The golden era of muscle cars started in early 1960s and its inevitable end came in early 1970s. However, during its short stint, it left us with the most memorable and highly collectible vehicles. Biggest names of the cars today such as Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Corvette are from the golden era of muscle cars.
Even though most of the notable cars from that era are long gone, (with many still in collectors garages) many people are still appreciating their value and some of those cars are the most expensive cars that ever sold at auction.
To pay tribute to the legendary kings of the road and drag strips, here’s the list of some of the top muscle cars that ruled the ‘60s and ‘70s.
1964 Pontiac GTO
Many car enthusiasts consider this car as the very first muscle car. Back in 1964, although this car has a lightweight body, it was packed with one of the biggest and powerful engine. The 389 cu in V-8 engine was stuffed into the lightweight body of the 1964 Pontiac GTO. This car was the collaborated effort of Russell Gee, Bill Collins and John Delorean. They created this car after General Motors issued a ban against factory-sponsored racing.
John DeLorean received various controversies because he named the car after the Ferrari 250 GTO. The Italian sports car was known for its power. However, many people are surprised by the Pontiac GTO’s power because this car’s engine has 325hp and it recorded a 0 – 60 mph acceleration in just 6.6 seconds.
1967 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
Though this car resembles a sports car, it still has American muscle under its small body. In fact, this car was one of the rarest classic American muscle cars.
Carol Shelby wanted to build the fastest car on the road, so he modified a Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake in 1967. He only managed to modify two Shelby Mustang and both of them are packed with the Paxton twin superchargers. It multiplies the engines’ actual output. His modified 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake has an 800hp!
1968 Dodge Charger R/T
Dodge Charger is one of those classic cars that survived the test of time. Though this car is originally from late ‘60s, it’s still one of the famous cars of our generation.
Dodge Charger has appeared on various TV Shows and movies. General Lee of “Dukes of Hazard” was a Dodge Charger and Vince Diesel frequently uses various Dodge Chargers on the movie franchise “The Fast and The Furious.”
The 1968 Dodge Charger featured hidden headlight grille and it has the timeless body design. Several engine options are also available for this car, it’s either the 440 cu in four barrel Magnum V-8 engine with 375hp or the legendary 426 Hemi engine that boast 425hp.
With a stunning look and intimidating power, the 1968 Dodge Charger R/T was indeed a complete package.
1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi
The Plymouth Road Runner Hemi is either powered by the 383 cu in four barrel V-8 engine with 335hp or the legendary 426-cid Hemi engine with 425hp. This car became successful because it offers back-to-basics package. Many people back in that period wanted to buy a car without expensive embellishments.
During this car’s development, Plymouth focused on its performance rather than its design. Every part that is not related to the car’s performance was left behind such as the interior added options.
While Plymouth was acquiring the license to use the “Road Runner” name, they paid $50,000 to Warner Bros. An extra $10,000 was paid by Plymouth because they wanted to use the “beep beep” sound as the Road Runner’s horn.
1969 Camaro ZL1
Inarguably the fastest and powerful muscle car of the late ‘60s. The Camaro ZL1 was powered by the racing engine called ZL1. This 427 cu in big-block V-8 was made of aluminum and it has 500hp. This car could accelerate 0-60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. However, only 69 units of Camaro ZL-1 are made and that makes this car as one of the rarest cars ever.
1969 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet
Most Ford Mustang fans back in that time considered this car as Ford’s challenger against Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. The Mustang Cobra Jet was the powerful version of Ford Mustang; this car was powered by the big 428-cid V-8 engine with large valve heads.
The Ford Mustang Cobra Jet features a ram-air induction, functional hood scoop and intake manifold from the previous models. Ford officially advertised its engine with 335hp. However, the real output of its engine was close to 410hp.
Before the release of the Mustang Cobra Jet, Mustang was overshadowed by Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird and Plymouth Barracuda. But after the release of the Mustang Cobra Jet, people are starting to consider the Mustang as a real competitor.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
This car was always included in the list of powerful classic muscle cars because it was powered by another legendary engine, the LS6.
This car was introduced in 1964 as Chevrolet’s entry in muscle car wars. However, this car was not that successful but it still managed to make its own fan base. This car doesn’t have an intimidating factor until 1970 when the most powerful Chevelle was introduced. Powered by the 454 cu in big-block V-8 engine with 450hp, this car could accelerate from 0-60mph in just 6 seconds.
1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda Convertible
The rare Plymouth ‘Cuda convertible was one of the most sought-after muscle cars in history. This car became the holy grail of muscle cars not only because it was powered by the legendary Hemi engine, this car was Plymouth’s answer to the powerful and famous muscle cars of that time. Particularly, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.
What makes the 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda convertible even rarer? Only 11 of them were built in 1971.
This car was a perfect combination of good looks and powerful performance. Just recently, one of these rare ‘Cuda convertibles were sold in Barrett Jackson auction for an astounding $4 million.
1973 De Tomaso Pantera
The brainchild of Alejandro De Tomaso, the 1973 De Tomaso Pantera was an underrated gem. This car was designed by Tom Tjarda while its structural design was created by Giampaolo Dallara. Giampaolo eventually collaborated with the developers of Lamborghini Miura. Alejandro managed to fuse their ideas to create this De Tomaso Pantera
This car is powered by a 351 cu in ‘Cleveland V-8 engine’ with 330hp then it was paired with a ZF 5-speed manual transmission. This combination achieved a top speed of 150 mph and it can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 5.5 seconds.
In 1970, the De Tomaso Pantera was introduced at New York Show. This car easily gained popularity because of its simple but stunning design along with its powerful engine. After Elvis Presley bought a De Tomaso Pantera, the popularity of this car went to a higher level.
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