The American automobile renaissance of the 60s and 70s gave way to the iconic muscle cars we know and love today. With their fuel efficiency and uncompromising style, they sparked a light in the hearts of Americans everywhere. But you might be wondering, where have they ended up today?
At Popular Everything, we’re taking a look at some of the original classic muscle cars and the price they fetch today. There’s no doubt you’ll be surprised at how much some of these retro machines go for in our current economic market. Let’s just say, it’ll cost you a pretty penny to get your hands on one of these iconic rides.
1965 Buick Skylark: From $2,552 to $20,000
For first-time classic car collectors, the 1965 Buick Skylark makes a great option. It’s more affordable than a lot of its muscle car counterparts and doesn’t compromise in design. Who wouldn’t want such a stylish ride? This model came out at the beginning of the great American muscle car era and didn’t disappoint.
Offered back in 1965 as either a coupe, a hardtop or a convertible, it’s known for having a wonderfully smooth ride. While 70,000 people bought a Skylark at the time, far fewer opted for the Gran Sport option, making it much more valuable today. As such, you can expect to pay around $20,000 for the pleasure of owning one of these timeless beauties.
1969 Plymouth Roadrunner Convertible: From $3,635 To $80,000
Plymouth outdid themselves in 1969 when they came out with the Roadrunner Convertible. It still managed to maintain a relatively low price compared to its competitors, but exceeded the speeds of many other popular cars from General Motors and Ford.
They were able to offer a lower price on their muscle cars partly due to their no-frills approach. They sold the Plymouth Roadrunner Convertible for $3,635 in 1969, offering top specs and a sleek design. Today, you’re looking at paying closer to the $80,000 mark.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1: From $7,200 To $500,0000
If you think it’s hard parting with your money for a muscle car these days, imagine how hard it was to spend a fortune on them back in the 60s and 70s. The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was selling for $7,200 in 1969, and had a total of 69 models made. But only 13 models were sold in the end, probably due to its hefty price tag.
Its powerful racing performance and rarity leads many to believe it is the best car in Camaro history. That’s why you’ll have to spend around $500,000 to get your hands on this classic motor, and it wouldn’t come in perfect condition. For a ZL1 in pristine condition, you’ll need to drop around $1 million for it after you’ve tracked it down.
1971 Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette: From $10,500 To $230,000
One of the rarest American muscle cars in the entire world, the 1971 Baldwin-Motion Phase III GT Corvette is on the wishlist of many serious collectors. But only 12 cars were produced over the period of two years, making this an almost impossible model to get your hands on.
Only three of the original 12 cars are known to be in existence today. It reaches 500 horsepower and has seriously impressive performance potential, but doesn’t compromise in style. And this “candy gold” was the only one made in this color. Over ten years ago it was sold for $231,000, which sounds like a steal to us.
1968 Oldsmobile 442: From $3,127 to $24,000
The 1968 Oldsmobile 442 offers you engine power and impeccable style for an affordable price. “442” comes from the original car’s four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and two exhausts, all of which worked alongside the eye-catching bronzey-copper colored engine.
It’s easy to see why this car has become so popular today. But its sloped-back design and futuristic silhouette made it a massive hit back in 1968 too. It became one of the most sold cars in Oldsmobile history, selling at the time for $3,127. Today it can be tricky to track them down, and they’ll end up setting you back around $24,000.
1970 Ford Torino Cobra: From $3,270 to $56,000
The Ford Torino Cobra was such a hit upon its release that it won the car of the year award in 1970. Loved by drag racing fans, it’s a classic in the line up of muscle cars. This Ford Torino became famous for its Super Cobra Jet engine that can reach up to 375 horsepower. Because of that, they discourage people from using them for long journeys.
Despite the fact that this was a heavier model for a Ford Torino, it had a surprisingly strong performance for its time. Motor Trend wrote about it: “The weight obviously helped traction, as it was fairly easy to accelerate away from a standing start with only a modicum of wheelspin.” Expect to pay around $56,000 for the pleasure of owning it today.
1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28: From $3,635 To $70,000
Today the 1971 Chevrolet Camaro ZS8 is known as one of the ultimate muscle cars, but at the time it was part of the second generation of Camaro’s. It was the inspiration behind the 2010 – 2015 fifth-generation body styles, which resulted in a huge boost in sales. With 340 horsepower, it was the highest performing car of 1971.
Only a mere 4,862 people opted for the Z28 version of the Chevrolet Camaro at the time. It was only $786.75 more than other Chevrolet’s, which is a steal compared to today. If you want this piece of classic car history it’s going to set you back around $70,000 – that’s a mark up of over $66,000!
1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge: From $3,940 To $80,000
The iconic 1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge grew in popularity after featuring in the 60s sketch show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. It earned the nickname “The Judge” after the famous line “Here comes da judge!” was bellowed in one episode. it’s so iconic in fact, that it is credited by many as having invented the muscle car genre.
This Pontiac GTO The Judge had only been $332 more than its standard counterpart in 1969. And considering that it now fetches around $80,000, it would have been a very wise investment at the time. But it’s easy to see why it’s a favorite among collectors – who can resist those boxy headlights and wide-set tires? Especially when it comes in “Carousel Red.”
1963 Corvette Stingray: From $4,037 To $100,000
1963 was a significant year for Corvette – they drastically changed their car styles after hiring the famous automobile designer Zora Arkus-Duntov. They wanted to create a breaking-edge new design to make their machines as aerodynamic as possible. They even ended up testing their Corvette Stingray prototypes in a wind tunnel on California’s Caltech University’s campus.
Half of the 20,000 units manufactured in 1963 were convertibles that featured 327 cubic-inch engines, with options for 300, 340, and 360 horsepower. And when the 1967 film Clambake with Elvis Presley featured the beautiful muscle car, it reached a new height of fame. Expect to pay up to $100,000 for the pop culture icon.
1968 AMC AMX: From $3,395 To $15,700
The American Motors Corporation was known as “a small company deft enough to exploit special market segments left untended by the giants.” But it still struggled to keep up with the top car manufacturers in 1968. When they created the AMX model, they hoped it rival the Chevy Corvette and Ford Mustang.
But things looked up for AMC after their AMX model set two new records at Bonneville in 1968. The United States Auto Club recorded that the car reached over 200 mph, making this a very worthy muscle car contender. These days they sell for around $15,000 and up.
1968 Dodge Charger Hemi R/T: From $4,110 To $150,000
In 1968 Dodge changed up their beloved Dodge Charger design for something newer and sleeker. The Hemi R/T was a cut above the rest as it boasted of having an impressive 426-horsepower Hemi engine. Not to mention the adorable cartoon bumblebee branding that made its way into their marketing campaigns.
That same year, Steve McQueen’s film Bullitt came out and featured the new Dodge Charger Hemi R/T during a significant car-chase scene. Needless to say, the muscle car became an instant classic with an inflated price. And Dodge only made 4000 of these racers, making it even more coveted by collectors. It can fetch up to $150,000 in today’s market.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6: From $4,000 To $1,200,000
The Chevrolet Chevelle is an iconic classic car on its own, but the SS 454 LS6 is a step above the rest. Throughout the sixties, the Chevrolet Chevelle was regarded as an affordable option for such a powerful and stylish sports car. But little did they know how much it would come to fetch for in the future.
Fast-forward to today and you’re paying upwards of $1,200,000 for the 1970 LS6 at auction. It’s pretty surprising, considering how it used to sell for only $4,000. The 1970 version of the car featured more engine choices, including the famed 454 big block V8. And having 500 horsepower didn’t hurt either.
1970 Dodge Challenger Hemi Convertible: From $4,900 To $1,500,000
When Dodge came out with the Challenger in 1970 they were in the midst of muscle car mania. But only four years later they would cease all production of the Challengers due to a decrease in demand. That being said, the 1970 Hemi Convertable was the most prized of all their cars that year.
It would go for $4,000 at the time, but these days brings in offers of $1.5 million and more. After all, it was a super speedy and powerful ride that required special speed measures. The 1970 Hemi Convertable came with a 150 mph speedometer, an 8,000 RPM tachometer, and an oil pressure gauge.
1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ram Air IV: From $4,906 To $200,000
The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am’s were in production between the years of 1967 all the way up until 2002. But considered by many collectors to be the cream of the crop of all Trans Am models is the 1970 Ram Air IV. Uncompromisingly beautiful, it’s experienced a huge markup since those days.
These cars go for about $200,000 in today’s market. And that steep price is in part explained by how rare it is. Only 88 models of the 1970 Ram Air IV were ever sold, so it’s a prize collection piece for sure. One Californian resident was recently asking for a whopping $250,000 for his Ram Air in mint condition.
1969 Boss 429 Mustang: From $4,798 To $180,000
The 1969 Boss 429 Mustang is one of the most sought after Mustangs around these days. It was created with the intention of competing with the new Chrysler 426 Hemi engine that year – then the best car on the track. And so the Boss 429 came out with a snazzy design and highly-powerful engine. Ford only created 1,359 of the Boss 429 Mustang in 1969, which now sell for $180,000.
But maybe it was for the best, considering the controversy surrounding the horsepower. They advertised the car as having had 375 horsepower, but many doubt these claims. Insurance costs had been on the rise, so it’s widely believed that Ford understated the true horsepower in order not to scare customers off. Higher horsepower means higher premiums.
1970 Buick GSX: From $4,880 To $185,000
The era of muscle cars was in full swing when Buick came out with the GSX in 1970. The economy had been in a relatively good place and car sales were booming. That’s why Buick decided to give their beloved Skylark an upgrade to the GSX model. It put them on the muscle car map.
Those who opted for the Buick GSX in 1970 were likely drawn to the long list of customizable options that this car offered. But it had an impressive performance to match, largely due to its lightweight body of around 150 lb. It was under $5,000 at the time but it fetches a whopping $185,000 today.
1970 Plymouth Superbird Hemi: From $4,298 To $200,000
It’s hard to forget the distinctive look of a Plymouth Superbird Hemi. In 1970 they came out with an “upgraded” version of the Plymouth Roadrunner that featured bigger proportions and aerodynamic fairings. Just look at how tall the spoiler at the end of the car is.
Obviously, this machine was built for high speed – top of the range models had a horsepower of 425. And with only 1920 cars made in 1970, it has become a rare and sought after classic muscle car. It sells for around $200,000 today but in all honesty, it’s been known to fetch a lot more.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible: From $6,600 To $3,300,000
If you wanted a Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible back in the day you had to be quick, as they were only in production from 1967 to 1969. Less than 50 cars were made in that time, making this a very rare vehicle indeed. The L88 Convertible was top of the line at the time, and only availbel under a special options package.
$6,600 would have been steep in the 60s, but today can fetch anywhere over $3.3 million. If it’s in great condition, of course. Something that is of particular value is an interior label that warns passengers about the high octane fuel. The L88 featured a warning label inside the vehicle reminding passengers that it requires high octane fuel.
1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda: From $4,348 To $200,000
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Baracuda was too cool to spell its name out properly, so they just went with writing ‘Cuda on the rear instead. And we cant blame them. With such a visually demanding design, we think it earns the right to nickname itself. The most notable differences from the 1969 Plymouth Baraccuda are in the grill and headlights.
It might surprise you to know that one particular 1970 ‘Cuda convertible was sold at auction for $3.5 million recently. To be fair, it was a total and complete original in all its entirety, even down to the documentation. And only 11 ‘Cuda convertibles were ever made that year. But non-convertibles can still fetch a pretty penny of around $200,000.
1969 Dodge Charger Hemi Daytona: From $5,903 To $900,000
The Dodge Charger Daytona was created in 1969 with the express intention of being good enough to win high-profile NASCAR races. The following year, Buddy Baker became the first driver in NASCAR history to hit 200 mph, and he did it in the No. 88 Chrysler Engineering Dodge Charger Daytona.
Dodge only created a total of 503 Charger Hemi Daytonas, one of which was featured in the 2001 movie Joe Dirt. Leading actor David Spade loved his time on set with it so much that he chose to purchase his very own for $900,000. His Daytona had especially low mileage and came in pristine condition, but you’d still be looking to spend upwards of $800,000 to grab one of these beauties.
1970 AMC AMX/3: From $14,000 To $1,000,000
The American Motor Company wanted to join in on all the muscle car mania of the 60s, so they came out with the AMX/3 in 1970. Italian car designer Giotto Bizzarrini was put in charge and he came up with an intersting combination of features. The third generation AMX had the look of an Italian sports car with the engine of a BMW.
It was created as a concept car at first, and received a favorable response when they debuted it at the Chicago Auto Show. They planned on creating 1,000 AMX’s following the show but it soon proved to be just too expensive for them. In the end, the five concept cars were the only ones ever made, making it extremely high ticket today. We’re talking at least a $1 million.
1963 Shelby Cobra 427 (AC Cobra): From $7,500 To $2,000,000
The 2019 American sports film Ford vs. Ferrari featured the Shelby Cobra 427 (AC Cobra) and starred Matt Damon. To give you some context, Matt Damon’s character, Shelby, favored the 1963 AC Cobra above all his other cars on screen. It’s understandable, seeing as how powerful yet compact this classic motor is.
Car designer Carroll Shelby wanted this car to feature a V8 engine in a neat little two-door design, and that’s exactly what he achieved. Not all car manufacturers at the time believed in him, but Ford eventually backed him and so it came to be. It wasn’t cheap at the time, selling for $7,500 in 1963, but today it can go for an eye-watering sum of $2 million.
1965 Shelby GT350R: From $4,584 To $850,000
For most Mustang car collectors, the Shelby GT350R is probably the most important one of all. It was the first Mustang in racing car history to win at a major race and has since grown in popularity thanks to the movie 2019 American sports film Ford vs. Ferrari. It was actor Christian Bale who was filmed behind the wheel of one of these.
Comedian and late-night television host Jay Leno is famously a collector of classic cars, and even owns one of these. That’s an impressive feat when you find out how much it costs. The Shelby GT350R from 1965 will set you back $850,000 if you wish to purchase one today.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air: From $2,390 To $30,000
If you were to ask someone off the street to picture a classic car, there’s a good possibility that the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is what they’d have in mind. A two-door station wagon, this iconic model features upscale trims and an unforgettably unique silhouette.
It’s hard to believe it only used to cost $2,390 back in 1957. But compared to a lot of the classic muscle cars on this list, it’s not that unaffordable. You could pick up your very own ’57 Chevy for around about $30,000. Just be sure to check if it’s an original model or if it’s undergone modifications.
1971 Shelby GT500: From $8,000 To $1,000,000
The Shelby GT500 received a boost in popularity thanks to the Gone In 60 Seconds movies – both the 1974 film classic and the 2000 remake. This Shelby was the most celebrated car in both of the movies, where it earned itself the affectionate moniker “Eleanor.” It’s interesting to see how much influence Hollywood has over the classic car market.
But the movies did actually generate controversy surrounding the GT500. Mainly because they didn’t actually use the real car for filming. A 1967 Ford Mustang fastback was fitted with the body of a 1971 Shelby GT500, seeing as the real thing is so valuable. It fetches for around $1,000,000 at auction if you’re lucky.
1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Convertible: From $4,348 To $3,500,000
Unlike the 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda also featured on this list, the 1971 Baracuda convertible featured new grille and taillights, seats, and a new trim design. Hemispherical combustion chambers AKA Hemi’s had been in use for several years, but Chrysler was the driving force for making it synonymous with muscle cars.
Unlike the ‘Cuda Convertible from the year before, this one featured four headlights and fender “gills” that would only be seen on 1971 models. It took Chrysler two whole years to create just 17 of these cars in a convertible option, so they go for a hefty price. If you have $3.5 million spare, one of these could be yours.
1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake: From N/A To $2,200,000
The 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake was handbuilt by none other than Carroll Shelby, making it a truly one of a kind muscle car. In 2019 it was bought for $2.2 million, which was significantly more expensive than it had been six years earlier. In 2013, someone had bought it for $900,000 less.
But it was built with a specific purpose in mind. Tire manufacturer Goodyear commissioned Shelby to create a high-performance race car to test their brand new “Thunderbolt” tires. It had to be faster than all the other cars on the market, and able to maintain the structural integrity of the tires. After testing the Super Snake for 500 miles driving at 142 mph, 97% of the tread remained intact.
1967 Ford Mustang Convertible: From $2,800 To $100,000
The 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible is a great middle-of-the-road classic car for growing collectors. It offers you a high performance and impeccable style, not to mention the folding glass windows specific to this year’s model.
At the time, the Mustang Convertible was being sold by Ford for just over $2,800. But today, you can pick one up closer to the $100,000 mark. Although, the price is very dependant on what condition the car is in, so it’s possible to bag a bargain for this understated ride.
1968 Dodge Dart GTS: From $3,189 To $10,100
You don’t have to compromise on style with the affordable 1968 Dodge Dart GTS. The fourth generation of Dodge Darts started coming out in 1967, and it had already been one of the most popular cars in circulation at the time. There were a variety of engines available to choose from, but the GTS was a step above the rest.
The GTS was made especially for the drag racers. Dodge marketed this car as track-ready should you need it for an impromptu race. Able to reach speeds of 130 mph, it’s possible to pick up this neat little whip for $10,000 and up.
1967 Ford Mercury Cougar: From $2,851 To $11,600
Any Ford fan will recognize this one easily. The Ford Mercury Cougar took inspiration from the Ford Mustang, and was created in direct competition with it. Featuring a strikingly long hood and smaller-than-average deck, it’s hard not to fall in love with this car’s unique proportions.
The 428 engine was more powerful than the standard V8 engines that most models came with. It had 335 horsepower, but also offered something new amongst other muscle cars. It was possible to install an electronic sunroof, which was extremely rare at the time. Luckily, this is more affordable for your everyday collector today, selling for around $11,000.
1968 Ford Mustang GT: From $2,602 To $50,000
The 1968 Ford Mustang GT rose to prominence that same year when it starred in the action thriller movie Bullitt alongside Steve McQueen. The strong yet elegant long hood design of this vehicle resulted in a brand new classification, referred to as the “pony car.”
McQueen didn’t really drive the Ford Mustang GT in the movie, as the high-speed scenes required a professional stuntman. Nevertheless, it was associated with him and ended up growing in popularity. the original car from the film sold at auction for over $3 million, but you can pick another one up for between $30,000-$50,000.
1968 Plymouth Roadrunner: From $2,870 To $100,000
The first generation of Plymouth Roadrunners became available in 1968, and it marketed itself as a more affordable option. At the time, the original muslce cars had been shedding their “cheaper” image and were demanding more money for faster speeds. And Plymouth saw a gap in the market.
The Roadrunner was marketed to people as an affordable alternative to their upscale GTX model. In 1968, it was possible to pick up this handsome motor for less than $3,000, but today the price varies. They’re anywhere between $40,000 and $100,000, depending on the condition.
1968 Dodge Super Bee: From $3,027 To $40,000
The 1968 Dodge Super Bee is pretty remarkable according to almost any classic car collector. There’s a very good reason for it, but it doesn’t have anything to do with it’s exterior or design choices. You need to look under the hood to see what’s so special about this muscle motor.
This car has garnered such popular reputation because of its powerful 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine. Try saying that quickly three times. But it wasn’t cheap for folks back then, as it was a third more expensive than its previous model. Today they’re selling for around $40,000.
1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR: From $4,500 To $120,000
Ford pulled it out of the bag with this muscle car back in 1968. The Mustang Shelby GT500KR was always meant for greatness – the “KR” alone stands for “King of the Road!” For this model, the standard 289-cid engine was replaced with the 428-cid V8 engine, making it as powerful as police interceptors of the day.
But it didn’t compromise when it came to style. The roof and hood scoops ensure that you’d be chased away in style by the police should they ever come after you. While Ford used to sell it for $4,500, you’ll need $120,000 to buy one today.
1971 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible: From N/A To $440,000
In 1971 Pontiac put out one of the last true muscle car convertibles, the GTO Judge Convertible. The muscle car era was coming to an end as the government started tightening restrictions on what was being offered. After all, such power can be deadly at the worst of times.
Only 17 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible cars were ever made, making it even more precious in the classic car world. That’s why you’ll need to come to terms with parting with almost half a million dollars to get your hands on this highly collectible motor.
1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000: From N/A To $13,750,000
Collectors and fans of American muscle cars go absolutely crazy for the 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000. It was the very first Shelby Cobra that ever came into existence, and therefore is especially significant to the history of muscle cars. Take a look at how beautifully stylish this little motor is.
As the prototype of all Sheby Cobra’s to come, the car pictured above was the first one to come into existence. A couple of tweaks were even made to the model after it’s creation, making this a true one-off. The world’s only CSX2000 was sold in 2016 for $13,750,000, which is understable considering its significance.
1967 Shelby GT 500: From $4,195 To $190,000
1974’s Gone in 60 Seconds catapulted the Shelby GT 500 to international fame. But it first came out in 1967, with a V8 engine, aluminum mid-rise intake, and 2X4-barrel 600. Much of the body came in fiberglass, including the front-end, hood, deck lid, and quarter panel extension.
This Shelby Mustang was being sold for $4,195 back in the day, but you won’t find anything near that amount in today’s current market. Most auction sites offer the car for around $190,000, and that’s if it’s in pretty good condition.