Compared to the Americans and Europeans, the Japanese are relative newcomers to the game of building cars. Despite this handicap, the Japanese automobile industry has evolved into one of the greatest in the world. Today, Japanese carmakers have built a name around making stylish, reliable, and powerful sports cars. From making copies of American and European sports cars, they went their separate ways in the ’80s. Thanks to innovative technology, they were now creating original sports cars that were simple, reliable, and affordable.
Through the efforts of Japanese automakers, the world has been blessed with the bestselling Mazda MX-5, the Toyota Supra, and the Nissan GT-R, among other greats. The Americans on the other hand, having discovered the muscle car formula, depended on big engines and fat tires to go faster. Although the Japanese have become adept at building sleek sports cars, here are 10 muscle cars we’d buy over any model from Japan.
10 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge
“The Judge” was a 1969-only GTO package that Pontiac offered to help reverse a massive decline in sales. Unique design elements it came with include a T-shape gear shifter and headlights concealed in the grille.
In addition to flowing lines and a curvy body, the GTO Judge didn’t disappoint where it matters the most. A buyer could choose either of two 6.6-liter V8 engines. The first was a standard 366-hp Ram Air III, while the other was the 370-hp Ram Air IV. It was good for a 0-60 mph time of about 6 seconds and a top speed of 118 mph.
9 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda”
The Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, not to be confused with the Plymouth Barracuda, is one of the best classic muscle cars. Under the hood, lay the iconic 7-liter Hemi big block V8 fed by 2 4-barrel Carter carburetors.
It got an upgraded suspension and a reinforced structure to better handle the whopping 425 hp and 490 lb-ft of torque produced by the engine. Back in the day, this beast could hit 60 mph in under 6 seconds. Today, it is a valuable collector car, especially the ultra-rare convertible version.
8 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
When the Dodge Charger debuted in 1966, it came with four V8 engine options and three transmission options. In 1969, a high-performance limited edition of the Charger was introduced. Only 505 of the irresistible 1969 Charger Daytonas were built.
For power, it got either of two V8 engines, a 7.2-liter rated at 375 hp or a 425 hp 7-liter Hemi. Although it wasn’t as successful as its closest rivals, in 1970 it became the first racing car to cross 200 mph. Some of its eye-catching design features are an oversized stabilizer wing and a nose cone.
7 1970 Plymouth Superbird
Offered only in 1970, the Superbird was a specially modified Plymouth Roadrunner developed for NASCAR racing. Although it looks similar to the Dodge Daytona at first glance, there are subtle differences like the angle of the stabilizer wing. It came with three V8 engine options – a 7-liter Hemi and two versions of the 7.2-liter Super Commando.
Like its corporate cousin, the Daytona, the Superbird was a very fast car. However, thanks to a change in regulations, it was outlawed for the 1971 NASCAR season. Unfortunately, Plymouth had difficulty in wooing buyers for the 1,920 Superbirds built.
6 1960 Chevy Corvette ZL1
The ZL1 was an expensive midyear engine release for the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette to replace the L88 engine that was being discontinued. It came with several mandatory upgrades like the F41 special suspension, special heavy-duty brakes, and K66 Transistorized Ignition.
Frills like radio and air conditioning were deleted and the final sticker price was more than double that of a base ’69 Corvette. Beyond the eye-watering price tag was a beast that was underrated at 430 hp. It was phenomenally fast for the day and could hit 60 mph in 4 seconds and clear the quarter-mile in 11 seconds.
5 2021 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Currently, in the sixth generation, the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro is built on the GM Alpha platform which it shares with the Cadillac ATS and CTS. The Camaro SS comes with a 6.2-liter V8 mill that churns out 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. It erupts with a raucous soundtrack while it hurls the hefty car to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.
Apart from the blistering acceleration, the SS is also agile and well-balanced on curvy roads. A great reliability rating and a user-friendly infotainment system only add to its appeal.
4 2021 Ford Mustang GT
The 2021 Ford Mustang GT is a 2-door fastback that impresses with a nice cabin with ample interior storage. Under the hood, it hides a 5-liter V8 power mill with an output of 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph happens in 4 seconds while it tops out at 155 mph.
Rolling on a sophisticated suspension, it is both balanced and agile while an optional active exhaust roars satisfactorily. In addition, it comes with an impressive array of standard advanced safety/driver assist features.
3 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is one of the meanest modern driving machines. Power is supplied by a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 power plant mated with a slick 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With 760 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque on tap, 60 mph happens in 3.4 seconds while the quarter-mile flashes past in 11.3 seconds.
Despite its hefty curb weight, the GT500 is agile and delivers a thrilling driving experience. For infotainment, it gets an 8-inch touchscreen, while a 12-speaker B&O sound system is available for audiophiles.
2 2022 Dodge Charger Jailbreak
Offered as an option on the SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, the Charger Jailbreak is a limit-breaking beast on wheels. Under the hood, the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 mill is tuned to churn out 807 ponies. Apart from the mind-blowing power, the Jailbreak also opens up a whole new world of exciting equipment options.
Furthermore, you get to choose from several exterior badging finishes, varieties of seats, brake caliper colors, and rim styles, amongst others. Dodge also offers several preconfigured Jailbreak models for buyers who may feel overwhelmed by the buffet of options.
1 2022 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack
The Challenger R/T Scat Pack is a modern muscle that impresses with a roomy cabin and a great predicted reliability rating. It also boasts an easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment system and class-leading storage capacity. To haul the 4300-pounder muscle car around, Dodge fits a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 under the hood.
Rated at 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of twist, it gets the Scat Pack to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. However, it is more comfortable on a straight line than on curvy roads. Also on offer are Brembo performance brakes, heated front seats, and a 6-speaker Alpine sound system.