A muscle car is a type of high-performance vehicle. They are well-known for their ability to reach top speeds, impressive 0 to 60 times and exceptional handling at high speeds. However, muscle cars are much more than that. Most enthusiasts purchase muscle cars and enjoy their prowess due to how innovative they were within the automobile industry.
Muscle cars gained a lot of popularity in the 60s and 70s, and manufacturers engaged in competition with one another to try and create the best muscle car possible. This produced some of the most extraordinary vehicles ever created, and some models continue to be produced today. Car enthusiasts marvel at the beauty of these well-crafted muscle cars of the 60s and 70s. The following are eight of the best muscle cars of the 60s and 70s.
1964 Pontiac GTO to start the race of the best muscle cars
The 1964 Pontiac GTO was innovative in several ways. While there were muscle cars similar to the GTO (although many argue that the GTO is the best muscle car of the 60s), the best muscle cars were neither affordable or available to the broader public. The 1964 Pontiac GTO allowed for the public to be able to own one of the best muscle cars at a relatively affordable price, which was in general not the case before ‘64.
As it pertains to car performance, the 1964 Pontiac GTO featured a top speed of 122 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 6.6 seconds. It had a large engine but a lightweight body. In the early 70s the GTO would fizzle out, which can be attributed to a variety of factors, not the least of which were safety and emission regulations imposed by the government. Nevertheless, the 1964 Pontiac GTO is still regarded as one of the best muscle cars of the century.
1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
The ‘67 Chevy Chevelle SS is a famous muscle car that is most notable for its 375 horsepower V8 engine. It also featured five different transmission options (five manual and two automatics). SS stands for SuperSport, which was used for all Chevelle models in the 60s. Chevrolet considered the Chevelle SS to be its “official muscle car,” meaning this is the one they poured all of the time and effort from their best car developers into. The finished product was an explosive muscle car that looked great and captured car enthusiasts’ attention around the world. By 1970, Chevrolet was able to hit a top speed of 162 mph with the Chevelle SS and reach 60 mph in under 6 seconds.
1974 Pontiac Firebird TransAm SD-455
The 1974 Pontiac Firebird TransAm SD-455 gained popularity once the GTO started to lose some interest among the public. Many consider this to be the last muscle car of the “muscle car era,” making it an intriguing collector’s item for muscle car enthusiasts. It was originally placed under $6,000 when it hit the market, but it goes for more than $50,000 today, and some have sold for more than $100,000. The high prices are due to the small amount of production, and there were less than 1,300 of the TransAm models produced. What was once known as a great value muscle car in the mid-70s is now an expensive collector’s piece, marking the end of a wonderful “muscle car” era.
1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
Dodge was late to the muscle car party in the 60s and 70s, but they were among the most notable manufacturers when they came out with the Challenger R/T. They produced less than 20,000 units of this model, and the car is a popular collection piece today. The 1970 Dodge Challenge featured a 383 cubic inch V8 engine with 335 horsepower. You could also upgrade to a racecar-like engine that featured 425 horsepower. The top speed was over 150 mph and could travel a quarter-mile in just 14 seconds.
1966 Shelby AC Cobra 427 “Super Snake”
The 1966 Shelby AC Cobra 427 “Super Snake” was ahead of its time as far as speed, reaching 200 mph at a time when not many cars were able to do so. These were undoubtedly created for competition rather than to be produced for the public, and only 23 of these models were produced in ‘66. Of course, due to the rarity of the Cobra 427, they are incredibly expensive today as a collector’s item. In fact, the only genuine Shelby Cobra 427 left today sold for $5.1 million.
1970 Plymouth Barracuda
The Plymouth Barracuda was produced between 1964 and 1974, but many appreciate the 1970 model the most. This model featured a unique design and incredible performance. The Barracuda could go 0 to 60 in only 5.8 seconds for the top model engine and could reach a speed greater than 150 mph. The Barracuda was also an affordable model for the time and was mass-produced. Nevertheless, it still remains incredibly valuable today and is a great collector’s item for muscle car enthusiasts.
1968 AMC Javelin to round out the best muscle cars
The 1968 AMC Javelin was a unique model that could go 0 to 60 in 6.6 seconds and featured a top speed of 122 mph. While there were muscle cars with better performance, the ‘68 Javelin featured a unique and attractive body and were more affordable. There were 6,725 of the’ 68 Javelins produced, and many are still available today as a collector’s item, albeit for a much higher price.
The bottom line for the best muscle cars around
The best muscle cars of the 60s and 70s were not only an intriguing aspect of the automobile industry when they first hit the market or a popular collector’s item in 2021, but they were innovative in a much broader sense, changing and improving the way car manufacturers build cars to this day. The seven muscle cars in this article, along with various others that were among the best muscle cars of the 60s and 70s are truly special.