10 best classic muscle cars for first-time buyers
For a very long time, the American auto industry was defined by muscle cars. There is nothing more American than the soft roar of a mighty V8 under the hood of Detroit’s best machines. Unfortunately, the muscle car segment appears to be on its deathbed.
The number of muscle car models still in production is at an all time high, and with their demand dropping as customer tastes and preferences change, there is a good chance that muscle cars will die out sooner than. you don’t think so. This is extremely sad news for the automotive industry as a whole, but even more so for gearboxes who have never experienced the thrill of a real muscle car. Don’t worry, though. There are still plenty of used muscle cars out there today that are perfect for first-time buyers. Let’s explore ten classic cars which are great for first time buyers.
Let’s start with one of the best Pontiacs of all time: the Firebird. The Firebird might not be as popular as the GTO, but it’s still part of the golden generation of muscle cars. The Firebird is appreciated for its understated styling, large proportions and classic Pontiac power.
The first generation Firebird is arguably the most desirable, as it has the appearance of a classic muscle car and was built before the emission restrictions of the 1970s. The second generation Firebird was a bit toned down, but it was not. It was still a beast compared to other muscle cars from the ’70s. You might want to avoid the 1976-1977 Firebird, however. Thanks to his main role in Smokey and the bandit, prices have skyrocketed.
Ask any reducer to name the biggest muscle car, and their answer will likely be the Ford Mustang. The Mustang single-handedly launched the pony car segment in the early 1960s and kept the muscle car wars alive in a way no other model could.
The best thing about Mustangs is their abundance. Ford sold millions of Mustangs in the ’60s and’ 70s, which means it’s not hard to find a cheap one in good condition. Mustangs are generally reliable, but if a part fails, aftermarket support is second to none.
1967 – 1970 Mercury Cougar
The Mercury brand has been dead for over a decade now, but it will always be remembered for building high-end versions of Ford cars. When Ford introduced the Mustang in 1964, Mercury quickly got to work and developed a larger, more luxurious version of the Mustang – the Cougar.
The Cougar was an instant hit, even winning the Motortrend Car of the Year award in 1967. Since it was powered by a variety of Ford engines, parts are easy to find these days. Pumas also tend to be more affordable than Mustangs and Camaros of the day.
1967 – 1976 Dodge Dart
The Dart has been a huge success for Dodge throughout its 17 years of production. Part of the Dart’s success is attributed to the constant changes in body styles and powertrains. The changes made buyers believe that each generation of Dart was an upgrade, resulting in increased sales.
Dart muscle car fans want the fourth generation variant, which was produced from 1967 to 1976. It is the finest of all the Dart generations and comes with a range of six and eight cylinder engines. With so many cars still on the road today, the Dart is one of the cheapest classic muscle cars.
1968 – 1974 Ford Torino
Let’s face it, the high-performance Mustangs of the late ’60s and early’ 70s are out of reach for most first-time muscle car buyers. Fortunately, Ford’s other muscle car of the day – the Torino – remains surprisingly affordable.
The Torino is to Ford what the Chevelle was to Chevy – an alternative to muscle cars for Ford fans who didn’t want the Mustang. The Torino is large, sleek, and available with legendary Ford engines like the 302, 351 and 429 cubic inch V8s. As with the Mustangs of the day, aftermarket support for the Torino is still strong.
1968 – 1974 Chevrolet Nova
From its introduction in 1962 until 1967, the Nova was one of the most disappointing Chevrolet models. The design was boring and its power was insufficient compared to other sedans. That all changed in 1968 when Chevy gave the Nova a much needed overhaul.
The 1968 Nova had a muscular new design and in the superior SS trim it was fitted with a 396 cubic inch big block V8 delivering 375 hp. The Nova might not be as sexy as the Camaro, but its down-to-earth attitude makes it a coveted car for muscle car enthusiasts.
1965 – 1970 Chevrolet Impala
In the late 1960s, mid-size muscle cars like the Mustang and Camaro dominated the market. However, that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from producing large cars that could outperform smaller models. The Impala was one of the big cars that offered more space and comfort.
It also offered a lot of performance, especially in the Super Sport version. The Impala SS had a 427 cubic inch V8 L72 making 425 horsepower, making it a beast. Non-SS versions are also desirable, as they have simple mechanics and a healthy supply of spare parts.
1968 – 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Oldsmobile is long gone, but we will always be remembered for gifting us with one of the most popular muscle cars – the Cutlass. The Cutlass was one of the best-selling cars of the 1960s, and it’s easy to see why. It shared some styling cues with the iconic Pontiac GTO, had a premium interior, and offered excellent performance.
Since the Cutlass was based on GM’s A-Body platform, it is easy to work with and parts are easily accessible. With a small budget and a little elbow grease, you can turn a Cutlass into an aggressive looking roaster.
1970 – 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle
In 1970, Chevrolet gave the Chevelle a major refresh that made it one of its most popular models. After the refresh, Chevy sold over a million Chevelles, of which about a tenth were fast SS models.
Prices for SS models are skyrocketing these days – especially those with the coveted 454 V8 – but base models are still affordable. The Chevelle’s muscular look makes it a customiser’s dream, which means parts aren’t hard to find.
1966 – 1970 Dodge Charger
When Ford introduced the Mustang in 1964, Dodge knew it had to build a worthy competitor. So, after two years of development, Dodge has unveiled arguably its best car of all time – the Charger.
The Charger was instantly popular for its looks and power, especially the first and second generation models. Well-maintained models are incredibly expensive these days. However, if you do find one that needs a bit of work to get back on the road, everything from engines to entire bodies is still in production to this day.
Check out these sports cars that time has forgotten, but the enthusiasts who own them certainly won’t!
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