If you're looking for the 10 best 1970's muscle cars, the decade was not kind to the classic muscle car. In 1973, the OPEC oil embargo led to emissions controls. Engine ratios lowered, the Hemi was discontinued and luxury cars replaced the once popular muscle cars on assembly lines. In the three years before muscle cars died a sudden death there were a number of muscle cars that set the standard for the great muscle machines.
- 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda. Drag racers used the 1971 Hemi Barracuda and helped generate the popularity of the car but the Hemi option was only available in 108 hardtops. Seven other engines were offered for the 1971 model but none matched the power of the Hemi. The Hemi was 426 cubic inches, 425 hp and hit up to 4000 rpm.
- 1970 GTO Judge. The Judge was originally introduced in 1969 but it was not until 1970 Pontiac allowed their biggest engines be featured in it. The 1970 GTO featured a 455 cubic inch V-8, rated at 370 hp. 1970 was the only year Pontiac allowed buyers to choose the 455 or a Ram Air IV engine. The Ram Air IV also allowed buyers to choose a three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission or a four-speed manual gearbox.
- 1970 Buick Skylark GSX. Buick only made 678 1970 GSX muscle cars. The car possesses a four-barrel V8 and a hood-mounted hatch specific to the GSX model. The car came in Saturn Yellow or Apollo White. It was Buick’s special limited edition car in 1970 and a rare find today thanks to the low production number.
- 1970 Chevelle SS-454. Chevy was looking for a way to keep their classic Chevelle in the muscle car race and to do it they added more cubic inches under the hood. With the new 454-cid big-block V8, the Chevelle moved from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds and raced the quarter mile in 13.81 seconds. Only 3,773 of the SS coupes and convertibles built in 1970 had the 454-cid V8.
- 1974 Pontiac Trans Am SD 455. The emissions laws were passed and the muscle cars were driving off into the sunset but Pontiac did not seem to care. It was the 1977 model that became famous thanks to the movie “Smokey and the Bandit,” but the 1974 remains the better car. This 1974 model had a big engine and kept the muscle car revolution alive for one more year.
- 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2/W-30 hardtop. GM mandated that no A-bodied cars were allowed to have an engine exceeding 400-cid. The 4-4-2 is the answer to that. The W-30 version contained a 370-hp engine and handled better than most muscle cars of the era. The car was capable of 0-to-60 in under six seconds and quarter-mile runs of 14.36 seconds.
- 1971 Challenger R/T Hemi. The Challenger had a small body but the standard 383-cid Magnum V-8 made it a huge muscle car in a tiny body. This motor could rate up to 250 hp. Only 71 of the Challengers were fitted with a 426-cid Street Hemi during the last year for the Challenger R/T models.
- 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird. Designers created the Superbird for use on NASCAR Grand National Speedway oval tracks. The most popular engine was the 440-cid Super Commando V-8, rated at 375 hp. The fastest cars used the twin four-barrel Street Hemi, only available in 135 of the Superbirds produced.
- 1971 Boss 351 Mustang. The 1971 model Mustangs were Ford’s largest. The wheelbase increased to 109 inches, length grew to 189.5 inches and width grew to 74.1 inches. This allowed the car to fit the 429-cid big block V-8. With the new emissions standards coming, Mustang was quick to move on and this was the last Boss Mustang, with 1973 marking the end of the big Mustangs altogether.
- 1970 Torino Cobra 429. The Cobra is compared to the Charger and the Superbird and it replaced the Fairlane fastbacks. The Torino Cobra is the top of the line Torino with a 385 series big-block 429. Only 7,675 were produced compared to 56,819 Torino GT's.
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