The most expensive muscle car sold at auction was the 1965 Ford Mustang GT350R nicknamed the “Flying Mustang”, the GT350R was photographed with all four wheels off the ground at the mercy of legendary racer, Ken Miles.
Today, the Muscle Cars genre has seen multiple iterations of its rich V8 ancestry, with so many drag strip tormentors on offer, which are the most legendary muscle cars destined for the temperature-controlled tombs of the enthusiast? Here are ten American muscle cars that demand attention from collectors.
10 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird
The 1970 Plymouth Superbird was responsible for eight race wins during the 1970 NASCAR season, two more wins than the Dodge Charger Daytona it was based. Plymouth’s “nosy” NASCAR had an astonishing top speed of 185mph and was a product of the infamous aero wars between North American manufacturers; hence the 64×24-inch wing bolted to the rear. As a result, NASCAR banned the Plymouth Superbird and the Dodge Charger Daytona for the 1971 season; their wacky aero and incredible performance metrics were deemed too dangerous for the sport.
Being a homologated car, Plymouth was required to build two Superbird vehicles for every Plymouth dealership across the USA, leading to 1,935 Plymouth Superbird’s sitting unloved on Plymouth forecourts. With potential buyers put off by the Plymouth Superbird’s large nostrils, only 135 Superbirds arrived with the race-ready 426ci (7.0-liter) Hemi producing 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque in 1970! As a result, it’s suspected only 1,000 examples of the Plymouth Superbird remain, with the Hemi being at the lower end of this figure.
The Plymouth Superbird was capable of 0-60 in 5.5 seconds when armed with the infamous Hemi, and today will cost potential buyers roughly $658,091 to sit in Richard Petty’s lovechild.
9 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Arriving on the debuting Chevrolet Camaro, dubbed “project panther,” was the Z28 variant sporting a 302ci (4.9-liter) V8, suitable for 290 hp alongside 380 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 rpm. However, as Chevrolet aimed for racing homologation, the advertised figures are suspected to be under the Z28 Camaro’s true power.
The Z28 name comes from Chevrolet engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, aka “father of the Corvette.” The 28 was simply the chassis production code for the debuting Z28 Camaro.
General Motors’ response to the Ford Mustang was embodied by the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, with a top speed of 137mph and a 0-60 of 7.7 seconds; Chevrolet began a muscle car war that would continue to this very day. Prices for a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 float around the $108,037 mark, according to classic.com.
8 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
The world’s fastest quarter-mile production car is the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. In 2018, Dodge had the courtesy to sell all 3,300 units for $84,995! And today, the Demon will cost potential collectors around $144,829.
The fire-breathing Demon plays host to a 6.2-liter Hemi V8 pushing out an astonishing 840 hp alongside 770 lb-ft of torque, helped by a 2.8-liter Supercharger; this blast from the past harkens back to its predecessor’s, setting drag strip records at 9.65 seconds! In addition, the Demon has a 0-62 in 2.3 seconds, making it the fastest-accelerating production car on release.
Sadly, the only production car to pop a wheelie (2.92ft) was banned from the drag strip by the NHRA for lacking a roll cage. Nevertheless, the Dodge Demon was an instant hit that stands among muscle car royalty.
7 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88
Screw the GTO! Oldsmobile was light years ahead when a group of their engineers crammed the 303ci (5.0-liter) Rocket V8 into the small boxy frame of the aptly named 88.
The Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the world’s first muscle car and went on to dominate NASCAR with its impressive 135 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque; only the legendary Hudson Hornet could knock this Oldsmobile from its podium. Unfortunately, the Oldsmobile 88 went on to span ten more generations which lacked the original’s flair. Today, the 1949 model costs collectors around $31,791.
6 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
Plymouth Cuda was a drag strip monster demolishing the quarter-mile in 14 seconds flat and aided by a ludicrous 0-62 time of 5.7 seconds! However, Plymouth managed just 780 sales of the Cuda; only 21 of these were convertibles which can cost buyers around $2 million today!
The Cuda was a performance variant of the Plymouth Barracuda made for the drag strip, Although the Cuda produced a whopping 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque from its 426ci (7.0-liter) Hemi engine, enthusiasts labeled the 426 “the elephant” in reference to its portly size. A hard-top Cuda playing host to “the elephant” will cost potential buyers around $297,265 today.
5 1969 Boss 429 Mustang
Designed by Kiyoshi Lawrence Shinoda, or “Larry”… The Boss 429 was Ford’s golden ticket into NASCAR racing; the engine up to the task was the 429ci (7.0-liter) Ford 385 V8 capable of 375 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque.
Shinoda labeled the 429 “the bosses’ car” when asked about it and created a tantalizingly low 1,359 units across two years of production.
The Boss 429 Mustang was quite a feat, a rare muscle car capable of 0-60 in 6.5 seconds and the standing quarter mile in 14 seconds flat. Unfortunately, the late ’60s muscle car with a top speed of 128 mph will cost collectors a devilishly $286,666 today.
4 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS6 Convertible
The Chevelle SS LS6 was a rare beast known as “the king of the streets.” Lurking beneath the hood of this supposed “King” was a 454ci (7.4-liter) V8 launching out 450 hp alongside a ground shuddering 500 lb-ft of torque. The Chevelle SS LS6 was the only General Motors production car to arrive with more power than the Corvette.
Capable of a quarter mile in a record 13.85 seconds and 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, the “King of streets” was regularly purchased in rigid hard-top form, meaning approximately 20–26 customers ticked the $200 convertible option! A convertible variant of the Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS6 is one of the rarest muscle cars in the world for this reason, with examples selling for over $1 million today!
3 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake
The legend that was Carroll Shelby armed Ford’s GT500 with the same engine as the Le Man-winning Ford GT40 MKII. That powerplant is the 427ci V8 rated at around 520 hp in the conveniently named, Supersnake.
Shelby’s Mustang GT500 is a one-of-one as Ford refused to fund the 50-unit production run proposed by the racing legend. As a result, the one and only Supersnake sold for $2.2 million in 2019, sporting the signature colors of a Shelby creation.
2 1981 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko Turbo Z Z28
Don Yenko’s final creation was a rehash of the shockingly poor third-gen Camaro Z28. Yenko took on the 175 hp muscle car and fettled it with a trick turbocharger unit taking figures up to 220-250 hp. The Turbo Z Z28 was a statement to the big American manufacturers of what was possible in the post ‘Malaise’ era to return the muscle car to glory.
Don Yenko crafted 19 Turbo Z muscle cars, three of which sported the uprated stage II package. Yenko’s final creation spawned An incredible piece of automotive history costing between $30k-$70k in recent years. Unfortunately, despite Don Yenko’s cunning ingenuity, Chevrolet stuffed the Camaro with the atrocious 90-hp Iron Duke and called it a day in 1982.
1 1964 World’s Fair Skyway Mustang
Henry Ford II called on his old friend Walt Disney to create the ‘Magic Skyway’ attraction at the Wolds’ Fair in New York, all in preparation for Ford’s launch of the first generation Mustang. Visitors sat in one of 12 Convertible Ford Mustangs and launched into the air to look down at the Corvette stand.
All 12 original models sold as used vehicles not before treating around 450,000 passengers to an elaborate piece of Ford promo. Although difficult to find, a worn-out example went on sale for $18,500 in 2019; enthusiasts are to look for VINS 100003 through to 100014 as these were the original Magic Skyway Ford Mustangs.