No matter your age, style or inner mind workings; if you can’t appreciate a good set of muscle you’re not worth jack. These iron beasts where made to take a beating and certainly to deliver one.
They don’t have ‘hipster credibility’; it won’t get you the job, her father’s approval or that bank loan… It will however awaken feelings of self-satisfaction and an undying hunger for more. A hobby for some, the dream for others; one thing’s for certain it’s a different kind of love.
Always willing to burn rubber, I have compiled a list of The Top 10 Muscle of all time, not that they can be listed in so few. We all have our own and yes, I gave preference to my personal favourites.
They’re loud, rude and represent everything that is great in the automotive world. Here is what makes each beast special in his own forceful way.
Now, in no particular order of best – pulling in at nr 10 the beefy 1970 Buick GSX: Built on the already potent Buick GS 455 big-block coupe. The GSX was officially quoted as having 360 horsepower and an immense 510 lb-ft of torque, although like many muscle cars these power figures were underrated; it came closer to 400hp. This supercar did the quarter mile in 13.38 seconds and came in only two colors – Apollo White or Saturn Yellow.
The Boss 429 is arguably one of the rarest and most valued muscle cars to date. In total there were 859 original Boss 429’s made. The origin of the Boss 429 comes about as a result of NASCAR. Ford was seeking to develop a Hemi engine that could compete with the famed 426 Hemi from Chrysler in NASCAR. The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 was the priciest non-Shelby Mustang Ford offered at the time. While the car was not built for its screaming starts, it was known for long-haul racing capabilities and smooth handling.
Chevy’s 1969 Z28 Camaro is guaranteed to stir emotion in the hearts of enthusiasts. In Z28 pretence, the ’69 Camaro had a small-block 302-cubic-inch engine designed for Trans-Am racing; it was officially rated at 290 horsepower, though its true influence was known to be much more. It also featured F41 sport suspension, standard front disc brakes and a Muncie 4-speed gearbox. It wasn’t the biggest, fastest monster on the street, but overall, it was a great package and left little to be desired. This Camaro could do a quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds though only at a speed of a little more than 100 mph. Despite that obvious lack of raw power, it was noted for its great handling.
Although not purely American the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 is one of the best known muscle cars ever made. Based on a lightweight British AC Ace roadster, the Cobra was the invention of automotive legend Carroll Shelby. Fitted with an enormous Ford 427 engine under the hood, the end result was a frighteningly fast roadster with too much power for its chassis; the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C featured an impressive 480 Hp. This sporty little number looked like a European sports car, yet had the muscle to prove it was American.
No matter how you cut it; 454 cubic inches and roughly 7.4 litres is a whole lot of engine which makes for outrageous power in the 1970 Chevelle 454 SS. While its base power was already impressive the LS6 upgrade made for an easy leap to a totally crazy 454 horses. This car and the engine it held represented the ‘limit’ of the muscle-car power wars. With racing stripes and a smooth interior, this muscle monster was the average muscle lover’s dream.
Nowadays the name Pontiac Firebird probably stirs up images of uninspired ’90s coupes or perhaps the painted-hood icons of the 1980s. However, the 1968 Pontiac Firebird dates back earlier than either example. The first generation was one of the best all-around muscle cars on the market. The original Firebird was a close cousin to the Camaro and the 1968 model offered a wide range of engines, including a roaring 400-cubic-inch V8 good for 335 horsepower.
1967’s Shelby Mustang GT500 was a factory-authorized Mustang created by Carroll Shelby. Introduced in 1967, the GT500 joined the GT350 on showroom floors and offered a 428-cubic-inch Police Interceptor engine with a conservatively rated 355 horsepower. Despite the larger engine, it was actually designed to be a more usable road vehicle than the lighter, race-ready GT350. Because of this, and its negligible premium over the GT350, the GT500 was an instant hit, just as it remains to this day.
The 1965 Pontiac GTO, is about as characteristically muscle car as it gets. For 1965 the 389-cubic-inch engine packed a firm 335 horsepower and was offered with a Tri-Power option good for an additional 25 horses. While it was capable of dashes to 60 mph in less than six seconds, the GTO’s rough brakes and steering made the heavy beast a handful to control. Possibly the one to start the American muscle car craze, the 1965 GTO featured racing car options that remained inspirational long after it was out driven in speed and power. 0-60 in 6.1 seconds wasn’t too bad, but not grand considering the next 10 years of muscle cars. Regardless, this muscle car has the chops to make this list just by starting the hype.
Fully redesigned for 1970; the Plymouth Barracuda was offered with no less than five high-powered V8 engines; the overwhelming 426 Hemi was top dog beating out a 425 horsepower. Its nose-heavy weight distribution made for questionable handling; but no one was laughing when it came time for the Hemi ‘Cuda to rip apart the quarter-mile in the low 13-second range. This muscle car boasted a 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and was known for burning rubber without much instigation. A pig on the road, the ‘Cuda was made for muscle fanatics.
Last but not least, a personal favourite and my top item of desire: The 1969 Dodge Charger. If you don’t recognize the Charger you’re simply not from this planet. Please leave now! The maddest of the early Chargers was the R/T with its standard 440 Magnum under the hood whipping out a solid 375 horses. Not the fastest of the time but definitely the most street cred worthy in my books.
With all being listed and drooled over, if you own a muscle car or are working towards it; once the revs climb above 3500 you better hang on for dear life son and enjoy the ride.