Muscle cars are the most coveted types of classic vehicles among Americans. And there’s a good reason for that. Classic muscle cars era represents the golden age of the American car industry. Correlation between the two is unavoidable since most people relate to American cars through the muscle car scene of the bygone era. Even a few remaining muscle cars today are well known to gearheads across the globe. Something which can’t be said about your typical American mid-size sedans or even most of domestic SUVs.
Yet, not all muscle cars have been successful. Moreover, fewer have passed the test of time. Others are mostly forgotten or simply a rare sight on modern roads. This time we’re reflecting on 10 such rare classic muscles that you’ll be hard-pressed to see on a road today. We’ll avoid the obvious rarest muscle cars ever made as it’s understandable why a three or even a two digit production number total appears once in a blue moon. The following 10 aren’t obscured, unheard of or holy grail of muscle cars. They’re simply established nameplates whose numbers have thinned down considerably – provided they were large enough to begin with.
1969-1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator
Third year of production brought some refreshing changes for the Cougar. Mustang’s stablemate received new dimensions and styling, becoming wider and longer in the process. For some reason, buyers weren’t impressed, though. Sales were poor and Mercury answered with a high-performance spring edition that sported one of the most intimidating names in automotive history. Eliminator was born and Mercury Cougar’s fortunes turned overnight.
Ford stuffed Eliminators with 290-horsepower 4-barrel version of their 351 cu in Windsor V8. That doesn’t say much. Especially considering the year was 1969. But optional engines were what counted. Boss 302 delivered the same 290 horsepower, albeit with higher rpm counter. 4-barrel 390 cu in V8 raised the output to 320 ponies and finally, the 428 cu in Cobra Jet yielded 335 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. Off all the mentioned engines, only Boss 302 was Eliminator-exclusive, though. Mercury managed to sell a total of 2,250 Eliminators in 1969 and additional 2,267 units in 1970. Latter were again redesigned, and had a new 300-hp 351 cu in Cleveland V8 as standard engine. Moreover, the venerable 390 was dropped altogether.