These 70s Muscle Cars Are Built Like Tanks
The appeal of muscle cars is impossible to ignore but easy enough to understand. Gearheads dream of sending their muscle cars to the tarmac, swatting away any car that comes their way. It is because of this power that these cars house under their fancy hoods, that they must always be tough and durable.
One naturally expects to see many years of reliable use when investing in muscle cars. The last thing anyone wants is to have to keep bringing their car in for repairs and breakdowns. With parts that tend to go all the time, the cost of running a muscle car skyrockets.
So, here’s a look at some of the best classic muscle cars made in the 70s. These muscle cars are almost half a century old but came off the assembly line built like tanks. So, it’s a safe bet that they could very well outlive you!
ten Dodge Challenger 1974
The first generation of the Dodge Challenger remains, to this day, one of the most iconic American pony cars to ever reach production. Offering seven different engine options, ranging from 125 to 425 horsepower, the Challenger was an absolute pleasure to drive, while remaining good on gas mileage, and it rarely needed maintenance.
Today, this is the ’74 Challenger is an extremely collectible car, and it’s downright impossible to find a good unit for less than $30,000. Driven with care, this car was built to last through the apocalypse, and even today most, if not all, of this year‘s Challengers you’d find would be fine and strong.
8 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
The second generation of the Plymouth Barracuda, the 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda was the brand’s first entry into the world of muscle cars. Their 426 cubic inch Hemi engine produced 425 horsepower and was equipped with Dana axles, which are still, to this day, one of the most reliable axles in the industry.
Additionally, there were even planted torsion bars up front for the 1971 Hemi Cuda, and the car’s solid rear axle benefited greatly from an option, but extremely advantageous Sure-Grip rear differential. This made the car as planted on the roads in the straights as it was in the corners, along with a phenomenal build quality that made the Barracuda timeless.
6 1970 Oldsmobile 442
Oldsmobile had managed to make its mark and carve out a place in the muscle car market and become a famous muscle car manufacturer with the Tornado and the Cutlass. Sure, the 1970 Oldsmobile 442 might have a reputation for being a “grandparent” car, but the series still had some of the best looking and most sought after cars of the 60s and 70s.
The 442 received some complaints about its somewhat low power, making 365 horsepower out of a 455 cubic inch V8, mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. However, it was still pretty quick when considered on its own, and people remembered it over the years for lasting a long time with minimal complaints and barely a run to the mechanic. Owners swear by the car to this dayand rightly so.
5 1971 AMC Javelin
The American Motors Corporation merged with Chrysler in 1988, but they still gave us a timeless gem like the AMC Javelin. The 1971 model year of the Javelin in particular can easily be called one of the coolest muscle car designs of all time.
The car was always extremely easy to maintain and never complained much, which meant that trips to the service station or repair center were very rare. Often overlooked, the Javelin was built to last, and 1971 AMC Javelin owners swear by its reliability today.
4 1970 Buick GSX
This special edition Buick GSX was an extremely capable car at the time, offered with a 455 cubic inch engine, and it managed to take on other competitors like the Chevy SS as well as the Pontiac GTO.
This special edition Buick GSX was even called fastest American production muscle car by MotorTrend then, and today, it remains a remarkable and impressive forgotten gem of a muscle car. The 1970 models are extremely collectible today, even more so than later models.
3 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 455
Pontiac’s 1974 Firebird Trans Am 455 wasn’t the prettiest car on the market, but what it lacked in looks it made up for in its engine. The 455 cubic inch V8 power unit that the Trans Am housed under its hood produced a great 290 horsepower.
Even when government regulations became stricter and consequently crippled most muscle cars on the market, the Firebird remained defiant and strong. The 455 V8 remains one of the most reliable Pontiac engines ever made, and what Car&Driver called a ‘muscular, commando of a car’.
2 1971 Boss 302 Mustang
Ford in 1971 introduced a new body for its iconic Pony, the Mustang, and over time the car garnered love and appreciation to become a much revered collector’s car today. Capable of covering the quarter mile in just 13.8 seconds, the Boss 302 was built from scratch to redeem the dismal performance of the 1968 Mustang 302 that preceded it.
The 1968 Mustang 302 had abysmal reliability, and then Ford came up with the new engine that could handle not only daily driving for years, but also the extremes of circuit racing. They made a thousand units of the car for homologation, and the the car has always remained reliable because it was designed with endurance in mind from the start.
1 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS454
A Chevy Chevelle SS 454 is impossible not to recognize today, with the pins, the unmistakable design and the sound of the car that can easily put the sound of any custom car to shame. Powered by a monstrosity of a 454 cubic inch power unit, the car produced a whopping 450 horsepower with 500 lb-ft of torque! Those are crazy numbers, even if you consider them today.
With a quarter mile time of less than 14 seconds and the ability to hit the 60 mph mark in 6.1 seconds, the Chevy Chevelle SS 454 costs over $50,000 and remains as remarkable and capable a trail toy as some of the best modern cars. Needless to say, the LS6 V8 block was incredibly capable and reliable, and remains one of GM’s most iconic engines.