By Dave Ashton
American muscle cars, love them or loath them, they are admired for their unbridled power and unapologetic design. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 10 best American muscle cars, highlighting their features, power, and main features.
1. 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona is one of the most recognisable American muscle cars of all time. Its distinct design and aerodynamic nosecone contribute to its high top speed. The car has a 425 horsepower engine and was designed for NASCAR racing. When it was released, it was priced at $5,903. Only 503 were made, making it one of the world’s rarest and most collectible muscle cars.
The Daytona’s interior was designed with racing in mind, with high-backed bucket seats, a centre console, and a shifter mounted on the floor. The car also included a number of options, such as power steering and brakes, air conditioning, and a variety of audio and visual upgrades.
2. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
Another classic American muscle car is the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, which features a powerful 454(7.4L) cubic inch V8 engine. This engine could propel the Chevelle SS from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, making it one of the fastest muscle cars of its era. A 350 cubic inch (5.7-liter) V8 and a 396 cubic inch (6.5-liter) V8 were also available. The car was known for its sleek design, which included a cowl-induction hood and a bold front grille. It has 450 horsepower and was released at a cost of $3,500.
The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS is now a highly coveted collector car, with prices ranging from $50,000 to well over $100,000 for rare and well-preserved examples.
3. 1970 Plymouth Superbird
The Plymouth Superbird of 1970 was a heavily modified Plymouth Road Runner. It was built for NASCAR racing and featured a 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine with 425 horsepower. According to reports, the car’s top speed was over 200 mph, making it one of the fastest production cars of the time. It had a distinctive high rear wing and a long nose cone that added nearly two feet to the front end of the car. Some critics called the design outrageous and over-the-top.
When it was released, the car was priced at $4,298 and was notable for its distinctive rear spoiler and front nosecone.
4. 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351
The 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 is a strong American muscle car powered by a 351 cubic inch Cleveland V8 engine producing 330 horsepower. The engine was coupled to a four-speed manual transmission with a close ratio and a 3.91 rear axle. When it was released, it was priced at $4,124.
The Boss 351 had a distinct front air dam, blacked-out grille, rear deck spoiler, and hockey stick stripes on the outside. High-back bucket seats, a Hurst shifter, and a black instrument panel with a 120-mph speedometer were all added to the interior.
The Boss 351 was a limited-production model, with only 1,806 units produced. This rarity has made it a highly sought-after collectable today, with prices often reaching six figures.
5. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 was a high-performance version of the Chevrolet Camaro designed to compete with other popular muscle cars of the time, such as the Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda. It is known for its aggressive design and performance, as well as its 302 cubic inch V8 engine that produces 290 horsepower. This engine came with a four-speed manual transmission and a high-lift camshaft, forged-steel crankshaft, and solid-lifter valve train. A dual-exhaust system, stiff suspension, and power front disc brakes were also standard on the Z28.
It had a top speed of around 125 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. The Z28 was also known for its excellent handling, with a well-tuned suspension that allowed it to easily corner at high speeds. When it was released, the car was priced at $3,112 USD.
6. 1967 Shelby GT500
Carroll Shelby designed the 1967 Shelby GT500, which was manufactured by Ford Motor Company. The GT500 was based on the Ford Mustang fastback and came standard with a powerful V8 engine that produced 355 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The engine was paired with a four-speed manual transmission, allowing drivers to fully engage with the power and performance of the vehicle. The GT500 also had a performance-tuned suspension system and disc brakes, which helped it to remain popular even today.
Only 2,048 units were produced, with the GT500 being priced at $4,195 when it was released.
7. 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge
The 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge was a collaboration between John DeLorean, Bill Collins, and Russ Gee, who wanted to create a high-performance car for younger drivers. It is distinguished by its distinctive hood and rear spoiler, as well as its 400 cubic inch V8 engine that produces 366 horsepower. The powerful engine was paired with a four-speed manual transmission, resulting in an exciting driving experience. The car also had a Hurst shifter, heavy-duty suspension, and power brakes, making it a great road car.
The GTO Judge was a low-volume vehicle, with only 6,725 units produced in 1969. However, because of its powerful engine and aggressive styling, it was a popular choice among car enthusiasts and drag racers. When it was first released, the car was priced at $3,750.
The years of production ranged from 1964 to 1974. The GTO was available with a variety of engine options, including a V8, and had a top speed of around 130 mph. Despite the fact that production of the GTO ended in 1974, it is still a popular classic car among enthusiasts.
8. 1970 Buick GSX
The 1970 Buick GSX was built by General Motors’ Buick division and was only available for one model year. The GSX was created to compete with other muscle cars of the time, including the Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet Chevelle SS, and Oldsmobile 442.
There were two versions of the GSX: the GSX and the GSX Stage 1. The Stage 1 model had a 455 cubic inch V8 engine that produced 360 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. This engine was available with a three-speed automatic transmission or a four-speed manual transmission.
The GSX was distinguished from other muscle cars of the time by a number of features. It was distinguished by a blacked-out grille, a front air dam, and a hood scoop. It came in a variety of colours, including Saturn Yellow, Apollo White, and Harvest Gold.
The GSX was distinguished by its distinctive colour and stripes. Only 678 GSXs were built in 1970, with 400 of them being Stage 1 models that cost $4,782 when they were released.
9. 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30
The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 is a classic American muscle car with a 455 cubic inch V8 engine producing 370 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. The engine was paired with a 4-speed manual transmission for quick and precise shifting.
The 442 W-30 could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and reach 114 mph. It was also one of the fastest muscle cars of its time, with a quarter-mile time of 13.91 seconds at 102 mph. Only 1,032 W-30s were produced in 1970, making it a rare and valuable vehicle among collectors and enthusiasts.
The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 is now a highly collectable vehicle, with prices ranging from around $70,000 to more than $100,000 depending on condition and originality. When it was first released, it was priced at $4,780.
10. 1968 Plymouth Road Runner
The Plymouth Road Runner of 1968 was a mid-sized two-door coupe named after the popular cartoon character. It was a no-frills performance vehicle intended to provide a high-performance driving experience at a low cost. The 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine that powered the Roadrunner produced 425 horsepower. The transmission options for the car were a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic.
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