We have compiled 30 of the most iconic muscle cars in American history and we tell you how much they were worth then and how much can car collectors buy them for today. If you have one of these, give it a thought!
1970 Dodge Challenger Hemi Convertible: From $4,900 To $1,500,000
At the height of the muscle car mania, Dodge came out with the 1970 Challenger Hemi Convertible and it became the most prized of all their cars that year.
No one could have predicted that only four years later they would cease all production of the Challengers due to a decrease in demand. Back in the day it would cost $4,000 but today you need to drop $1.5 million to afford it.
1970 Ford Torino Cobra: From $3,270 to $56,000
The Ford Torino Cobra won the car of the year award in 1970 upon its release. Famous for its Super Cobra Jet engine that can reach up to 375 horsepower, this Torino Had a surprisingly strong performance for its time.
Motor Trend wrote about it: “The weight obviously helped traction, as it was fairly easy to accelerate away from a standing start with only a modicum of wheelspin.” You can get it for $56,000.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible: From $6,600 To $3,300,000
Can you believe only 50 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertibles were made between 1967 and 1969? This is one of the rarest cars of the list, it was difficult to acquire then and it’s even more difficult to track one down today.
They used to cost $6,600 back in the 60s and today it goes up to $3.3 million. It comes with a particular warning label that reminds you it requires high octane fuel.
1968 Dodge Charger Hemi R/T: From $4,110 To $150,000
The Hemi R/T was a cut above the rest of the Dodge Charger designs due to its 426-horsepower Hemi engine and its adorable cartoon bumblebee branding that made it to popular culture.
Steve McQueen’s 1968 film Bullitt came out and featured the new Dodge Charger Hemi R/T during a significant car-chase scene and sales blew up. Only four thousand cars were made and you can buy it for up to $150,000.
1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ram Air IV: From $4,906 To $200,000
From all the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am cars that were in production between 1967 all the way up until 2002, the 1970 Ram Air IV is the most desired by muscle car collectors. It is the rarest one of the series and because of that its price today can go up to $200,000.
Only 80 of these cars were ever sold, making it a rare pearl. Tracking these down is a very hard job.
1969 Boss 429 Mustang: From $4,798 To $180,000
The 1969 Boss 429 Mustang was created with the intention of competing with the new Chrysler 426 Hemi engine that year. Because of that, the Boss 429 offered an elegant design and highly-powerful engine. There was big controversy around the horsepower.
They advertised it as having 375 horsepower, but many experts are doubtful of this. Only 1,359 of these cars were manufactured in 1969 and today they sell for the price of $180,000.
1971 Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette: From $10,500 To $230,000
The 1971 Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette is one of the rarest American muscle cars in the entire world. Only 12 cars were fabricated over a two year period, making it one of the hardest cars to get for collectors.
Only three of the original 12 cars are known to be in existence today. It can reach an impressive 500 horsepower and has an impeccable performance. It’s price was $231,000 around ten years ago.
1965 Shelby GT350R: From $4,584 To $850,000
The Shelby GT350R was the first Mustang in racing car history to win at a major race and it had gained popularity thanks to the 2019 hit movie Ford vs. Ferrari.
The film gave people the background history of this car. The Shelby GT350R from 1965 can cost you up to $850,000 if you wish to own it.
1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge: From $3,940 To $80,000
The iconic 1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge earned the nickname “The Judge” after the famous line “Here comes da judge!” was bellowed in one episode of the 60s sketch show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
We can understand why it’s a favorite among collectors with that iconic “Carousel Red” paint color. It used to cost little over $332 more than its standard counterpart in 1969, but today you can get it for the sum of $80,000.
1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible: From $4,348 To $3,500,000
The 1971 Barracuda convertible featured new grille and taillights, seats, and a new trim design. Its particularity was the details of the four headlights and fender “gills” that would only be seen on 1971 models.
Chrysler created only 17 of these in two years. If you ever find one and you have $3.5 million to spare, it could be yours.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air: From $2,390 To $30,000
The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is a classic muscle car with a low two-door station wagon and a unique silhouette. It used to cost $2,390 back in 1957 and today you can get one for $30,000.
The post-war Bel Air series featured a wide chrome strip of molding from the rear fender bulge to the rear bumper.
1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake: From N/A To $2,200,000
Car designer Carroll Shelby handbuilt the 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake, making it one of a kind. Tire manufacturer Goodyear commissioned Shelby to create a high-performance race car to test their brand new “Thunderbolt” tires.
When he tested it, it reached 142 mph and 97% of the tire tread remained intact. It was sold for $2.2 million in 2019.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: From $7,200 To $500,0000
The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was selling for $7,200 in 1969, which would have been a fortune back then. Although they had a total of 69 models made, only 13 were sold in the end, most likely due to its high price. Its race performance makes it the best car in Camaro history.
If you want to buy one of these muscle cars in good conditions, you will need to spend around $500,000.
1971 Shelby GT500: From $8,000 To $1,000,000
The Shelby GT500 has been featured in many movies, such as Gone in 60 Seconds, both the 1974 film and its 2000 remake. This is where it earned itself the affectionate moniker “Eleanor.”
The odd thing is that in the remake they used a 1967 Ford Mustang instead. Car collectors can acquire this classic for $1 million at an auction.
1968 Oldsmobile 442: From $3,127 to $24,000
If you are looking for good engine power and an impeccable style for an affordable price, then the 1968 Oldsmobile 442 is the one. It has a four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission and two exhausts.
What made it so popular back in 1968 was its sloped-back design and futuristic silhouette. They can be tricky to track them down nowadays, but if you find one, they’ll be around $24,000. Muscle car collectors, keep on looking!
1969 Dodge Charger Hemi Daytona: From $5,903 To $900,000
The Dodge Charger Daytona was built in 1969 with the specific intention of being able to win high-profile NASCAR races. One of these was featured in the 2001 movie Dirty Joe. David Spade loved it so much that he ended up buying it.
Only a total of 503 Charger Hemi Daytonas were ever manufactured and they can cost $800,000.
1970 AMC AMX/3: From $14,000 To $1,000,000
The AMX/3 from AMC was designed by the Italian car designer Giotto Bizzarrini in 1970. The third generation AMX looked like an Italian sports car with the engine of a BMW.
It was a concept cat in its beginnings, but mass production proved to be too expensive. Only 5 concept cars were ever made, they retail for $1 million.
1965 Buick Skylark: From $2,552 to $20,000
The 1965 Buick Skylark is a great start for first-time classic car collectors. It’s one of the most affordable muscle cars but it doesn’t cheap out in design. This model came out at the beginning of the great American muscle car era and didn’t leave its customers disappointed.
Offered back in 1965 as either a coupe, a hardtop or a convertible, it’s known for being smooth. You can get one for up to $20,000.
1969 Plymouth Roadrunner Convertible: From $3,635 To $80,000
1969 was the year Plymouth came out with the iconic Roadrunner Convertible. It managed to maintain a lower price in comparison to its competitors, but surpassed the speeds of many other popular cars from General Motors and Ford.
The reason why they were able to offer a lower price was partly due to their no-frills approach. If you wish to add one of these cars to your collection, you can get it for $80,000.
1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28: From $3,635 To $70,000
The 1971 Chevrolet Camaro ZS8 is one of the ultimate muscle cars. It was part of the second generation of Camaros and an inspiration behind the 2010 – 2015 fifth-generation body styles. It was the highest performing car of 1971 with a horsepower of 340.
Less than five thousand people bought the Z28 back then. It cost $786.75 more than other Chevrolet. You can buy this classic car today for less than $70,000.
1963 Corvette Stingray: From $4,037 To $100,000
In 1963, Corvette hired the famous automobile designer Zora Arkus-Duntov to modernize their car styles. They strived to create a breaking-edge new design to make their machines as aerodynamic as possible.
20,000 units were manufactured in 1963, half of which were convertibles that featured 327 cubic-inch engines, with options for 300, 340, and 360 horsepower. It featured in Elvis Presleys’ 1967 film Clambake. You can get this pop culture iconic car for $100,000.
1968 AMC AMX: From $3,395 To $15,700
Back in the day, the American Motors Corporation was known as “a small company deft enough to exploit special market segments left untended by the giants” and struggled to keep up with the top car manufacturers in 1968.
When they released the AMX model, they thought they could compete with the Chevy Corvette and Ford Mustang. It was recorded that the car could reach over 200 mph. You can acquire it for $15,000.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6: From $4,000 To $1,200,000
The Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 is an iconic classic car and it was regarded as an affordable option for such a powerful and stylish sports car. They never thought it would only increase its value with time.
It used to sell for $4,000 and today you can pay $1,200,000 at the auctions. The 1970 version of the Chevrolet Chevelle featured the famed 454 big block V8 and it reached 500 horsepower.
1970 Buick GSX: From $4,880 To $185,000
In 1970, the U.S. was experiencing a relatively good economy and the car sales were booming. That year Buick released their GZX model which put them on the muscle car market.
The car offered a long list of customizable options which made it an attractive option to mainstream buyers. It had a lightweight body of around 150 lb. At the time it cost $5,000 and today it can go up to $185,000.
1970 Plymouth Superbird Hemi: From $4,298 To $200,000
The Plymouth Superbird Hemi came out in 1970 and had quite a distinctive look: bigger proportions and aerodynamic fairings. This car was built for high speed and it could reach an astounding horsepower of 425.
Only 1920 cars were made in 1970, and because of this, they are a rare and sought after muscle car. Car collectors go to great lengths to track these cars down and are ready to drop $200,000 for them.
1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda: From $4,348 To $200,000
The 1969 Plymouth ‘Cuda, short for Barracuda, had a visually outstanding design for a sports car. One particular 1970 ‘Cuda convertible was recently sold at auction for $3.5 million due to it being in pristine condition and because only 11 of these were ever made that year.
The non-convertible edition can be bought for the sum of $200,000.
1963 Shelby Cobra 427 (AC Cobra): From $7,500 To $2,000,000
Car designer Carroll Shelby managed to fit a V8 engine in a neat little two-door design. Although not all car manufacturers at the time believed in him, eventually Ford backed him up and manufactured it.
It retailed for the sum of $7,500 in 1963 and today it can go up to $2 million. Car collectors love this historic car.
1967 Ford Mustang Convertible: From $2,800 To $100,000
The 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible offers you a high performance and impeccable style, not to mention the folding glass windows specific to this year’s model.
At the time, it was for just over $2,800, but today you can get one for $100,000. The price will depend on the condition of the car, so you can bargain for less.
1968 Dodge Dart GTS: From $3,189 To $10,100
The 1968 Dodge Dart GTS is the fourth generation of Dodge Darts that started coming out in 1967. It was one of the most popular cars in circulation at the time.
The GTS was made especially for the drag racers. Dodge marketed this car as track-ready should you go for an impromptu race. You can get it for $10,000.
1967 Ford Mercury Cougar: From $2,851 To $11,600
The Ford Mercury Cougar featured a long hood and smaller-than-average deck, this car’s unique proportions don’t go unnoticed by car collectors. The 428 engine was more powerful than the standard V8 engines that most models came with and it could reach an incredible horsepower of 335.
You can buy this incredible vintage piece for the mere amount of $11,000.
1968 Ford Mustang GT: From $2,602 To $50,000
The 1968 Ford Mustang GT gained notoriety when it appeared in Steve McQueen’s film Bullitt. The vehicle’s robust yet graceful long hood shape gave rise to a new categorization known as the “pony car.”
However, the high-speed scenes in the film were done by a skilled stuntman. The movie’s original car sold for over $3 million at auction, but you can have one for between $30,000 and $50,000.
1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000: From N/A To $13,750,000
The 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 has a cult following among collectors and aficionados of American muscle vehicles. Because it was the first Shelby Cobra ever built, it holds a special place in muscle car history.
The automobile seen above was the first Shelby Cobra to be built and served as a prototype. The world’s only CSX2000 was sold for $13,750,000 in 2016, a bargain considering its historical significance.
1967 Shelby GT 500: From $4,195 To $190,000
The film Gone in 60 Seconds, released in 1974, rocketed the Shelby GT 500 to international acclaim. However, it was first introduced in 1967, with a V8 engine, aluminum mid-rise intake, and a 2X4-barrel 600. The front end, hood, deck lid, and quarter panel extension were all made out of fiberglass.
Most auction sites list the automobile for roughly $190,000, and that is assuming it is in decent shape.
1971 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible: From N/A To $440,000
In 1971, Pontiac released the GTO Judge Convertible, one of the last true muscle car convertibles. As the government began to tighten regulations on what could be sold, the muscle car period came to an end.
Only 17 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertibles were ever produced, making it more valuable in the realm of classic cars. You’d have to pay over half a million dollars to buy this highly sought-after automobile.
1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR: From $4,500 To $120,000
Back in 1968, Ford pulled it out of the bag with this muscle automobile. The Shelby GT500KR was built to impress; “KR” stands for “King of the Road!” The normal 289-cid engine was changed with a 428-cid V8 engine for this model, giving it the same power as police interceptors of the time.
Ford used to sell it for $4,500, but currently it costs $120,000 to buy one.
1968 Dodge Super Bee: From $3,027 To $40,000
Almost any old vehicle collector will agree that the 1968 Dodge Super Bee is quite extraordinary and it is highly sought-after by them.
Because of its strong 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine, this car has gained a lot of popularity. It was a third more expensive than the previous model, therefore it was not affordable for people back then. They’re currently on the market for roughly $40,000 each.
1968 Plymouth Roadrunner: From $2,870 To $100,000
The first generation of Plymouth Roadrunners hit the market in 1968, and they were advertised as a more inexpensive alternative. The first muscle cars had shed their “cheaper” image and demanded more money for better speeds at the time.
The Roadrunner was sold as a less expensive alternative to the upmarket GTX model and it cost less than $3,000. Today, they might cost from $40,000 to $100,000.