Classic muscle cars have their own type of beauty. Even though modern cars have evolved economically and mechanically, classics continue to appreciate over time. Classics have a character of their own and love to stand out from the crowd.
The ’60s and ’70s were the eras where muscle cars kept getting powerful every year. Some would implement lightweight bodies, while others would add larger engines. However, even with all their performance, these cars would still get annihilated today by new muscle and performance vehicles.
10 1964 Pontiac GTO
The Pontiac GTO represented the quintessential muscle car. It had a sexy coke bottle-shaped body and played a crucial role in fueling the 1960s craze for muscle cars. The GTO had a 6.4-liter V8 producing around 340 hp. The GTO had three two-barrel Rochester 2G carburetors that helped it get extra fuel and air when demand dictated it.
Besides the massive engine, the GTO had a light body that helped propel it from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. In today’s standards, that is still fast, but it would be annihilated by a sports car like the Mercedes-AMG A45 S that manages 3.9 seconds from 0 to 60 mph from a 2.0-liter engine.
9 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
Many years after its launch, the Cuda is more praised and expensive than it was back in the day. The best feature of the Cuda was its HEMI V8, producing 475 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque. This race-bred engine made the car wider and lower than previous models.
The Cuda was available with either a 3-speed automatic or 4-speed manual and could launch from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Unlike most muscle cars of its time, the Cuda had a 155-mph top speed and could manage a 14.0 second quarter mile time.
8 1968 Dodge Charger HEMI
The Charger was a front engine, rear-wheel drive two-door fastback coupe. It was fitted with a V8 engine capable of producing 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque. The Charger was available with either a 3-speed automatic transmission or a 4-speed manual.
All these components helped the Charger accelerate from 0 to 060 mph in 4.9 seconds and reach a 131-mph top speed. The Charger was also capable of a quarter-mile sprint of 13.5 seconds. The modern-day Charger Jailbreak obliterates these figures with its supercharged V8 churning out 807 hp.
7 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 428 Cobra Jet
The Cobra Jet was one of the Mustangs that would command respect without making a sound. At idle, the Mustang remained quiet but turned into a different beast on the open road. The Cobra Jet was equipped with a 428 Cobra Jet FE-Series big block, capable of churning out 335 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque.
With this performance, the Mustang could complete a quarter-mile run in 13.9 seconds and reach a 103-mph top speed. Back in the day, that would have been impressive. However, modern mustangs can produce more power even without the need for superchargers. A good example is the $36,285 Mustang GT Fastback with a 5.0-liter V8 producing 450 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque.
6 1970 Chevelle SS454
Besides the Plymouth Hemi Cuda, the SS454 was another vehicle that checked off all muscle car requirements in the early 70s. This beast was a lethal threat with its power plant, capable of 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. Its performance helped translate most of the raw energy into remarkable road performance.
The Chevelle’s 453 cubic inch engine managed a 0 to 60 sprint of 6.1 seconds, a laudable achievement in the 70s. It also managed a 13.7-second quarter-mile sprint and a top speed of 142 mph. Even though most modern muscles don’t have the same charisma, they can easily outperform the Chevelle.
5 1963 Dodge Ram Charger
The Ram Charger had an understated look that made it the best candidate for a V8 engine, capable of producing 415 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. These impressive figures helped get the Charger to a 126-mph top speed and a 13.8 second quarter mile time.
Nowadays, the Charger is a four-door sedan capable of thrashing most classic muscle cars. One of the fastest mass-produced offerings is the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody. At its core is a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 producing 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque.
4 1966 Chevrolet Corvette 427
The 1965 Corvette featured a 427 cubic inch engine capable of producing 425 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. This was an upgrade from the previous 396 cubic inch engine in the 1964 models. The new engine was lighter and allowed the Corvette to manage a 13.4 second quarter-mile run.
The Corvette had a 105-mph top speed, slightly slower than most modern cars. Compared with modern Corvettes, this 1966 model wouldn’t manage to keep up. The modern iterations pump out 495 hp from a thumping LT2 V8. This helps rocket the car to an 11.2-second quarter-mile run.
3 1962 Shelby Cobra 427
The Cobra defined a performance era and is among the most loved muscle cars today. In its time, it had outstanding performance, managing a 4.1 second 0 to 60 mph time and a 12.2 second quarter mile time. It had a top speed of 160 mph, allowing it to keep up with some modern vehicles.
Besides its power, the Cobra has beautiful classic looks and is recognizable just about anywhere. Its timeless proportions make it a great investment and a thrill to drive. However, it lacks the dedication and innovations of modern performance cars that are more powerful and dynamic.
2 1967 Chevrolet L88 Corvette Stingray Convertible
Classic Corvette values have been appreciating, with one L88 Stingray Convertible selling at $3.2 million at the Mecum auction. For the price, you would get a capable V8 producing 430 hp that can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.
The Stingray was also capable of an 11.2-second quarter-mile time and a 151-mph top speed. All that is good performance for a classic muscle car. However, for the same amount of money, the Stingray would be defeated by modern performance cars like the Ferrari Daytona SP3 with its naturally aspirated V12 engine producing 828 hp, capable of accelerating it from 0 to 62 mph in 2.85 seconds.
1 1965 Plymouth Belvedere
The Belvedere became famous for its performance as a police car. Therefore, it needed to be fast, strong and durable. It had a V8 engine generating 415 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. This made it one of the fastest classic muscle cars with a 12.69 second quarter mile time.
However, despite its impressive performance, the Belvedere can’t keep up with the current performance muscle cars. For example, the Shelby Mustang Super Snake features a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 producing 825 hp. This translates to a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.