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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

The 10 Greatest American Muscle Cars of All Time

Ask experts and many will tell you that the first American muscle car was the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88.  Oldsmobile was first automaker to put a high compression, dual overhead cam engine into a production car.

Others claim that the “American Muscle” revolution didn’t start until 1964 with the release of the Pontiac GTO and the Ford Mustang.  Ask someone to describe an Oldsmobile Rocket 88 and you are likely to get a lot of puzzled looks.  Contrary to the Rocket 88, the GTO and Mustang are common household names.  This is why we are going with the revolution and have compiled a list of our top 10 American muscle cars.

It is commonly accepted that to be a muscle car a vehicle should be a mid to full-size 2 door car with 4 seats.  For that reason we have not included the iconic Chevy Corvette, the Shelby Cobra or any of the other fast 2 seat cars from the muscle car era of the 60s and 70s.

This list is in no way an official list, but rather our top favorites.  If you find we left out a car that should have made the cut, leave us a comment bellow and see how many other readers will agree or have suggestions of their own.

 

10. Buick GSX – The Buick Skylark was a very popular car in the 60s so they decided to beef it up with a 7.5 liter 360 horsepower engine.  It was available in either yellow or white with a spoiler and a distinctive racing stripe.  This was not the typical Buick consumers had grown to love…  It was even better!

buick-gsx

 

9. Ford Boss 302 Mustang – With its high-rev Boss 302 V8 engine, the Ford Boss 302 Mustang is just that… It’s a Boss!  Although underrated against its competitor the Chevy Camaro at 290 horsepower, this little pony turned into a raging beast when it reached high revs around 3500 rpm.

ford-boss-302-mustang

 

8. Dodge Charger – If you are old enough to remember 70s & 80s television then you certainly recognize this piece of American history.  The Dodge Charger is one of the most prized muscle cars of all time.  Beyond its amazing aesthetics, this car was also known to have an excellent handling suspension system for its time.

dodge-charger

 

7.  Plymouth Hemi Cuda – Although sometimes criticized for its nose-heavy weight distribution, no one can deny that this 425 horsepower was anything short of awesome.  The Hemi Cuda had the track record to prove it belonged with the best, putting down low 13 second quarter miles, which is still quick even by today’s standards.

plymouth-hemi-cuda

 

6.  Pontiac Firebird Coupe – Most people remember the Firebird popularized by Burt Reynolds in Smokey & The Bandit, and while that Firebird is a great ride, it is the original 60s Firebird models that make our list.  Like this beauty shown below, the Firebird has burned a place in our hearts forever.

pontiac-firebird

 

5. Plymouth Roadrunner – Named after the Looney Toons cartoon character of the same name, this muscle car was originally marketed to a younger crowd.  It was famous for its design and style and was undeniably fast.  Wile E. Coyote couldn’t catch the Plymouth Roadrunner either.

roadrunner

 

4. Pontiac GTO – We would like to believe that the Pontiac GTO would make any top ten list regardless of who is judging.  Considered by many to be the one of the first true muscle cars, the iconic GTO has become one of the most sought after muscle cars for collectors, enthusiasts and dreamers everywhere.

pontiac-gto

 

3. Chevrolet Chevelle – We are getting close to the top of our list and the Chevy Chevelle certainly deserves to be in the top 3.  It was manufactured from 1964 to 1977 with the last year of production giving us the highest output production car to date at a whopping 450 horsepower.  It showed us the limit of the muscle car power war.

chevelle

 

2. Chevrolet Camaro – Easily one of the most popular muscle cars of all time, the Chevy Camaro has created a huge name for itself in American muscle car history.  It may not have been the fastest or most powerful car of its time, but it was a very well rounded car that left its owner with little desire for anything more.

chevy-camaro

 

1.  Shelby Mustang GT500 – We have seen many a list of top muscle cars and we are certainly not the only ones to put this monster machine at number one. The Shelby Mustang GT500 was created by Carroll Shelby and introduced to America in 1967 and was equipped with a 428-cubic-inch police interceptor motor.  It quickly became a success and is still one of the most sought after cars of all time.  You can expect to pay up to $330,000 for the original 289 roadster and the one of a kind Shelby Super Snake is estimated to cost $5.5 million.

shelby-mustang-gt500
There are of course a number of fantastic muscle cars that did not make our top ten.  It was a difficult task narrowing down our favorites.  If you have a favorite that did not make our list please leave us a comment below telling us what your top 10 would be.  You might just persuade us to change our minds and update our list.

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