February 29, 2024 | Kaddy Gibson

15 Of The Rarest American Muscle Cars


The Rarest American Muscle Cars

American muscle cars roared onto the scene in the 1960s and have remained some of the most beloved cars ever since. 

While many classic cars like the Ford Mustang have modern iterations, others had much shorter production run, and are now the stuff of legend among car collectors. 

These are the rarest American muscle cars ever made.

american muscle cars

1966 Shelby Cobra Super Snake

The Cobra Super Snake is among the greatest American muscle cars of all time and is also undoubtedly one of the rarest. 

Carroll Shelby made two of these cars, and only one has survived till today. It sold at auction for a whopping $5.5 million.

Close-up Photo of 1966 blue AC Shelby CobraFather.Jack, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1966 Shelby Cobra Super Snake (cont’d)

Base models of the Shelby Cobra were equipped with a V8 engine that could hit a top speed of 164 mph. The Super Snake took things up a notch, and could hit 201 mph

Today, if you happen to find a Shelby Cobra on the market, it’s likely to be a replica—even so, it’ll still cost about $1 million to own it.

Close-up Photo of 1966 red AC Shelby CobraPedro Ribeiro Simões, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88

Chevrolet only made 20 of these Corvettes, but to most collectors, it’s the best version of the car. 

The L88 was built for the track and its V-8 engine could crank out 560 horsepower and hit a top speed of 170 mph.

Close-up Photo of 1967 Gray Chevrolet Corvette L88Greg Gjerdingen, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

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1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 (cont’d)

Nowadays, these cars are the toys of elite collectors. Makes sense, considering the $3 million price tag.

Close-up Photo of 1967 Gray Chevrolet Corvette L88Chad Kainz, Flickr

1969 Chevy Camaro ZL-1

The design for the Camaro ZL-1 was inspired by the Corvette L88, but this car is a knockout in its own right. 

Chevy made 69 of these beauties and claimed base models could produce 430 horsepower. In reality, it could hit 500 hp.

Close-up Photo of 1969 gray Chevrolet Camaro ZL1Mustang Joe, Wikimedia Commons

1969 Chevy Camaro ZL-1 (cont’d)

Aside from its power and looks, the ZL-1 featured new innovation from Chevy: It was the first Chevy engine to have an aluminum block, which reduced the weight to 500 pounds. 

These cars are a rarity at classic car auctions, and they sell for at least $500,000.

Close-up Photo of 1969 gray Chevrolet Camaro ZL1Jeremy, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

2015 Dodge Viper TA 2.0

When most people think of muscle cars, they often think back to the beasts of the 60s and 70s, but the modern iteration of the Dodge Viper has earned its racing stripes.

Close-up Photo of 2015 Yellow Dodge Viper TA 2.0David Merrett, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

2015 Dodge Viper TA 2.0 (cont’d)

With an 8.4-liter V10 engine that cranks out 645 horsepower, the viper goes from 0 to 60 mph in only 3 seconds

Dodge only made 96 of these hotrods, and collectors don’t let them go easily. If you manage to find one on the market, it’ll cost about $100,000.

Close-up Photo of 2015 Blue Dodge Viper TA 2.0Patrick Corcoran, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible

The Hemi Cuda Convertible is one of the most recognizable muscle cars. It’s also one of the rarest and most expensive ever made. 

Plymouth only made 14 of these stylish beauties, each with a 426 Hemi V-8 that could crank out 425 horsepower and hit a top speed of 117 mph.

Close-up Photo of 1970 pink Plymouth Cuda ConvertibleCars Down Under, Flickr

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1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible (cont’d)

These convertibles are still popular among car collectors, but with so few made, they’re hard to find. 

When they do make it to auction, they go for anywhere from $2 to $3.5 million.

Close-up Photo of 1970 purple Plymouth Cuda ConvertibleJack Snell, Flickr

1967 Plymouth GTX

Plymouth experiment with new design features when they made the GTX—that turned out to be the right choice. 

By taking out some unnecessary carpet and insulation, adding a bigger hood for airflow, and using a lighter Hemi engine than base trims, they improved the speed of this beast.

Close-up Photo of 1967 dark blue Plymouth GTX ConvertibleGreg Gjerdingen, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1967 Plymouth GTX (cont’d)

After trimming down the weight of the car, the GTX could go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. And despite the lighter engine, it could still crank out 375 horsepower and hit a top speed of 121 mph

Plymouth only made 55 of these cars, and these days they go for about $100,000.

Close-up Photo of 1967 red Plymouth GTXGPS 56, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1969-1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429

The Mustang Boss 429 is one of the most iconic and beloved American muscle cars. 

This car was made to showcase Ford’s innovation and help 500 of their racing engines qualify for NASCAR.

Close-up Photo of 1969 white Ford Mustang Boss 429Sicnag, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1969-1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 (cont’d)

1,356 of these cars were made, each with a powerful V-8 engine that could crank out 375 horsepower. It could also hit a top speed of 118 mph, making for a thrilling ride. 

If you happen to find one at auction, it’ll be going for at least $200,000.

Close-up Photo of 1969 red Ford Mustang Boss 429CJ DUB, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

2018 Dodge Challenger Demon

This recent edition to the ranks of muscle cars is a killer in drag races. 

The Challenger Demon features a 6.2-liter V-8 Hemi that produces an insane 840 horsepower and a 211-mph top speed.

Close-Up Photo of 2018 Blue Dodge Challenger DemonAlexander Migl, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

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2018 Dodge Challenger Demon (cont’d)

Dodge made 3,300 of these hotrods and while you can still find them on the market, the asking price is rising. 

These days, the starting price is about $500,000.

Close-Up Photo of 2018 Red Dodge Challenger DemonAutomotive Rhythms, Flickr

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454

When the Chevelle SS 454 rolled off the production line, it was the most powerful car on the market

Depending on the trim, its 454-cid V-8 engine could produce 360 to 450 horsepower and hit a top speed of 142 mph.

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454Sicnag, CC BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 (cont’d)

Chevy made 4,475 of these beasts, so while they’re rare, they do show up often enough at auctions. 

The only drawback is the $125,000 price tag.

Chevrolet Chevelle Ss454 Sports CoupeSicnag, CC BY 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

When the Stingray came out in 1965, Chevy improved the car’s performance by putting disk brakes on all of the wheels, which was new at the time. 

The Stingray was just as cool under the hood, with 327 V-8 engine that cranked out 365 horsepower.

1965 Chevrolet Corvette StingrayMercurySable99, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (cont’d)

With wickedly good looks and a top speed of 125 mph, the Stingray makes for a super fun ride. 

Chevy made more 23,000 of these cars so it’s not too hard to find them at auction. You’ll want to make sure it’s in good condition, though, and a well-kept one will cost at least $50,000.

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Stingraysv1ambo, Flickr

1966 Shelby GT 350

When it comes to collector cars, the Shelby GT 350 is one of the most loved and sought after. 

2,378 of these cars made it off the production line, each featuring a 4.7-liter V-8 engine that could produce 306 horsepower and a top speed of 138 mph.

1966 Shelby GT 350Sicnag, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

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1966 Shelby GT 350 (cont’d)

These days it’s hard to find a GT 350 that’s in good condition. If you do, the price tag will probably be somewhere around $140,000.

1966 Shelby GT 350Sicnag, CC BY 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

1970 Oldsmobile 442

Oldsmobile isn’t exactly known for their power or speed but the 442 certainly held its own against the competition. 

With the W-30 trim, the car could crank out 360 horsepower and hit a top speed of 115 mph.

1970 Oldsmobile 442Sicnag, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1970 Oldsmobile 442 (cont’d)

Oldsmobile made thousands of these cars, so you can still find one at auction, usually cheaper than many of the other cars on this list, with a $20,000 price tag

With stylish looks and great handling, you can’t go wrong splurging on this one.

1970 Oldsmobile 442Greg Gjerdingen, CC BY 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

The Trans Am became famous after it was featured in the movie Smokey and the Bandit. Since then, it’s been a favorite among car collectors.

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans AmVauxford, CC BY-SA 4.0 , Wikimedia Commons

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (cont’d)

Compared to other cars on this list, the Trans Am isn’t very powerful—its 6.6-liter V-8 engine can only produce 180 horsepower, or 220 horsepower for the pricier trims. 

These cars can still be found at auctions today, but since they go for about $20,000, they get scooped up quick.

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans AmFiring up the quattro, Flickr

1972 Buick GSX

From the moment it roared onto the scene, the GSX was a rarity. Buick only made 44 of these bad boys, with three different trims to choose from.

1972 Buick GSXartistmac, Flickr

1972 Buick GSX (cont’d)

The rarest trim features a 455 cubic V-8 engine that cranks out 250 horsepower

These cars are hard to find, but if you do see one that’s in good condition, it’ll cost upwards of $60,000.

Buick Gransport Gsx FrontRobotriot, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt

What began as full-size showboat turned into one of the country’s rarest muscle cars: the Fairlane Thunderbolt. 

Only 57 of these cars made is off the production line, and they each sported a 7.0-liter Cobra V-8 beneath the hood. At the time, it was Ford’s most powerful engine.

1964 Ford Fairlane ThunderboltWritegeist, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt (cont’d)

The Thunderbolt lived up to its name and its engine could produce up to 425 horsepower with a top speed of 124 mph

The car also came with a racing package that included a lift-off hood, Holley dual pumper carburetors, and front disc brakes. 

If you can find one of these on the market today, expect it to come with a $135,000 price tag.

1964 Ford Fairlane ThunderboltRiley , CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons


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