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1964 Pontiac GTO

Officially the "first" muscle car, Pontiac's GTO was created under the leadership of John DeLorean and promoted by Jim Wangers, two iconic GM designers, says Brauer.

The car took its name from the highly successful Ferrari GTO, but made performance accessible to the average American by packaging a large V-8 engine in a relatively small, light, inexpensive vehicle. The recipe would prove effective for every domestic car maker that followed the GTO's lead over the next 10 years.

Source: Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com || Photo: Car Culture | Getty Images