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AJ's Car of the Day

AJ's Car of the Day '63 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Car: Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Year: 1963

What makes it special: Chevrolet built special lightweight, high power Corvette race cars in 1963 specifically to defeat the Ford Cobra on the road racing circuit. Concerned about Ford and what they were doing with the Shelby Cobra, Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov's program included plans to build 125 Grand Sport Corvettes to make them eligible for international Grand Touring races. After GM executives learned of the secret project, the program was stopped. Of the five cars that were built, all have survived and are in private collections, and are among the most coveted and valuable Corvettes ever built, not so much for what they accomplished, but rather for what might have been.

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AJ's Car of the Day '63 Bill Thomas Cheetah Coupe

Car: Bill Thomas Cheetah Coupe

Year: 1963

What makes it special: The Cheetah was a short-lived sports car built from 1963-1966 by Chevrolet performance tuner Bill Thomas as competition to Carroll Shelby's Cobra. Thomas gained covert support from GM in 1963 through their Performance Product Group to develop a concept vehicle. Financing for the project came from private investors including Thomas himself and a Rialto, California Chevrolet dealer.

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AJ's Car of the Day '65 Shelby Cobra 427

Car: Shelby Cobra 427

Year: 1965

What makes it special: The late Carroll Shelby’s Cobra combined a classic aluminum roadster body with a tube space frame and lightweight American V8 engine. Shelby Cobra’s donor chassis came from Britain's AC Ace, which was going out of production. Shelby tapped into his Ford connections to originally use their lightweight 260 V8, and managed to get both sides to agree that sports car would be manufactured under the Shelby name. 

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AJ's Car of the Day '69 AMC AMX 390 "Go-Pak"

Car: American Motors Corporation AMX 390 "Go-Pak"

Year: 1969

What makes it special: The name origin of AMX ("American Motors eXperimental" ) was a code used on a concept vehicle and then on two prototypes shown on the company's "Project IV" automobile show tour in 1966. Introduced to the public five months after the Javelin and other 1968 AMC cars, the AMX was also the only mass-produced, domestic two-seater to share the market with Chevrolet’s Corvette since the 1957 Thunderbird, but with a short 97 in wheelbase, the AMX's direct competition was the one-inch longer Chevrolet Corvette. The AMX was designed to appeal to both muscle car and sports car enthusiasts, which were two camps that rarely acknowledged each other's existences at the time.

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AJ's Car of the Day '69 Ford Mustang Boss 429

Car: Ford Mustang Boss 429

Year: 1969

What makes it special: The Boss 429 was the high performance Ford Mustang offered in 1969 and 1970, and is one of the rarest and most valued muscle cars of all time. There were a total of 859 original Boss 429's produced. The Boss 429's origins came about as a result of NASCAR, when Ford sought to develop their own Hemi V8 engine that could compete with the famed 426 Hemi from Chrysler in NASCAR's "Grand National Division". Homologation rules from NASCAR required that at least 500 cars be fitted with this motor and sold to the general public. Ford decided that the Mustang would be the car that would house this new engine.

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AJ's Car of the Day '64 Chevrolet Chevelle 300 Series Wagon

Car: Chevrolet Chevelle 300 Series Wagon

Year: 1964

What makes it special: The Chevelle was added to Chevrolet's line-up in 1964, and was intended to compete with the Ford Fairlane. The two-door station wagon was available in 1964 and 1965 in the base 300 series, and Six-cylinder and V8 power was offered across the board.

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AJ's Car of the Day '70 Plymouth Sport Fury GT

Car: Plymouth Sport Fury GT

Year: 1970

What makes it special: Starting with the prior year model, 1970 models featured Chrysler's new round-sided "Fuselage" styling. For 1970, a new hardtop coupe was added to the Sport Fury range. This was available in "GT" trim. The Sport Fury GT was part of Plymouth's "Rapid Transit System" of Muscle cars.

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AJ's Car of the Day '60 Ford Galaxie Two-door Ranch Wagon

Car: Ford Galaxie Two-Door Ranch Wagon

Year: 1960

What makes it special: The 1960 Ford looked all-new with twin headlights riding in a scalloped-square front clip. The Station Wagon Series continued with Country Sedan, Country Squires and Ranch Wagon models. They now had a futuristic, sleek look. Round taillights were replaced by half-moon shaped taillights for 1960 only. There were smaller tailfins just like other models of the industry, capturing the new Space Race obsession.

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AJ's Car of the Day '73 AMC Gremlin X Levi's Edition

Car: AMC Gremlin X Levi's Edition

Year: 1973

What makes it special: 1973 was the first year for the now collectible Levi's Trim Package, which consisted of special Blue Jeans spun nylon fabric seat coverings, door inserts and map storage pockets on the door panels. Orange stitching, copper rivets and Levi's tags added to the effect. Also, a "Levi's" trademark emblem on the front fenders identified Gremlin's with this specially ordered package.

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AJ's Car of the Day '74 Pontiac Trans Am SD455

Car: Pontiac Trans Am SD ( Super Duty ) 455

Year: 1974

What makes it special: When Pontiac created what would become their top dog second generation F-body equipped with a near race specification 455 V8, they referred to it as "Super Duty," harking back to the drag race special Catalina's and Ventura's of the early 1960's. The 1974 models featured a redesigned "shovel-nose" front end and new wide "slotted" taillights. The Super Duty was available for both Formula Firebirds and Trans Am models for late 1973 as well as 1974.

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AJ's Car of the Day '73 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Car: Chevrolet Camaro Z28  

Year: 1973

What makes it special: The 1973 model year brought a standard impact-absorbing front bumper system to meet new no-damage standards in 5 miles per hour NHTSA safety legislation. The Rally Sport option with its chrome bumperettes on either side of an impact absorbing urethane grill surround was continued for one more year due to creative bracing behind the front sheet metal. A better-appointed interior, full instrumentation, Rally-style wheels, variable-ratio steering, sport mirrors, and hidden windshield wipers, were among other upgrades.

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AJ's Car of the Day '72 Mercury Comet GT

Car: Mercury Comet GT

Year: 1972

What makes it special: Starting in 1971, the Comet name was revived on Mercury's version of Ford's Maverick compact, sharing most of its sheet-metal with it. The Comet used a different grille, taillights and hood and different badging. Comet's taillight pods were shared with the 1970 and 1971 Mercury Montego and Cyclone models.

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AJ's Car of the Day '73 Dodge Dart Sport 340

Car: Dodge Dart Sport 340

Year: 1973

What makes it special: For 1973, Dodge's Demon fastback was renamed the Dart Sport in response to religious groups' complaints about the '"Demon" name and "Devil-with-Pitchfork" logo.The high-performance model was called the Dart Sport 340, and saw styling changes to go along with the name change. The Dart Sport received the same new front end as the other Darts, and its taillights were changed to two lights per side, each with a chrome trim ring. These would remain unchanged through the 1976 model year.

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AJ's Car of the Day '74 Pontiac GTO Hatchback Coupe

Car: Pontiac GTO Hatchback Coupe

Year: 1974

What makes it special: In 1974, when looking for an entry into the compact muscle market that was being dominated by Plymouth's Duster 360, Ford Maverick Grabber and AMC's Hornet X, Pontiac moved its GTO option to the compact Pontiac Ventura, which shared its basic body shell and sheet metal with Chevrolet's Nova model. The GTO option was available in both the base Ventura and Ventura Custom lines as either a two-door Sedan or Hatchback. It was only available in this version for that year.

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AJ's Car of the Day '67 Pontiac Firebird Ram-Air 400 Coupe

Car: Pontiac Firebird Ram-Air 400 Coupe

Year: 1967

What makes it special: Pontiac's upmarket version of Chevrolet's Camaro Pony Car debuted mid-1967. Brought to market under John Z. DeLorean's helm at Pontiac, the original Firebird offered deluxe accessories in addition competitive Pony Car performance. Only 65 "Ram Air" Firebirds were built in 1967, equipped with 45 manual and 20 automatic transmissions.

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AJ's Car of the Day '69 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible

Car: Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible

Year: 1969

What makes it special: GT's lost their Cobra tag for 1969 and were once again marketed as just Shelby GT 350 and Shelby GT 500. The GT 350 and GT 500 for the 1969 model year received an extensive face lift, the body alone increasing in length by 4 inches, and Ford was involved with design and style decisions, with Shelby having little input. Carroll Shelby terminated his agreement with Ford in the summer of 1969.

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AJ's Car of the Day '71 Chevrolet El Camino SS 454

Car: Chevrolet El Camino SS 454

Year: 1971

What makes it special: The 1971 El Camino got fresh front-end styling that included large Power-Beam single-unit headlights, a reworked grille and bumper, and integral park/signal/marker lights. That year mandated lower-octane unleaded fuel required a reduction in engine compression, and GM's A.I.R. system, a "smog pump", was added to control tailpipe emissions. Power and performance were reduced, most notably being the famed 450 hp LS6 454 V8 was gone forever.

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AJ's Car of the Day '69 Pontiac Grand Prix Model J

Car: Pontiac Grand Prix Model J

Year: 1969

What makes it special: For 1969, Pontiac general manager John Z. DeLorean ordered the development of an all new Grand Prix based on a slightly stretched version of the intermediate GM A platform dubbed the G-body. This smaller, lighter car had its own body and Pontiac's longest ever hood. Like the previous year, this new Grand Prix would be offered only as a 2-door hardtop, while the model took elements of old Duesenberg "J" and "SJ" trim names.

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AJ's Car of the Day '62 Ford Galaxie 406 V8 "Box Top" Sedan

Car: Ford Galaxie 406 V8 "Box Top" Sedan

Year: 1962

What makes it special: It's one of the most collectible Fords from the 1960's. By the early '60's, the performance wars were peaking. Ford needed to come up with something when being faced by competition from Chevrolet's 409 as well as other larger displacement GM and Chrysler V8's. Their solution was to debut an enlarged version of their FE motor and drop it into their full-sized 1962 Galaxie model. Sized at 406 cubic inches, it was labeled as the Thunderbird 406 High-Performance V8 even though it was only available in the Galaxie.  

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AJ's Car of the Day '63 Oldsmobile Starfire Holiday Hardtop

Car: Oldsmobile Starfire Holiday Hardtop

Year: 1963

What makes it special: Oldsmbile's Starfire was the first U.S. full-sized production car to feature an automatic transmission with a console-mounted floor shifter, brushed aluminum side panels and power steering, brakes, windows and driver's seat. Styling changes for the 1963 model year included a move away from the sculpted sides of the previous years model, to a flatter, more conventional look with an exclusive squared off roofline that included a concave rear window.

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AJ's Car of the Day '63 Buick Riviera

Car: Buick Riviera

Year: 1963

What makes it special: The production Riviera shared its body shell with no other model, which was unusual for a General Motors product. It rode a shorter cruciform frame than Buick's LeSabre model, but was still slightly longer than Ford's Thunderbird model. And was about 390 pounds lighter than either.

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AJ's Car of the Day '66 Plymouth Sport Fury

Car: Plymouth Sport Fury

Year: 1966

What makes it special: Starting in 1965, Chrysler full-size cars made a comebackand the full-size Plymouth line included three special Furys: the Fury I, Fury II, and Fury III. All Fury's of this era had a square body with vertically stacked double headlights. The 1966 Fury line was face-lifted, and Sport Fury and Fury III models came loaded with options like automatic transmissions, power steering, whitewall tires with full wheel covers, stereo radios, vinyl tops, and air conditioning.

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AJ's Car of the Day '64 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport Hardtop

Car: Chevrolet Impala Super Sport

Year: 1964

What makes it special: The 1964 Chevrolet Impala added a model to the line as the Super Sport became a series that year, in either convertible or hardtop coupe form. Updated styling featured squarer corners along with a new full-width sculptured grille. Impalas again had triple taillights on each side, plus plenty of brightwork. Super Sports had front bucket seats, and a console with floor gearshift when equipped with a 4-speed manual or Powerglide transmission.

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AJ's Car of the Day '67 427/435 Yenko Chevrolet Corvette

Car: 427/435 Yenko Chevrolet Corvette

Year: 1967

What makes it special: Canonsburg, Pennsylvania's Yenko Chevrolet was one of largest custom muscle car shops. Don Yenko was best known for creating high-performance versions of Chevrolet muscle cars by knowing how to manipulate the almost unknown factory "Central Office Production Order" (COPO) program.

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AJ's Car of the Day '69 Baldwin-Motion Phase III Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

Car: Baldwin-Motion Phase III Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396

Year: 1969

What makes it special: Based out of Baldwin, Long Island, the partnership of Motion Performance Speed Shop and Baldwin Chevrolet produced some of the most menacing and flamboyant muscle cars ever built. Built to customers orders, the most extreme modifications were listed as "Phase III." Buyers of these modified muscle cars were given a written "money back quarter-mile performance warranty". Each car was different because they were built to what an individual customer desired.

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