When it comes to cars, automobile lovers always want to own something new, something big, something potent, and this is when we start talking about muscle cars; a car that doesn't necessarily have an all-around performance like a sports car, but packs real power under the hood. Most of them look like they’ll burst out because of the power they carry.
Buying one of these straight from the manufacturer can be quite expensive, especially if you have a taste for the big machines like the Chevrolet Camaro SS, Ford Mustang, or the Dodge Challenger, powered by V8 engines. Same goes for outstanding and well-maintained classics that have passed the test of time, and are still as powerful as the day they were made.
There’s also the rare versions of muscle cars that only a handful of them were built, getting one of this can be a hustle as well, and you might end up parting with a whopping $2 million to own such a muscle car.
You can, however, get a super powerful, well-kept muscle car from the used car showrooms, and it will serve you just as good. You can also buy a brand new muscle, or an iconic creation from the 1960s at a very affordable price, cheaper than you think.
To make sure we accommodate muscle car enthusiasts from every economic class, we have rounded up a list of 10 muscle cars almost everyone can afford, and 7 of them that will cost you over $2 million to drive.
17 Ford Mustang GT - $33,000
The 5th gen Ford Mustang is a perfect choice for a muscle car, especially if you come across the new facelifted model. It's designed with modernized safety features, a large trunk for a vehicle in its class, and also a modern cabin. Its 4.6L v8 engine produces a maximum of 315 horsepower.
The 2010 model produced 215 horsepower from the base v6 engine.
It’s not hard to get one of these. The price depends on your choice of engine and the equipment. The 2010 model will cost you at most $8,000, while the GT model that comes with a premium package will set your bank account back $33,000.
16 Chevrolet Camaro SS - $35,000
Chevrolet returned to the muscle car market in 2010 with the reintroduction of the Chevy Camaro. The 2015 model comes with plenty of enticing features that will make a muscle car enthusiast drool when one passes by. One of the features is the 6.2L v8 engine that cranks out 426hp and 420lb-ft of torque.
Just like the Ford Mustang, the Camaro SS comes with a 6-speed manual transmission and an automatic transmission that can only reach a maximum of 400 horsepower. The car is also quite fast in a straight line and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds. And in roughly 13 seconds a quarter mile has disappeared. You can drive one at only $35,000
15 Dodge Challenger - $32,000
The Dodge Challenger is a little bit of old school compared to its muscle car competitors. It’s a full-size coupe that comes with design more of a cruiser than a corner-carver. But it packs more power under the hood than you can actually rate it.
The 2015 redesign offers the best and the most attractive styling on the market, picking a good proportion of it from the first generation Challengers of the 1970s.
The Dodge Challenger R/T features a 5.7L Hemi v8 engine delivering 375 horsepower, and 410lb-ft torque. It features two options of a 6-speed manual and an 8-speed automatic transmission. It accelerates from 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds.
14 Dodge Charger - $33,000
Dodge has a reputation of creating performance cars, and the Charger is a Dodge. It is the only rear-wheel-drive four-door muscle car in America that is built with some supporting bones from Mercedes Benz E-class. The Charger is not just powerful, it's also menacing in looks, an ample trunk size, and a spacious cabin, enough to accommodate a large family.
It receives its muscle power from a 6.1L v8 engine giving out a maximum power of 425 horsepower. With the 8-speed automatic transmission, a modernized infotainment system, and a wide selection of spoilers, the Dodge Charger offers you one of the best muscle cars for your TBTs without draining your bank account.
13 Cadillac CTS-V - $25,000
The Cadillac CTS-V was an ordinary four-door luxury saloon before growing to the muscle car it is today. It was initially powered by a Corvette engine.
The 2007 model was rebuilt to be one of the world’s most powerful cars, carrying with it a 400 horsepower engine, 6.0L v8, also capable of delivering 395lb-ft of torque.
Replacing the luxury sedan with a super powerful muscle car was a ride that could hit 60mph in 4.5 seconds of acceleration, and wipe out the first quarter mile in at most 13.1 seconds. It features a six-speed manual transmission, and it’s available in the used car showrooms at only $25,000, or less.
12 Chrysler 300 srt8 - $25,000
If the first generation Chrysler 300 srt8 is not a true muscle car, then the 2010 model is a perfect fit. Many believe that the 1955 model was the very first muscle car in the world, mostly because it produced the highest horsepower at 300. The 2010 model came with a 6.1L Hemi v8 engine that cranks out 425 horsepower.
The 4200-pound sedan is definitely not a car you'd want to toss. It is quite fast in straight line, being able to accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds, and clear a quarter mile in 13 seconds cruising at 109mph.
11 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6 - $21,000
The Pontiac Firebird rejoined the muscle car market in 2002 as the most exciting car in General Motors. It was among the bestselling from the company back in the 1970s. The 2002 model is offered in two options of a coupe and a convertible.
Its power comes from a 5.7L LS1 v8 engine that cranks out 325 horsepower and 475Nm of torque.
Rating by its mass, performance, package size or even the cost, the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6 qualifies as the world’s best camshaft v8s. It features two options of a six-speed transmission, and a four-speed automatic.
10 Ford Mustang Cobra R - $30,000
The Mustang Cobra, 2003 model is the car that placed Ford Mustangs in the spotlight in those years. The Terminator, as most of the muscle car enthusiasts call it, is powered by a supercharged 4.8L v8 engine that spits out a maximum power of 390hp and 390lb-ft of torque. It is easy to modify, and you can create a monster out of the original offering.
It has one option in the transmission department, a six-speed manual that accelerates the Cobra from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds. A well-kept Mustang Cobra R will clear the first quarter mile in 12.5 seconds, and you can buy one at $30,000.
9 Pontiac GTO - $20,000
This one didn't sell as much as a muscle car is expected to sell. It represents the last of the low priced muscle cars that were designed to win the hearts of the public but failed terribly.
It could be because of the design and styling, or maybe due to the low power output of the 2004 model.
It is, however, an underrated muscle car. Its weakness is its strength and advantage to the ordinary person who can’t afford a hundred thousand dollar ride. The fact that it was highly disregarded in the early 2000s makes it possible for you to get one with a 6.0L v8 engine producing 400 horsepower at only $20,000.
8 Mercury Comet - $15,000
This golden muscle car beat the Ford Mustang in almost every aspect, including the power-weight ratio. It, however, could not compete with Mustang in sales. Despite its low sales, even the classic muscle car lovers know that Mercury Comet is better than Mustang even in looks. It’s a rear-wheel-drive featuring a three-speed automatic transmission that takes the car from 0-60mph of acceleration in 10 seconds, clearing the first quarter mile in 14 seconds. The fact that this model sold a very small number makes it quite hard to find, but don’t confuse its rarity with cost. It’s very cheap, and with only $15,000 you can enjoy driving a muscle car along the streets.
7 1970 Hemi Cuda Convertible - $2.25 million
Convertible muscle cars were not common in the 1960s and ‘70s as well, and that's why the 1970 Hemi Cuda Convertible was a highly regarded road beast. It was among the 14 vehicles produced in 1970, and one of the 9 selected to be fitted with the special Hemi A727 Torqueflite 3-speed automatic transmission.
A special dual-quad Hemi v8 engine that produced 426 horsepower was also in line for this 1970 model.
This road beast was a personal company lease to John Herlitz, who played a significant role in the styling of the car. The Hemi Cuda Convertible was restored in 2002 and priced at $2.25 million.
6 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T Convertible - $2.5 million
This muscle car uses an engine similar to the one used by Chrysler Hemi in the Plymouth Hemi Cuda muscle cars, and it was designated for the high-performance Dodge cars.
Dodge created only 9 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T Convertibles with the Hemi engine, and only four of them were built with the automatic transmission.
It was designed with bucket seats, wood-grain trim and a dash with a tachometer and a speedometer. On the outside is a trunk mounted luggage rack that would necessarily not be needed in case you want to drive at the top speed of 150 miles per hour.
5 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible - $3.5 million
The 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible is a perfect definition of a limited edition of a muscle car. Only 14 of these were built, and only four of them had the four-speed manual transmission. It was made with a 426 cubic inch v8 engine and combined with its rarity; this car is one of the highest priced muscle cars in the world today - $3.5 million.
The Hemi Cuda is designed with a so-called shaker hood, featuring ducts to maximize the induction of fresh air. Its odometer reads under 27,500 miles, and its body is still with its original sheet metal.
4 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 - $3.2 million
Chevrolet Corvette is among the most outstanding American muscle cars. It’s also a favorite ride to many car enthusiasts, and, thanks to its iconic design, power, and performance, this car has managed to hold its place and value among the best muscle cars of all time.
However, there has not been many Chevy Corvettes which could match the price of the 1967 model, the L88.
Chevrolet built only 20 of these cars, and the entire process from design, manufacturing, and even selling was all done in secret. Chevy sold most of them discretely to racing teams. Its 430 horsepower engine explains the discretion.
3 1967 Corvette L88s Coupe – $3.85 million
Of the 20 Corvette L88s manufactured by Chevrolet in 1967, this coupe was one of them. Although it doesn’t hold a racing reputation like the L88 convertible, it remains one of the most sought-after muscle cars, which explains its $3.85 million price tag. Powered by a 430 horsepower engine, a heavy-duty suspension, and a transmission built for optimum performance through the quarter mile, the Corvette L88 convertible was best suited for high performance in drag racing.
Despite the jet price tag attached to this muscle car, it lacked some significant inclusions of a perfect muscle car like a radio, air condition and heater. It also didn't care much about the comfort of the driver.
2 Shelby GT 500KR (1964-1968) – up to $5.5 million
KR, in the name Shelby GT 500KR stands for King of the Road, which says everything about the 1968 Shelby GT 500KR. Just in 2001, this car was going at $64,000, today without $5 million you cannot have it.
The first generation Shelby GT had a v8 engine that produced 360 horsepower, placing it on top of all other collector muscle cars worth talking about.
Produced in few numbers, this car has remained rare and maintained its popularity throughout the years. The 1966 model was created with too much power for its chassis, and with the 480 horsepower, it was almost too hard to control.
1 Plymouth Barracuda (1970-1971) - $2 million
The Plymouth Barracuda has been the best earning car for a decade, and even after being highly priced at $49,000, this muscle car’s price has skyrocketed to $2 million for being one of the best and well-kept cars of the ‘70s. Its history is quite rich, and its graph has always grown straight to the top. It was created in 1964, but it became a hit when a 7.2L, 390hp engine was introduced in 1970. There is also a 7.0L 425 horsepower version that has been difficult to handle irrespective of how many times its suspension has been revamped. All the cars produced under this model were made with its own special features like the color and finishing.
Sources: caranddriver.com, jalopnik.com, bestcarmag.com, hemmings.com, topspeed.com