There’s nothing else like ripping down the road in a powerful muscle car. And if you’re lucky enough to own one, you can just slide into the driver’s seat anytime, ease it out of the garage, and go roaring across the landscape.
Muscle cars are some of the most memorable cars in American auto history. Since the late 1960s, these vehicles have captured our imaginations and still inspire today’s collectors to care for them with a burning passion.
Which muscle cars are America’s all-time favorites? Well, that’s a matter of endless debate. Here are nine top picks from the muscle car aficionados at Classic Auto Insurance.
1967-1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1/Z-28/SS Coupe
There’s no doubt about it: The late 60s Camaro is an American icon. From the popular Z-28 to the more rare ZL1, every variation of this classic muscle car has had millions of fans across multiple decades.
Chevrolet introduced it with a 4.9-liter engine, a 4-speed manual gearbox, and front brakes. At the time, front brakes were rather unfamiliar to the consumer marketplace and required the driver to have savvy steering and braking skills.
These vintage Camaros were built for the world’s best 60s-era racetracks, so they get their best performance on smooth, flawless pavement. Today’s road racers maintain an abiding love for them and we can see why. They’re true muscle car masterpieces that should always receive the kindest care and the best classic Camaro insurance.
1968-1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440
The classic Charger is one of Hollywood’s all-time most famous vehicles. It’s the dark racer that went up against Steve McQueen in the classic action movie “Bullitt,” and it’s the good old General Lee that helped TV’s Dukes of Hazzard outrun Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane over and over again.
Just when the Charger saw a small lull in popularity, the “Fast and the Furious” franchise brought it racing back to life in the early 2000s. Today, there’s no doubt that the Charger has an unshakeable, everlasting bad boy image.
This is the perfect car for a fast getaway, even when you’re just rolling down the road on a slow Sunday afternoon. So if you’re the outlaw in charge of caring for one of these beauties, give it the best possible classic Charger insurance just in case some villain wants to cause it harm.
1964-1969 Pontiac GTO
Ah, the Pontiac GTO. It has so many versions and so many fans. It also goes by many names: The Goat, The Judge, The Great One, and The Grandfather of Muscle Cars.
With a youthful spirit and plenty of power under the hood, the Pontiac GTO became emblematic of the “muscle car” movement. It was released in 1964 and by the following year, it amassed a huge following among younger buyers who were craving a cheap, fast racer.
Its price tag may have been low at the time, but today prices have risen steeply for vintage GTOs. You’ll pay as much as $200,000 for a clean example of this classic car. So don’t skimp on Pontiac GTO insurance that values its worth.
1971 Plymouth Superbird 440
The Superbird arose from the world of NASCAR and flew straight to the pinnacle of 70s-era engineering, speed, and maneuverability. When it was introduced, it gave the world a whole new definition of the term “muscle car.” It was also barely street-legal, designed to tear across America’s roads instead of doing laps around the race track.
Initially, many people thought its body style was odd, but perhaps that’s part of its enduring mystique. You can sure spot a Superbird from a mile away – that is, if you don’t hear its powerful engine squawking first. Chrysler gave it a Magnum 440 cubic V-8 with a standard horsepower of 375. Buyers could also upgrade it to a “six-pack” or Hemi V-8.
The prices for these brawny birds have skyrocketed in recent years. Two decades ago, you might have found one sitting around for $50,000 or $60,000. Today, you can expect to pay more than $100,000.
1970 Buick GSX
A Buick as a muscle car? No way! But the 1970 Buick Gran Sport X (GSX) convinced the auto world that the modest old brand could create a monster of a muscle car to compete head-on with the Pontiac GTO.
The GSX took the everyday Buick Skylark and revved it up into a powerful ride with a 7.5-liter engine and 400 horsepower. For its body paint, buyers could choose calm, classic “Apollo White” or stand out in the crowd with vibrant “Saturn Yellow.”
Its popularity was a slow burn, eventually building a fiery passion among muscle car fans who value a smooth ride and an even smoother style. Today it has a lasting reputation as “the gentleman’s hot rod.”
1970-1971 Plymouth Barracuda
The 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda has a large legion of devoted fans, few of whom will ever have the pleasure of owning one. That’s because it’s among history’s rarest cars, with only a few hundred ever hitting the commercial marketplace.
Of course, there are other members of the Barracuda brand. Less souped-up versions of this early-70s Plymouth were more mainstream, allowing buyers to join the muscle car community at a fairly reasonable price. You could still pay more than $2 million for one today!
‘Cudas came in many variations and a spectrum of colors, transmissions, and trim options. This has made them particularly collectible because each one stands alone as a unique muscle car masterpiece.
1966-1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS/LS
It may have a cutesy little name, but the Chevelle is one of the brawniest muscle cars ever made. That’s why it deserves a place on any list of the world’s best high-powered sports cars. Even someone who knows nothing about cars would probably recognize the Chevelle’s forward-thrusting front end and long, lean bodylines.
Its widespread appeal, paired with its relative rarity for some models, contributed to one of history’s biggest leaps in classic car prices. Within a decade, the cost of a Chevelle exploded from about $30,000 to upwards of $300,000. The SS 396, SS 454, and ultra-rare LS6 are the most sought-after versions of the Chevelle.
1964-1968 Shelby GT 500 KR
The Shelby GT 500 KR, the King of the Road, is a great example of a classic muscle car that’s somewhat ignored in the marketplace. The original version came with an impressive V-8 and 360 horsepower – which could actually be cranked to 400 hp – yet the car didn’t gain traction with muscle car fanatics until 1968.
“Too much power” is, in fact, this car’s claim to fame. Although it was officially listed at a lower horsepower for insurance reasons, many owners turbocharged it beyond the limits of safety. Bill Cosby famously drove a Shelby Cobra “Super Snake” straight into a lake, then sold it.
Today’s prices on these cars can vary wildly, but they’re always way up there. You might find one for $175,000 as easily as $375,000, and certain rarities go into the millions.
1971 Oldsmobile 442
The Oldsmobile 442 debuted as its own model after availability only as a Cutlass options package in previous years. The 442 refers to its four-barrel carb, four-speed manual gearbox, and dual exhaust system.
This has become one of the most desired muscle cars among collectors because it heralded the beginning of the end of the muscle car era. Newly-enacted auto emissions standards made a vehicle like the 442 an instant relic of the past.
Nowadays, you’ll be extraordinarily lucky to buy – or even see – an original Olds 442 L69. Their rarity keeps them carefully under wraps with the world’s small handful of owners.
The Legacy of Classic Auto Insurance
Do you need to insure a classic muscle car and preserve its enduring value? You’re definitely in the right place.
Classic Automobile Insurance Agency is a family business built on a love of classic cars. We take every opportunity to bring you unique learning opportunities like our hugely successful Project C10, powered by American Modern. Having owned a variety of collectible vehicles ourselves, we understand the special protections your iconic ride requires.
Whether you bought it at an auction, drove it off the lot, or restored it to perfection in your garage, we have a plan for you. We’ll build you a customized auto insurance program that is designed specifically for owners of collectible cars while providing the top-notch customer support you expect.
Visit our website at www.classicins.com to get an instant quote online or call 888-901-1338 and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.