Muscle cars are a staple of American culture and the ultimate spectacle of badassery. Movies, television shows, drag races, and American stereotypes have given muscle cars the reputation of bringing the driver endless numbers of girls and amounts of street cred. Some examples of iconic muscle cars include the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger, and the Chevrolet Camaro. Being that 'muscle car' originated as an American term, it's usually used to label American cars but can sometimes be used to describe other countries' vehicles as well.
The sale of muscle cars has declined in recent years due to more focus on environmental and financial issues. A muscle car has a larger, more powerful engine in it, which causes more emissions and a higher fuel bill, which are some big reasons people are starting to lean away from the traditional brutality of this class of cars and lean more toward something more economical and practical. Even with these shortfallings, there will always be a large community of car enthusiasts who love and adore these cars for the works of art they are and the attitudes they bring to the table.
There have been numerous advancements in the development and the performance of muscle cars in recent history, including the recent and ongoing release of the Dodge Demon, the most powerful production muscle car ever created. With all these new advancements and techniques, it can be hard to keep track of them all. Read on to discover 17 of the latest 'must knows' for muscle car enthusiasts.
17 Release of the 2019 Mustang Bullitt
The 2019 Bullitt will follow its 2001 and 2008-09 predecessors in paying homage to Steve McQueen's famous 1968 movie Bullitt. It'll include more options than the base Mustang GT, including a limited slip differential, upgraded six-piston front brakes, and a larger radiator to maximize cooling of the engine while on the track.
Speaking of the engine, it comes with a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 475 hp—15 more than a base GT.
Along with all this, you can also order your Bullitt with additional options such as a GPS Navigation system, racing seats, or memory seats. Ford hasn't released exact pricing information as of yet, but we can pretty well guess it'll come out upwards of $50,000.
16 First 2019 Corvette ZR1 Sold At Auction
Yes, the first of the long-awaited 2019 ZR1s has been auctioned off at the ridiculously cheap price of $925,000. I can buy a cup of coffee for that these days, right? A great thing actually came out of this auction—100% of the proceeds went to benefit the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation, which builds homes for injured veterans and first responders. If you'd like to learn more about the foundation and what they do you can check out its website.
The ZR1 came with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that puts out about 755 hp and 715 pound-feet of torque.
The Corvette family, in general, is all muscle car through and through, and the 2019 ZR1 is sure bringing the heat this year. Luckily for you, you won't have to pay almost a million bucks for one once they hit the general market, as they'll cost only $118,900.
15 The 4x4 '72 Dodge Challenger
This 4x4 Challenger is an absolute beast. Even if it doesn't necessarily encapsulate everything that a traditional muscle car does, it captures the essence of "badass," and that's good enough for us. The car was found being advertised on Craigslist earlier last year for a starting price of $28,000. Apparently, it comes equipped with a military-grade M1009 chassis and frame, a 5.7-liter V8, and a whole bunch of brand new goodies to go along with that massive slab of twisted steel and sex appeal. All you need is an American flag waving at the back, Bruce Springsteen on the radio, and a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl in the passenger seat, and this is every good ol' boy's dream. In the ad, the seller did mention he was selling due to his father's failing health, and we sure hope whatever legend created this thing is doing alright.
14 Owning A Vintage Muscle Car vs. A New Muscle Car
There's a large number of people who are still adamant that none of the newer muscle cars coming out today actually constitute muscle cars, and they're actually not completely wrong. Things like Ford's EcoBoost engines, Dodge's new focus on comfort, and Chevy's attention to safety have taken away from what driving a muscle car is all about—it's an experience. It's throwing caution to the wind and just driving for a stretch where you're not concerned about anything. In many ways, a muscle car should be a brief feeling of complete freedom, and some just aren't getting that from the new breed. While some of that may be true, many people can't commit to owning a vintage muscle car such as a 68' Mustang because of costs. Repairs, fuel, upgrades, and modifications can really start to add up. A newer model offers a breath of fresh air that still gives a feeling of power, but without the costs and the commitment to endless hours of maintenance. There are pros and cons to both, just like anything, and in the end, it really comes down to personal preference.
13 Release of the Ford Ranger Raptor
Again, this one's not exactly a muscle car by definition, but we couldn't leave it out. I mean, come on... just look at the thing! Anybody who has a genuine love for muscle cars should also be showing love to the F150 Raptor's baby brother. Ford officially unveiled the truck back in January for the Asian and Pacific markets, and production models were actually just released in Thailand and other areas of Southeast Asia. Unfortunately for us U.S. nationals, it doesn't look like we'll be getting our hands on one anytime soon, as they're strictly international at this time. All we can do is watch and wonder—wonder what it's like to be able to climb rocks and fully go off-roading with a production model mid-size pickup, that is. If the truck came to U.S. dealerships, it's speculated that it would more than likely be equipped with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that produces about 355 hp—not the most we've ever heard of, but we're sure it'll get the job done just fine if we ever have a chance to snag one.
12 Chevy in Search of Sub-7:00 Nürburgring Lap Time
The Nürburgring is significant to car companies for one reason: it isn't a circuit track. When companies are testing new products, they don't just want to see if their vehicle can go in a big circle. If that were the case, they'd call NASCAR. The Nürburgring offers a course that changes in road quality, elevation, turns, turn radius, and other such technical things that common everyday drivers would never think about. Chevy's team of Camaro engineers has set a goal to have their 2019 Camaro track pony be able to come in under 7:00 on the ring directly from the production line. To give you a reference, the record time for completing one whole lap is currently held by the Porsche 911 GT3 RS at 6:47.25, so you can see why a production Camaro coming in under 7:00 is a big deal. Now, to be clear, they're testing all this on an unreleased model of the Camaro, and there's quite a bit of work to be done yet, but the team at Chevrolet is certainly aiming high.
11 2018 Dodge Viper
It's the epitome of massive power in a small body. The 2018 Dodge Viper brings modern technology and raw muscle car power together in perfect harmony in a way I never thought possible.
Brandishing an 8.4-liter V10 that produces 645 hp all wrapped up in a body that weighs only 3,400 lbs creates the very definition of a muscle car.
There's even a separate launch-control mode for when you want to put your neighbor in his 2012 Mustang GT to shame. Hopping from 0-60 mph in a mere 3.3 seconds is no problem for the Viper, just don't expect to give many people a first-hand view. It only has two seats. And it also comes only with a manual transmission. Better start learning stick, kids—this one's worth it.
10 The Dodge Demon
I take back what I said about the Viper. Not only is THIS the most unbelievable muscle car, but it's also the most unbelievable production car ever produced. Encased in this satanic steel sarcophagus is a 6.2-liter SRT Demon V8 engine that does wheelies off of a launch. You don't need to know its horsepower.. it does wheelies.
The Demon has also earned a myriad of awards, such as the fastest production car ever, the highest horsepower of any production car ever, the world's fastest 0-60 time production car, and even the highest G-force by any production car.
I didn't even know they gave out G-force awards, but the Demon got it. This car is so incredibly insane, partially due to the fact that its sole purpose is drag racing. That's all it's meant for. The purpose becomes evident when you take a closer look at the design, as it only comes with one seat and a standard heavy-duty roll cage. One of the most amazing things about this car is the price—$86,000 is all it takes for you to beat that pesky neighbor of yours with the new Porsche or Lamborghini. The downside, however, is the fact that only 3,000 units are being brought to the U.S., and we have a sneaking suspicion that they're all spoken for.
9 Dodge Demon Driving School
Going off of the rave review you just read, Dodge Demon owners can actually enroll in special classes that help enrollees understand and utilize the true power of a Demon. Bondurant Racing School is currently offering special sessions through which owners can either bring in their own Demon or use one provided to get a better grip on handling such raw, ungodly power. The classes are pretty exclusive, as you need to verify your ownership through a VIN number, so not just anybody gets a chance to drive one of these psychotic machines. Personally, I'd highly recommend thinking about these classes for new owners unless they're experienced drag racers who are comfortable handling so much car. Who knows what could happen if a newbie hopped into the driver's seat?
8 2019 Ford Shelby GT500
The 2019 Shelby GT500 is certainly a vehicle shrouded in mystery. Above is the only public sighting I could find, as Ford is taking extra-special care to keep this car a surprise for consumers as well as a secret for the competition. Ford believes the Shelby GT500 will be the fastest Ford production car in the company's history once it launches in 2019.
Ford has given us small hints along the way, such as that it'll produce upwards of 700 hp, which is a huge jump up from the special-edition Bullitt's measly 475 hp.
If you're curious about what this car will look like when it comes out to market, you can find a plethora of renderings and illustrations based on what we've been able to see so far, so we have a pretty good idea of what it'll look like in the end. No price or release date has been set yet, but many suspect more information will be revealed by Ford at the New York International Auto Show later this March.
7 2018 Ford Shelby Super Snake
If you're in the market for a sweet new Mustang but don't want to wait on a GT500 for so long, the Super Snake is the next best thing. Actually, it may be the better option, in general. While Ford hasn't talked a whole lot about the GT500, leaving many details about the car up to speculation, the Super Snake is a 50th Anniversary model Mustang that also has 750 hp and is already here. There are only 500 being made and distributed, so the chance of getting your hands on one is already pretty slim, but it does seem like the better option of the two going off what we know so far. The Super Snake comes in at about $76,000, but we have no basis of comparison with the GT500. One thing is for certain, though: the Super Snake is badass—like "0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds as a production car" badass. That may not be "Dodge Demon fast" yet, but it's almost on point with the Camaro ZL1, which is pretty good for Ford.
6 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE
Speaking of the ZR1, here's one now! Our friend Mr. ZR1 is considered by many enthusiasts to be the dominating muscle car in circulation right now.
With a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that was borrowed from the Camaro's big brother, the Corvette, this guy puts out about 650 hp, which isn't too shabby.
Now, I know what you're thinking to yourself: "But what about all the other great muscle cars, like the Demon or the Hellcat or even the new Mustangs?" Frankly, you're wrong. Read a book. This Camaro currently owns the track. It may be true that the Hellcat and the Demon outperform on a quarter mile, but that's just a straight line! The Camaro is really impressive because it's a muscle car that can drag race or do track runs. And it does both quite well, actually.
5 The EQUUS Bass 770
Now, now... quiet down. I know what you're about to say. Yes, this car is a little bit old. And no, there's no huge new development about them. They're just really cool cars that a surprising number of people haven't heard of, so I thought I'd shed some light on this magnificent creature for those of you living under a rock. The EQUUS Bass 770 is a completely handmade piece of freedom on wheels. Made 100% in the U.S. of A., this car is a futuristic and extremely attractive cross between modern muscle and luxury. Can you marry a car? Someone look that up for me. I'm sure you can in Alabama. Anyways, the 770 roars like a lioness protecting her cubs when you give the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 a little gas. It puts out about 640 hp and a whole bunch of broken necks when it rides by. Now, seeing as how a fully loaded one of these 770s goes for just shy of $300,000, we're assuming you'll keep it as more of a statement piece or a weekend cruiser rather than a racecar. Hey, with a car this beautiful, nobody would blame you for keeping it hidden.
4 Mustang Arts & Crafts
Ford, and more specifically, Mustang, has sort of always been known for their level of customizability and buyer influence that gets incorporated when buying a Mustang from the factory. "Personalize Your Pony" is a Facebook app that brings this theme of customization on a much smaller scale to the masses. A smart marketing move on Ford's part, this little customization 'game' lets you create and personalize your very own Mustang pony emblem, which you can then share with all your friends or print out and hang on your wall while you wish you could afford the car that the emblem attaches to. Heaven knows that's what I did. Anyways, the little game can be found on Facebook if you're interested in checking it out and killing a few minutes of free time. It's kind of fun if I'm being honest.
3 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
This 707 hp glorified soccer-mom van (personal belief) claims to be the quickest SUV on the planet. I'm not sure about that with the new Teslas and such, but it's very quick—I'll admit that. The 6.2-liter supercharged V8 dishes out some serious power, and the car does boast an impressive 11.6-second quarter-mile time, which is great for any car, let alone a full-sized SUV. The team at Jeep took a play out of Dodge's handbook yet again as they've been known to do in the past in order to outfit this model of Jeep with tried and true SRT components. Looking at all the facts, this should turn out to be—and is turning out to be—quite an impressive and reliable SUV. Maybe, one day, I'll be able to view it as more than a mom van.
2 Hennessey's Twin Turbo Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
Yes, the engineers at Hennessey Automotive thought it would just be fun to throw a twin-turbo system on an already incredibly fast muscle car. Once all's been said and done and the last bolt has been screwed back into place, the Challenger would be able to claim 1,032 hp. Yep, you read that right. Look it up if you don't believe me, but it's true. If you haven't seen the video of their dyno test yet, you have to take a break from whatever you're doing to go watch it. It's incredible. Dubbed the "HPE1000" for short, the car is able to accelerate from 0-60 in a microscopic 2.7 seconds. Those are Lamborghini numbers coming from a Challenger. Unfortunately for all of us, Hennessey was smart enough to only make one, so none of us will be getting our hands on one anytime soon unless you know how to build one yourself.
1 Muscle-Hating Millennials
Even though 99% of the people reading this probably love muscle cars, we need to face the facts that they're a dying breed. As the younger generations are entering the job market and buying cars, they're becoming more and more focused on clean energy and functionality. Is that a bad thing? Not at all. The problem for a lot of young enthusiasts comes down to money.
Muscle cars are expensive and simply not cost effective to drive, which turns many young people off at the idea of having a hobby or a project car.
The love will always be there within the car community, but it's rapidly shrinking and changing into things we can barely call muscle cars anymore. There's an art behind the kinds of cars we love, and like every good artist in history, we're called to keep creating and preserving our art.