10 Overrated Muscle Cars We Wouldn’t Waste Our Money On

For well over six decades now, the American muscle car has become a staple of our culture, and not just in an automotive sense. When these V8-powered thoroughbreds started sweeping the roads in the 1960s (or even earlier, depending on who you ask), the main concept behind these rumbling behemoths was to offer affordable power to the people, with a significant portion of the last century seen creating a thundering wave of cheap muscle cars that were targeted towards younger buyers. Although not all muscle cars were intended to be cheap, the main idea was to create a much more budget-friendly alternative to the European sports cars that were the only other options for buyers seeking some thrills on the road.

Nonetheless, time itself has played a crucial factor in how we perceive these cars, and also how much we’re willing to pay for them. While the idea of a cheap muscle car was once a very common thing, a strong portion of these cars now remain far more expensive than the costly, European alternatives that they were originally designed to compete against on the market.

Still, cheap muscle cars exist (although the best muscle car for the money is always built, not bought), but the same can’t be said regarding these 10, overrated and overpriced muscle cars. Using Hagerty‘s Valuation Tool, we’ve compared the current, average prices for these classic makes and models in good condition, to show exactly how overpriced a lot of these amazing machines have become in the modern world.

Related: A Detailed Look Back At The Mercury Cyclone GT

10 1977 Pontiac Can Am: $17,600

1977 Pontiac Can Am
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This first one is a bit of an obscure machine and was limited to only 5,000 units, and despite which, its value remains relatively low in comparison with several Firebirds and Trans Ams of similar vintage. Nonetheless, the 1977 Pontiac Can Am, packing only 182 hp from its 400-cid V8, necessitates 10 seconds just to muster its way up to 60 mph.

Of course, this is no different from virtually any other, American “muscle” car of the mid/late-1970s, but for this kind of money, you can easily get some legitimate performance elsewhere.

9 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport 429: $16,600

1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport Front Quarter View
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While the 1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport is the cheapest muscle car on this list, the ensuing emissions regulations for the vast majority of American muscle cars had substantially depleted horsepower levels throughout most of the 1970s.

As a result, its choked-down, 429-cid V8 only put out 207 hp in top trim. For such a big, heavy car, acceleration is definitely compromised, and the overall handling and braking capabilities are definitely hindered by throwing all that weight around the road. Even for well under $20k, you can get a lot more horsepower for your money.

8 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 426 Hemi: $230,000

1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger RT Convertible Cropped (1)
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This one is certainly not overrated in terms of performance. Far from it. The 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T is perhaps the apotheosis of the American muscle car.

However, that 426 Hemi comes at a big cost. Considering the price differences between these and the 440-equipped cars, as well as the absurd cost of 426 Hemi parts in comparison, the entire scenario begs to question whether or not an original Hemi Challenger is actually worth it.

RELATED: A Detailed Look Back At The Plymouth GTX

7 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302: $68,500

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While the Mustang’s status as a true muscle car can be questionable at times, the 1969 Boss 302 is a fair example of illustrating this fact.

The car itself is legendary, and was originally built for the Trans Am Series, but displacement restrictions kept the maximum at 302-cid. Altogether, more of a road racer than a muscle car, and for quite the costly price. For the driver looking for performance, there are far better ways of getting some speed for much cheaper.

6 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28: $70,500

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Chevrolet Pressroom 

Although the Z/28 had first been marketed as a race-ready vehicle, this was done to homologate its 302-cid V8 for the Trans Am Series, which dictated a maximum displacement of 5.0 liters or 302-cid.

The race versions of the 1969 Chevy Camaro Z/28 were potent track weapons. However, these had a bit more in common with sports cars than they did muscle cars. Considering the absurd values of first-gen Camaros, including the Z/28, it might just be better to find a nice example of a lesser trim level, without matching numbers, that would have considerably lower value and possibly better performance (depending on the specific modifications).

Related: A Detailed Look Back At The 1968-1972 Oldsmobile 442

5 1968 Plymouth Road Runner 426 Hemi: $77,400

A Brown 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner
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The entire point of the Plymouth Road Runner was to create a stripped-down, cheap muscle car, void of most creature comforts, with the purpose of providing horsepower to the people without breaking the bank.

But, for what the Hemi Plymouth Road Runners are valued at, the idea of buying one literally defeats the purpose, especially with 440-cid Road Runners (and other Mopars) which would be substantially more inexpensive to maintain.

4 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona 440: $248,000

Dodge Charger Daytona
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While the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona is certainly a legend in its own right, even the 440-powered cars can easily find themselves worth a king’s ransom. Although these are very rare, NASCAR homologation specials, at the end of the day, there’s still the chassis of a Mopar family sedan underneath all of that bright paint and aerodynamic wizardry.

For nearly a quarter-million dollars, most owners would find themselves too afraid to properly abuse the machine as it was originally intended, especially with the rarity of specific parts for these things.

3 1977 Pontiac Trans Am: $24,000

Black 1977 Pontiac Trans Am on the road
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This golden child of the Malaise Era has inflated in cost, mostly due to its Smokey and the Bandit fame. With a heavy curb weight and ridiculously low-power output, it’s questionable whether these can even be considered performance cars, let alone muscle cars. For the staggering price they command, there are far better options.

Still, the old Screaming Chicken is definitely enticing. But for the money, it could be a lot easier to just pick up a similar, modded F-Body for a fraction of the price and a lot more performance.

Related: Here’s What Makes The Ford Torino GT An Underrated American Car

2 1969 Dodge Charger R/T: $76,500

1969 Dodge Charger R:T
Mecum Auctions

The 1969 Dodge Charger, in general, has become something of a generic muscle car. Even people that aren’t necessarily familiar with classics can identify this massive brute, as it seems like the 1968–1970 Chargers are the go-to muscle car of choice where Hollywood is concerned, which consequently drives up the prices from too many people pretending to be Vin Diesel.

Not that the 1969 Dodge Charger isn’t a capable muscle car, but its vast popularity takes its value to an entirely new level. For the value, your money can be better put to use elsewhere.

1 1965 Ford Mustang GT: $45,200

Navy Blue 1964 Ford Mustang Parked Outside

The purists won’t consider this last one to be a proper muscle car at all, which is exactly the reason the 1965 Ford Mustang GT is on this list.

Sure, it’s a great car. An icon. One of the best-selling cars of all time. Nonetheless, the original, Falcon-based Mustangs are not muscle cars. These are pony cars, utilizing a compact platform and lacking big-block power. Considering that the prices that these first-gen Mustangs are commanding, the smarter move would be to simply purchase a Ford Falcon of similar vintage and garnish the same performance for substantially cheaper.

Sources: Hagerty, Hemmings, Classic, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Stellantis