This Apollo-spec Mustang is about the most American car I can think of.
Muscle cars are cool, we can all agree on that right? But while they’re deeply ingrained in car culture stateside, this combination of big engines and little quarter-mile times can sometimes seem a bit alien to outsiders.
So, as someone with the unique perspective of being “an outsider,” or “an alien” if you’re the U.S. department of homeland security, I’ve taken a flick through the muscle car archives to pick out my favorite models from the genre. These aren’t in any particular order, they’re just 15 damn cool cars that I wish I’d seen growing up.
Are there any muscle car icons you think I’ve missed? Let us know in the comments section below.
1964 Ford Mustang
This is the one that started it all for me, and it’s still one of my dream cars. There was a white coupe very similar to the one pictured above rusting away in a garage on my paper route growing up. I think I once figured out how many newspapers I’d have to deliver to afford one, and it was highly depressing.
1965 Pontiac GTO
The front end on this 60s icon is what ensures its place on my list, it just looks cool as hell. A drive out with that sweet face, vinyl roof and a sound track from The Supremes would be a recipe for a very happy Owen.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
Built to win NASCAR races, the Dodge Charger Daytona is iconic, and I love it. A big, ridiculous engine; a big, ridiculous wing; and a bright, ridiculous paint scheme. What more could you want from a muscle car?
2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
A muscle car coupe or convertible might look awesome, but sometimes you need to carry more stuff with you. That’s when the 2014 CTS-V wagon from Cadillac comes in. This awesome station wagon packs a 6.2-liter V8 that kicks out 556 horsepower. That’ll do nicely.
1969 Dodge Super Bee
Based on the mid-size Dodge Coronet, this chunk of American muscle came along in 1968. It could be ordered from the factory with a 6.3-liter V8 as standard, or crazy people could up that to a 7.2-liter monster that produced 425 hp.
1976 Ford Gran Torino
My parents were big Starsky and Hutch fans, so obviously the 1976 Ford Gran Torino with its white swoosh gets a place here. Highly impractical as a police car, but it looks great on screen.
1965 Shelby Mustang GT350
There are no winners here, but this is low-key my favorite one on the list. If I ever win the lottery I’m taking a Shelby GT350 in blue or red... heck, I’ve won the lottery, I’ll have one of each!
2022 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Hearing a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat rumble past me as I cycle into work still makes me jump with excitement.
1968 Plymouth Road Runner
Credit to Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift for bringing the joy of the Plymouth Road Runner into my life. It’s teasing appearance with Dom behind the wheel at the film’s close is just *chef’s kiss.*
1970 Chevrolet El Camino
Unless you are some kind of laborer, you don’t need to own a pickup truck. Well, unless it’s an old El Camino. In that case, pickup away!
1970 Dodge Charger
Dodge peaked with the second-gen Charger, which was perfected in its final year: 1970. the gaping chrome front end made it look a bit like a blinged-out whale shark and the 7-liter Hemi made it sound like an angry god.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS
The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro is a very pretty car. There’s something about the line from the tip of its hood to the top of the tail that really speaks to me.
2015 Ford Mustang
I really like the current Mustang, it does a good job at paying homage to the original while also forging its own path – and that looks set to continue with the next generation. But this Apollo-spec Mustang from 2015 seems like peak muscle car thanks to all those American flags and USA badges it’s covered with.
2002 HSV Coupe
Other places can make muscle cars too, you know. So here’s a glorious Holden from those crazy Aussies. This higher-performance iteration of the Holden Monaro came with a Chevrolet V8 motor and an outlandish set of hood scoops.
1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Long hood, V8 motor and quick in a straight line. If they’re the markers of a great muscle car then the Aston Martin V8 Vantage from the 1970s definitely makes the cut. I think it’s still my dream Aston Martin thanks to its more brutal styling and excellent engine note.
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