The Coolest Muscle Cars of All Time

Hands down the Golden Era of Muscle Cars was 1966 to 1974 .  Those years were the most awesome years in the history of the world.  Through time frame American Car Makers were not afraid to try new things… to be as badass as they wanted to be.   Forget the little British Sports Cars… with their silly little go-cart motors.  American Muscle Cars were all about the big beefy V-8 engines and body stylings that blow a girl’s skirt up just sitting at a stoplight at idle.  Muscle Cars were Awesome.  All of them.  But some, are more awesome than others.

Here’s my list in No Order.


The 1970 Boss 302 Mustang.  This car was Ford’s top of the line Mustang the year I was born.  Maybe why it’s been my favorite.  The Elinore and the Bullit Mustangs are undoubtedly cool… But 1970 302 is my Unicorn.  It’s one of those cars I’d go back in time, buy several, and put in a Time Capsule for my own pleasure back in the future.  In 1971 though, the Mustang really started to go to hell.  The ’71 and later Mach 1 body styles were disgusting, and then in 74 the Mustang II took over… *shudder*  But in 1970 the Boss 302 Mustang was at the zenith.  Handled better than the Boss 427, and actually tracked faster.  It was just good.  Ford hasn’t been able to hit again since the 2015 Mustang… which will become the best Mustang Ford has ever made.  But we’ll see if it stands up to the mighty 1970 Boss.


The 1969 Dodge Charger.  The classic Dodge Charger had great lines.  Streamlined while still being “Muscle Car”.  Bo and Luke Duke?  Admit it – you watched The Duke’s because of the girl in the short shorts that drove the Jeep.  We all did.  But if you painted your Charger bright Orange to look like the General Lee – You suck at Life.  Because of that one TV series – there is a drastic shortage of good classic Chargers.  And too many of them are Orange.  The show burned through so many of them, it’s criminal.  But there are some left out there in the wild.  And if you find a good one – It’s a rare thing of beauty now.


This is the Baddest of the Bad.  The 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454.  The most powerful factory installed engine of the Muscle Car Era.  It was Big and Bad and embodied everything the Muscle Car stood for.   If it was any more powerful it would come with it’s own Wookie Mechanic and would outrun Imperial Cruisers.  These are the real “SS” cars that Chevy seems to have forgotten about.  Later year versions of the Chevelle would feature only one headlight on each side – but I don’t think those are quite as menacing as the dual headlight cars.  The SS looks like it wants to throw you a beating.
You can see these cars in action in DEMOLITION MAN, and JACK REACHER.  Two movies which are worth watching just for the Chevelles.  That and Sandra Bullock’s ass in her Police Uniform in Demolition Man… Wow.  Just wow.


Yes.  That was my reaction when I first saw that.

Edit:  I was wrong.  As pointed out by an astute reader, Demolition Man featured the Olds 442.  I was wrong…  My memory was faulty.  And I’ve not watched DemoMan in a couple decades.  Here’s the Olds 442:


They do look very similar, but the front grill is distinctly different.   Forgive me… I was distracted….


Moving on… The GTO.  Pontiac’s Greatest Thing Ever.


Specifically the 1967 Pontiac GTO.  This is THE CAR… This is one that defined what a Muscle Car was all about.  It set the rules.  It established the very definition.  This was Muscle Car Purity.  There are a lot of different versions of the GTO, but in 1967 Pontiac got it just right.   The right balance of size, weight, output, and looks.  As far as car designs go, it shows that it’s a 60’s era car, but it’s a design that has aged very well…. so well in fact, that they actually look better now. These are the Jane Seymour’s of Muscle Cars.  When one drives by, you can’t help but to stare at it.  There is just something about it.  Just like Jane Seymour.



The TV Show Supernatural has 3 Leading Characters.  Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, and the ’67 Impala.  This is the show that eclipsed Firefly as The Coolest Show on Earth.  It has Classic Rock Music, Guns, Monsters, and this Impala.  The Impala is just flat out cool.  Old School Muscle Car, with refined looks and a nice feature that makes it practical for every day use.  Four Doors.  Looking at my other choices – this is the only one with four doors.  I find that kind of odd…. as I don’t have anything against four doors, but most look like grandmother’s sunday barges.  The 67 Impala has something rather menacing about it that later Impalas lost in the 70’s… and really have never regained.

Out of this short list – If I could pick one that the Gods of Torque and Recoil could bestow upon me… It would be between the 302 Mustang and the Chevelle SS 454.  I think I’d have to take BOTH.  And of course the GOT&R would nod sagely and give me both… Because they are just awesome that way.

Honorable mentions going to the ’70 AMC AMX, the ’71 Olds Cutlass, and the Buick GSX.  But really… those cars were just taking cues off of these cars.


18 thoughts on “The Coolest Muscle Cars of All Time”

  1. The biggest mistake of my life was the year 1980 and a friend was getting married an wanted to sell me his 68 gto rag top an I turned him down it haunts me to this day

  2. The car that always made my heart pound growing up was the 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner with its goggle-shaped grill and its 70’s-era primary colors (Plum Crazy, etc). I agree on the 1967 GTO, if it is a ragtop and that gorgeous metallic blue that Pontiac liked to paint them in.

    1. nothing like the brutality of a REAL Shelby GT350. Corners like a demon and screams through the straightaways. Closest thing to it was a DZ coded Z28 of 1969 vintage. Love those little monsters.

  3. We have the 1970 Chevelle SS and it’s a real head-turner! Can’t go a mile down the road before people are honking and waving and giving the Thumbs Up sign.

    1. Dang… you are right. Haven’t seen it in many years. Post is Edited for Correction.
      Thank you.

  4. My father always bought cars with the BIGGEST motors he could. His list of cars that came and went include: 55 Chevy convertible, late 60s Cuda, Buick Electra with 455, 73 boattail Riviera with 455 and a Mercedes 450 SL convertible. Sigh…

  5. Generally muscle cars were defined as mid-size coupes based on chassis also available in 4 door, and of course powered by a big V8. The Chevelle/Malibu or GTO/Tempest, the Fairlane and Torino and even the lowly Nova were available in a 4 door. The Mustang and Camaro were a different animal. Not quite sports cars, but lighter and better handling than the big full frame Muscle cars. They were “pony cars”.

    I’ve grown tired of the Chevelle. They’re just over done. A ’70 Monte SS 454 on the other hand, I’ll take two.

  6. One of the baddest cars I every rode in was a 1969
    Chevy Nova SS with a 396 with 375HP. It ROCKED!

  7. I would love a Chevelle SS. It’s things like this that make me sad about growing up in the 90’s when cars were beginning to be shaped like suppositories and stuffed with downgraded engines.

  8. I would also include to your list the black ‘Cuda of Phantasm fame. A hefty 440 with a 6-pack induction system. I missed a chance to buy the real car in 1979 by a few mins. The buyer showed up with 1500 bones right before I got there. My consolation prize was a ’66 Impala SS w/ a 427 4-speed. I still would have preferred the Phantasm ‘Cuda.

  9. 1969 AMX , 390 cid, aluminium intake, headers, B&W Super T-10W, 4.44 gear, Detrot Locker, Henry axles and M&H 10.00 x28 slicks. 11.00 flat. 12.20 with Goodyear poliglass G60-14s. Had to sell it due to TDYs to Guam.

  10. I’ll take the Charger, thanks. Specifically – should I win the lottery – I’d spring for a nicely-restored ’68 version like the one in Bullitt: black on black, black interior, and the 440.

    I’d also like another first-generation Chevy Monte Carlo similar to the ’71 model I had in high school, either with the 402 big block (which is what mine had) or the 454.

  11. Would like to have seen the’70 HemiCuda on the list. A true 12 second car on street slicks with one of the most beautiful bodies ever.

    It was the direct lineal descendent of the unsightly but invincible 1963 426 Max Wedge Plymouth Superstock Savoy and Dodge 330 Superstock (Little Old Lady From Pasadena) factory race csrs that started superstock. Those cars could be ordered from your local dealer. All aluminum hood and front fenders, no back seat, battery in the trunk, lexan back window, no radio or heater, and, yes, ran 12’s right from the dealer in ’63.

    The ’70 Boss 429 Mustang was way faster in the quarter than the Boss 302, which was universally eaten for lunch at the strip by small block Mopars. Great on the road, but seriously underpowered in a straight line.

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