For just about as long as muscle cars have existed, they've dominated the drag racing industry/series. They may not be the best vehicles for circuit racing and high-g cornering, however, they more than make up for it with their immense straight-line speed.
Due to the tendency of American manufacturers to put high-displacement, and high-cylinder, engines into their cars, they become an outstanding platform for 1/4-mile races and so on. Even to this day, muscle car producers create specific sports cars just for that purpose: Destroying a 1/4 to 1-mile strip's record. To illustrate just how great these American cars can be, here are ten muscle cars that make for an excellent drag racer...
10 Mustang Fox Body GT 5.0
When you're young and devoid of a lot of disposable income, the idea of getting into motorsports (Or car modification, in general) can feel like a pipe dream. Thankfully, though, this isn't always the case. For those who are on a budget and want to drag race, consider the 5-liter Mustang Fox Body.
Of the Fox Body models to be built, the best for drag racing are those produced in the mid-80s. Their Coyote 5.0's are outstandingly fast and built like tanks. Also, the Fox Body's can be pretty light-weight, particularly with a stripped interior.
9 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Like countless other American muscle classics, the Camaro also has a prolific history in drag racing. Since the 1960s, Camaro's have competed against some of the best; and still do with the production of the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
Each and every year, cars get better and better. The Camaro, of course, is no exception to this, as the latest Camaro ZL1 gives cars like the Dodge Challenger Hellcat a run for its money. With the new model, though, comes a hefty price too; one to rival that of its competitors in Dodge and Ford. Nevertheless, if you love Camaro's, you won't be disappointed.
8 Buick Grand National GNX
Very rarely does a vehicle fall under the category of a "match made in heaven." Yet, it does happen from time to time, including when Buick teamed up with McLaren to produce (perhaps) their best car to date: The Buick GNX.
With McLaren's technical expertise and success in motorsports along with Buick's understanding and influence over the American automotive industry, the GNX would prove to be a monster on, and off, track.
As the years go on, the GNX is getting rarer and rarer, with several selling for nearly $100,000. Hopefully, the GNX isn't the last time something spectacularly quick will come out of Buick (however unlikely it may be).
7 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06
As mentioned earlier, Chevrolet was working very hard to make the Camaro a competent and performance-focused sports car. What they were also working on, however, is another great drag racer: The Corvette C7 Z06.
Recently, Chevrolet announced the new C8, which has everyone in a frenzy. Don't let this cause you to forget the C7's capabilities, though. The C7 is a great sports car for just about any category of racing; not just drag racing and quarter-mile times. After all, they do come standard with one of the best V8's ever made, the LS-series.
6 1966 Dodge Dart HEMI
When muscle car enthusiast and drag racing fans look back to the "good ol' days" of carbureted big-block V8's and cars as large as boats, a few models will pop into mind. One of these would, surely, be the late 1960's Dodge Dart (HEMI).
To this day, the classic Dodge Dart is still hailed as one of the best drag racing platforms out there. The long wheelbase, HEMI engine, large engine bay (for modifications or swaps), and the aggressive racecar looks made the 1966 Dart an instant classic.
Odds are, if you go to a drag racing event, you'll be able to see a good bit of old Dodge Darts tearing up the tarmac.
5 2020 Mustang GT500
Once again, another American carmaker has continued a brand/model that has endured for decades. In Ford's case, their front-running sports car is the Mustang and its terrifyingly fast cousin, the 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500.
Although Carol Shelby passed away several years ago, his name and company still live on. Nowadays, they've been working on two particular Mustangs: The GT350R and GT500, with the ladder being the superior alternative. With about 500 horsepower, Shelby tuning, and the Mustang platform, the new GT500 is easily Ford's quickest production dragster yet.
4 Dodge Challenger Hellcat/Demon
While Dodge decided to bring back the Challenger in the early/mid-2000s, some customers still wanted something extra out of it. To satisfy their demands and prove themselves to be "the best-of-the-best," Dodge released the Challenger Hellcat and Challenger Demon.
Even though they may be two separate cars, they are (In essence) the same vehicle, but one has slightly more power and a body kit. Regardless, both the Hellcat and the Demon have been praised worldwide for their ability to crush 1/4-miles and create plumes of tire smoke that blot out the sun.
3 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS6
Before the Chevelle SS' inception, most American manufacturers had an agreement to keep their engines smaller and more effective. The Chevelle SS, however, helped to buck this trend with their LS6-powered Chevelle SS.
For the time, the Chevelle was as powerful, if not only slightly less, than Chevrolet's Corvette at the time. This led many muscle car lovers to gravitate towards the Chevelle like a moth to a flame. Today, the Chevelle still makes a habit of winning drag races and selling for well over $50,000.
2 1968 Plymouth Barracuda HEMI
Unlike some of the other vehicles on this list, Plymouth created the Barracuda HEMI with the specific intention of professional-level drag racing series. Needless to say, the '68 Barracuda HEMI became a legend in the sport, as a result.
Although Plymouth made race-specific Barracuda HEMIs, only the road-legal versions would be sold to the general consumer. Of course, it's not impossible to get your hands on a racing one; many have, only to later convert them to use on the public streets as well. It truly is a testament to how fantastic the Barracuda was: Race on the weekends, grocery trips on the weekdays.
1 Chevrolet Nova ('70-'73)
Similar to every community in car culture, there's a lot of debate swirling around the drag racing enthusiasts as to which muscle car is the best. Obviously, "the best" is subjective, but through specifications, popularity, and performance, we can devise as close of an answer that as we'll get. Many of those who think about this can agree that the 1970 to 1973 Chevrolet Nova is one of the best muscle dragsters.
If you Google images of muscle cars drag racing, you'll probably see a litany of Nova's popping wild wheelies and causing cloudy burnouts. Over the years, the Nova has become a fan favorite in drag racing circles for its strong build/design, power output, and (Like the Dodge Dart) plenty of space for upgrades.