Muscle cars are among the most beloved types of cars in history. They have lots of power, charisma, road presence, and of course, a muscular body. Almost everyone would like to have an American muscle car at least once in their life. While Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge have kept the legacy of muscle cars alive all these years, their golden age was back in the 1960s. The cheapest new muscle car is the Chevrolet Camaro’s base trim 1LS, with a $26,100 asking price. But the good stuff comes with powerful and often supercharged V8 engines, but they also cost a lot more.
So people turn to restored muscle cars from the past or cheap muscle cars for sale in the used market. Everyone’s budget is different, so the value they bring for their money can be different for different people. But there are some muscle cars that transcend beyond most limitations that restrict other cars. Some muscle cars are just so good, iconic, and desirable that simply owning them and driving them around can be a cure to a lot of problems in people’s lives. Here are some sweet examples of some of the best muscle cars you can buy.
10 2nd Gen Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
The 1970s Pontiac Firebird is one of the best muscle cars from one of the worst decades for muscle cars. Pontiac made the original Firebird as a pony car to compete with the Mustang. But the later models started getting the performance-oriented Trans Am package, and that’s where all the fun lies.
The 1976 Trans Am gets a 7.5-liter V8 that makes 360 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. With all that power, the handling needs to be great, and it is; the 70s Trans Am is one of the best-handling muscle cars from that time. And we don’t need to tell you how popular and eye-catching the screaming chicken really is.
9 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle 454 SS
The Chevelle was not the first muscle car, but it was the one that showed the world just how epic a muscle car can be. The 1970 Chevelle SS 454’s 7.4-liter V8 spun the rear wheels with 450 hp and a whopping 500 lb-ft of torque! That made it the most powerful muscle car at that time.
Housing the engine is the chiseled body with aggressive bumpers packing chrome and a long side profile. The Chevelle has many appearances in Hollywood movies, but they do not usually end well for the Chevy. But in real life, we bet the owners would take extra care of this muscle car of which dreams are made.
8 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429
The story of the Boss 429 Mustang teaches us that sometimes success stems from failure. Ford made the Boss 429 to compete in NASCAR, but it didn’t work out as planned. But we got a seriously powerful Mustang from it, with a beast of an engine.
The default power rating of the 7.0-liter V8 was 375 hp, but it was the restricted power suitable for city streets. The race-ready engine can actually handle as much as 600 hp with just some minor modifications, unlocking its true potential. The 429 is also a rare subspecies of the Mustang, it ranks high in the exclusivity chart too.
7 2008-11 Dodge Challenger SRT8
The Challenger did not get a happy ending when Dodge discontinued it in the 1980s. After public demand, Dodge brought back the iconic muscle car to life in 2008, and it’s like the Challenger got its second wind. The 2008-2011 Challenger got a modern design, but it retained an adequate amount of muscle and sturdiness to it, and so did the engine.
The top-level SRT8 trim has a 6.1-liter HEMI V8 that produced 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque @4,800 rpm. And the rest is history, as the success and capabilities of the Challenger paved the way for new powerful muscle cars like the Dodge Demon, Camaro ZL1, and the Coyote V8-powered Mustang Mach 1.
6 1969 Dodge Charger R/T
The 1969 Dodge Charger will be present in many iconic Hollywood car lists thanks to its appearances as General Lee, and Dominic Toretto’s car. The ’69 Dodge Charger R/T is a fantastic classic muscle car whose value only grows over time, so it’s a good investment too.
But the muscle car has a lot more going on for it, like the long, clean body that looks just amazing in black, and its engine. The 440 Magnum engine is a 7.2-liter beast that makes 375 hp and 480 ft-lb of torque and a monstrous soundtrack.
5 5th Gen Chevrolet Camaro SS
When Dodge was busy bringing the Challenger back on the roads, Chevrolet was busy developing the already-active Camaro lineup. GM saw what Dodge did with their muscle car for the masses, and tried to elevate things further through their 5th-gen Camaro, especially the SS trim.
The Camaro SS got a beefy 6.2-liter V8 that could easily spin the rear wheels with the force of 426 hp and 420 lb-ft. The 580 hp ZL1 was the top dog with blazingly fast sprints, but the SS provided the best of both worlds, those worlds being sheer performance and affordability/accessibility.
4 1970 Plymouth Road Runner
Plymouth is one of those automakers that is long gone, but never out of gearheads and muscle car fanatics’ hearts and minds. And one of their finest creations is the 1970 Roadrunner. It’s got perhaps the best front bumper layout of any muscle car, and it’s certainly got that ‘get your phone out of the pocket and film this’ vibe going on for it on the roads.
The Road Runner is also a highly reliable machine, and it’s got some good daily driving capabilities. Hence, you’ll see used examples still popping up sporadically on used car sites and auction houses. And just imagine a modern Road Runner outrunning the new Coyote once again, just like the cartoons!
3 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302
The original Mustang Boss 302 is an amazing car that commands a high value at auctions, rightfully so, one might say. But the one we’re talking about is the one Ford made in 2013 to honor the ’60s original. The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 takes the already great 5th-gen Mustang platform and enhances the driving dynamics even further.
The 444 hp 5.0-liter V8 is not only powerful, but also has smooth power delivery. That makes the new Boss 302 an exciting car to drive with decent daily-driving abilities. Custom builds and modded ones aside, this is one of the best special edition Mustangs to come out of Ford’s factory.
2 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R
The Fox body Mustang can be a hit or a miss depending on who you ask. But the SVT Cobra R is an exception because it’s an exceptionally amazing car. In the midst of a wave of boring cars from automakers worldwide, the SVT Cobra R provided a breath of fresh air with sporty and somewhat aggressive styling.
And it wasn’t an all show and no go case either, the 385 hp 5.4-liter V8 took little time to shut doubters and naysayers up. But despite that, these are still relatively affordable, making them great value-for-money muscle cars today.
1 1969 Pontiac GTO
The Pontiac GTO is one of the most important muscle cars in history. Some might even say that the first GTO kick-started the golden era of muscle cars in the early- to mid- ’60s. The GTO can also be a testament to the theory that necessity is the mother of invention. Since parent company GM banned race-oriented cars, Pontiac took a Le Mans car design and modified it to suit daily driving needs.
That made the GTO among the best-driving and most reliable muscle cars of all time. If you look up the rich history, performance stats, and appeal of the GTO, you’d probably join lots of others in believing that the GTO is one of the if not the best muscle cars ever made.
Sources: General Motors, Dodge, Ford Performance.