Muscle cars have remained the core product of the car market over the decades. What are they? Muscle cars are highly efficient vehicles with V8 engines, rear-drive, and a lightweight single coupe. In the very beginning, their aim was drag racing. Their most valuable feature is speed and power. Since the Oldsmobile 88 release in 1949, the first American muscle car, there has been a boost causing cars to appear, disappear or become a collector’s piece.
Below we enlist the top best American muscle cars of all time.
Chapter 1. Classic Muscle Cars.
The golden age of the American muscle car falls to the 1960-70s. Keep reading to see 18 of the best classic muscle cars of that time.
- 1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2
Pontiac Catalina’s fastback rooflines and flowing sheet metal design made a considerable contribution to the muscle car epoch. Apart from the outstanding aesthetic features, the Pontiac Catalina has a 2+2 performance package with a 421cu.in. V8 engine, which is capable of up to 338 h.p.
View the 1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 Listings.
- 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
The original creation of the Chevy Camaro Z28 was to the Trans-Am racing. After its win in the Trans-Am Championship in 1968 and 1969, the muscle car became the Chevrolet’s bestseller. In 1967 the corporation, selling the Chevrolet, has sold overall 602 Chevrolet Camaro Z28s with 15-inch rally wheels.
View the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Listings.
- 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The 1968 Shelby GT500 stroke out for its speed after achieving quarter-mile in 14 seconds. The muscle car has gained popularity after having been pictured in the chase scene with Steve McQueen in the American action thriller film “Bullitt.” View 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Listings.
- 1968 Plymouth Road Runner
At the time the muscle cars have started rising in price, Chrysler has decided to launch the simple and budget Plymouth Road Runner. The muscle car took its name from the similarly named bird from “Looney Tunes.” The high-efficient Road Runner had a well-known 7-liter and 426 cu.in. Hemi V8 engine by Chrysler.
View the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner Listings.
- 1968 Dodge Dart 426 Hemi
The 1968 Dodge Dart 426 Hemi has been a part of the 4th generation of Dodge Darts, released from 1958 to 1976. Aiming exclusively at drag racing, Dodge has limited the release to 80 cars. Among the most important benefits of the muscle car is its speed. The 1968 Dodge Dart 426 Hemi could cover the quarter-mile distance in just 10 seconds. It can be fair to say that it has been one of the most rapid factory vehicles of that time.
View the 1968 Dodge Dart 426 Hemi Listings.
- 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
Among three cars named the Dodge Charger Daytona, we have to highlight the 1969 model. The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona earned its fame after racing to 200 mph on a NASCAR track.
View the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Listings.
- 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge
Aiming to contend with the Plymouth Road Runner, in 1969, Pontiac has released the Pontiac GTO Judge. The muscle car came equipped with a Ram Air III engine with capacity up to 366 h.p. and 5,100 rpm. It took its name after the sketch “Here Come de Judge” from the sketch comedy television program “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” The distinctive design feature is its carousel red colour and trunk-mounted wing.
View the 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Listings.
- 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429
The Boss 429 Mustang, better known as the “Boss 9”, is one of the most expensive muscle cars. The bid price at the auctions usually overshoots $200,000. Initially, the project of the Boss 429 Mustang was for the NASCAR racetrack. Its engine was quite big, so, therefore, Ford had to alter the shock tower, battery, brake booster, and other features to fit in.
View the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Listings.
- 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The 1969 Camaro ZL1 is an admitted American muscle car. For that time, with the capability of up to 430 h.p., Chevrolet’s engine 427 V8 has been the company’s most powerful engine. The Camaro ZL1 is a limited edition, so it is a titbit for collectors.
View the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Listings.
- 1969 AMC AMX/3
The AMX/3 is a part of the AMX series of two-seat GT-style sports cars, produced by American Motors Corporation. The muscle car can gather speed of around 60 mph in 5 seconds, setting up a record for that time. Its maximum achievable speed is 170 mph.
View the 1969 AMC AMX/3 Listings.
- 1970 Ford Torino Cobra
In 1970, the Ford Torino Cobra accepted the title the Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. The muscle car came equipped with a V8 engine with a capacity up to 370 h.p. and could gather speed of around 60 mph in 6 seconds. The variants of Cobra with a 3 and 4-speed manual transmission were available on the market.
View the 1970 Ford Torino Cobra Listings.
- 1970 Oldsmobile 442
The Oldsmobile’s “4-4-2” name has derived from 4-speed manual transmission, 4-barrel carburetor, and dual exhausts. The car used to be a representing model of the Oldsmobile’s subdivision of muscle cars. The Oldsmobile 442 came equipped with a 445 CID V8 engine with a capacity up to 400 h.p. and torque up to 500 ft.lb.
View the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 Listings.
- 1970 Buick GSX
Aiming to contend with the Pontiac GTO Judge, Oldsmobile 442, and Chevrolet Chevelle SS, Buick has released the 1970 Buick GSX for the Gran Sport line. Buick has limited the release to 687 cars. Therefore, along with splendid design and performance, the muscle car became a desirable collector’s piece.
View the 1970 Buick GSX Listings.
- 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454
The Chevelle SS 454 took the name after its engine with the capacity of up to 450 h.p. and 454 cu.in. The car stuck in the memory as an iconic muscle car of the 1970s for its remarkable performance and elegant design. Besides, the Chevelle SS 454 remained the highest achievement of American muscle cars, as the insurance companies and vehicle emission standards have started imposing restrictions on the muscle car designs sometime later.
View the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 Listings.
- 1970 Plymouth Barracuda
The 1970 Plymouth Barracuda introduced the third generation of Chrysler’s Plymouth Barracuda line. Unlike the preceding generations, new Barracuda used the Chrysler E-body platform as a basis of the body. FYI, the first-generation Barracuda used the A-body platform. The muscle car has a high-performance 426 cu.in. Hemi engine with a dual carburetor, capable of up to 425 h.p.
View the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Listings.
- 1970 Dodge Challenger
Following the Barracuda, the 1970 Dodge Challenger by Chrysler used the E-body platform as well. The distinctive features of this muscle car are its magnificent design and a long wheelbase. The Dodge Challenger had to rival a less equipped Ford Mustang, used to be famous in the U.S. then.
View the 1970 Dodge Challenger Listings.
- 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
The 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am took its name after the Trans-Am automobile racing series. The muscle car gained popularity after having been pictured in the road action comedy film “Smokey and the Bandit.” The 1977 Pontiac Firebird was a real star of the show. The distinctive features of this high-performance muscle car are its handling, horsepower, and suspension upgrades on the Firebird. Ironically, the 1977 Pontiac Firebird’s engine overdrew the displacement 5-liter limit of the Sports Car Club of America, and, therefore, was not appropriate for the Trans-Am races.
View the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Listings.
- 1987 Buick GNX
In 1987, in the partnership with McLaren Performance Technologies/ASC, Buick released the limited production GNX, for “Grand National Experimental.” The headlines called it “the last from the Grand National.” The distinctive feature of this muscle car is its turbocharger Garret AiResearch T3 for higher performance.
View the 1987 Buick GNX Listings.
Chapter 2. Modern Muscle Cars
Even though muscle cars are not the central piece of American culture in comparison with the ’60s-’70s, they are still quite popular. Annually the American auto manufacturers release the new muscle cars. Below we enlist the top five modern muscle cars on the market est. 2019.
- 2016 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The ZL1 became recognized as the most rapid Chevy Camaro of all time. The vehicle came equipped with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine with a capacity of up to 650 h.p. The distinctive features of this high-performance muscle car are its updated brake and suspension system, and a well-tuned chassis for better handling.
View the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Listings.
- 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Coming equipped with a supercharger capable of up to 808 h.p. and torque up to 770 ft.lb, the 2017 SRT Demon is a higher-performance wide-body variation of the Challenger. The muscle car can gather speed of around 30 mph in 1 second and 60 mph in just 2 seconds. Its maximum achievable speed is 168 mph.
View the 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Listings.
- 2019 Ford Mustang
In 2019, Ford started the powerful and elegant upgrade of the line, existing since 1964. The 2019 Ford Mustang has a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine that puts up to 460 h.p. Unlike the past decade Mustang V8’s engine, its base turbocharged 4-cylinder engine can reach up to 310 h.p. An optional performance package raises horsepower output to 526 h.p.
View the 2019 Ford Mustang Listings.
- 2019 Cadillac CTS-V
The 2019 Cadillac CTS-Vis a higher-performance variation of the Cadillac CTS-V. The distinctive features of this muscle car are its bold design and a powerful Camaro ZL1-based 8-cylinder engine.
View the 2019 Cadillac CTS-V Listings.
- 2019 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350
The 2019 Shelby GT350 is the upgraded higher-performance version of the Ford Mustang with a new suspension and tires. The muscle car’s rear wing comes equipped with a Gurney flap to improve the aerodynamics. Its adjustable seats and touchscreen infotainment system make it convenient for passengers.
View the 2019 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 Listings.