Who doesn’t love a good muscle car? Once you rev the engine of a powerful V8 or more, you are hooked for life. And the greatest thing about muscle cars is that you can have one irrespective of your budget – of course the more the moolah, the better the muscle car, or the rarer the muscle car you can get.
That said; even a budget of less than $10k can still land you with a reasonable muscle car model on the used car bazaar which goes on to say that no dream, or at least automobile dream, is unattainable. Here go five muscle cars you would have to rob a bank or two to buy, and five that won’t even pinch your pocket!
10 A fortune: 2016 Zenvo ST1
The Zenvo ST1 comes from the house of a reputed Danish uber-luxury automobile brand. The first Zenvo ST1 rolled out in 2006 and made a strong statement in the segment. It is currently pegged as one of the most expensive muscle cars (though some call it a supercar too because of its 1000+ horses) in the auto bazaar and you need a fortune in your bank, to have this in your garage.
The Zenvo ST1 uses a supercharged V8 powerplant that can pulse out a massive 1140 horsepower to justify its price tag of $1.2 million. However, this is also the car that caught fire during the filming of Top Gear because its cooling unit went kaput.
9 A fortune: 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
Shelby rides are known for their phenomenal performance in the muscle cars’ world. Undoubtedly, Carroll Shelby knew his cars and perhaps that’s why his legacy makes for one of the priciest rides. Other than their outstanding race track history, Shelbys are also renowned for powerful engines that are capable of thrashing out exceptional output.
The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake was something very special though and housed a 7-liter dual-charged V8 good for 800 horses. Sadly, only one of these survived and it sold for a whopping $5.1million in 2015. Of course, there are other Shelby Cobras to be had, which can be bought for lesser. But they are all a pricey lot.
8 A fortune: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 427
This one is a dream of every classic car collector. The Chevy Chevelle is still dubbed as the ultimate muscle car by many. The model we’re talking here is a 70’s Chevelle SS 427. It was larger-than-life as it carried a 7.0-liter Big-Block V8 powerhouse under its hood.
Phenomenal output figures of 431 horsepower and 460 ft-lb of torque made it one the most powerful muscle cars of the seventies. This is the reason why they are the darlings of the classic car bazaar and still manage rake in more than a million-dollar even today, especially when they are in immaculate condition.
7 A fortune: 1967 - 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88
The 1967-69 Vettes came with the legendary L88 engines and are still considered the best of the bests. At the time, it was something that Chevrolet had never offered before in this lineup. The L88 Vettes were 7.0-liter Big-Block V8 behemoths and considered as close to a pure racing machine as it could in that era.
Chevrolet made a couple of hundred of L88 Corvettes all through these years and they demand a huge price in the vintage car bazaar – some of them have fetched more than $800,000 in car auctions in past. However, in the customized car markets, a modified and renovated L88 Corvette is worth as much as $3 million or maybe more.
6 A fortune: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The Camaro is one of the greatest names in the history of muscle cars and the ZL1 is an utter legend. In terms of power and performance, the Camaro ZL1 was even beyond the epic L88 Corvette. The ZL1’s engine was rated at 435 horsepower (official ratings) but the powerplant produced around 500 horsepower.
Chevy did not want people to think that the ZL1 was not safe for the street use, so it limited the official horses. That said; the ZL1s were also the quickest and the most powerful Chevrolets ever built at that time. Only 69 ZL1 were ever sold in a single-year production run and the car is extremely rare. A well-maintained ZL1 can fetch around $1 million or more.
5 Affordable: Third-Generation Pontiac Firebird
The third-gen Firebirds were rolled out from the production line in 1982. They were every teenager’s dream car in the eighties. It had the V8 power and a wicked design that was instantly recognizable by the onlookers. If you wanted to impress your friends or turn your enemies green, this was the car to do it in.
This muscle car came with a 5.0-liter or a 5.7-liter V8 engine option and a choice of either a three-speed or a four-speed automatic transmission. By 1992 though, the Firebird’s sales figures started falling and GM discontinued the nameplate. This cool classic can be owned for less than $10,000 in the used car bazaar.
4 Affordable: 2009 Ford Mustang Convertible
When the 2009 Ford Mustang was launched; Chevrolet combatted with its 2010 version of the Camaro immediately. As a result, the 2009 Mustang was short-lived and Ford immediately announced the launch of 2010 Mustang so that it could take Camaro head-on. Not that the 2009 Mustang was a bad car.
It boasted of a 300-horsepower V8 mill, a gorgeous retro-styled cabin, and of course a rumbling soundtrack. An underpowered 210-horsepower V6 minus the rumbling roar is also a decent option. The car has perfect safety scores and the 275-liter boot space is not bad for a convertible. It carries an average price of around $9,000 in the used car market.
3 Affordable: Seventh-Generation Ford Thunderbird
This was the best-selling Thunderbird ever as around 955,000 of them were sold in just three years. The seventh-gen Thunderbird was in the market between 1977 and 1979. Unfortunately, it was the victim of rising fuel costs and had a brief existence in the auto market.
The 77-79 T-Birds were offered in four engine configurations – a 4.9-liter Windsor V8, a 5.8-liter Small-Block V8, a 5.8-liter Ford 335 V8, and a 6.6-liter Cleveland V8. This muscle car didn’t last long in the car bazaar but it certainly was strong enough to survive decades with their owners. A used one in good condition can be bought for less than $10,000.
2 Affordable: 2006 Dodge Charger R/T
The 2006 Dodge Charger R/T is a big four-door muscle car that offers plenty of room. In the early twenties, a plethora of sedans was being dropped from the market to let larger mammoth-size SUVs and Crossovers dominate the car bazaar. Also, the modern-day consumer’s taste had started shifted from sedans to SUVs.
However, some car nameplates managed to overcome this challenge. The Dodge Charger R/T is one of them with its 5.7-liter Hemi that jetted out 340 horses which may not have been powerful but did its job. You can get one for $5,000+ on the second's lot, depending on the miles it ran.
1 Affordable: 1986–92 Toyota Supra
If you are surprised to see a Supra on this list, remember this is not the MK IV. The third-generation Toyota Supra was no lightweight though, with a 3.0-liter DOHC six-cylinder mill that jetted 200 horses and 196 ft-lb torque.
It can be had for under $10,000 if you look for a car that's in good but not excellent or mint condition. They may have plenty of miles on them because no one just buys a Supra and doesn’t ride it hard. It may not be the best around but for those who have been shunted out of the MK IV market, it makes for a decent replacement.