What are the baddest muscle cars of all time? You probably won’t be surprised to learn that many of them were born and raised in the United States. Famous names from Ford, Dodge, Chevy, Pontiac and Plymouth echoed through the halls of infamy. These American muscle cars paved the way for most of today’s modern sports cars.
There have been hundreds of cars over the decades that could qualify in the muscle class. But, to find the most iconic, we take a look at 10 of the best classic American muscle cars.
10. AMC AMX
The AMC AMX wore the skin of the ultimate classic muscle car: the aggressive front, the tucked-in rear, the iconic hood line. The AMX was sold in the late 1960s and had only a short life. It developed 325 horsepower, which was impressive but not unheard of for its time. The 60s brought huge engines to these cars, delivering hundreds of horsepower from huge V6 and V8 engines
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The fastest muscle cars aren’t necessarily the most iconic cars, but the Buick GNX is lucky to be both. In the mid to late ’80s, the GNX boasted 276 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque and a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds. That’s pretty impressive even for today’s modern muscle car. and was incredibly fast at the time.
You could do a double take to see an Oldsmobile on the list of America’s most iconic muscle cars, but this model was a big deal in the 70s and 80s. The name “442” was a nod to some of its main features: 400 cubic inch engine, four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust system. The early model years of this classic muscle car are incredibly valuable.
7. Plymouth Roadrunner
Inspired by Warner Brothers’ speedy cuckoo clock (Plymouth even paid the rights to the name), the Plymouth Roadrunner was quite the character. Its massive rear spoiler and steeply sloping nose set it apart from other muscle cars. The Roadrunner retains some of its loyal fans today and is a favorite among collectors.
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This muscle car may have been the father of all muscle cars. It was one of the first muscle cars on the scene in the 1960s and is currently credited with inspiring the movement. Its V8 engine and larger-than-life personality have made the Pontiac muscle car a tough standard to beat.
The Dodge Charger is one of America’s toughest muscle cars. Like many cars on this list, it appeared in the mid-60s. The original model was a two-door coupe, but the Charger that was revived in 2006 landed as a full-size four-door sedan. The Charger offers a variety of high-powered engines, making it one of the fastest muscle cars in the world.
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You can’t talk about modern muscle cars without mentioning the Dodge Challenger. Following in the footsteps of its sibling, the Challenger has an instantly recognizable silhouette. The Challenger is one of the few remaining muscle cars to retain the beloved classic design.
The Corvette is creeping more into supercar territory these days, its design aligning more closely with Lamborghini and Ferrari. But, new lines and tighter bodywork don’t negate the Corvette’s decades as an iconic American muscle car.
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The Chevy Camaro is another model that has managed to join the ranks of modern muscle cars. It took a short period of rest in the early 2000s before it exploded onto the scene again in 2010. A number of special editions, limited edition releases and upgrade packages helped maintain the competitiveness of the Camaro.
1. Ford Mustang
One of the best American muscle cars, listed by US News and World Report, is the Ford Mustang. No surprise here. This pony has been around since 1964 and is known around the world as one of the first classic muscle cars, and its reputation keeps it on top.
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