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5 Must Have Classic Muscle Cars: The Perfect Combination of Speed and a Powerful Engine

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Updated June 24th, 2020

Whether you’re a vintage car collector, investor, or a die-hard fan of high performance vehicles, the classic muscle car is a must-have item for every car aficionado. For many car aficionados, the classic muscle car represents not only the golden era of automobiles, but also sheer power and intimidating speed.

While Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti are widely considered the leaders in the modern super sports car industry, many would argue that they don’t hold a candle to the top classic muscle cars ever made. Not all classic muscle cars are created equal, however, as only a select few are worthy of the iconic label.

As seasoned investors and vintage car aficionados continue to jump into the classic muscle car market to diversify their portfolios, prices have soared and they will most likely continue to do so into the unforeseen future.

The following 5 cars have seen some of the largest gains over the past few years, and they are widely considered to be must-have classic muscle cars by experts and vintage car fanatics alike.


1. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

With just 69 ever made, the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro is the perfect combination of rarity, speed, and a roaring engine. The car featured an aluminum block 427-cubic-inch V-8 engine. Ironically, GM had initially placed a restriction on Chevrolet that limited them to producing engines less than 400-cubic-inches. However, the ZL1 was initially manufactured for Fred Gibb, who had requested for a more powerful vehicle for his NHRA drag racing fleet. Although it was manufactured with NHRA drag racing in mind, the car was 100% street legal.


PerformanceSpeed / Time
Top speed150 mph
0 - 60 mph5.2 s
0 - 100 mph12.5 s
Est. 1/8 mile8.2 s @ 85.7 mph
1/4 mile13.2 s @ 110.6 mph
1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

2. 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda

Only 119 Hemi ‘Cudas were made by Plymouth in 1971 and even fewer have survived over the last 42 years. The car currently lists for $425,000, though a Hemi ‘Cuda in pristine condition was recently listed for a jaw-dropping $2 million. The car is best known for its impeccable design proportions, featuring a shaker hood scoop and a wide stance.


PerformanceSpeed / Time
Top speed155 mph
0 - 60 mph6.2 sec
0 - 100 mph13.4 sec
Est. 1/8 mile9.5 s @ 82.0 mph
1/4 mile14.2 sec
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi

3. 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi

Two years prior to the release of the Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, Dodge made the decision to capitalize off the growing popularity of NASCAR. With its 1969 Charger Daytona Hemi, Dodge had created an impressive aerodynamic version of the Charger. Only 70 Charger Daytonas were made with a hemi engine, which makes this make and model an incredibly tough find today.

The car was actually made in response to the glaring failure of the 1969 Dodge Charger. The Charger Daytona Hemi experienced great success in its first NASCAR race, winning the Talladega 500. The car was also the first in NASCAR history to eclipse the 200 mph mark.

With both the car’s history and rarity, it commands quite the premium on the auction block. The car lists for $400,000.


PerformanceSpeed / Time
Top speed146 mph
0 - 60 mph5.6 sec
0 - 100 mph13.8 sec
Est. 1/8 mile9.2 s @ 86.0 mph
1/4 mile14.1 sec
1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang

1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang

4. 1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang

Widely considered to be one of the most unique Mustangs ever made, the 1969 Boss 429 Mustang was created by Ford in an attempt to improve its NASCAR results. This hand-built muscle car featured a design that was quite different from previous Mustang models.

While the car never quite achieved the desired results, it is still one of the most highly sought after classic American muscle cars on today’s market. The car’s engine gets roughly 375 horsepower, and the Boss goes from 0 to 60 in 7.1 seconds.

For those looking to purchase a 1969 Ford Boss 429 Mustang, they can expect to pay upwards of $220,000 in today’s market.


PerformanceSpeed / Time
Top speed118 mph
0 - 60 mph 6.9 sec
0 - 100 mph13.6 sec
Est. 1/8 mile11 s @ 70 mph
1/4 mile14.6 sec @ 98 mph
1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR

1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR

5. 1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR

Rounding out this top 5 list is another Ford Mustang. The 1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR is considered one of the most beautiful Shelby Mustangs ever manufactured. Fewer than 1,000 of the GT500KR were ever made. Unlike most of the other cars on this list, the GT500KR was not manufactured with NASCAR in mind. In fact, the KR in the model’s name stands for ‘King of the Road’.

The car was listed as having 335 horsepower, though most experts agree that the number is far less than the true figure. It is believed that Ford understated the horsepower figure to ensure that the car cost less to insure. The 1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR featured a massive 7L supercharged V8 engine, and it was featured as the ever-so-elusive vehicle dubbed Eleanor in the popular movie “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

For those looking to pick up their own ‘Eleanor’, a 1968 Ford Mustang GT500KR will set you back roughly $130,000 in today’s market.


PerformanceSpeed / Time
Top speed140 mph
0 - 60 mph5 sec
0 - 100 mph16.2 sec
Est. 1/8 mile8 s @ 79.2 mph
1/4 mile14.75 seconds @ 98 mph
Shaun Fyffe

Shaun Fyffe

Shaun is an auto insurance expert with ten years of experience as a researcher and content writer. He's fluent in Spanish, teaching it plus AP computer science at Nyack Public Schools in New York. He has a B.A. in Spanish, B.S. in computer science from Florida State University, and an M.A. from SUNY New Paltz. He also is the lead editor for AutoInsureSavings.org.

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