According to Ricky Bobby, Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying: “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.” Whether she actually said that or not, we’ve got the top ten muscle cars we’d like to own that back the first lady up in her bodacious claim. Sure there will be some hemming and hawing over rankings, but one thing is certain, all these cars belong on this list.
1969 Shelby Mustang GT500 “Eleanor”
Few cars are as iconic as this pinnacle of beauty and power, which is arguably the most majestic example of American craftsmanship. France has wine. England has tea. Germany has beer. America has muscle cars. Boasting a 428 cu in. V8, the 1969 Shelby GT500 threw down 355 horsepower before any modifications all while keeping clean, graceful lines. She is as pretty as she is powerful, and that’s before anyone started to fine tune her. The Mustang is pure Americana and that’s why it ranks number one on our list.
1965 Corvette Stingray
Ever heard the saying that big things come in small packages? Coming in at a close number two is the Corvette Stingray. Sleek, agile and boasting an impressive 396 cu in. V8 under the hood and throwing down 425 horsepower, there’s nothing small about the performance of the 1965 Corvette Sting Ray. Available in either a convertible or coupe model, there wasn’t much to dislike about this lightning fast beast.
1969 Dodge Charger
It may not win any beauty contests against the number one and two cars on this list. However nothing says unfiltered raw power quite like the 1969 Dodge Charger. Before the becoming a cult icon in the show Dukes of Hazard, the Charger was making a name for itself all on its own. Enter the 426 Hemi with 425 horsepower and 490 ft-lb of torque. Loud and proud, the Charger eviscerated the competition in only the most grotesque fashion, befitting a muscle car of its prowess.
1969 Pontiac GTO “Judge”
Yes please, is all we can say about this car. You had to know this car was going to make and appearance. With only 239 of these righteous road rockets produced with the Ram Air IV engine and four speed transmission, collectors go bonkers for this treasure. One was sold at the Barret-Jackson auto auction for almost $200k. Coming in under the radar and making a big splash with the 455 cu in V8, this rarity boasted 370 horsepower, which although it isn’t as high as some of these others, is nothing to be trifled with. To top it all off the second generation of GTO’s were redesigned with sensual curves making it more appealing to the eye as well.
1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
Sexy doesn’t begin to do this car justice. The perfect epitome of beauty and the beast, fantastic lines and an engine that roars like a lion. Its pure ecstasy for car lovers and anyone with ears and eyes. With a 426 cu in V8 the ‘Cuda roared down the road with about 425 horsepower, the only thing it didn’t pass was a gas station. As you watched the rpms increase, you could watch your gas gauge decrease. We’re fairly certain with all the burnouts done with this car, your tires didn’t last long either.
1968 Chevrolet Nova SS 396
Don’t let the small in stature Nova fool you. It can play with the big boys. These third generation bad boys came fully redesigned and the Super Sport came with an added upgrade. An option for a 375 horsepower 396 cu in V8. As small as this car was, with as much horsepower as it had, no wonder it made a name for itself on the drag strip, outpacing heavier cars with bigger engines like it was child’s play.
1968 AMC AMX
What? Who? Chances are most of you have never heard of the AMC AMX, but these bad boys had torque to spare and were extremely fast. The American Motor Corporation introduced a bare bones muscle car that was all engine and not much else with interior specs quite limited. However the 390 cu in V8 gave the AMX plenty of get up and go at 375 hp. As nice as that was to feel, it was even better to hear. Sounding a lot bigger than it was, this magnificent underdog definitely deserves to be in our top ten.
1970 Torino Cobra
It’s not a mustang but this Ford product won Motor Trend Car of the Year among all the other 1970’s greats, so they must be doing something right. As is with the custom with all cars on this page, they all look great, even the “ugly” ones. The Torino though, almost as sexy as the Cuda. Coming off the line with a 429 cu in V8 the Torino Cobra was no laughing matter and certainly offered up some competition to its on brother, the Mustang. While other models had certain luxurious feels to them, the Cobra model was all performance. Boasting everything from that beautiful engine to a competition suspension and a four-speed close ratio transmission, the Torino came to win.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro
How wrong would we be if we didn’t include the iconic Camaro on this list? There isn’t much to be said about the Camaro that hasn’t already been said. Its 427 cu in V8 (special order) and 430 horsepower this small car ruled almost everything except for its own cousin the Corvette. Camaro’s sleek styling and unrelenting power earn it a place in our garage forever and always.
1970 Dodge Challenger
Rounding out our list at number ten, the ever loveable Dodge Challenger. Who cares about anything else when you can have a 426 cu in V8 Hemi under the hood? Not me. We’re not sure why this car was named Challenger instead of Conqueror, because there weren’t many cars that went up against this killer and won the day. Taking all challengers, get it, with 425 horsepower, the Challenger challenged the existing rule of Camaro and Mustang, we’re not sure if the Camaro or Mustang actually won that battle or not given the Challenger’s specs, but either way, it’s one hell of a car to take down a drag strip.