9 Great Muscle Cars You Can Buy For Less Than $20,000

The golden age of muscle cars was among the best periods of the automobile industry. It was a time when we didn’t have to worry about gas prices and traffic jams. And in the case of muscle cars, automakers could do away without optimizing fuel efficiency and drag coefficients. All they would have to do is make sure the car looks great and has lots of power and that it’s pocket friendly, as we all know that muscle cars were pretty common back then. There were a lot of prominent players in the segment with the likes of Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Buick, all pricing their models competitively.

But, thanks to factors like inflation, rarity, icon status, and appearances in movies, many classic cars’ prices have recently skyrocketed and now sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some have even crossed the million-dollar mark.

Thankfully, we have been getting muscle cars throughout, and a budget of $20,000 is good enough for a proper muscle car whether it’s from a relatively new era or the classic one. The Motor City Big Three of Chevy, Ford, and Dodge have continued to make both pocket-friendly and expensive muscle cars, so it only makes sense to find them in an affordable used car list, and luckily we still have a few options if you’re looking for something older.

9/9 2018 Chevrolet Camaro LT

Chevrolet Camaro 1LT - Front Quarter
Via Valencia BMW

The Camaro is a pony car Chevrolet made to compete directly with the Mustang. In fact, we have no problems picking the Camaro over the Mustang every time if it’s in decent condition and hasn’t seen too many miles. Though the 2018 Camaro LT might seem underpowered compared to the competition, you still would get an amusing performance.

Chevrolet Camaro 1LT - Side View
Via Valencia BMW

Under the hood of the Camaro LT is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four block that makes 275 hp at 5600 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Camaro LT is available at around $19,000, which makes it a great purchase.

Related: 15 Photos That Show How Much The Camaro Has Changed In 50 Years

8/9 2010 Ford Mustang GT

2010 Ford Mustang GT Red
via The Car Connection

Every year, we get a different winner in the muscle car race between the Detroit three. A used 2010 Mustang GT is a great muscle car you can count on and seems to have relatively more praise back then. It is so good that we can talk all day about it and would still talk about it the other day. Though this isn’t the most powerful Mustang of all time, it ticks all the boxes when performance is under-counting!

Used 2010 Ford Mustang GT Premium Interior
Via: iNetwork Auto Group

It holds a 4.6-liter V8 motor tuned to attain 315 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. It can take you up to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds and does a quarter mile in 13.7 seconds. Moreover, these ponies are readily available in the market at about $16,000 to $19,000, which makes an excellent value for money!

7/9 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8

2008 Dodge Charger SRT8

We know Dodge for its muscle cars, and the 2008 Charger is among the good ones. It looks muscular, holds a muscular engine with lots of power, and you see people enjoy driving these around. So basically, everything about this value-for-money car seems decent enough to warrant consideration in the used car market.

2008 Dodge Charger SRT8

It inherits a potent 6.1-liter V8 power plant that generates 425 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Depending on the condition, you can find one anywhere between $15,000 to $19,500. Now that is what we call a slayer! Just make sure to check for common problems before buying, and you’ll be fine.

Related: 5 Things We Love About The Chrysler 300 SRT8 (5 Reasons Why We’d Rather Buy The Dodge Charger SRT8)

6/9 1985 Chevrolet El Camino

1985 Chevrolet El Camino Black
via Hemmings

An SUV mini truck is something conventional to us, but a Muscle ute is rare. That is precisely what the Chevrolet El Camino offers. The El Camino served the primary purpose of family requirements back then, which is why it was loved so much. 1987 was is the last year for the five-generation-spanning car.

1985 Chevrolet El Camino Interior side view
via Hemmings

Following the many generations of El Camino, we have focused on the sixth generation, El Camino. It came with a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine that produces 155 horsepower at 4000 rpm and 239 lb-ft of torque at 2000 rpm. You can easily find one of these under $15,000 in decent condition.

Related: 9 Lesser-Known Facts About The Chevrolet El Camino

5/9 1997-2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

Ford-SVT-Mustang-Cobra-R-Silodrome Cropped
Via: Silodrome

If you wake up any car enthusiasts from a deep sleep and ask for their suggestions for the perfect pony car, the Mustang Cobra will be among the firsts on the list. The Mustang SVT Cobra is a machine that none of us would want to miss out on.

Ford-Mustang_SVT_Cobra-1999-netcarshow Cropped
Via: Net Car Show

The late ’90s model came with a 4.6-liter V8 engine that churns out 305 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque at ease. Apart from this, it being rear-wheel drive will add more sense to buying it as a gearhead. You can find one of these around $12,000 to $15,000 in decent condition.

Related: 2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R: Costs, Facts, And Figures

4/9 2005 Cadillac CTS – V

Red 2005 Cadillac CTS-V parked
Via Mecum Auctions

Cadillac CTS-V is not that famous among resale markets compared to the others on the list, but boy, you will miss out on a splendid car if you neglect this. The looks are subjective, but we cannot deny that it looks bold. The underparts are more intriguing! It is one of the most exciting cars money can buy at this price point. It is also powerful.

Cadillac CTS-V - Rear Quarter
Via Mecum Auctions

Under the hood of the CTS-V is a 5.7-liter V8 motor that generates a crazy 400 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, enough to push you back on your seats. Jay Leno thinks that the CTS-V is a Corvette but with four seats. We can easily find it for under $15,000, making it a bang-for-the-buck car.

Related: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Cadillac CTS-V

3/9 2013 Dodge Challenger R/T

Dodge Challenger RT - Front View
Via Mecum Auctions

Dodge precisely knows how to nail it when it comes to muscle cars. Almost every car they make is in some or another a good representation of a genuine muscle car, and the Challenger isn’t any different. The things we said about the Charger apply here as well.

Via Mecum Auctions

The Challenger R/T is a beast on the tarmac and straight roads because of the great engine and rear-wheel drive, which gives it the essence of a dragster. It fits a 5.7-liter V8 motor, producing 375 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. It is available in the used market anywhere between $15,000-$20,000.

2/9 2009 Pontiac G8-GT

Silver 2009 Pontiac G8 GT parked
Via mecum.com

The G8 GT and the G8 GXP are Pontiac’s modern muscle cars that make impressions of a great, powerful muscle car we would desire! The G8 GXP is a superb car, but it’s gonna cost more than $20,000. But the GT has power, is great at handling, is affordable, and is reliable with a bit of salt.

Silver 2009 Pontiac G8 GT Side View
Via mecum.com

It packs a 6.0-liter V8 engine that produces 361 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque at 5300 rpm. The Pontiac G8 GT is available in the used market at $13,000-$15,000. Like a hidden treasure, the G8-GT might be a challenge to find, but if you do, it will not disappoint you.

1/9 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM

Black 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SE - Front Angle
Via Mecum Auctions

​​​The second Pontiac on this list is the Firebird Trans AM. The above picture is the 1977 model Firebird Trans AM that came with a 180-hp V8 as the base engine and offered 200 horsepower in the higher trim. You can find one of these for under $20,000.

Related: Why The Iconic Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Deserves A Comeback In 2023

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am - Front Quarter
Via Bring A Trailer

However, the fourth generation of the Firebird doesn’t baffle either. It receives a 5.7-liter V8 power plant that makes about 275 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. You get these extra ponies if you like modern-day Firebird. It usually costs under $15,000, earning it a spot on this list.