The world is littered with cars, whether they're driving on the highways and byways or sitting in the middle of a forest (there's a Hudson Terraplane down the street sitting next to a creek—it's sad.) All sorts of hidden treasures are littering the country, including old Model Ts that have been left out in the woods to rot along with many others. A simple walk into the woods could yield an age-old Chevrolet that hasn't been seen since it was abandoned.
Almost mythical stories have been passed around for ages about such a find, from a 351 Cleveland-powered DeLorean in Tennessee to a barn full of old Willys and Dodge war relics hidden deep in the forest only to be come across by a hunter who sadly couldn't retrace his steps. Barn finding has become a popular thing nowadays, it seems, but for every automotive treasure that is found, there are just as many duds and things that just can't be saved from being taken back by nature.
We've sifted through some of the muscle cars found across the US to give a diverse range of famous classic muscle cars for all to enjoy, along with the respective state which they were discovered in. Corvettes and Camaros, Mustangs and Torinos, Challengers and Dusters, even a couple of Shelbys that have been found everywhere from Motor City to Hawaii, researching a list like this has us wanting to roam around the woods to find that mythical Chevy Nomad that we have only dreamed of cruising around the streets.
25 "Lil' Red" Shelby Mustang - Texas
From the top of our list, we'll start it off with what could be the biggest find of the new millennia so far. “Lil' Red” is one of only 2 notchback Shelbys ever produced as well as being one of the first Shelby Mustangs ever made as it served as a prototype for every Mustang produced in the late 1960s. Craig Jackson (CEO of Barrett-Jackson) had found the car in a Texas field after using the original Mustang VIN number and tracing it from its sales record back when the car was sold. Since then, the car has been picked but the frame and body that remain are in amazing condition, complete with Shelby badging on the C-pillars.
24 Dodge Charger - North Carolina
A 1971 Charger might not be as rare as it sounds but when you mention the word "Hemi," it becomes a whole new discussion. Only 33 cars were made with the 426 Hemi motor bolted up to a TorqueFlite automatic. When being purchased, the owner was told that it most likely wouldn't be made because Chrysler had already announced they wouldn't be building the Hemi after 1970. Though this may have been said by Chrysler, it wasn't put into effect until June 18, 1971, when this car was made, as it's reportedly the last Hemi Charger ever built.
23 Ford Mustang Convertible - New Hampshire
This long-abandoned dealership in the small town of Weare (Where?), New Hampshire, has more than just a few treasures behind the “No Trespassing” signs and glass windows. Inside hide a couple of Thunderbirds, a Lincoln Continental, and even a 1941 Ford Woody. The centerpiece in the showroom, however, is perhaps the saddest of the bunch: a 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible sits with (most likely) next to nothing in mileage on the odometer. A family owns the dealership and no matter how hard people try, no one has made a dent in trying to acquire any of the cars that have been sitting in the dealership since its closing.
22 Ford Mustang "Bullitt" - Tennessee
Another wonderful famous find was the long lost Bullitt car featured in the Steve McQueen movie. The car has been hiding in a garage in Tennessee this whole time, as a fan of the movie bought it and drove it daily. When it was time for a restoration, this is when the Mustang sat—until the son of the owner was contacted by Ford to have it at the reveal of the new Bullitt-inspired Mustang. The car has come out of retirement and has been seen at many shows and even been featured on Jay Leno's Garage, and Jay got to drive it!
21 VH1 Corvettes - New York
In 1989, Dennis Amodeo won a prize offered by VH1. The prize was one of every year Corvette from 1953 to 1989. Soon after, he was contacted by Peter Max, an artist who had plans for the collection of 'Vettes. This plan never came to fruition and the cars were left sitting until a Corvette enthusiast purchased the cars and then had them promptly restored. From our understanding, the ones that have since been restored have been sold back to the public.
20 Chevrolet Camaro RS - Michigan
This wicked, sweet Camaro RS was found in a Michigan junkyard that still had old cars in it, which nowadays are few and far between. Surrounded by old GTOs, Mach 1 Mustangs, and SS Chevelles, the Camaro sits and with how it looks in the picture, a little love could bring this classic back from the grave. Considering it's been sitting in a junkyard this whole time, I don't see anyone taking it out of there, instead, it'll be left to sit and rot or eventually get crushed.
19 Pontiac GTO Judge - Montana
A staple of muscle car culture, this GTO Judge has been sitting since 1986 and had been left to rot with Mother Nature starting to invade the engine compartment. Good thing for this Judge, a man named Alan remembered the car from when he was in high school and according to him, it was well known where the car was left. A guy he went to high school with had owned the car still and simply had let it sit. Good thing for Alan, as well, the car was complete, with the hood and engine block sitting in a nearby barn.
18 Plymouth Duster - California
This Duster has found newfound fame for being the carrier of “General Mayhem's” short-block when Roadkill swapped the old 440 block with a new Dodge-sponsored Hellcat motor. Nicknamed “Crop Duster”, this 12-second, daily-driven Plymouth Duster has found new life from being a grape farm's yard decoration. Now installed with a short-block 440 from an old GM motor home, the “Crop Duster” is perhaps the baddest thing to come from the guys of Roadkill since their Dodge Charger, “General Mayhem”.
17 Plymouth Barracuda - Illinois
This was found sitting in a backyard by Dale Kaffer, who at the time wasn't looking for a Barracuda but rather a Challenger. After selling his restored Road Runner, Dale was contacted by the owner's mechanic, who knew him and asked if he was interested. When inquiring about the price of the car, the owner only wanted what she bought it for years ago: $500. We can only speculate that after nearly a decade, the rare 1974 Cuda is fully restored and is driven as much as possible.
16 Shelby Cobra 427 - North Carolina
What are the chances of finding a Cobra and a Ferrari 275 GTB in the same place? The Cobra may not be a muscle car exclusively, but it definitely deserves its respect and the 427 big-block found in it is all muscle. This Cobra was abandoned when the only mechanic that the owner trusted to work on the car passed away. The cars were uncovered by Tom Cotter, who hosts the Hagerty Barn Find show. According to Haggerty, both these cars are worth $4,000,000 together and it's just sad to see a nice Cobra sitting neglected because of trust issues.
15 Pontiac Trans Am - Pennsylvania
Sadly, there isn't much information on this 80s relic. Though not a muscle car by the standard that some of the others here hold up, this late-80s Pontiac Trans Am could have come with an LB9 305 V8 that put down 210 horsepower, which wasn't too bad during the 80s. Also with a new “Aero” spoiler, the drag coefficient was brought down from 0.32 to 0.29, making it the most efficient car GM produced at the time. These Trans Ams may not be very desirable now but in time, this car might be picked up and given the proper love it deserves.
14 Plymouth Duster - Hawaii
After years of complaints, the owner of this home had to finally clean up a bit and it was a good thing, too, because there was a Plymouth Duster buried under all that rubbish. The story I found yielded no information about the car, as it centered around the mental state of the owner and how the town was going to clean the place up and charge him for it, but I couldn't seem to find what happened to this Duster or the 2-door Dodge sitting about 10 feet away from it. It's a real shame and we wish the car ended up going to a good home, though more likely, it went to the junkyard.
13 Pontiac LeMans - Iowa
Being left abandoned in a backyard for over thirty years can do a number on a car. It's a good thing that Kevin from Junkyard Digs found this original 1968 Pontiac sitting in Iowa. The car had been flooded on the inside for years and when he found it and rescued it, he was on a mission to make it roadworthy again. And he's done just that, as he got the Pontiac running and going recently. We can't wait to see what happens to this sleeping beauty as she's woken up by Kevin and his crew.
12 Chevrolet Impala - Maine
This long-abandoned Impala was found in the middle of the woods in Maine by the Rondinones family, who seems to have a knack for exploring in search of lost relics. According to their website (rondinone.blogspot.com), They came across this car when David spotted it while driving down an “unremarkable” dirt road. Who knows what this car's story is, as it's obviously been stripped out and left for mother nature to take her back.
11 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 -Michigan
I assume we know what a pilot car is, for those who don't, it's a test-bed for production models (sometimes carrying the first digits of the new VIN number, depending on what it was a pilot for). Oftentimes, however, these cars get crushed because they were not built for the public (it's widely believed that the first two Corvettes met this fate.) This is why this particular Chevelle is so special; its a survivor among the bunch and, not to mention, a survivor of the times, as it's lived in someone's backyard for many years before being found and subsequently rebuilt.
10 Chevrolet El Camino - Kentucky
Built just before the muscle car era, this 1960 Elky could be had with some truly powerful motors. The smallest of them was the 235 cu.in. straight-six, whereas the most powerful was the legendary 348 cu.in. V8 that was built based off of the same W-engine as the famous 409 (cue The Beach Boys). The 348 could be had with a single four-barrel carburetor to make 315 horsepower and the rarer and most powerful option was the “Super Turbo-Thrust” tri-power 348 that made an extra 20 hp. These cars are classics and to see one sitting, waiting to be restored in Kentucky somewhere, is just about as sad as it gets.
9 Dodge Charger - Idaho
I'm surprised to see this classic early-Charger not rescued yet as it doesn't look bad on the surface. But we all know how deceiving pictures can be. Sitting among a junkyard of what looks to be cars of varying ages is this mid-60s beauty that looks like all it could use is a fresh coat of paint and some new tires. Who knows what's under the hood. It could be the simple but trusty straight-six or the powerful and rare 426 Hemi. Hopefully, someone someday picks this potential beauty up.
8 Chevrolet Corvette LS4 454 -Florida
Found and rescued from a storage lot, this is one of 4,412 Corvettes built in 1973 with the legendary 454 big block. The 1973 'Vette was one of the lasting muscle cars when it was getting harder to produce such a thing. The 454 motor would only last through 1974 before being phased out, leaving only the 200 some-odd horsepower 350 V8 as the biggest engine from then on. This particular car was sitting in Florida before being saved and sold in North Carolina for $8,500. As far as we could find, the car is currently being restored.
7 Chevrolet Bel Air - North Carolina
A 1956 Bel Air may not be a muscle car, but this was too cool to pass up and with the kind of customization people were doing to the aging Chevy in the 70s, it's a surprise to find such a car along with three others (and complete with a car trailer and a Chevy COE). I'm sure there is a story as to why these are sitting here but we're awestruck seeing such classics in such good condition. We wish we had the money to take the whole thing and restore it all to its former glory. Imagine driving show to show like we were delivering brand new Bel Airs to awaiting customers.
6 Ford Torino - Tennessee
What looks to be just any other Ford Torino covered in brush proved to be way more when Kevin Guinn discovered with this rare beast. This Torino just so happened to have a 427 Cobra Jet between the fenders. And what's more, this Cobra had an oil cooler, which came with the Drag Pack along with a 3.91-geared Traction-Lok rear-end, which came only on the Super Cobra Jet, so it's one of only 705 produced in 1969. This is wicked cool, talk about one serious lucky find!
5 Oldsmobile Cutlass - Minnesota
This 1965 Olds Cutlass is for sale in Minnesota for the wicked cheap price of $1,850. The original 330 ci.in. motor hasn't run in years (along with the automatic transmission) but that doesn't mean they can't. The advertisement that I found for this car states that it could be a cool project and I totally agree. And for the price they're asking, it's not a bad bargain for what could be a sweet build—whether it has the stock 330 or a swapped big-block. Cutlasses are great options for people looking for a cheap build.
4 Ford Galaxie 500XL - Texas
Found among many, many other muscle cars is this Galaxie 500XL that has reportedly been sitting since the early-80s in a huge junkyard in South Houston. Some of you from Houston probably know the area, as this junkyard has been open from 1968 until 2002, when it was closed and bulldozed, leaving this photo as a memory of what could've been a sweet ride that just needed a little push in the right direction by an enthusiast with the willpower for such an old and powerful relic.
3 Shelby GT350 - Ohio
What a find! This once-beautiful 1969 Shelby GT350 got into a front-end collision, after which it was parked and stripped of its front fenders, motor, and transmission. Then it's been left to sit for the next 50 years until someone with some sense as to what they had on their hands moved it from the barn (along with any parts that were scattered about) and sold it on eBay for $29,000. It may not be whole but with only 1,536 made that year, it's no wonder it sold so well.
2 Yenko Nova Deuce - Pennsylvania
For those of you who know about the Yenko cars like the Corvair and Nova II, you're all awesome! For those who don't, read up on this stuff because you're missing out on an important piece of muscle car history! This particular Duece was found in the back of an old on-site storage container. The car was complete with Yenko Deuce decals and 350 motor—oh, and a 4-foot snake in the engine compartment, as well. Snakes are good for keeping the mice out, I suppose, and this car was restored and went on to win Concours Gold honors at the 2015 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals before being sold on RKMotors for an undisclosed amount.
1 Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Massachusetts
This picture was taken about six years ago and I'm sure this car sits there today, hiding among the brush and fallen branches, waiting to be saved. I'm a sucker for a 1970 Monte Carlo; there's just something about them I love. A car like this—sitting in the woods like it is—is just tragic. My only hope is that someone picked up this dream land yacht and is currently fixing it up, makes me wish I had the space to put something like this in my garage because I'd pick it up right now if I could figure out where it is. These are the problems for a car guy: we want a lot of different cars but seldom do we have space or the money for such things.
Sources: Hot Rod, Ebay, and Hawaii News Now.