The classic muscle car era is generally thought to have stretched from 1965 to 1973. Muscle cars are a uniquely American automotive phenomenon. These vehicles appealed to youngsters with a need for speed. They featured rather crude interiors, chrome bumpers and – most importantly – ridiculously powerful engines. These mean machines appealed to young people that wanted to express their positions as individuals in a turbulent post war world.
The OPEC oil embargo put an end to the muscle car era. Petrol simply became too expensive for young people to be able to afford in large quantities. Classic muscle cars made during the classic era are now highly desirable – with some going for hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. Here are some of the most desirable classic American muscle cars.
1970 Ford Mustang Boss
The Ford Mustang is one of the most well-known of the classic muscle cars. It was such a success that it spawned a whole line of cars – with the latest being released in the last few years. None of the modern Mustang iterations can touch upon the thrills provided to drivers by the 1970 ‘Boss’ edition.
Less than 7000 examples of this high-performance Mustang were made. They were conceived and built for the SCCA Trans Am Racing Series, which was an incredibly popular sporting event that involved manufacturers pitting their best production ready vehicles against each other. Ford was determined to win the race and prove that it had a dominance over the production performance car market. The mighty ‘Boss’ had a massive engine and performance enhancing weight saving cuts. It did extremely well at the 1970 Trans Am with Parnelli Jones behind the wheel. Because of the rarity and racing pedigree of this vehicle, it is highly sought after by car enthusiasts like Mike Savage New Canaan.
1968 Dodge Charger
The 1968 Dodge Charger was a mid-size muscle car produced by the Chrysler Corporation. It was offered as a two-door coupe with distinctive fastback styling. The 1968 model was refreshed with new styling – building on the success of the previous 1966 edition – that included a longer nose and a more rounded tail, with hidden headlights and a larger grille. Under the hood, the Charger was available with a range of ridiculously powerful and ridiculous sounding V8 engines, including the 426 Hemi V8, which produced 425 horsepower. The Charger was also known for its handling and performance, thanks to its torsion bar suspension and power-assisted brakes. The 1968 Dodge Charger was popular with muscle car enthusiasts and has since become a classic, thanks to its distinctive styling and performance. In addition, its appearance in various TV shows and movies, such as The Dukes of Hazzard and Bullitt, has only added to its legacy. Most of the Dukes of Hazzard episodes were shot with a model built in 1969. Due to the fame it garnered on the small screen, ‘68 and ‘69 Chargers now sell for a very large amount of money.
1970 Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird
Plymouth Roadrunner Superbirds regularly sell at auction for six figure sums – despite the fact that they were seen as being somewhat undesirable when they were first released. The Superbird was designed for NASCAR racing. At the time, NASCAR required that racing vehicles were also released as production cars. The Superbird was a pure circuit racer that just happened to be legal for the road. It is most famous for its incredibly oversized rear wing – designed to help the car stick to the tarmac at high speeds. Only a small number of genuine 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner Superbirds were produced and sold, which has led to them becoming highly rare and sought after.
In full racing layout, the Superbird could hit 200 miles per hour, although it was by no means the most nimble performer. After NASCAR introduced engine size imitations, production of the car ceased. These vehicles were only produced for one year.
1963 Ford Galaxie 500 XL
Not many cars have inspired legendary jangle pop bands. The 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 was released a little bit too early to have been considered part of the golden age canon. It was, however, most definitely a muscle car. It was a large and heavy beast that featured plenty of luxurious add-ons and was released in a highly desirable convertible configuration. The car was adorned with plenty of chrome – a metal that simply screamed luxury in the 1960s. The Galaxie was not as fast as some of the muscle cars that came after it, but it defined the looks that would later become hallmarks of the genre.
1973 Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty
The Super Duty was an upgraded version of the regular Trans Am, designed to be a high-performance model that would offer drivers greater power and speed. Like the Mustang Boss, it was designed with the SCCA Trans Am Racing Series in mind. The Super Duty was equipped with a 455-cubic inch V8 engine that was capable of producing 285 horsepower. This engine was paired with a very capable and smooth four-speed manual transmission, which made it possible for drivers to get the most out of the vehicle’s performance.
In addition to the powerful engine, the Super Duty was also shipped with a number of other performance-oriented features, such as a Hurst shifter, four-wheel disc brakes, and an improved suspension system. The vehicle was also fitted with a unique hood scoop, which was designed to increase airflow to the engine and help keep it cool. This scoop helped to make the Super Duty one of the meanest looking muscle cars of the golden era.
Despite its performance and speed, the 1973 Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty was not a commercial success. Production was limited, and only a small number of these vehicles were made. As a result, the Super Duty is now considered to be a rare and collectible car that is highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors alike.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle
The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle is considered a highly desirable muscle car for several reasons. It was produced during the golden era of muscle cars, and its design and performance were indicative of the time. The 1970 Chevelle was available with a range of powerful engines, including the LS6 454 V8 which produced 450 horsepower and was capable of reaching 60 mph in just 6 seconds. This was an absolutely absurd level of growl back in the early 1970s.
The 1970 Chevelle was known for its distinctive styling, which included a sleek and aggressive look that was functional (ish) and visually appealing. The car’s body was aerodynamically designed to enhance performance, and it featured stylish chrome accents, curved lines, and a large, dominant grille.
Furthermore, the Chevelle was also known for its versatility and surprising practicality. It was available in several body styles, including a two-door coupe, a four-door sedan, and a wagon, which made it suitable for a wide range of uses, from daily commuting to weekend cruising.
Finally, the 1970 Chevelle is highly collectible and has a large and passionate following of enthusiasts. The car’s combination of style, power, and versatility has made it a classic, and it is widely considered one of the greatest muscle cars of all time. The Chevelle continues to be a sought-after collector car, and its value continues to rise, making it a highly desirable addition to any classic car collection. Like all muscle cars produced in the early 1970s, it became less financially viable for young people during and after the oil crisis.