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The best, non-mainstream pony cars to own


If you a walk through a parking lot filled with aisle upon aisle of classic and antique automobiles on a cool summer evening, you’re guaranteed to find dozens of Chevrolet Camaros, Dodge Chargers and/or Ford Mustangs.

These vehicles, which symbolize some of the most desired models from the late 1960s and early 70s, are practically a dime a dozen. Sure, the market would suggest otherwise since each typically retails in excess of $30,000 if fully restored.

But why would you want something that everyone else has when you can stand out from the crowd by owning a sporty, rear-wheel drive vehicle that’s a little more obscure?

If you want a classic ride, but aren’t sure what to get to separate yourself from the pack, look no further. The following list details some of the best American pony cars that not many people at the next cruise will have.

Mercury Cougar

First-generation Mustangs are touted as one of the most iconic cars ever made, and rightfully so. And its little brother, the Cougar, is often written off as being a knock-off or completely forgotten altogether.

But, even though the two shared the same platform and mechanical parts, late 1960s Cougars are more than just a re-badged clone of the Mustang.

Instead, it’s a less common alternative that can provide all of the performance for a fraction of the price.

Older Cougars are rare enough where not too many people at the local show will have one, yet affordable enough where a fully restored one shouldn’t cost more than $25,000.

AMC Javelin

After the pony car era began in 1964 with the launch of Lee Iacocca’s Mustang, virtually every car manufacturer tried to create an affordable youth-oriented two-door model to cash in on the craze. The American Motors Corporation, though, was a little late to the party.

Whereas most began producing their own pony car shortly thereafter, AMC’s Javelin didn’t hit the market until ’68.

But it featured a sleek design and multiple engine options – ranging from a 3.8 L straight six to a 390-cu in. V8 – which helped AMC shed its reputation as the economy brand.

Though popular at the time, Javelins were only produced for six years, so finding one in good condition might be a challenge. However, they’re out there and can typically be bought for less than $20,000.

Plymouth Duster

When you think of the type of Mopar machines that tore up both the street and strip back in the day, the Road Runner and Barracuda probably come to mind.

But unless you have $40,000 lying around, getting one for your first classic car might not be feasible. That’s why the Duster, a semi-fastback coupe based on the Valiant’s platform, is the next best thing.

Like other comparable pony cars of the time, the Duster could be outfitted with a simple, inline-six that put out 145 hp. Or buyers could opt for the top-end 340 V8 with 275 hp and 340-lb-ft of torque that was good enough for a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds.

And since they’re not as sought-after as other high-powered Plymouths, you can easily find one on eBay or Craigslist for less than $15,000.

If you recently bought a classic car and need body or mechanical work done on it so it’s ready to go for the car cruise season, contact Andy’s Auto Service at 412-478-9304 to schedule a FREE estimate.


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