When it was introduced in 1964, the Mustang was an interesting car with a wide range of options, but nothing about it screamed performance.
With the unprecedented popularity that the pony car gained during its first few months on the market, Ford decided to infuse some performance into the range.
By the 1970 model year, so many high-performance versions of the 'Stang were released that you couldn't blame enthusiasts for losing count.
However, apart from those high-performance Mustangs, the Blue Oval also introduced a bunch of other muscle car legends during the '60s and '70s.
1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 427
The Cougar came into being in 1967 as an upscale offering for buyers who preferred pony cars.
Though based on the Mustang's underpinnings, it featured a new body that gave it a different allure.
During the first model year, the Cougar was focused on luxury rather than performance, but that changed in 1968 with the introduction of the GT-E package.
Though it wasn't a performance package per se, adding virtually all of Mercury's top-shelf optional features to the standard or XR7 Cougar, the GT-E also happened to add a low-riser version of the legendary 427 side oiler.
Rated at 390 hp and 460 lb-ft (625 Nm) of torque, the 7.0-liter turned the 1968 GT-E into the most powerful Cougar ever produced.
The package was only available with the 427 for half of the 1968 model year, after which it was replaced by the more refined yet tamer 325-hp 428 Cobra Jet.
1969 Ford Torino Talladega
Besides battling Chrysler's Mopars for sales domination on the street during the '60s and '70s, Ford was engaged in a war with its fierce rival on NASCAR tracks.
The Blue Oval seemed to have an edge in 1968 when it won the competition with the new Fairlane-based Torino fastback.
But with the aerodynamically superior Dodge Charger Daytona set to debut in 1969, Ford answered with a new engine and a revised bodywork.
While the 429 Boss engine was homologated in the more popular Mustang, the revised body was homologated in the 1969 Ford Torino Talladega.
Developed by Ford's NASCAR partners, Holman-Moody, the Talladega came with a redesigned, sloped front end, a new bumper, hand-shaped front fenders, and rolled rocker panels - mods that no other Torino received.
Unlike the NASCAR version that moped the floor with the Daytona in the 1969 season, the street version didn't receive a Boss 429 under its matte-black hood.
Instead, it got a 428-ci (7.0-liter) Cobra Jet rated at 335 hp and 440 lb-ft (596 Nm) of torque, which, nevertheless, proved a lethal combination with the new aero improvements.
1970 Ford Torino Cobra 429 SCJ
While the first trim mixed performance with upscale features, the second was a pure, performance-focused muscle car.
By 1970, the Torino received a major redesign and became the top model, while the Fairaine was relegated to a subseries.
Apart from the redesign that made it look more aggressive, the Torino's engine lineup welcomed the return of Cobra Jet and Super Cobra Jet heavy hitters introduced in 1969.
The 1970 Torino Cobra, available only as a two-door SportsRoof (fastback) coupe, came with a standard 360-hp Thunder Jet 429 and a competition suspension package that included extra-heavy-duty front and rear springs, Gabriel shocks, and a beefier front sway bar, among other goodies.
But, checking the Drag Pak box on the options list, swapped out the Thunder Jet with the 375-hp Super Cobra Jet, turning the car into one of FoMoCo's most powerful intermediates of the muscle car era.
Available with either a standard four-speed manual or an optional three-speed automatic, this mighty engine came with four-bolt mains, forged pistons, a solid lifter cam, a 780-cfm Holley carb, and a functional Ram Air induction.
1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler 429 SCJ
Like the Mustang and the Cougar, the Cyclone and the Torino were closely related, platform-sharing models.
However, as was the case with the Cougar, the Cyclone had its own body and unique flair, often being the well-dressed version of the two.
As the performance war was heating up, Mercury decided to take advantage by developing the Spoiler - a performance-oriented version that debuted in 1968 and reached maturity two years later.
As the name implies, the 1970 Spoiler featured front and rear spoilers that complemented the flashy paint and decal combos.
Unlike the Torino Cobra, the Cyclone Spoiler came with a 370-hp 429 Cobra Jet as standard but could also be equipped with the Drag Pack option that brought the Super Cobra Jet with functional Ram-Air induction.
1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Hardtop
Since it was a Ford, looked the part, and was powered by a potent engine initially designed in the US, why not include it in this list?
The XB was the third generation (1973-1976) of the Australian Falcon range, available in all conceivable body styles, from four-door sedans to two-door utes.
However, the performance GT model available only in four-door sedan and two-door hardtop coupe styles were the most popular.
With an appearance that seemed to mix a Mustang with a Torino into one excellent package, the hardtop was the coolest of the two.
Like some of its muscle car siblings across the Pacific, the GT came with flashy colors, a more aggressive front end, a unique hood, and a potent engine to match.
Under its twin-vent hood was a 351-ci (5.4-liter) Cleveland V8 good for 300 hp. Moreover, the GT had four-wheel disc brakes, a highly-praised independent front suspension, and a standard limited-slip diff.