Inexpensive Muscle Cars
It’s a dream for car enthusiasts. Find a nice example of an old American muscle car and either drive it as is or lovely restore it to its former glory. Problem is that most of the old muscle cars are going for a lot of money. In fact, some are going for ridiculous money ($200,000 for a Dodge Charger?). Don’t despair there is a solution for those of us that don’t have the equivalent of a house mortgage to buy a car. Instead of setting your sights on one of the big name muscle cars, why not go Tier 2? There are plenty of cars of the 60s and 70s that are real muscle cars but aren’t in real high demand -at least not yet. Here’s a quick guide to some of these less expensive muscle cars.
Dodge Demon/Plymouth Duster:
Dodge/Plymouth tried hard to compete against the Chevy Nova with the Demon/Duster models. The standard models had 6 cylinder engines in them but according to Coffee Chrysler of Douglas, a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Douglas, GA, you could also get one with a 360 ci V8 and many of these V8 models came optioned with a 4-speed manual. Weighing in at 3,000 lbs, this is a great option instead of one of the big buck muscle cars.
The Buick Wildcat never gets the love that many other GM muscle cars, like the Camaro and Chevelle, do. Yet, they have a lot to offer the muscle car enthusiast. The first series Wildcat was built from 1963 to 1964 and if you look around you might be able to get one with one of the large nailhead V8s. The later Wildcats, from 1965 to ’70, were GM’s B-body platform and if you really search hard, you may find one with the 370 HP Buick 455 V8 engine. These are fine cars to restore because parts are readily available.
The Ford Shelby, Boss, and Mach 1 Mustangs are now out of reach for most muscle car fans. Fortunately, Ford’s other performance coupe remains surprisingly affordable. The midsize Torino was launched as a more luxurious Fairlane. Think of it like Ford’s Chevelle; big, muscular, and available with 302, 351, and 429 cubic inch V8s. If you can get your hands on a Torino Cobra, you’ve scored a beauty. They put out 375 horsepower and could run the quarter mile in under 14 seconds.
Originally the performance version of the Mercury Comet, the Cyclone was Mercury’s answer to Mustang sales. Like the Torino GT above, you could get the early Cyclones with 390 or 427 CI engines, but the better choices came along in early 1970s with the 428 Cobra Jet and Boss 429.
Yes, the Dodge Dart isn’t usually thought of as a muscle car yet you could get them with small and large block V8s. The best part is that Chrysler Corporation sold lots of them and there are still plenty around. The best news is that they are cheap. The fourth-generation Dart arrived for 1967 and could be had with a 170 cubic inch slant-six to a big-block 440 V8. Pick one up a big block example and you have a fine muscle car on your hands.
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