1964 Chevrolet Impala SS
A popular choice for both Impala freaks and hip-hop stars alike. Bump it, but when you're hitting the switches in your six-four, don't forget to pay attention to the road: That 6.7-liter V-8 won't roast tires all by itself.
1965 Pontiac GTO
The hot, high-winding version of a teacher's car, the '65 GTO sported classy stacked headlights and a 360-hp 389. All you need to change is gas, tires, and oil.
1966 Jaguar XJ13
Built to take on Ferrari at Le Mans, the V-12-powered XJ13 was the last old-school hurrah by Coventry's competition department. It never saw production and never raced, and the sole prototype burned to the ground in testing (it was later rebuilt). Wanna go play Norman Dewis?
1969 Pontiac GTO Judge
It may have been named for a comedy routine on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, but the Judge was no joke. The ultimate GTO, it featured a Ram Air III V-8 and almost every option in the book.
1970 Alfa Romeo Montreal
A gorgeous Bertone body makes the Montreal an undeniable looker, but it's the growl of the four-cam, 2.6-liter V-8 that really steals our hearts.
1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
In addition to the split-bumper aesthetic, the '70 Z28 introduced the potent LT-1 V-8 to the Camaro lineup. Attainable speed plus Italianate looks? Always a recipe for the Wants.
1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra
Both the least exciting and the best-selling Mustang ever, the Mustang II was a pile of horrible, tacky excellence. The King Cobra offered an earth-wrinkling, 139-hp V-8 and a sweet bunch of decals. Fun and lame all at the same time.
1981 Volkswagen Scirocco S
Italian styling, German engineering, and the cool, lift-a-wheel vibe of the Golf GTi in a sleek package.
1983 Volvo 242 Group A Homologation
Built so Volvo could compete in Group A touring-car racing, this rarest of all turbobricks sported tweaked turbo bits and European flat-hood looks. A handful were brought to America, but good luck finding one. Bork.
(Note: The 242 shown is the racing version, not the model sold in U.S. showrooms. The wing and large headlights, however, made it to our shores.)
Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Anders Olafsson
1984 BMW M635CSi
Badged M6 in America, the M635CSi got the 3.5-liter, 286-hp straight six from the M1, retuned suspension, and a 158-mph top speed. Autobahn missiles don't come much more shark-nosed than this.
1984 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16
Only 200 street-legal examples of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 were built. A 400-hp four lived in the back seat, and if you looked at it funny, it would eat you for breakfast. Like the Renault R5 Turbo, this is Frog Crazy of the best kind.
1986 Peugeot 205 GTi
No conversation about hot hatches is complete without mentioning the iconic 205 GTi. Peugeot built this thing for almost two decades, and people never really stopped buying it. It was that good.
1988 Nissan GTS-R R31
When Nissan retired the GT-R, it needed a model to take touring car racing, and thus the GTS-R Skyline was born. A giant turbo, 210 hp, and sleek, bent-paper 1980s styling added up to one hell of a machine.
1991 Nissan Pulsar GTI-R
Only because of Group A rally homologation would Nissan offer a 227-hp SR20DET variant in a tiny, all-wheel-drive hatchback. The fierce, cheese-grater hood was, believe it or not, a factory part.
1992 Nissan 240SX SE
The 240SX was a simple and affordable rear-wheel-drive coupe that offered more handling than power. Road-racing geeks loved it, drifters embraced it, and tuners went to town. The last of the great '80s Japanese coupes.
1994 Volkswagen Polo G40
The supercharged Polo G40 was the hottest mini-hatch that Volkswagen made in the early 1990s. It has a cult following in Europe, and it can hang an apex and lift an inside rear like nobody's business.
1997 Subaru Alcoyne SVX
The final iteration of Fuji Heavy's grand-touring experiment, the '97 SVX looked like a spaceship and drove like a Subaru.
1999 Lotus Elise Sport 190
Lotus founder Colin Chapman built a company on the notion that sports cars should be as simple and light as possible. The 1500-pound, 200-hp Elise Sport 190 was produced long after his death, but it followed his principles to the letter.
1999 Vauxhall Vectra GSi
Like many other awesome cars you've never heard of, this rare Vauxhall was designed so that its maker could go touring-car racing. It featured a pumped-up, 2.5-liter V-6 and a body kit that screamed "I'm British, and you can eat me." Like most hot Brit four-doors, the GSi could haul ass and bang doors with the best of 'em.
2000 Lexus SC300
The SC 300 may not look like much, but it specialized in subdued speed. This was the stately alternative to the Toyota Supra, and it rode on a similar platform, complete with the Mk IV Supra's much-loved 2JZ-GE six.