When we think of the words "American-made Automobile" we immediately gravitate towards muscle cars. The United States saw a massive influx of these metal beasts during the 60s and 70s, which consumers lining up to get their hands on a wide variety of fast, loud, and visually-appealing vehicles.
Over the years, the Muscle-fad died out, but that didn't stop collectors and enthusiasts from appreciating this important (and entertaining) part of American history. As production ceased and time went on, some cars continued to skyrocket in value, so much so that auctions were held and seemingly insane prices were paid for some of these Muscle icons.
But which brand or model holds the crown for "most expensive American car ever sold?"
Dodge contracted NASCAR fever in 1969 and set out on a journey to bring some of their vehicles to the big stage. The Dodge Charger was picked to lead the pack and the manufacturer quickly cranked out 503 of these special Hemi Daytona editions, making sure they all met homologation standards.
That makes this particular model fairly rare but the $900,000 rake would happen at a Mecum Auction for a very particular reason. It turns out that only around 20 of the original 503 Hemi Daytonas made featured a 450 HP Hemi V8 paired with a 4-speed Manual transmission. This particular vehicle had an insanely low mileage amount too (6500).
Anything that Carroll Shelby touched practically turned to gold. That's why it's so difficult to find anything with his name on it for less than six figures. This variation of the Shelby GT was built to be fast, agile, and maneuverable. The end result was a vehicle that could be quite literally driven from a factory assembly line to a competition.
Shelby had the know-how and tuning experience to regularly win races, making his vehicles high desirable.
This is definitely one of the most curious entries on the list, primarily due to the fact that the vehicle in question isn't actually what many people think it is. You'll notice "Shelby Mustang GT500R" in quotes, but it's not for emphasis, and instead points to the fact that the main screen vehicle used in the 2000 Gone in 60 Seconds remake isn't actually a GT500R at all.
"Eleanor," as she's affectionately known, is actually a heavily modified 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback with a customized body kit. Regardless of the specifics, movie-star status helped this car sell for a cool million at auction.
Here we have another vehicle that was produced in limited quantity. It's said that only 69 Camaro ZL1s were produced back in 1969 and each one featured a unique 427-cubic-inch V8 engine that was crafted entirely out of aluminum. This helped to dramatically reduce the weight of the vehicle but also offers a strange selling point.
Most of these ZL1s can be had for less but a $1,000,000 rebuilt version sold at auction due to the name behind the rebuild project. It was Barry Burnstein, one of the engine makers for the original run of the ZL1.
The Chevelle was definitely one of the better muscle cars that Chevrolet produced and there was a large influx of the beefy bullets on the road during the 70s. Its popularity and iconic design make it one of the most beloved desired muscle cars from a collector standpoint.
But like the Shelby Super Snake, there is a variant of the Chevelle that demands top dollar. There are only 20 known Chevelles available in the SS 454 LS6 package, which featured a specialized 450hp Chevy LS6 454 CID motor. One recently sold at a Mecum Auction (2013) for the price of $1,150,000 and included special paperwork to guarantee its authenticity.
The Shelby GT500 is still one of the most sought-after muscle cars on the market, with many selling for over $150,000. But when it comes to rarity and price, nothing from Carroll Shelby's line could compete with the 1967 Shelby GT500e Super Snake.
The vehicle was custom made in an attempt to help the Goodyear Tire Company test some of their products on a racetrack setting. The original motor was swapped for a race-tuned engine and many small details were changed (between this model and the original GT500). The end result was a one-of-a-kind vehicle that never saw mass production due to economic concerns.
The muscle cars that swept the 60s and 70s were meant to be just that, "muscle cars." Consumers were looking for hulking metal beasts with swooping exteriors and a beefy metal shell. They wanted something that looked as imposing as it sounded roaring down the highway.
Because of this, convertibles weren't exactly sought after. This makes the convertible version of the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda exceedingly rare. Only 14 were made in 1970 and only 9 of those featured an automatic transmission. This particular model, sold at auction, had a storied past but it's easy to see why this lineup can fetch big bucks.
The Corvette Stingray is an iconic and incredibly sought-after line of muscle cars but none of them come even close to matching the sales price of this L88 variant. Only 20 of these convertibles were made as the L88 was a "specialized trim" for the 1967 Stingray that was not advertised to the public or most dealerships.
Pretty much all of the L88s were marketed towards racing teams, thanks to the powerful punch of an added 430 HP engine.
We've already seen one Plymouth Barracuda on this list, and to be honest, there isn't much of a visual or performance difference between the 1970 and the 1971 models. So why exactly is this car worth over a million dollars more than its predecessor?
It's because this particular Barracuda is considered to be one-of-a-kind and has been nicknamed the "Holy Grail of Muscle Cars" by the enthusiast community. Only 11 of these convertibles were made and this one is considered the only to still have its original matching-number parts. Simply put, this is a collectors dream, a true "mint in box" muscle car.
The Shelby Cobra is nothing short of iconic. Many muscle car enthusiasts pine to one day own this historical ride and with its beautiful visual design, it's no wonder why. You're going to have to practically empty your wallet if you want to own any version of this popular brand but this particular Cobra hit the record books for its insane selling price.
The most expensive American car ever sold is better classified as Chassis Number CSX2000, better known as "the first 1962 Shelby Cobra ever assembled by Carroll and his crew.