All kinds of new trends and crazes emerged from the 60s and 70s. But the Great American Muscle Car is one of the few that still lives on. From Chevy to Ford, here are some of the most famous muscle cars today.
60. 1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2
Original price: $2,910
Current average value: $5,400
The Pontiac had been around since the 1950s. But by 1965 it was clear that times were changing, and the brand had to keep up with new trends. And so, the Pontiac Catalina and its “coke bottle” style were born.
The Catalina became a figurehead for Pontiac’s signature look, with a larger base to the wheels and a completely remodeled frame. It also offered three possible engine types for buyers, similar to the Pontiac GTO: a standard 338 horsepower engine, a 535 horsepower 421 four-barrel engine, and a 376 horsepower 421 HO.
59. 1968 Dodge Dart GTS
Original price: $3,189
Current average value: $10,100
Though this model wasn’t considered the most impressive-looking build on offer by the Dodge brand, the 1968 Dodge Dart GTS was revered by youngsters at the time due to its powerful performance. It even gained a reputation as a “compact” muscle car amongst car hobbyists at the time.
But it wasn’t just the performance that brought people to their nearest car dealerships asking for the Dodge Dart GTS. Its price was also a keen advantage for young drivers, somewhere between the lower-range Plymouth models and the more “extravagant” Chrysler’s on offer.
58. 1963 Plymouth Valiant
Original Price: $2,340
Current average value: $10,700
Not every muscle car had to be for show, and the Plymouth Valiant was a testament to that. Hailed as "one of the best all-around domestic cars" by Road & Track magazine, the Valiant spent 16 years on the market but had a much longer-lasting reputation, due to its surprising durability and longevity.
For these reasons, you may not be surprised to know that the Valiant was one of the best-selling muscle cars of its time. This was made all the more amazing by the fact that it was originally not even marketed under the Chrysler brand! Today, the reliable Valiant has a value somewhere between 10 and 20 grand when bought second-hand.
57. 1961 Ford Thunderbird
Original price: $4,170
Current average value: $11,600
The Ford Thunderbird had been a hit for the company in the 1950s, but just like Pontiac, they knew they had to change things up as the 60s rolled on. They rolled the dice with the 1961 Ford T-Bird, changing the typical two-seater model for personal luxury cars at the time and - get this - turning it into a four-seater!
While this may not seem revolutionary today, it was a big deal at the time. Sales of the 1961 Ford Thunderbird soared when the car first appeared on the market in November 1960, and more than 62,000 models were manufactured to meet the demand. For those looking to snatch up a second hand “bullet-bird,” they’ll probably be in luck.
56. 1967 Ford Mercury Cougar
Original price: $2,851
Current average value: $11,600
After the unprecedented success of the iconic Ford Mustang, one couldn’t blame Ford for just continuing with the same old same old. So it was a surprise when the Mercury division of the company decided to build the Ford Mercury Cougar, an absolute statement piece for the brand in terms of engine power.
Because although the 1967 Mercury Cougar had only a typical engine for the time, it was also souped-up at 428 cubic inches with a seven-liter capacity and had 335 horsepower. No wonder it attracted so many buyers, with its unusually powerful engine, luxury interior, and the first controllable sunroof in the automobile industry!
55. 1964 Mercury Montclair
Original Price: $2,957
Current average value: $13,650
Another smash hit from Ford's Mercury division, the Mercury Montclair had been drawing the consumer's eye since the mid-50s. But it was the fourth iteration of the model that finally set its reputation in stone. The 1964 Montclair came through fitted with grille designs and a "Breezeway" roof, a perfect fit for the new decade.
The coming versions of the Montclair had varying engine powers - the first model was a 266 horsepower 390 cubic-inch V8 engine, but others went from 330 all the way to 425! Though the price will change depending on the engine, one can expect to find a second-hand Mercury Montclair for around $13,500.
54. 1966 Plymouth Barracuda
Original price: $2,556
Current average value: $14,000
Looking at the 1966 Plymouth Barracuda, it’s hard to believe that its 235 horsepower engine can take this sleek yet sturdy machine from 0 to 60 miles per hour in ten seconds or less. With a ton of impressive hardware, we thought we might be hard-pressed to find this car on the secondhand market.
But according to Popular Mechanics, that is far from the truth - muscle car enthusiasts are more likely to find a secondhand Barracuda than they are most other iconic 1960s vehicles. Just be sure not to confuse it for the ‘Cuda, which is an entirely different car.
53. 1963 Studebaker Superlark
Original Price: $2,315
Current average value: $14,050
Back in the 1950s, the Studebaker Superlark was a sturdy and reliable vehicle with a distinctly 50s feel. Unfortunately, by the early 1960s consumers felt that the make had aged noticeably, and had not caught up to the fashions of the 1960s. Studebaker realized that sales were dropping, and something had to change.
So they released the new and improved 1963 Superlark, with a notably new style and several appealing alterations such as a vanity mirror and makeup tray for passengers. Unfortunately, these improvements weren’t enough to save the Skylark, which was taken off the market in 1966.
52. 1964 Pontiac Tempest
Original Price: $2,904
Current average value: $14,300
Thankfully, not every muscle car from that period had the same luck. The Pontiac Tempest was such a popular offering from General Motors that it lasted two generations! It had its first ten-year run from 1960 to 1971, and its second was rolled out between 1987 to 1991.
And perhaps the most popular generation of the Pontiac Tempest was the 1964 mode, which went from being a smaller domestic car to an intermediate size. It also retained some of the angular stylistic features of the original fleet of muscle cars. Perhaps this is why they are still popular today and can be found for around $14,000.
51. 1968 AMC AMX
Original price: $3,395
Current average value: $15,700
In the late 1960s, American muscle cars were all the rage, and any company looking to release a new model was going to face some serious competition. By 1968, AMC was already fighting to stay in the market amongst more popular models like the Mustang and Corvette. And that’s where the 1968 AMX came in.
The AMX was meant to be a new take on the muscle car, with a record-breaking engine capacity. In January 1968, the United States Auto Club reported two new records for max driving speeds from the AMX of 189 and 200 miles per hour! Safe to say, this car may have pulled AMC back from the brink of disaster.
50. 1969 AMC Javelin
Original Price: $2,500
Current average value: $16,000
Just one year after the release of the AMX, AMC made another bold decision by releasing their most attention-grabbing model yet - the 1969 AMC Javelin. Though the engine and hardware weren’t as revolutionary as the AMX, the Javelin more than made up for it with looks.
With graphic design elements and new wheels that would become classic features of 1970s muscle cars, one would think the sleek exterior would be enough of a selling point. But that's not all - the model could also be customized with an "exhaust" rocker trim and roof-mounted spoilers.
49. 1968 Ford Mustang GT
Original price: $2,602
Current average value: $17,600
It's clear a car is going to be an instant classic when it shows up in popular culture being driven by iconic actor Steve McQueen! That was exactly the case with the 1968 Ford Mustang GT, which first appeared in the 1968 blockbuster action film, Bullitt. In just one scene, the Ford Mustang cemented itself in automobile history.
After the film premiered, it quickly became one of the most popular films of the year and massively boosted the profile of the Mustang GT. It’s no surprise that the same Mustang driven by McQueen in the film sold for over $3.7 million, but today McQueen fans can buy their own for just $17,600!
48. Mercury Cyclone
Original Price: $2,768
Current average value: $17,800
The Mercury division of Ford made more than its fair share of winning models for the company, and this can especially be seen with the Mercury Cyclone. The model was in circulation from 1964 to 1971 and came in three iterations: the Comet, Cobra Jet, and Spoiler.
That’s right, in just 7 years, the Cyclone evolved significantly. This was particularly due to changes that were made to the engine, which started as a simple 289 cubic inch engine in 1964. By 1972 it had developed to a 351 cubic engine before the Cyclone was taken off the market for good.
47. 1964 Ford Falcon
Original Price: $2,400
Current average value: $18,000
By 1964, Ford was set to release the next generation of the Ford Falcon, which was another bid by the company to hold off competition that had arisen from other muscle car models of the time. But it wasn’t just the car they put on offer - they also started the “Sprint Package.”
This package gave customers the option of spending a little more for some custom modifications, including a louder exhaust and stiffer suspension. By 1970 the Ford Falcon model was officially retired, but it can still be found at auction houses today, setting buyers back by roughly $18,000.
46. 1971 AMC Matador
Original Price: $3,493
Current average value: $18,000
By the 1970s, AMC was experiencing further issues again, with their popularity flagging after some marketing issues in the past. The 1971 Matador was seen as a chance to boost the company's brand and get them back into the consumer's good books. It boasted some noticeable design changes.
The Matador was a fashionable take on the hardtop, sedan, and station wagon models. It became a much-needed windfall for AMC, who had retired some of its more stylistic muscle car models from the 1960s. It also came with the choice of a larger engine and different decals, so there was some room for modifications.
45. 1970 Chevrolet El Camino 454 SS
Original price: $2,769
Current average value: $18,400
The unmissable 1970 Chevrolet El Camino was a curious addition to the popular fleet of American muscle cars at the time, especially due to its elongated trunk that made it a car/truck hybrid. Yet even as a truck hybrid, the El Camino 454 SS still maintained an attractively sporty look.
And potential buyers who wanted to try the car before purchasing were likely pleasantly surprised by the Camino’s 454 V8 engine. With close to 500 horsepower, this machine could rip up to 60 miles per hour in just 5 seconds flat! For drivers in the 70s, a car that mixed aesthetic with serious speed was a must-buy.
44. 1966 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Original price: $6,631
Current average value: $19,000
Even today, the 1966 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado is remembered as one of the most iconic muscle cars of the 1960s. So much so that it is credited as playing a part in the long legacy of the Eldorado, which was manufactured from 1952 to 2002! It probably helps that the Fleetwood Eldorado was particularly rare for its time.
That’s right, with only 2250 models ever introduced onto the market, the Fleetwood was sought after in the 1960s. It was both especially sleek and luxurious for a muscle car, but it also offered an impressive 7 liters, 16-valve 429 CID V8 engine. No wonder people are still willing to pay almost 20 grand for the model to this day!
43. 1964 Rambler American
Original Price: $1,979
Current average value: $19,269
In the late 1950s, compact domestic cars were all the rage for the average American family. The 1964 Rambler American was symbolic of that, as a later generation of a model that was introduced by American Motors Corporation in 1958 to meet the need for more four-door convertibles.
And if that wasn't enough, the Rambler American really caught the consumer's eye with its low price. The model was one of the most affordable models in the States at that time! This is why it may be a surprise that this classic car is worth more than some of its pricier 60s contemporaries, going for almost $20,000 today.
42. 1965 Buick Skylark
Original Price: $2,552
Current Value: $20,000
Whether it’s the 1960s or the 2020’s, every driver can see the value in a smooth ride. And that’s exactly why buyers were clamoring for the 1965 Buick Skylark, with more than 70,000 people purchasing their own model in just one year, at least according to some reports.
It makes sense as the Buick Skylark was one of the smoothest rides around, with a 300 cubic inch V8 engine that put competitors to shame. Not to mention it was terrifically stylish - making it a perfect trio of looks, engineering, and affordability, and giving it a place in the hearts of many classic car lovers today.
41. 1963 Buick Wildcat
Original Price: $3,849
Current average value: $22,500
Though the Wildcat originally started off as part of Buick’s Invicta series, in 1963 it was officially announced as a stand-alone series. The impressive and multiform model was built to compete with the widely popular full-body Starfire offered by Oldsmobile.
It’s hard to say how successful the series was, however, as it was officially discontinued in 1964. It’s a shame, as it was an excellent example of the classic muscle car with metal trim paneling. It also came in three different designs: the hardtop, convertible, and four-door sedan.
40. 1968 Oldsmobile 442
Original Price: $3,127
Current Value: $24,000
In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine such a fantastic-looking car also being supremely affordable. But the 1968 Oldsmobile 442 proves that back in the 60s, a quality car didn’t have to empty one's bank account. Not to mention, Oldsmobile didn’t skimp on the mechanics either.
The 442 came with a 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission, and 2 exhaust pipes. 4-4-2, get it? And with a 375 horsepower engine, the car took only 7 seconds to boost from 0 to 60 miles per hour. For these reasons, the 442 is still one of Oldsmobile’s most popular models.
39. 1962 Ford Galaxie
Original price: $2,667
Current average value: $25,250
Announcing a full-sized model like the 1962 Galaxie may not have been the best idea at a time when more sleek and compact muscle cars were in favor. But Ford found some simple ways to garner buyer interest - they appealed to the political and cultural climate of the time.
The name ‘Galaxie’ was an instant connection to the space race that was going on between the USA and USSR, and the branding worked! It also helped that it offered drivers a 6-cylinder engine and a variety of designs, including a two and four-door design - and even a convertible!
38. 1968 Oldsmobile Hurst/Olds
Original Price: $3,341
Current average value: $26,000
It’s not often that two competitive automotive companies decide to team up on a product, but the 1968 Hurst/Olds was proof that it should probably happen more often. Their collaboration resulted in two impressive special edition offerings of the Oldsmobile 442 and the Cutlass Supreme.
After making a few adjustments, their collab was released in 1968 to the applause and commendations of drivers and car hobbyists everywhere. They continued to produce these 390 horsepower models until 1984, with longevity that might have had something to do with their four-barrel Rochester Quadrajet 4GC carburetor.
37. 1967 Dodge Coronet WO23 GSX Stage 1
Original Price: $3,199
Current average value: $27,500
The Dodge Coronet series had been a mainstay of the Dodge catalog since the 1950s, but what many don’t know is that certain models were not meant to be sold on the public market. The 1967 Dodge Coronet WO23 GSX Stage 1 was a good example of this, as it was manufactured specifically for stock class racing.
In fact, only 55 of these models were ever planted on the race track and driven by Warren Barnett, which made them an exceptionally rare build for collectors. The model also came with a Hemi 426 cubic inch engine, which makes it a worthwhile investment at approximately $27,500.
36. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Original price: $2,290 (base)
Current average value: $28,400
When we think of the culture of the 1950s, all kinds of classic fare come to mind - from soda bars and diners to Elvis Presley and the birth of Rock n Roll. But the 50s also had its signature car culture, and few models are a better representation of that era than the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.
Yes, the Bel Air is one of the most iconic cars from the 50s, with its bulky body and iconic tail fins that caught attention everywhere it went. There’s no denying that if we were cruising to the drive-in back in 1957, there’s likely no other car we’d rather have.
35. 1969 Chevy Nova SS 396
Original Price: $2,524
Current average value: $28,600
Clare MacKichan, one of the chief designers and executives of General Motors, also helped to design the flagship Chevy series. From his recollection, designing the Chevrolet was serious business. In fact, "there was no time for experimentation or doodling around with new ideas," as he explained.
There was a clear image and end result that the company had in mind, and it worked! When the 1969 Chevy Nova SS 396 was introduced, the Chevrolet was one of the most sought-after car types in the world, and the Nova was the jewel in its crown. Only 2000 were ever produced, making it a rare find on the secondhand market.
34. 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Original Price: $2,984
Current average value: $29,100
As we can see by now, the 1960s was a particularly tense and competitive time for the US auto industry. With so many people clamoring for top-of-the-line cars, they all had to work hard to keep up. In 1964 General Motors released the Oldsmobile Cutlass, a direct response to Ford’s 1962 Fairlane model.
The Cutlass was an expansion on some of their earlier compact cars, being a much heavier iteration with a larger wheelbase. And though it didn’t seem like a significant change, it certainly struck a nerve with customers as more than 167,000 sales of the Cutlass were made in its first year!
33. 1970 Plymouth Duster
Original Price: $2,172
Current average value: $31,500
This two-door coupe may have only been manufactured from 1970 to 1976, but it certainly left a mark on the industry. The eye-catching muscle car was produced as a competitor to the Ford Maverick and AMC Hornet and was the semi-fastback counterpart to the Plymouth Valiant.
The Plymouth Duster was released as both a manual and automatic car, and together approximately 192,000 models were manufactured during that 6 year period in only four assembly factories. Today, a Duster being sold on the secondhand market will cost collectors around $31,500.
32. 1970 Ford Maverick
Original Price: $1,995
Current average value: $33,995
When the Japanese-owned auto companies Datsun and Toyota entered the foreign market back in the ’60s, competitors like Ford knew they had to step up to the plate. So in 1970, they released the Ford Maverick, an affordable model that was meant to compete with the lower price of Japanese imports.
The Maverick was such a successful competitor that it earned the nickname “Import Fighter.” It also offered two and four-door bodies which were beginning to take off at the time. With an original price of less than $2,000, it’s amazing to see that the car is now worth approximately $34 grand.
31. 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX
Original Price: $3,178
Current average value: $34,650
When the 1967 Plymouth Belvedere went on sale in the late 60s, it may have seemed a little on the expensive side. But with no engine restrictions and a powerful 440 cubic inch engine, the extra costs were well worth it and are a big part of why they are still sought after today.
There were also some considerable variations on the model for more discerning customers: two-door, four-door, convertible, station wagon, sedan, and hardtop. They proved a popular option when they were first released and are still being purchased today on the secondhand market for well over $30k apiece.
30. 1962 Dodge Polara
Original Price: $2,960
Current average value: $35,418
When you run an enormous company, it makes sense that miscommunication issues might happen. But what happens when miscommunications change the type of cars that an entire country drives? This was the case in 1961 when the coming year of Chrysler models were all redesigned to be smaller because of planning confusion.
That’s how we got cars like the 1962 Dodge Polara and countless others, which all came off the factory line looking much slimmer than American cars once did. But it was a successful competitor against the Ford Fairlane, coming in three varieties: convertible, four-door sedan, and hardtop.
29. 1958 Plymouth Fury
Original price: $3,032
Current average value: $35,900
While it’s not uncommon to see classic muscle cars in action films and fast-paced television shows, we don’t necessarily expect to see them play the lead role in a horror flick. But that was the case with the 1958 Plymouth Fury, which famously appeared in the Stephen King film, Christine.
Though the 80’s flick no doubt boosted the Fury’s popularity, there was much more to it than that. Its engine was so impressive that it was named the “Golden Commando,” and it was a successful competitor for the Chevy Bel Air. Only 5,303 Fury’s were ever manufactured, so finding one today might prove difficult.
28. 1968 Plymouth Road Runner
Original Price: $2,870
Current average value: $30,800
When one thinks of the Chrysler’s Plymouth brand, one doesn’t just think of the iconic muscle car body that represented them. After all, what Plymouth cars are known for is the quality and innovativeness of their engines. And no design exemplifies this as well as the Road Runner.
The Road Runner was fitted with a special V8 engine that no other muscle car had, which might explain why Plymouth sales exploded when the car was introduced to the market in 1968. That same year it was named as the third most popular muscle car of the year, and even inspired the creation of the Super Bee not long later.
27. 1968 Dodge Super Bee
Original Price: $3,027
Current average value: $40,000
This 2-door wonder was on every car lover's radar when it first entered the US market. It features a 426 inch Hemi V8 and an ability to shoot from 0 to 60 miles per hour in around 6 seconds. The Dodge Super Bee's speed and eclectic design made it a standout for collectors everywhere.
This iteration was the only Super Bee to use a Hemi engine, with only 125 cars ever manufactured from this design. It’s safe to say that the 1968 Super Bee makes for one of the rarest makes on the secondhand market and will easily sell for $40,000 a pop.
26. 1960 Chrysler 300F Convertible
Original price: $5,841
Current average value: $55,000
We’ve all heard the saying “less is more,” but Chrysler seems to take this saying more seriously than most! When the automobile manufacturer released their fantastic 1960 Chrysler 300F Convertible, they only manufactured 248 models, despite the public being desperate to get their hands on one.
Naturally, the 300F had become one of the most collectible classic cars on the secondhand market due to its rarity. It even won a variety of awards at different car fairs due to its innovative design, including the first ram-induction intake design that Chrysler had ever used, with dual 4-barrel carburetors to boot.
25. 1970 Ford Torino Cobra
Original Price: $3,270
Current Value: $56,000
Another American muscle car that many of us have seen on our TV screens, the Ford Torino Cobra appeared as the titular “character” in Clint Eastwood’s 2008 film Gran Torino. And it’s fitting, as the Torino is easily one of the best love muscle cars of its day.
But its appearance on the big screen isn’t its only notable quality - with 2 doors, a four-speed manual transmission, and a 360 horsepower engine, it’s a sturdy, speedy, and reliable make. In fact, it was so well designed that it was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1970.
24. 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Original Price $3,635
Current Value: $70,000
When it comes to big-name models like the Chevrolet Camaro, it can be hard to meet the pressure of public expectations. Thankfully, the 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 certainly lived up to the name. It managed to be as stylish as its predecessors, setting a strong precedent for the 2nd generation of Camaros.
It had revamped grills and a 340 horsepower engine, and if one's familiar with the 5th generation Chevrolet Camaro that was released in 2010, then no doubt they recognize the Z28's signature look. It was so iconic that Chevy chose to bring it back, and we couldn't be happier!
23. 1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge
Original Price: $3,940
Current Value: $80,000
For those who saw the sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In back in the 60s and 70s, it's easy to recognize the name of this next muscle car. The 1969 Pontiac GTP "The Judge" is still widely loved today, but for much more than just its comedy connections.
In fact, we're sure The Judge could stand up to any judgments with its 366 horsepower engine and 4-barrel Quadra-jet carburetor. But it didn’t hurt that it came with a special package for customers who wanted even more ‘oomph.’ The package came with a rear spoiler and decals, as well as impressively wide tires.
22. 1963 Corvette Stingray
Original Price: $4,037
Current Value: $100,000
The ingenious European engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov had a well-deserved reputation for his work on some of the most beloved muscle cars ever made. And one of the best he ever made was the 2nd generation of the Corvette Stingray. But why does the 1963 Stingray have such an unforgettable reputation?
Not only was the Stingray a gorgeous model that would be a statement piece in any collectors garage, but it also had an impressive 360 horsepower engine with perfect steering and weight distribution that was groundbreaking for its time. Safe to say, this little beauty was a well-rounded winner.
21. 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR
Original price: $4,500
Current value: $120,000
What does the KR in GT500KR stand for? Believe it or not, it’s ‘king of the road.’ And that’s exactly what one gets with the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR, which made a name for itself with its impressive features and glamorous, sophisticated look.
The model had a sleek fiberglass hood and a 400+ horsepower 428 cubic inch engine (though it’s marked as 355). It’s no wonder so many people were busy clamoring for a GT500KR of their own back in the 60s. After all, who wouldn’t want a taste of royalty?
20. 1968 Dodge Charger Hemi R/T
Original Price: $4,110
Current Value: $150,000
Remember the 1968 Ford Mustang GT, which appeared in the iconic film, Bullitt? Well, it wasn’t the only classic muscle car to be driven by Steve McQueen back in 1968. He also got behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger Hemi R/T, which he seemed to be just as impressed with.
And we can see why: the Charger Hemi R/T was the definition of old-school cool, with its sleek and shiny coat and sophisticated tail. It even came with a 425 horsepower engine, making it suitable to zoom around the neighborhood and also impress on the big screen.
19. 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ram Air IV
Original Price: $4,906
Current Value: $150,000-$200,000
With a signature stripe like that, it’s no wonder that the 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ram Air IV caught the public’s eye from the moment it was released. Originally built to be a show car, the sport-style coupe was as sleek as anything and a very desirable model in its time.
This may have been due to both its good looks and its impressive 400 cubic inch V8 engine. But unfortunately for avid car collectors, only 88 Ram Air IVs were ever produced. Snagging one of these impressive models will set buyers back by as much as $200,000.
18. 1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang
Original Price: $4,798
Current Value: $180,000
When we hear the word “mustang” in the car world, we know it’s probably going to be something good. In 1964 Ford first introduced the classic Mustang, which took the world of muscle cars by storm. So it was no surprise when the reaction to the 1969 Boss 429 upgrade was equally ardent.
The 375 horsepower engine and rear sway bar were just two of the new features that made the 1969 Boss 429 one of the most iconic Mustang’s ever released, even with only 1,000 ever manufactured. Considering it was built to be a direct competitor with the Chrysler 426 Hemi, we think it’s safe to say it did its job.
17. 1970 Buick GSX
Original Price: $4,880
Current Value: $185,000
When a car has the highest amount of torque of any other competitor on the market, it’s going to make waves. That was the case with the 1970 Buick GSX, which had an output of 500 lbs-ft that remained unmatched until 2003 when it was eventually outpaced by the Dodge Viper.
The Buick GSX became a beloved collectible for car enthusiasts, not only due to its impressive performance and unique design but also the number of upgrades and modifications available for it. It also came in 2 colors - Saturn Yellow and Apollo White.
16. 1970 Plymouth Superbird Hemi
Original Price: $4,298
Current Value: $150,000-$200,000
When Plymouth released the Superbird Hemi in 1970, there’s no denying that the sports car lived up to its ostentatious name. With the single stabilizing wing at the rear, it’s easy to see why the Superbird was so popular and eye-catching at the time.
The Superbird was a response to the Dodge Daytona and was built for the purpose of racing for NASCAR. With a 425 horsepower 426 Hemi V8 engine and approximately 500 lbs of torque, it did its job perfectly. And today, the Thunderbird sells to collectors for as much as $200,000.
15. 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt
Original Price: $3,900
Current average value: $197,400
When the 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt was first released, we couldn't help but wonder if Ford fans gasped. After all, the sleek offering wasn’t made for commercial purposes - it was specifically built to compete in NHRA drag racing events. And even if you were a professional racer, the Thunderbolt was a rare find.
So rare in fact that only 100 models ever made it off the assembly line, with approximately half of those engines having a four-speed manual transmission. For those who want a piece of racing history, they’ll have to be prepared to shell out as much as $200k for their very own Thunderbolt.
14. 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda
Original Price: $4,348
Current Value: $200,000
The Plymouth models of the 1960s made a big impact on American muscle cars. So it was a big surprise when the company managed to one-up their own work with the 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda. It was a newer and sleeker design than its forebears, with upgraded headlights, grills, and other features.
And even today, the Hemi ‘Cuda still has a mighty reputation amongst car enthusiasts - even though only a couple of hundred models were ever sold. Just ask Hollywood stars like Kevin Hart, who went out of his way to purchase his very own 425 horsepower model.
13. 1971 Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette
Original Price $10,500
Current Value: $230,000
When the Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette first premiered at the 1969 New York City International Auto Show, it immediately went onto the wishlist of hundreds of attendees. And no doubt, many car lovers' hearts were broken when only 12 models were manufactured.
The release of the Motion Phase Corvette was so limited that it is easily one of the rarest muscle cars ever made. But it’s adored for more than just its rarity - it has a 500 horsepower engine, and impressively modern features put in place by innovative designer Joel Rosen, including luxury storage space and a stereo system.
12. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Original Price: $7,200
Current Value: $500,0000
Most of us wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a $7,000 car, but back in the 60s and 70s, it was a different story. The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was an unusually pricey make, so from the moment it was announced, it was expected to impress. And impress, it did.
Only 69 models were made, and the sleek secondhand coupe now costs a pretty penny. "When a car has the right options - color, chambered exhaust, and four-speed - and is in exceptional condition with known provenance and factory documentation, a world record result can result," car dealer Colin Comer once said of the muscle car.
11. 1969 Dodge Charger Hemi Daytona
Original Price: $5,903
Current Value: $900,000
Not all muscle cars are born equal - while some are meant to cruise through the city streets, others are made to tear apart a race track! And that was certainly the case with the 1969 Dodge Charger Hemi Daytona. And there’s absolutely no denying that the Daytona lived up to its purpose.
The Hemi Daytona was a limited release with a “nose cone” 23-inch stabilizer wing that allowed it to speed by competitors. And with only 500 models ever sold to the public, it’s a rare one too. Race car enthusiasts who want one for their collection have to shell out nearly a million!
10. 1970 AMC AMX/3
Original Price: $14,000
Current Value: $1,000,000
Looking at the sleek, sexy build of the 1970 AMC AMX/3, it's not hard to see why this car is a collector's dream. Both the interior and exterior are the peak of luxury, designed by Italian engineer Giotto Bizzarrini and rivaling any European model at the time.
With a 340 horsepower AMC 390 V8 engine, the AMX/3 was meant to be the series that finally pulled AMC out of its financial woes. But even after an encouraging response at the 1970 Chicago Auto Show, the release didn’t go well, and only five prototypes ever made it to market.
9. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6
Original Price: $4,000-4,500
Current Value: $1,200,000
With a moniker like the "King of the Streets," it's no wonder that the Chevrolet Chevelle became one of the most recognizable and well-loved muscle cars on the market. Not only was it affordable for the time, but its 454 big-block V8 engine made it a force to be reckoned with on the streets.
And it's unlikely that we'll see another like it, at least according to Hot Rod Magazine, who reported that "the future may never see a car like this. It is one of the brutes, and all it needs is a way of staying in contact with terra firma." Today buyers need at least $1 million to get a 1970 Chevelle of their own.
8. 1970 Dodge Challenger Hemi Convertible
Original Price: $4,900
Current Value: $1,500,000
In 1970 Dodge was already well adored by the average American consumer, but its next offering was about to change everything for the company. The impressive model made a splash on the market with its 150 mph/240 kph speedometer and 8,000 RPM tachometer.
And at under $5,000 a piece, buyers were clamoring to get their hands on a 1970 Dodge Challenger Hemi. The convertible was so sought after that today its worth has multiplied by an incredible amount - it now sells for as much as $1.5 million, making it a valuable piece for car collectors all over the world.
7. Shelby Cobra 427 (AC Cobra)
Original Price: $7,500
Current Value: $1,500,000 to $2,000,000
When it comes to offering both luxury and power in one sleek package, the Shelby Cobra 427 is hard to beat. And it’s this ability to meet most consumer needs (as well as being a superior model) that has garnered its reputation as one of the most sought-after classic sports cars in America.
Carrol Shelby put years of love, patience, and work into this incredible machine, resulting in the Windsor 221-cubic inch, 3.6-liter V8 that it is now known for. In spite of its rocky start, the 427 is now one of the most expensive collectible sports cars in the game, selling for as much as $2 million at auction.
6. 1965 Shelby GT350R
Original Price: $4,584
Current Value: $500,000 to $850,000
Any car aficionado will likely recognize the 1965 Shelby GT350R. Not only did it also feature prominently in Ford Vs. Ferrari, but it was also the first Mustang to ever win a major competition! But there was even more to the GT350R that helped to put its name on the map.
According to its engineer Chuck Cantwell, "the object of the GT350 program was to beat the Corvettes in SCCA racing." And while it achieved that with flying colors, it also completely flipped the American view of Mustangs and sports cars on its head!
5. 1971 Shelby GT500
Original Price: $8,000
Current Value: $1,000,000
It’s said that the 1971 Shelby GT500 was the most powerful of its kind, with a 428 cubic inch engine and a whopping 600 horsepower. But it wasn’t just a beast on the roads - it was also very modern for its time, with a flashy, attractive exterior. It was attractive enough that it even earned a place in Hollywood!
For those of us who have seen the blockbuster action film Gone In 60 Seconds, the GT500 should look familiar. The 1971 model was nicknamed Eleanor and played a big part in the film, which probably plays a part in its skyrocketing value as a collectible. Today a Shelby GT500 will set collectors back by a cool $1 million!
4. 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible
Original Price: $4,348
Current Value: $2,000,000 to $3,500,000
No one could have imagined that a $4000 convertible would be worth such a mind-blowing amount today - but that was the case for the 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible. What started off as a reasonably affordable and attractive car is now one of the most expensive collectible muscle cars in the world!
But it probably has something to do with the fact that over the 2 years that the model was manufactured, only 17 cars were ever sold to the public! And with a 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 engine, the ‘Cuda offered far more than just a pretty face. Today, the 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda goes for anywhere between $2 to 3 million a pop!
3. 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake
Original Price: Not sold to mass market
Current Value: $2,200,000
For car collectors who want to live on the edge (or, should we say, drive on the edge), the 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake might be a perfect choice. To this day, the muscle car still impresses with the ability to traverse 500 miles with an average speed of 142 mph! What’s even better is that it can keep 97% of trade the entire time.
The Super Snake was born when Shelby decided they wanted to design the fastest possible competitive sports car that could still be safe while hurtling around the tracks. As a result of its excellent engineering, the Super Snake is now the world’s most expensive Mustang and sold at auction for $2.2 mil in 2019.
2. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible
Original Price: $6,600
Current Value: $2,400,000 to $3,300,000
In the 1950s, Belgian engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov joined the team at Chevy to help work on some new designs. And with that move, it was safe to say that the automotive world was never the same again! Up until the late 1960s, Arkus-Duntov helped the brand completely rewrite what consumers wanted in a car.
Perhaps his most impressive feat was the 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible, one of the sleekest sports cars in existence. It was a monster on the roads with a 427-cubic-inch engine, but we doubt the engineer could have expected its value as a future collectible - the L88 later sold for an incredible $3.3 million!
1. 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000
Original Price: Not sold to mass market
Current Value: $13,750,000
The Shelby Cobra CSX2000 has a unique place in the automotive world, and this is no doubt reflected in its jaw-dropping modern-day price. To this day, it is regarded as “The most important American sports car in history,” which paved the way for others of its kind.
But just how much would a legendary sports car like the 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 put a collector out of pocket? Well, just look at the recent 2016 auction where it sold for an unbelievable $13,750,000! The Cobra went down in history as the most expensive car ever sold in the USA, and it still holds that place today.