Before saying anything, if you haven’t read our post on “What is the most reliable American muscle car,” I highly recommend you should. Because on this page, we took things a bit further —talking about the best muscle cars of all time.
We all know muscle cars are among the most impressive feats of engineering ever created. They were fast, sleek, and featured massive engines that put a smile on every gearhead’s face.
But if you’re like most muscle car enthusiasts that aren’t satisfied with the average, you want the best of the best. Here are several muscle cars that have been recognized to be the most beautiful and powerful cars in history:
Best Muscle Cars Of All Time
Let me take you back to the time when muscle cars were formidable!
1. 1969 AMC AMX/3
Starting with a car whose shape is unlike any other on this list, the 1969 AMC AMX/3 —the mother of muscle cars.
The 1969 AMC AMX/3 muscle cars were a limited production of the American automaker.
It was a two-seater sports car designed to compete with other high-end sports cars at that time.
AMC’s top designers, Dick Teague and Vince Gardner created this car to be a smaller version of their previous design, the Javelin. The AMX/3 was powered by an all-aluminum 390 cubic inch V8 engine and had a power output of 350 horsepower.
It had been introduced as one of the first muscle cars ever made. The production for this model ended in 1971 due to poor sales numbers.
2. 1970 Buick Skylark GSX Stage 1
The 1970 Buick Skylark GSX Stage 1 is one of the most famous muscle cars.
It was manufactured in the year 1970, which was a time when many people were trying to get their hands on this car.
This car was built to compete in the NASCAR GTO class, which meant it had to be extremely powerful and fast. But it wasn’t just a performance vehicle, but a luxury car still sought after today.
It featured improved engine performance of 455ci V8 that churn out 360 HP and an upgraded graphics package, as well as aerodynamic updates that helped reduce wind resistance.
3. 1973 AMC Javelin
The 1973 AMC JAVELIN muscle cars are a perfect example of how to make a stylish and functional car with formidable power.
It was engineered by Dick Teague —the same man behind other watershed models, such as the Jeep Cherokee XJ.
This beast was powered by a 401ci V8 engine that jets out 330 HP.
It had the distinction of being the first American car equipped with four-wheel disc brakes and an automatic transmission, considered high-end features at the time.
Many other features make it stand out from other cars, such as a rear spoiler, power steering, and power brakes.
1973 AMC JAVELIN muscle cars are rare cars that have maintained their value over the years and are still worth a lot today despite being almost 50 years old.
4. 1969-1971 Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette
The Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette is a one-of-a-kind muscle car.
The styling of this museum piece is what you’d expect from a hot rod, but it’s also practical and versatile enough to be used daily.
Unfortunately, it was built in 1969, and only one prototype was ever made.
This car is powered by a 427 cubic inch V8 engine with 500 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque. The top speed of this car is 170 mph.
This cool muscle car from the 60s is a rare model.
5. 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona is a special edition muscle car. It’s an open-top, 2+2 coupe built to be a Hollywood star in its own right.
This Dodge was produced to commemorate the company’s NASCAR racing success in 1968, with driver Bobby Isaac winning five races that year.
Also, it is powered by a 7-liter Hemi V8 engine and has a top speed of 155 mph.
Sadly, it was only available in Plum Crazy Purple but had several performance upgrades over the standard model.
This legendary model has unique bodywork, including a pointed nose and a huge rear wing. Its success prompted Dodge to introduce a new version in 2006.
6. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454
The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle has been referred to as the greatest muscle car of all time, and for good reason.
It was a great car that brought Chevy back from the brink of death after World War II and into a new era of horsepower, style, and performance.
And when released, this model set the bar for fast performance at a price many other models couldn’t match. Even 50 years later, it is still considered one of the greatest muscle cars ever made.
The 1970 Chevelle SS was one of the most powerful vehicles ever made, with a 454ci V8 engine that produces 450 horsepower under its hood—it could go 0-60 in 5 seconds.
Only around 4,500 of these LS6-powered demons on wheels ever left the factory—though Chevy offered it in various specs and with an even wider variety of optional bits.
7. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO ZL1
The Camaro COPO ZL1 was a rare high-performance pony car with a 427ci V8 engine.
This muscle car is not just a symbol of American automotive history; they are also some of the most sought-after and iconic muscle cars in the world.
In total, only 69 models of the car were made.
The Camaro ZL1 COPO edition was a heavily upgraded version of the standard model, with manufacturer-rated power of 430hp. However, actual dyno figures often surpassed 500 hp.
8. 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429
Ford’s 1970 Mustang was the second year of production for the iconic pony car.
And this muscle car was engineered for street and drag racing. The car has a 7-liter V8 engine with a 4-barrel carburetor, which produces 385 horsepower.
The 1970 FORD MUSTANG BOSS 429 is one of the most iconic cars in America, and it has been featured in many movies and TV shows such as Transformers, John Wick movie, Knight Rider, and Need for Speed.
The Boss 429, although more powerful than the lesser base model with its 375 horses, also featured unique bodywork that was markedly sleeker and more aggressive.
Ford designed the MUSTANG BOSS with one four-barrel carburetor, aluminum intake manifolds, and a four-speed manual transmission.
9. 1970 Ford Torino Cobra
The 1970 Ford Torino Cobra was a muscle car that debuted in 1970. It was an aggressively powerful, fast, and durable car with excellent handling capabilities.
It was one of the most popular cars due to its looks and performance.
This vehicle was the first car to have a hood scoop. It had a 351 cubic-inch V8 engine and a 4-speed manual transmission. The design is similar to the 1966 FORD MUSTANG GT fastback, but it has more aggressive styling and powerful engines.
Furthermore, it has been featured in many movies, television shows, and video games, including “The Fast and The Furious,” “Gran Turismo 2”, “Need for Speed: ProStreet,” “Need for Speed: Underground 2” and “Grand Theft Auto V.”
9. 1965 Pontiac Catalina 2+2
The Pontiac Catalina 2+2 was a sporty, high-performance vehicle.
It was the successor of the Pontiac Tempest LeMans, which had been discontinued in 1963.
The 1965 model year came with three different engine specs: The HO version—known as “Triple-power” because of its upgraded exhaust components and high-lift cams —produced a whopping 376HP.
Although its boxy body design is less celebrated today than some other entries on this list, it nonetheless played an influential role in developing future made-in-America pony cars.
10. 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7 GT
First, it was built on an all-new platform that signaled Ford’s commitment to muscle cars—and they were committed to making them powerful.
Secondly, its body style was unique and eye-catching, with a long hood and short rear deck that gave it a distinctive look from other models of its time.
The Mercury Cougar GT was a version of the classic car that included many distinctive features, including a 390-cubic inch big block engine and an uprated suspension system.
The nearly-full wide grille made it possible for the headlights to flip up and out of sight during daylight hours. This contributed further to the Cougar’s aggressive appearance.
11. 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 Convertible
1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 Convertible is a muscle car that will turn heads.
It was designed to compete with the Pontiac GTO, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro.
The 442 was the most powerful and fastest Oldsmobile to come out of the factory in 1970, and it’s still an impressive machine today.
It’s powered by a 455ci V8 engine that produces 370 horsepower, enough to make this muscle car go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 6 seconds!
The W-30 was offered as a drop-top or hardtop and was part of the fabled 442 range — with “442” denoting four barrels, a four-speed gearbox, and dual exhaust setup—offering upgrades such as F cylinder heads/aluminum intake.
12. 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
Not every day do you get to see a car like this!
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda is the ultimate muscle car, with its sleek lines and powerful engine. This is a car that will turn heads wherever it goes, whether it’s on the street or at the track.
Although the Plymouth Barracuda was introduced just weeks before Ford unveiled the Mustang, it never achieved sales equal to that car.
The most desirable model, however, is the 7.0-litre Hemi engined car. It made 425hp and could do 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds—and its bold colors and ‘shaker’ hood only added to its appeal!
13. 2017 Dodge Challenger Demon
The dog in the yard: the 2017 Dodge Challenger Demon.
It is valued at £137,000 —that’s what it costs to own one of these bad boys!
This muscle car offers the most powerful production car engine, with a whopping 840 horsepower Hellcat engine and an 840 lb-ft of torque.
This vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 199 miles per hour.
These cars are hands down the best muscle car of all time. It’s powerful, beautiful, aggressive, and, most importantly: fun to drive.
In the end, we can try and steer you in the right direction.
So, while our list of best muscle cars of all time may not be definitive, it should guide you on your road trip down memory lane.