special 1968”



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