Muscle cars are designed to make the driver feel like the king of the road, leaving faces of delight and disgust in their wake as you drive on by. Some muscle cars achieve this through gorgeous design details, others through sheer speed or engine note. Above all, muscle cars are designed to be cool for both the owner and the onlooker.
Sometimes, however, muscle cars don’t quite achieve this design goal. Some muscle cars boast great designs but are given such trumped-up engine notes that they become impossible to live with and are just as guilty of noise pollution as a small rock festival. Then we have the muscle cars that are perfectly serviceable as vehicles but are incredibly badly designed and leave you questioning whether the people who signed off on them had 20/20 vision.
Therefore, we’ve compiled this list of 10 muscle cars that were too loud and obnoxious. These aren’t necessarily bad cars, but they’re certainly ones you’d have to think twice about driving through a built-up area.
10 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Any Mustang that has the Shelby nameplate bolted onto it will be sure to provide pulse-pounding excitement and an insanely loud exhaust note. The 2013 GT500 was the last Shelby Mustang with a live axle, and quite possibly the craziest.
With an impressive spec sheet including a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds, a top speed of 200 mph and a supercharged 5.8-liter V8 capable of 662 horsepower, this Mustang was a sure-fire way to shred your tires.
9 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
Famous for its supercharger whine, the Hellcat first came about in 2015 with a 6.2-liter Hemi engine supercharged to produce 707 horsepower. All this results in an incredibly brash noise coming from the tailpipe. The Hellcat has been known to set off nearby car alarms, so you’ll need to take care when driving it down a narrow street.
Sadly, the impending discontinuation of the Challenger means that the Hellcat is unlikely to be much longer for this world. The good news for those who love waking up their neighbors when they start their car is that Dodge plans to make their electric cars just as noisy.
8 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Sometimes just the sheer size of an engine makes it loud and obnoxious. The V8 under the hood of the 2014 Camaro Z/28 is a whopping 7.0-liter motor that produces 505 horsepower, and will be sure to alert those in the vicinity thanks to the loud burble when sat low in the rev range and a wailing snarl when close to the redline.
Production of the current generation Camaro is scheduled to end in less than 12 months, and it’s been rumored this might see the Camaro nameplate put on ice for a while. In the meantime, we’ll still be able to enjoy (or endure) the engine note of the 2014 Z/28. A special car, and a sure-fire future collectors’ item.
7 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
You can’t get a CTS-V anymore after Cadillac decided to make their range more numerical-sounding and replaced it with the CT5 back in 2019. In truth, these are very similar cars in all but name, and that’s not what we’re here to talk about.
The CTS-V was a four-door sedan with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 giving out 640 horsepower and 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds, so essentially it was a family sedan capable of deafening the family it was carrying. If you’re in need of deafening the dog too, check out the CTS-V Sport Wagon made between 2010-2014.
6 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am
One of the legendary American muscle car icons thanks to it being closely associated with Smokey and the Bandit, as well as the films’ star Burt Reynolds who collected Firebirds, the Trans-Am almost needs no introduction. 1979 saw a facelift and only three engines to choose from; luckily, they were all absolutely ear-splitting.
The most raucous of the engine options was a 6.6-liter V8, as emissions regulations were being tightened. That’s not to say it whispered as it went past, indeed far from it. The Trans-Am is also pretty obnoxious, given the large hood decal adorned to a majority of cars produced.
5 Chevrolet Monte Carlo (sixth generation)
The sixth generation of Monte Carlo is far from loud, but boy does it deliver on the obnoxious front. It’s a truly horrid-looking car, sullying its nameplate with a miserable design that looks like someone stuck a chest freezer on the back of a two-door compact.
Not only was it horrible to look at, but it wasn’t even a real muscle car: later cars might’ve had a 5.3-liter V8, but it was still a soft front-wheel-drive barge that was a sad end to a once great name. If, for some reason, you want one you’re in luck: they’re not worth a whole lot today.
4 Chevrolet Chevelle SS “454”
Back to a Chevrolet muscle car that was at least nice to look at. The Chevelle SS is arguably the best muscle car Chevy made that wasn’t a Camaro, and possibly the best muscle car from the 70s period. The 454 is a prime example of a time when oil was cheap and plentiful and there was less worrying about emissions.
Now, you might be wondering why the 454. Well, that refers to the cubic-inch capacity of the absolutely outrageous 7.4-liter big block V8 crammed under the hood. That’s a pretty obnoxious size for an engine, and it made a truly thundering sound to match.
3 Pontiac GTO (fourth generation)
An obnoxious, cost-cutting engineering choice led to the fourth-generation GTO being axed after just one year and killing the nameplate for a quarter of a century. Before 1974, the GTO had always been based on the full-size “A” platform, and for the new GTO Pontiac based it on the compact “X” platform.
Purists and consumers alike were scathing in their disdain for the smaller GTO; even the fairly grunty 5.7-liter V8 couldn’t save it from the “stupid looking” proportions of the Ventura-based GTO that signed its own death warrant.
2 Ford Mustang Ghia “Foxbody”
The Foxbody Ford Mustang was possibly the least sporty-looking Mustang ever designed; with the amount of straight lines and 90-degree angles, it looks just as much a Lada as a Mustang. Obnoxious styling aside, it was also a pretty useless idea to launch the “Ghia” trim level as an attempt to make the blue-collar muscle car a luxury vehicle.
Paired with anemic engines, the smallest of which was a 2.3-liter inline-four, truly pitiful when attached to what is supposed to be a big, scary muscle car. That being said, they are becoming valuable, so our advice is to put one in the garage and let it appreciate without needing to go anywhere in it.
1 Dodge Super Bee
Some cars manage to be loud in both senses of the word, and the original Dodge Super Bee was exactly that. In 1968, Dodge took their mid-sized Coronet and gave them performance-focused engineering, garish paint schemes, and huge engines. The available engines were all V8s of varying magnitude: a 6.3, 7.0, and 7.2-liter, all capable of providing the driver with hearing problems.
The Super Bee name made a return in the late 2000s as a special edition Charger, but despite an attempt at making it as obnoxious as the original with paint and decal work, it didn’t have the same thunderous noise coming from the tailpipe.