A Rundown of the Top 5 Muscle Cars
It’s hard for a car buff not to crack a boyish smile at the sight of a classic muscle car. Manufactured for straight line speed, they were responsible for inspiring many a Saturday night drag race between traffic lights in their heyday. Big, loud, glossy and impossible to ignore, they represented everything that was great about the American auto industry in the 60s and 70s. In honour of the great behemoths of yesteryear, here is a list of the most special beasts ever to travel the roads and highways.
#5 – 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1
When Buick entered the muscle car market, it was amongst the most luxurious and powerful of the brands. Featuring a rear spoiler and body striping, it officially delivered a phenomenal 360 horsepower to the rear wheels, although many have suggested that this power figure is actually underrated. Available in yellow or white, only 678 of these iconic vehicles were ever produced.
#4 - 1965 Pontiac GTO
Purists who choose not to trace the era of muscle cars back to the iconic 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 generally see the Pontiac GTO as the founding father of the muscle car phenomenon. Skirting a General Motors ban against putting big engines in small cars, the response to the illicit vehicle was so overwhelming that it won over GM execs, and paved the way for the stable of Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Buick and Pontiac muscle cars that were rolled out beside it. Affectionately known as ‘The Goat’, today it can fetch up to $200,000.
#3 – 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429
Fewer than 1,400 Boss 429s were produced, making this muscle car a very reclusive beast indeed. The hulking vehicle was the resultant love child of a car maker who merged his idea with NASCAR regulations. The engine was known for its long-haul racing abilities, but it caused some serious problems for the manufacturer. The Boss 429 had to essentially be hand-built at Michigan-based Kar Kraft because the engine wouldn’t fit in a standard Mustang without extensive modifications. The result of this labour of love was a car which could do 0 to 60mph in an estimated 7.1 seconds. Today the car can retail for around $480,000.
#2 – 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
With fewer than 70 ever built, the Camaro ZL1 is the rarest production car Chevrolet ever made. For decades, the car retained its accolade of having the most powerful Chevrolet engine ever offered to the public. With a jaw-dropping 500 horsepower roaring under its hood, the ZL1 could go from 0-60 in a little over 5 seconds, making it a fantastic drag racing car. Its top speed was 125 miles per hour. Today, the 69 models made are valued at around $91,000.
#1 – 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454
1970 is revered by many as the pinnacle of the muscle car era, and the Chevelle SS 454 is a weighty piece of evidence in favour of that argument. The LS6 version generated 450 horsepower, and featured a Holley four-barrel carburettor. No other muscle car could equal its power. Not only could it blow its competitors out of the water, but it also looked good doing it. Featuring a swept-back roof line, it provided the illusion of speed even when idle, and its bulging hood implied that something very special was happening under the bonnet. With its outrageous power and stylish design, the Chevelle SS 454 represented the glorious culmination of the muscle-car power wars.
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