The land of the free gave birth to the muscle car all the way back in the 1940s. The first muscle car that was sold to the public debuted in 1949, and it was called the Oldsmobile Rocket 88. The American muscle car had a rather lightweight build derived from the Oldsmobile 76 and gargantuan high-compression overhead valve V8 motor. As the years went on, America blessed the automotive world with more muscle car marvels that like Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Pontiac Firebird.
All of America’s toughest muscle usually came equipped with a big bulky V8, rear-wheel-drive drivetrain, and a sexy paint job. Muscle cars adopted racing stripes not only to look cool but also to pay homage to their racing heritage. Some gas-guzzling brutes just fit the racing stipe aesthetic so well, that it would be a sin to not have them, and others look best naked.
Clean: 1970 Plymouth Superbird
The Plymouth Superbird is a highly modified race version of the Plymouth Road Runner and dominated the NASCAR circuit by winning 8 races in and being the first vehicle to reach 200 mph on a NASCAR circuit. In order to reach those speeds, some aerodynamic upgrades had to be made like the cone-shaped nose and 2-story tall rear wing.
Some Superbirds cost about $300,000 today and is extremely desirable since only 1,920 examples were built, and have a rich racing heritage. One fun fact we can tell you is that the character the King in the Disney movie, Cars, was based on a Dynaco light blue 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
Striped: 1966 Ford GT40
Back in 1966, the GT40 was the one-and-only car that dethroned Ferrari from their Le Mans pedestal. The Enzo Ferrari racing team was two steps ahead of all their competitors in the early 1960s, they seemed invincible until Ford got offended. Ford was planning on buying out the Ferrari since they were going bankrupt, but at the last second Ferrari decided to back out of the deal and sell ownership to Fiat.
Henry Ford II was overflowing with rage and sought revenge. In retaliation, the Ford Motor Company developed the perfect 7-liter 427 cubic inch engine that produced 390 hp. Their new track superstar lead to the end of Ferrari’s reign in the Le Mans by setting a lap time of 3:33 – which was 5 seconds faster than Enzo’s team.
Clean: 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda
The ‘Cuda is a performance-orientated machine based on its little brother, the Barracuda. Being thrown into the American muscle car moshpit, the ‘Cuda was still offered with a surfeit of engine options. The ‘Cuda’s top-of-the-range motor was a 7.0-liter HEMI V8 which squeezed out 425 ponies that meant lots of tires were leaving their mark on the tar.
The number of wacky specced Cudas – even some convertible options were infinite. Not to mention some crazy color options were offered with the ‘Cuda, but this Plum Crazy Purple has to be one of our favorites.
Striped: 1965 Shelby Cobra 427
Back in the 60s, Shelby created a slingshot-like go-kart and dubbed it the Cobra. This road-legal American snake is basically just a one-and-a-half-ton steel tub that hid a brutal 7.0-liter V8 under its hood – nothing more. Due to the light curb weight and 485 hp motor, the barebones Cobra keeps you on your toes even when the engine is turned off due to the scorching side pipes.
If you happen to take a corner a tad too fast or a bit too confidently with a heavy foot, no traction control or airbags are there to correct your error. The Shelby Cobra 472 had a plethora of racing heritage and therefore is usually seen sporting Le Mans style racing stripes.
Clean: 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt
The Bullitt is Ford’s way of reminiscing about the olden days, 1968 to be exact. That was the year that the Steve McQueen movie Bullitt was released, and he drove the archetypical 1968 Mustang GT in Highland Green. To pay tribute to the original Bullit the revival is only available in two colorways – either Shadow Black or of course Highland Green (the color you want) with complimentary white walls.
Other tasteful upgrades have been done to the Mustang including darkened exterior features, a de-badged grille, a retro-inspired interior with a mandatory manual white ball shifter, and a slight power upgrade over the standard GT meaning the 5.0-liter V8 will pump out 480 horses.
Striped: 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
Whether you drool over exotic cars, are a JDM fanboy, or even know nothing about cars, you have a soft spot for the 1960s Ford Mustang. They attract a lot of attention for their jaw-dropping looks, make a beautiful V8 growl, and come in tons of different colorways – have a look at Kendall Jenner’s candy apple red 1965 Mustang.
Carroll Shelby went and tweaked the near-perfect Mustang GT to reach its full potential – the result was the beastly Shelby GT350. Shelby morphed the Mustang’s exterior look and aerodynamics, driving components like the suspension, brakes gearbox, and completely reengineered the engine. The GT350 came equipped with a 289 cubic-inch, 4.7-liter Windsor V8 that sent 440 hp to the rear wheels. And don’t forget those iconic GT350 stripes.
Clean: 1969 Dodge Charger R/T
Usually, when a car has a Hollywood legacy as big as the Dukes of Hazzard Charger, they tend to be overrated, but this is not the case for the Charger R/T. Despite the daring design, the Charger is much more than just a pretty face.
Under the hood of the Dodge was a beastly 7.0-liter V8 that pushed out up to 490 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. That meant the R/T could finish the quarter-mile under 14 seconds, reach 60 mph in 5 seconds, and even dominate race tracks while weighing 1.7 tons.
Striped: 2003 Dodge Viper
As the saying goes, “There is no replacement for displacement”. To this day Dodge never has been one for putting average-sized engines into their pony cars, and the Viper is a perfect example of their philosophy. All the different Viper generations featured a gigantesque V10 which had a displacement of at least 8-liters. We’ll be focussing on the third-generation Viper for this list since it has such a browbeat look.
The reptile inhabited a 500 hp 8.3-liter V10 that propelled the 1545 kg American hypercar with side-exit exhaust tips to 60 mph in under 4 seconds. Despite being manufactured in the early 2000s, the Viper lacked traction control, anti-lock brakes, or stability control, thus deeming the RWD Viper one of the most dangerous and daring cars alive.
Clean: 2021 C8 Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevy Corvette C8 is probably one of the best cars you can buy today. Corvettes used to consist out of the following recipe: Engine in the front, power to the back – but the C8 ditched its traditions… and it paid off. The 490 hp 6.2-liter V8 is mounted just behind the driver’s head so that weight can be more evenly distributed, and a 0-60 time will be possible in only 2.8 seconds.
Throw all of your preconceived notions out of the door because despite only costing $60,000, Chevy did not cut any costs when it came to the interior either. The interior looks like something out of a spaceship, but not too overwhelmingly cluttered, and not to mention the interior is covered in leather everywhere. One of the C8 Corvette’s party tricks is that the detachable roof fits in your trunk – so you can cruise topless whenever.
Striped: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
A big body, throaty V8 rumble, horrible gas mileage, and a mean appearance – the 1970 Chevelle SS was one of the coolest muscle cars the world has ever seen. The 70s was a great and competitive time for muscle cars, as they were available in all sorts of crazy colors, had minimum driver assistance, and the more power you had – the faster you’d be (forced induction was not a thing back then).
Initially, the base Chevelle was was offered with a 230 cubic-inch, 3.8-liter 140 hp inline-6, and the iconic SS had an LS6 optioned 454 cubic-inch, 7.4-liter Big-Block V8 that pumped out a very respectable 450 hp. Till to this day the Chevelle SS is remembered by many as one of the greatest pony cars to live on planet earth.
Muscle cars are slowly but surely going extinct, but there are still plenty of awesome classic models available.
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