Top 10 Classic Muscle Cars

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MOPAR, Mustangs and meaty motors – they are all part of this inspiring Top 10 list of the best classic American muscle cars, unlike the cars today that pose as muscle cars. Sure, some cars such as Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari could be categorized as muscle, but those cars were built with a different richer clientele in mind. The true muscle car was built for the everyday American who would spend from $500 to a couple grand more in the late 60s and early 70s for that one jaw-dropping feature – more power! Through the ages, boys have always been attracted to their toys, these toys just happened to be bigger, badder and with a lot more muscle than their standard counterparts.

10. 1965 Pontiac GTO

Possibly the one to start the American muscle car craze, the Goat or 1965 Pontiac Tempest GTO option featured racing car options that remained inspirational long after it was out driven in speed and power. From 0-60 in 6.1 seconds was not shabby, but not awe-inspiring considering the next 10 years of muscle cars. Regardless, this muscle car has the chops to make this list just by starting the phenom that has turned car enthusiasts into weekend warriors under the hood.

9. 1970 Buick ‘GSX’ Stage 1

A beefy Buick, the Stage 1 ‘GSX’ performance package boasted 360 bhp though testers said it came in at closer to 400 for the bigger valved, better headed and hotter camshafted car. This supercar did the quarter mile in 13.38 seconds and came in only two colors – Apollo White or Saturn Yellow.

8. 1969 Ford Mustang ‘Boss 429’

The ‘Boss 429’ 1969 Ford Mustang was the costliest non-Shelby Mustang Ford offered at the time. The reason came down to the semi-hemi 429 engine that Ford wanted to get into NASCAR. While the car was not built for its screaming starts, it was known for long-haul racing capabilities and smooth handling.

7. 1970 Plymouth Hemi-Cuda

The baddest of the 1970 Plymouth Barracudas or Hemi Cudas featured a 425 bhp 426 hemi engine. This muscle car boasted a 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and was known for burning rubber without much prompting. A brute on the road, the Hemi Cuda was made for muscle lovers. The Hemi Cuda came in one engine size, 426, while the other four engine options for the ‘Cuda did not have hemispherical heads.

6. 1969 Z28 Camaro

Not the most powerful, the 1969 Z28 Camaro was built for the excitement of road racing and loved for its sense of style and handling capabilities. Perhaps one of the most stylish muscle cars, this Camaro could do a quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds though only at a speed of a little more than 100 mph. Despite that obvious lack of raw power, it was noted for its great handling with four-disc brakes, positraction and power steering.

5. 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C

Thought to have too much power for its chassis, the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C featured an impressive 480 bhp. This sporty little number looked like a European sports car, yet had the muscle to prove it was American. Two twin turbocharged versions of this super car were made – one for Bill Cosby and one for Shelby. Cosby sold his because it had too much power and the next owner put it in a lake; Shelby’s Super Snake was sold in 2007 for $5.5 million US.

4. 1968 L88 Corvette

Boasting a top speed of about 170 mph with a special order package, the 1968 L88 Corvette is thought to be the end-all, be-all in the Corvette world. The 550 bhp motor was designed specifically for racing and GM didn’t want the L88 on the open road due to its power. More standard features of everyday cars such as air conditioning and a radio weren’t even offered to make this powerful car less attractive to the common man.

3. 1970 454 Chevelle SS

The 1970 Super Sport package Chevelle featuring the LS6 package came in at a whopping 454 horse. The option was standard for the average car buyer of the day making it one of the most powerful stock cars anyone could purchase. With racing stripes and a smooth interior, this muscle monger was the average muscle lover’s dream.

2. 1969 427 COPO Chevelle

A special order by dealers designated Central Office Production Order, the 1969 427 COPO Chevelle had a limited run of about 320 cars. This 450 bhp muscle car was fitted with a L72 427-cid V-8 due to demand from muscle loving Chevy dealers. Interestingly enough, Chevy didn’t want their mid-sizes at the time to have more than 400 cid. But the COPO Chevelles were made and distributed to some very happy dealers.

1. 1969 ZL1 Camaro

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Perhaps one of the rarest of muscle cars, the 1969 ZL1 Camaro featured a jaw-dropping 500 horses under the hood in an aluminum V-8 engine. This bad boy American beast could go from 0-60 in about 5.3 seconds, which was why some of the 69 models made found their way into drag-racing. Over time, the full complement of cars was sold; however, the package option was never offered again.


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153 Comments

  1. My first car in 1984 was actually a 1969 Chevelle SS which I loved. Too bad it only got 9mpg and I had to sell it for a Top Ten Chevrolet Hatchback. Ugh, I would love to have that car back now.

        • why should the viper be in there, yes its a great car, however all those cars are from the 70’s and mid-late 60’s, the viper being first produced in late 1989 does not fit in with those years of muscle cars

        • the viper to me is a tuner not a muscle but people think what they think but the gs is a bad lil car

      • As stated by Matt,,which is correct,,
        The Corvette is NOT a Muscle Car,,its a 2 seater car,making it a Sports Car,the Corvette was America’s answer to the european Ferrari

        • The 70s corvettes were 100% muscle cars, at the moment you have a point they are more sports cars though now not 40 years ago

    • classic muscle cars are usually just light bodies with big engines. thats what shelbys and corvettes are. and plus, these are top 10 most popular muscle cars, not your top 10 favorite muscle cars.

    • The only car that isn’t on here is the ’69 Chevy Nova, that thing is just simply a beast under the hood and would walk any of those cars on the quarter mile…

      • CHRISTOPH JEFFCOAT on

        I do not think it would take the cuda, and I agree with the bunch. I think the vette and cobra are not muscle cars.

      • Fastest factory quarter mile. 1968 Dodge Dart. 426 Hemi or the 440. Take your pick.
        This is not an opinion. This is FACT. Factory Darts did the quarter in the 10 second range.
        Whoever created this list was a Chevy fan anyway….. biased list.

    • The 1966 427 with 480 HP Cobra has every right to be on the list and will wipe any stock Trans am you put beside it. Do a little research and I think you will agree.
      Sincerely

    • Who wrote this article and where did you get your facts?
      You got a couple “Rare” Muscle Cars Right! But “Rare” doesn’t necessarily mean the Year Model Make or Engine! Plymouth made one Snowy White Convertable CUDA with a Black Billboard sticker and a 426 HEMI or the 1971Black GSX 455 STAGE 1 with Cortez Gold Stripes, Buick only made 1 that color! Im all for Big Block Muscle, But Vettes are 2 Seaters, more like Foreign “SPORT CARS” with a Fiber glass body! No Disrespect.

  2. "A brute on the road, the Hemi Cuda was made for muscle lovers and came in five different engine sizes."

    …is incorrect: the Hemi Cuda came in one engine size, 426, while the other four engine options for the 'Cuda did not have hemispherical heads.

    • Thats right the AC Cobra was originally made in Bristol England,,,,its English as Mash Potato,Sausages with Gravy and Tomato Sauce………

  3. I agree with this list except I think they should have put the GTO Judge in there too. The body of the Cobra was of European origin, but it had that big block 427 under the hood. Carrol Shelby solidly took the body from the Europeans and "OWNED" it so it should be considered 100% American muscle now… The Corvette mentioned in this list IS a muscle car because it was Chevrolet's answer to the Cobra. They already had the Corvette and it could not compete with the Cobra, so they stuffed the biggest engine they could under the hood. As the caption read, they attempted to make it solely a race car. This difference from the regular Corvettes should qualify the L88 as a member of the so-called "Muscle Car" family. That's my $0.02.

  4. A well thought out article and I agree with most of your picks, but I have a few small points of disagreement.

    The 1969 Z/28 did not have standard four wheel disc brakes. Four wheel, four piston Corvette calipers were an option package (RPO JL8) designed to make the Z/28 more competitive in the SSCA Trans Am road racing series. The 1969 RPO JL8 has one of the lowest production figures of all Camaro options. Officially, Chevy submitted an "arbitrary" production figure of 206 units. But this figure may have been intentionally inflated in order to satisfy the SCCA minimum requirement for homologation of the Camaro and its equipment.

    The title of "rarest of all muscle cars" would probably not go to the '69 ZL-1 Camaro (69 models built), but instead to the ZL-1 Corvette (only two are known to have been produced). The ZL-1 package did show up again on a 1993 Camaro, but GM only built one example to silence the naysayers who claimed they would never build another big block F-Body. The '93 ZL-1 was never sold, rumors place it either in GM's collection, a private collection, or bought by Year One.

    Statistics from Chevy and extrapolations by authentication experts claim somewhere on the order of 4450 LS6 Chevelles were produced, a small fraction of the 60,000+ Chevelles built in 1970. So it's untrue to say that the LS6 option was "standard for the average car buyer of the day." If there were that many of them built originally it wouldn't be so rare to find a true LS6 today.

    Also, it may be slightly more accurate to claim that the '64 (and not the '65) GTO was the car to "start the muscle car craze." The '65 and subsequent years definitely outsold the '64, but the GTO options package for the '64 Le Mans was almost certainly the first of what would become the stereotypical "American muscle car" in the 1960s and 70s.

    It's a small point of contention, but the GTO wasn't an options package for the Tempest. Some of the early Pontiac models blend together at times due to interchangeable parts and nearly identical V8 designs, but the Le Mans was an option for the Tempest, the GTO was an option for the Le Mans.

    The progression, from lowest to highest, is;

    Tempest (Base model, I6 or 326 V-8)

    Le Mans (Trim package for the Tempest)

    GTO (389 engine in a Le Mans)

    • THIS IS A GOOD LIST BUT IT SEEMS TO HAVE FORGOTTEN A COUPLE OF OTHER CARS. 1970 W30 OLDS 442,440 SIX PACK CHALLENGER,OR CUDA,.HOW ABOUT DRAG OPTIONED429 SCJ 71 MACH 1 OR TORINO GT WITH SAME PACKAGE,& LETS NOT FORGET THE 1967 & 1964 427 FAIRLANE & OR THE THUNDERBOLT, BOTH OF THESE CARS WERE CAPABLE OF QUATER MILE TIMES IN THE 11 SECOND TIME SLIP.I MEAN IF YOU INCLUDE ZL1 & L88S & COPO,& YENKO WHT NOT THESE FORD HIPORFORMANCE CARS

      • Hay…. i couldnt agree more, You hit it right on the nail. If your gonna pick the 10 best , then pick the best of the breed, 340 dusters and demonds were pretty stout, They ruled the streets when the muscle cars were comeing to an end, and how about some of the offerings from AMC, The hurst AMX for example, I mean if your gonna include ringers, Or how about the sc/rambler, The reble machien was some thing ells, as for the Boss 429 mustang, In show room condistion a 428 mustang would kill it, Even a 71 boss 351 would walk away from it, The T Bolt is the altimate, and it was street legal. Some of these 396 novas were brutal. The Cobra and the Vette shoulnt be in this, Man I can think of so many cars that can, Any thing with a 440 6 pack, or a hemi. 421 super duty pontiac’s, Any thing from hurst, W30’s, Lets not forget olds. It is interesting to see what people pick though.

    • The 1971 Plymouth GTX,,,should be in the TOP 3,,,,and maybe even as NUMBER 1,,,,i thinks its America’s Best Muscle car…….

  5. No mention of the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona? What gives? The 1969 Dodge Daytona set a speed record that held for 13 years, to be broken by about 1 mph in 1983.

    • I totally agree. I mean how can you not include the one (or one of two if you include the superbird) car that was banned from NASCAR for being too fast!!! Seriously the car is almost 20 feet long and it would annihilate any of these supposed “10 best” muscle cars, and yes that includes the shelby.

  6. What about the 1963 Chevy Corvette Stingray Splitwindow coupe? Its not mentioned in here 🙁 IT IS MY FAVORITE MUSCLE CAR OF ALL! Also what about the 1969 YENKO CAMARO?

  7. Corvettes started production in 1953 (musclecar???).

    Corvettes and Cobras definitely not musclecars,they border on exotics./sportscars.

  8. FYI the cobra had two super snakes the were produced that is stated in this post but they were supercharged not turbocharged and I am one that perfers fords but I also believe the dodge charger should be in the list

  9. I have a 1970 GSX 4 Speed painted Apollo white with factory air. I have rebuilt back to Stage 1 specs, although it is not a true Stage 1. But then again, I don't try to pass it as such. However, I am pushing about 460 HP. In 1970, Buick built 188 Apollo white GSXs, 89 of which were four speeds. I am proud to see this car on the list, it definitely is rare!!

  10. The 1970 454 chevelle SS is the ultimate muscle car. I had one. That thing could smoke anybody on the street or the strip. Then the kids came and the muscle car had to go. I,d do anything to get that car back.

  11. The Buick GSX at #9? WTF? BTW, the 427 Shelby Cobra and the L88 Corvette were SPORTS CARS, not muscle cars! I'll further comment later. I'm going to have New Year's dinner with my family. Happy New Year, everyone?

  12. come wheres the charger a dodge charger should of been put in there 1 for its power 2 because i cant think if anything else but it shoulda been in thea do you thnik??

  13. 71 Hemi Cuda Convert or hardtop 4 speed

    69 ZL1 Camaro 4 speed

    69 1/2 SuperBee 4 speed

    70 Judge Ram IV 4 speed

    70 GSX Stage1 4 speed

    69 Boss 429 Only came 4 speed

    69 Yenko Nova 4 speed

    70 Chevelle LS6 Convert 4 speed

    69 Hemi Daytona 4 speed

    70 Hemi SuperBird 4 speed

    THE COLLECTION !!!!!! More room in the garage!! 69 Yenko Camaro,69 Yenko Chevelle,Hemi SuperBee,Hemi RR and throw in a couple of non muscle cars 67 L88 Vette and a S/C Cobra

    This is what I would be buying [email protected]

    • rich P,your list is a very good one indeed. but having vast knowledge of the hi po fords of the 60s and 70syou seemed to have overlooked 2 of the fastest 1/4 milers of the era ?the ford t- bolt of 1964 with fiberglass hood and trunk aluminum bumpers ,pexi glass side windows and of course THE 427 SIDE OILER, THIS MOTOR WAS ALL FORD 14 TO 1 SERVICE PISTONS FORGED STEEL CRANK ,TITANIUM VAVLES,SODIUM FILLED FOR HEAT REDUCTION A FACTORY CAM SPECT OUT AT 303 DURATION AND 730 LIFT. INTAKE VAVLES AT 2.3O.EXHAUST AT 1.77!!SO AS YOU CAN SE THIS CAR WAS RIGHT AT ABOUT 2900 LBS AND COULD RUN THE 1/4 MILE IN THE TENS, WITH A 4 SPEED TOP LOADER AND 4.30 GEARED REAREND.and the really cool thing about all of this is you could order this 1964 FAIRLANE THUNDERBOLT FROM THE LOCAL DEALERSHIP!!!! I KNOW ALOT ABOUT THESE FE SIDE OILER ENGINE? AS I OWNED A 1967 FAIRLANE SUPERSTOCKER WITH THIS SAME ENGINE MINE WASNT THAT FAST IT ONLY RAN IN THE MID 11s at about 130 mph . so i hope this info helps all muscle car lovers? and by the way as big and bad as the 429 boss hemi mustang in 69 or 70 it was the slowest of all the hi po mustangs it only ran in the hi 14s .the 429 hemi was over vavled and under camed.. it was a true hi speed nascar engine capable of speeds of 170 mph.not areal good 1/4 miler. even though i do know of a friend in 1970 that stuffed a radical 600 plus lift cam in a 69 boss, he had orderd the mustang with 12 to 1 c.r. a single 850 holley and then put on a set of hooker headers. the car already had a 4.57 gear he had it dynoed at lopers performance shop in phx. az. the car put out an amazing 615 h.p. and on the track easily ran 11s. so rich p while your list is good you seemed to have left out a lot of early 60s muscle cars and no one seemed to remember the early 413 and 426 dodge and plymouth wedges? well good by from an old gear head and remember muscle cars rule!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • David, those Car’s you mentioned sound like dealership Drag packages sold only to Racers I don’t know with the Fords, but that was the case with Mopars. Those car’s would be a handful to drive on the street! I think the list lacks Mopars heck, I could list 10 Mopars but I’m probably biased 🙂 I personally don’t think any “Dealership package” type Car’s should be on the list (Copo’s Yenko’s, and yes even Mr Norm Cars) no Corvette or AC Cobra as they are 2 seaters
        And…why no 440 Car’s? (especially 6 pack car’s)? IMO this list is so wrong I don’t know where to start but it makes interesting conversation 🙂

  14. There is no "rule" as to what a muscle car is, but a couple generally accepted criteria for what a muscle car is include 1) two doors and 2) four seats. Vetted and cobras are great cars but they are just in a different class- dedicated two seat sports cars (high end at that). I'd replace those two with 70 r/t charger and the yenko camaro. The mustang I would include would be the 70 with the cobra jet engine and the gto I would include would be the judge, not the second year 65 model. Good list.

  15. How about any Chrysler 300, 1955 and on. Especially the Letter Series B through J. The 300G (1961) had 400 or so horsepower and would do nearly 150 mph. It also had what had to be the wildest looking intake manifold ever installed on an American car. 2 x 4 barrel carbs on 30 inch tubes sitting outside the rocker covers feeding the opposite bank of cylinders

  16. OH C”MON!
    How could you forget the 68′-70′ Dodge Charger
    or the challenger?!

    put one of those up against a chevelle or a camaro and a assure you that their will be competition.

  17. Just read this list and figured I would inform you, being a Corvette fanatic and a 69 owner that the car you posted in the picture for 68 is a 1969, having the Stingray logo on the fender.

    Pretty decent list though.

  18. Good list, but it some how feels incomplete with out some sort of Dodge Charger. The car is still a legend. Almost any movie that involves cars of some sort will have a Charger in it.

  19. We understand the limitation of a list of just 10 cars… You have GM all over your list some in duplicates… Dodge is conspicuously absent from your muscle car top ten list!! A good test of great muscle cars from yesterday would be to see what hot muscle car era nameplates are being “re-introduced” today. The 68 or 69 Charger and 70 Challenger should be on that list.

  20. 1969 mustang is my dream car! its way sexier than any of that crappy euro trash and is in my opinion is the best muscle car there is

    • I would agree that the ’69 mustang is good looking. The best were the Mach 1’s. But its really only a muscle car when ordered with the 428CJ or (better yet) the 428 SCJ. A 1969 428 super cobra jet Mach 1 is missing – should have it instead of the ’69 Boss 429. Its nicer, cheaper, and in stock trim, would whip the BOSS. Ford built 20 times as many of them so you could actually buy one off the lot. The BOSS was a round track motor – great for upper RPMs when you had the right cam and carb but not so good for the street – definitively NOT one of the best muscle cars. It wasn’t as slow as some people think but in pure stock trim, it was nowhere as fast as what other people think either.

  21. Vettes and Vipers are AWESOME but are 2 seaters and I’d venture to classify them as sports cars, not muscle cars… although they are in fact long on muscle and popularity!!

    It is shameful that Dodge was not represented… seems like journalistic license!!

  22. mi favorito es el camaro 69 y me alegro que este primero. Igual me parece que no deberia haber 2 camaros y 2 chevelles. Yo sacaria uno de cada uno para agregar el 1970 dodge charger (negro) y el 1971 pontiac trans am (blanco con el ave fenix azul). saludos!

  23. car windscreen replacement on

    I would say 1969 Ford Mustang â??Boss 429 would be my favourite pick … I love that muscle car … it has been my favourite muscle car …On the second spot it would be 1970 454 Chevelle SS … anyways thanks for the list

  24. you guys are a bunch of chevy lovers every one knows that 1969 BOSS 302 MUSTANG is the best. comaro it aint got nothing on FORD POWER

  25. Neither the Corvette, or the Cobra are true Muscle Cars I think it’s pretty obvious whoever put this list together, is a GM or Ford Guy…ONE Mopar? what about the Dodge Charger for God’s sake…

    • He’s not a Ford guy. The real Ford muscle car motors were the FE427 and the 428CJ – and neither are present. The FE427 was a solid lift racing motor. The street version was still hotly tuned, producing 425HP (R code) or 410 HP (W code). In the 60’s, it was the dominate motor on the street until ’65 or ’66 when MOPAR built the street version of the HEMI. The FE 427 was so expensive to build that it wasn’t profitable so Ford came up with the 428CJ in ’68. That motor in a mustang made what Hot Road magazine declared the quickest 4 seat regular production pure stock in the history of man. Some special order cars and/or limit production cars were quicker, but there wasn’t much you could find at a dealership that would touch it. The 440 6 pack was not yet out, the 426 HEMI was usually in heavier cars and I don’t think the LS6 was out either. By 1970 that had changed. But still, how can neither Ford muscle car motor be present? Unlike most of the super muscle cars, you could buy a 428CJ off a dealership lot. You didn’t even have to order it and they were quick – swept the ’68 winter nationals. Advertised at only 335HP, NHRA re-factored them at 380HP – that’s a lot in a light car. And the 428CJ Mach 1 was’t just one of the quickest cars, it was also one of the nicest.

  26. Good list yes I think some mopars should of been in there bunt think one of the rarest muscle cars is a 1969 yenko nova only 8 are acountable today and don yenko said it could do 0-60 in about 4 seconds and he didn’t make very many because they were to dangerous.

    • CHRISTOPH JEFFCOAT on

      I agree. I had a fast really fast 74 camero and I only got smoked twice. By Nova’s. It was very frustrating, they had no paint or good tires, they were sleepers big time. Novas are really light

  27. Another car I think should be on there is the 1987 buick Grand national gnx yes it’s from the 80’s but there isn’t very many and it could compete with the muscle cars before it’s time and that’s saying something because it’s from a time where horse power really didn’t mean a whole lot. But like I said earlier good list needs some mopars more of a chevy man myself love all muscle cars but the list needs more of a variety even though I think chevy had a better list of muscle cars to choose from. And yes it’s kind of hard to make a list of ten especially when there’s so many cars to choose from and you got to fight back putting your favorites on there. But I’ll say it again great list and would drive any of those cars.

    • Believe it or not, my Dad chose the cars on the list and then I asked a writer to flesh it out. Here is the believe it or not part, my Dad has owned more than 5 Grand Nationals and has bought and sold them for fun. He has one right now. So, he knows the Grand National very well, but chose not to add it. I’ll have to ask him why.

      • I agree, Grand Nationals kick Ass! but are from a different era that could be why your Father chose not to add them? I don’t think the “Dealer Special” type car’s should be in the list i.e the Yenko’s, Copo’s etc it should be a “From the Factory as they were built” IMO but the list is definitley lacking in Mopars there should be more of them on there.

      • Like I said the grand national gnx is from a different era but is still a great car from it’s time and I think it is a great car that is rare but the cars on this list is from the 60’s and 70’s so the grand national doesnt exactly fit in with the time period. I like the list not trying to dog on you and your dad but I think there are some rare cars that are not on the list, even though you don’t see a classic everyday some are more rarer than others but like I said love the list and it’s hard with there being so many cars to choose from to make a list like this.

        • Bryce, I was offended at all. I wondered why he didn’t include the GN myself. I’ll ask him when I see him for July the 4th this weekend.

      • Ask your Dad why he didn’t include the most awesome muscle car of all time….the 68 Hemi dart. Nothing could touch it….nothing! In mint condition the could easily sell for half a million $.
        With drag radials and a wheelie bar you have a 9 second king of the strip……..without the wheelie bar and drag radials you have a fatality waiting to happen!

        • I don’t think the Hemi Dart was street but I didn’t think the COPO Camaros were street legal either. Never the less they are muscle cars!
          Some of the 1/4 mile times on the web are very deceptive, The hemis would smoke the no grip bias ply tires halfway down the track and still pull off a 13.10 second pass.
          On an actual engine dyno at the crankshaft the Hemis were about 550 hp and the 454 LS6s were about 500 hp….both were seriously underrated.
          The most awesome small blocks were the:
          1) 302 Camaro that should have made the list
          2) 340 6 Pack AAR Cuda
          3) Boss 302 Mustang

        • A street Hemi’s on a dyno really makes between 430 and 435HP. WIKI says 433.5. NHRA says 430. It was the race spec HEMI motors that put out over 500HP and they were not offered in street cars. A lot of people confuse the two.

          The NHRA re-factored the LS6 at 430HP in pure stock class. The pure stock 500+HP LS6 is another urban legend. If it made 500HP, it would have been a 12 second car. But 430 was still a lot of HP in 1970!

          The Z-28 and BOSS 302 are cool cars but they were built as road racers to race in circle tacks. Muscle cars were red light to red light warriors that relied on brute straight line acceleration. Neither the Z-28 nor BOSS 302 fit that description. Neither were very quick off the launch either. Instead, of a BOSS 302, I would add a 428 Cobra Jet mustang or 428 CJ Mach 1. The ’69 Cobra Jet Mach 1 was one of the nicest and quickest regular production cars of the era and one of the best selling.

          I would add the 440 6-pack instead of the 340. True muscle cars generally relied on cubic inches with gobs of torque. The 440 2x3V is a true muscle car power plant.

          If you really want a hot small block that could perform like a big block, then perhaps check out the largely unknown 351 BOSS? It would beat the 340 AAR, ’69 Z-28 or the ’70 BOSS 302 in a drag race. Most aftermarket heads available today mimic the heads from that car. Shame it came out the year Detroit decided to abandon muscle cars.

          Oh, and the 302 Camaro DID make the list – the 69 Z-28 is a 302.

        • A street HEMI pushes 430 to 435. WIKI claims 433.5, NHRA says 430. Race spec HEMI motors were over 500HP but they were not sold in street cars. The 500+ HP pure stock LS6 is another urban legend. NHRA has them factored at 430HP, although that was still a lot back then. A 500+HP car would run better than a 13.1! Without question, the most awesome small block of the era was the ’71 BOSS 351. It was stronger than the Chevy 302, BOSS 302, the 340 6 pack AAR and the Chevy 350. Oh, and the Chevy 302 did make the list. Its in that ’69 Z-28.

        • Why was the 68 Hemi Cuda not includd you ask? because IMO, this list is put together by a Chevy Guy with a few Fords and just ONE Mopars included just to make things seem unbiased.

        • Problem with the HEMI Dart is that although its quick, its still a Dart. I owned two Darts (both gifts from family members that didn’t want them). They were cheaply built cars. No way that is one of the best muscle cars, regardless of its quickness! If going MOPAR, I’d rather have a GTX, a charger, a challenger or a Cuda.

  28. Grand Nationals are from a different era that’s probably why they were not there? no “Dealer Specials” like the Yenko, Copo, etc should be there I think it should be a “From the Factory” list. there should be more Mopars anyone can see that!

    • I agree 100%. Special order cars, cars not readily available to the public, sports cars, and road racers should all be excluded from consideration if the criteria is the “best” muscle cars. In fact, the list is largely only cars from 67-70 but the muscle car craze cranked up in the earlier 60’s with some impressive, old school cars that would be far more interesting than a limited production car built just for the press. Everyone loves the HEMI’s but you never saw them on the street. The MOPAR that most folks feared were the 440 6-pack cars because they WERE on the street and they were every bit as quick as the HEMI cars – not as high HP but better off the launch. I grew up back then and the only HEMIs I’ve seen are at car shows. I’ve seen lots of 440’s. The real street warriors were the MOPAR 440’s and 383’s, the Chevy 454 and Chevy 396 (and rarely the 427’s), and the Ford 428CJ cars. Most of the rest were for image, bait and swap, or to legalize this car or that one for racing.

  29. Sorry to offend Just wondered why the gnx Wasn’t On there. I love the list and would kill for any of those cars. my top 5 dream cars idk exactly what order I would have them in but a 67 Shelby gt500, 70 chevelle ss, 69 dodge charger rt, 87 buck grand national gnx, and a 1969 yenko nova but I’d love to have pretty much any classic muscle car right now iv got an 85 Pontiac grand prix le that me And my dad are working on and we’re also fixing up a Pontiac gtp we got off his friend.

  30. Ok, I hostly know nothing about cars, I know how to drive one like a mofo, but if you asked me a single qusetion about it my answer would be somewhere along the lines to the thingy booper by the dingle hopper with the thing-a-magig. Any way! I am an author and my characters need a really awesome muscle car, it has to be fast, and pretty, but it also needs to have a rather large trunk, so it you have any good ideas on what type of car i should use just email me at [email protected] or just answer on here,
    thanks XD

    • AC Cobra is no Muscle Car! anything with 2 seats is not a Muscle Car Plain and simple. That’s not my definition it’s the general accepted definition (even by the Big 3). Boss Mustang worth more than a Hemi Car? I don’t think so not as rare that’s for sure. A typical “Ford Guy” response.

      • The boss 429 Mustang is basically a “Ford Hemi”. Rarest by numbers? Maybe not, but worth-wise it would be first on this list. It is definitely one of the most sought after muscle cars just because of it’s low production numbers and back-story.

        • A BOSS 429 is far more rare than a 426 HEMI. 11,000 HEMI cars were built and less than 1300 BOSS 429 cars were built. Now, some HEMI models are far more rare – as one model might have only had 20 units with the 426. But overall, the BOSS is more rare. But more rare doesn’t mean better muscle car. IMO, muscle cars are strong street cars. For both power and street manners, the 428CJ and 440 2x3V cars were better. In stock trim, the 428CJ is quicker than the BOSS 429 and the 440 2x3V is as quick as the 426. These wedge motors were also lighter.

  31. As Mike stated which is totally correct

    AC Cobra,is NO WAY a Muscle car,,and was made in such tiny production numbers
    Also yes 2 seater cars are NO WAY muscle cars,
    Corvettes are not muscle cars,there American take on European Sports cars…of the 50’s and 60’s

    Any list of Muscle cars that doesnt include the 1970 442 OLDS is missing the point……………….

  32. the best of the best around the wourld is built by GM this top list probes it all, i love camaros i got one my self a 96 lt1 z28 a lovely boy.

  33. I loved the list, the only thing i dint like was that dere was no charger, challenger and the daytona. frankly i aint a dodge fan but these cars have earned it…..

  34. This top 10 list is seriously flawed! No Superbird or Daytona?????? What about the most awesome car you could order at a Dodge dealer……the Hemi Dart???????

    • That car was never really produced. Eleanor was a custom car built for the movie. It was supposed resemble a GT500.

  35. Whoever put together this list obviously does not understand what a muscle car is. The Corvette and AC Cobra are 2 seaters and by definition sports cars and do not belong here.

    We DO NOT need 2 ’69 Camaros in the top ten list. really… we’re all sick of this crap. ’69 camaros are cool, but not so cool you need two of them in the top ten musclecar list.

    We also do not need 2 Chevelles. The 1970 Chevelle SS 454 is the only one that matters because it is the most brutal. That being said, at least find a pic with the correct wheels.

    This is supposed to be a list of top ten Musclecars, right?:

    We definitely DO need a ’68 or ’69 Charger.
    We definitely DO need an Oldsmobile 442.
    We definitely DO need a Plymouth Roadrunner.

    • You said it Joe! I totally agree with you 100%! the list was put together very “one sided” IMO
      The “one sided” part being biased towards GM! Mopar made the best Muscle Car’s hands down!

  36. I don’t see the 1968 Shelby Cobra GT 500-KR “King of the Road” debuted; under the hood was a 428 cubic-inch Cobra Jet V8 which was rated at 335 horsepower.

    • How is the super bird one of the best muscle cars? Muscle cars are really 1/4 mile type cars. The super bird was built for the round track. Its popular for collection because its so rare. It so rare because the public hated them – many left unsold at the end of the production year. Some dealers cut off the wings just to unload them. I would love to have one because its an unusual antique, but not because it was a great muscle car. But then I would like an Edsel too.

  37. 1969 mustang is my dream car! its way sexier than any of that crappy euro trash and is in my opinion is the best muscle car there is 🙂

  38. i yust love to see this arguing and y just care about to see how important is GM in motor sports coz out of this list 7 cars belong to GM one to mopar and 2 to ford and some people here would say that he is a chevy guy , but not a chance coz i have seen plenty of diferent top 10 lists posted by so many people and alwAYS gm GETS THE BIGEST NUMBER OF Cars so i would say that thats the way it is : i would say that taste will be taste ,most cars are great and fast in every muscle car own way but statistics says it all coz in the market of super cars building GM has gotten really far , coz actually there are about 27 super cars that i have found worldwide that use the great small block all aluminum LS7 vette engine and to name some : ultima gtr (inglish),keating TKR(inglish), senvost1(danish),trident aceni 6.6 liter diesel duramax engine(inglish),mosler mt 900 (USA),dragger GT(USA),aero ultimatessc(USA),vector(USA),marcosTS0(INGLISH),barabus TKR(inglish),weineckc cobra(german) engine provided by american speed interprices),plethore sc 750(canadian)hennesey venom(USA),hulme can am(new zeland),arrinera(zwiden) lamborgini indomable(italian) arash af 10 (inglish and reciently swamped to a judd engine 5.5 liter v10 with yamaha tech for reazons of boringness of using the great SBC) march falcon(USA), fenix(USA) aspira f620 (inglish) and many more not to mencion aircraf, boats, sand buggies , any of roadding aplication etc etc etc and here commes the GREAT BUT ,,, but ford aplications i only know of salen s7super car ,shelvy cobra,detomaso pantera, koenesegg a 4.6 liter mustang engine stroked to 4.7 twen turbo,and very very e few more and as DODGE engine i have seen : the DEVON SUPER CAR, the Bristol fighter, and even less than ford , so as bouting GM gets the first place, ford gets the second ; and dodge gets the third, and this isnt me just been a chevy lover but just proben facts .

    • I have no idea what you just said but you summed it up with your last comment “me just been a chevy lover” enough said.

  39. Your list is a combination of a few, truly cool muscle cars available to the public, a bunch of cars that were not available to the public, and even an urban legend. IMO, the best measuring stick for the “best” muscle cars can be seen in production numbers. The best ones are the ones that the public wanted to buy. I’d omit all limited production, bait & swap press teasers and the sports cars.

    The prowess of the 455 Stage 1 is an urban legend that was debunked years ago – all because of an motor trend article led people to think it really had 420+ horsepower. The power to weight ratio of that car is no better than a GTO 6-pack. Stock, it doesn’t even hit its advertised 360HP rating and its not a low 13’s car if you test one that isn’t modified. Check it out in Wiki or a number of other sources. NHRA factored it at 385, but that is with approved, modern replacement parts that help out in the HP department such as better carb, ignition, etc. Its still a nice car and its okay in the list but the info you list originally came from a debunked magazine article.

    The BOSS 429 was out of its element with a street cam and in original stock trim, was not as quick as a 428CJ mustang. It was even more nose heavy, very expensive and not readily available.

    Speaking of 428CJ mustangs – how could you omit them? They were among the quickest regular production cars in the era. Unlike most of the cars on your list, they were readily available, affordable and very popular. Ford sold over 20,000 of them – perhaps more than the total sales of every car on your list combined. How is another car better when the average Joe couldn’t even buy it?

    The COPO cars are kind of iffy. Folks love them but there are very rare. The general public had no knowledge they were available. Heck a lot of Chevy car salesmen didn’t know. Like most cars in your list, most COPO cars had very low production numbers and were rarely seen on the street.

    Ever notice the very low production numbers of most HEMI models? MOPAR pushed the 440 because there was more profit. Unlike the HEMI cars, it was produced in reasonable numbers, it was every bit as quick as a stock street HEMI, and it cost a lot less $$$$. I would be tempted to list the 440 6 pack cars over the HEMIs even though they are less popular (thanks largely to press).

    L88 Corvette: the average Joe could not order it for any amount of money because Chevy limited production to 200 units. At most dealerships, it simply was not available.

    I agree with many others here who feel the cobra and Corvettes don’t belong in this list. I like them but I don’t see them as muscle cars. They are powerful cars but they don’t otherwise fit the genre. The Corvette was built to compete against foreign sports cars and the Cobra WAS a foreign sports car with an American built motor. There are too many quality muscle cars absent to list the rare, mostly unavailable and/or unaffordable exceptions you list.

    So which cars on your list would I keep? The GTO, while not the quickest muscle car, was an icon. The ’69 Z-28 was cool (as was the ’70 BOSS 302). Both are great touring cars and I might keep them but they weren’t really muscle cars. They were road racers.

    The Chevelle SS LS6 was fast and over 4000 were produced. Its one of the cars people think about when they think muscle cars. I might keep the GTX but I would correct the information about it. I’d keep HEMI Cuda (they at least built 652 of those) and would include some 440 6-pack MOPARs. I’d certainly add the CJ Mustang or CJ Mach 1’s as a single entry. I’d pick another early 60’s car – perhaps the FE427 Galaxy or Fairlane. I would not pick the Thunderbolt – extremely fast but not very nice to drive on the street. I might round it out with a surprise pick like a ’70 AMC Javelin. They were attractive, quick.

    Someone needs to post a list of the best true regular production muscle cars, available to the general public, where at least 1000 examples were offered to the public. The GTO, while not the fastest – was a classic and I would include it. And the LS6 was widely available. I like it on the list.

  40. The best muscle cars are the ones the public purchased. The true red light to red light warriors were the 454 and 396 Chevy cars, the FE427 and 424CJ Ford cars, and the 440 and 383 MOPAR, the Pontiac Firebird and of course the GTO.
    BOSS cars and HEMI cars were very rarely seen. I think the ’68 HEMI Road Runner was the only HEMI model with more than 1000 units built. Z-28 and BOSS 302 were road racers not built for hard acceleration from a dead stop. The 2-seat cars listed were not part of the same market segment and priced beyond the means of the average American. COPO and other low production or limited production cars should be excluded. How can a car be the best American muscle car when it wasn’t even offered to the general public? Replace these exceptions with real muscle cars – cheap, powerful and readily available cars built for straight line acceleration. Replace the road racer Z-28 with the drag racing ’67 SS/RS Camaro 396. Replace the round track ’69 BOSS 429 with the nicer, cheaper, quicker and more available ’69 428 Cobra Jet Mach 1. The Road Runner was one of the most popular MOPARs – why list a COPO car limited to 69 units instead of a muscle car icon like the Road Runner? How about an early Fairlane or Galaxy powered by the legendary FE427 that dominated the early 60’s? If you feel you must have a small block, then use the BOSS 351 and not the BOSS 302 or Z-28 302. The BOSS 351 was available, it was quicker than most big blocks muscle cars, and it could be ordered fully loaded.

  41. Personaly, I love the lines muscle and int of the 1969 camaro copo/chevy orange with white racing stripes, weeeee

  42. Well, the Cobra and the Corvette are NOT really muscle cars and I had a Chevelle SS 396 back in the day but I can tell you from my experience drag racing on Friday and Saturday nights, (and just about every car on this list showed up at one time or another) the top cars were the Hemi Cudas and the RoadRunner with the 440 six pack. If either one of those showed up we were all racing for second best.

    • Kmoney is showing you all the truth and you brothers aren’t digging it. I’ve run with them all back in the day. I didn’t have one but Mopars ruled at the end of the era. The crown would change from year to year but Mopar wore it at the end.

  43. 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 was the best muscle car. Nuff said.

    V-8
    Max BHP: 355 bhp @ 5,400rpm
    Max Torque: 420 lbs.-ft @ 3,200rpm

    It was beast and still is.

  44. issabendeck1 on

    quit the argueing, the best muscle cars ever, are any of the ones that use the VENERABLE CHEVY SMALL BLOCK the KING OD ENGINES the MARVEL OF INGENIERING for your info IN THE EARLY 60 S THEY ALL WERE USING BIG AND AMALL BLOCKS FROM CHEVYS THO CADIS AND TODAY THERE ARE SMALL BLOCKS USING BIG BLOCKS DISPLACEMENT SOMETHING ONE OF A KIND THING MMUSTANGS AND DODGE ARE GREAT BUT gm IS THE BEST PERIOD

    • A small Block Mopar could kick GM’s small block’s A.. (and sometimes their big blocks too) so enough about the “tough” 350’s they are just another grenade from GM.

  45. Checking out the first one, I thought Ferrari will be in top 3, but its all the old American muscle looking cars. Nice.

  46. Look this list is a good list but it’s based on opinion so don’t make a huge deal I say give an opinion of what u think is the best everybody has favorites idk the vette and the cobra are on the brink between muscle and sports but still are amazing cars

  47. Everyone else here is going looks or favorites, I’m telling you based on my experience draggin on Friday and Saturday nights with my Chevelle SS396, if either guy with the Hemi Cudas had their car running on those nights, they owned. The only competition they had was each other and the guy with the 69 Roadrunner 440 and just about every car on this list showed up eventually.

  48. Maybe a re-title to top 10 American muscle cars….there a couple we made here in Oz that would have to be considered at least the Ford Falcon XY GTHO Phase 3 or the Holden Monaro GTS 350.

  49. I think the author did a pretty good job considering there are so many valid choices.

    However, I don’t see why he had to choose a specificly-optioned model in the given line. It would be better (IMHO) to pick the top ten models that exemplify the whole musclecar era as seen by the masses. I also agree with the other posters concerning the Corvette and Cobra… these are true sports cars and not many people saw them on the street, let alone drove them.

    With that said, here is MY list of the top ten muscle cars (that were seen/driven/modified) by the masses:

    1- Tempest GTO (renowned for starting it all)
    2- Chevelle
    3- Mustang
    4- Camaro/Firebird
    5- Charger
    6- Duster/Demon
    7- Challenger/Barracuda
    8- Dart
    9- Roadrunner
    10- Javelin

    These cars were most popular on the street back then (in whatever flavour they came in). Sure there are lots of other makes/models that might make honorable mention, but THESE were very popular models and sold in relatively large numbers.

  50. this top ten was done by a chevy moron. & all these cars are killed by elite jap scrap now & thats why they are losing value…the kids couldnt care less for the cars we love.

  51. All of the cars mentioned were and still remain GREAT Muscle Cars!!! With that said I would like to have seen the “66 ChevyII Nova L-79 mentioned. (remember Grumpy Jenkins) I use to own one and wish I still did.

  52. The author is giving Chevy some extra love. 5/10 of the list is chevy… please be a little less biased.
    Also not a single dodge badged car? This is a list of your favorite muscle cars. I hope you consider updating this list.

    • I agree with you about the Charger and the Cuda, and Challenger but then you say not to mention Pony Car’s? well the Challenger and Cuda fall under the “Pony Car” nameplate this is from the manufactures not Myself it’s THEIR definition of a “Pony Car” Cuda’s Challengers, Mustangs, and Camaro’s and all considered “Pony Car’s” by the big 3.

  53. A mucsle car is a intermediate size car with a large engine not a sports car like the vette or a pony car like the mustang and camero

  54. Garry Inboden on

    Why leave the 69 SC/Rambler off the list? It was the best bargain!!! For every ten dollars spent YOU got 1 hp, and for every10 pounds of weight in the car YOU had 1 hp to carryit

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