Muscle cars hold a magical appeal, turning even the most mature of men into drooling little boys. While everyone expects a vehicle that looks like a Viper or Corvette to be fast, muscle cars can sometimes be sleepers, taking other drivers by surprise. Certain muscle cars have quite a bit of bravado about their looks, with wild paint colors, loud striping and flashy wheels. Essentially, muscle cars can be a lot of things to a lot of people.
Buick Gran Sport Stage 1
The GM brand is only beginning to show a glimmer of its former glory today, and this car was the pinnacle of achievement. While so many people would focus on the 455 cid V-8’s fairly respectable peak 360 horsepower, that number simply didn’t tell the whole story. The car would also churn out up to 510 lb.-ft. of torque, leaving competitors in the dust. That’s an impressive figure from a factory car from 1970, making this a truly beastly muscle car.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The COPO 9560 ZL1 optional engine was pretty popular in 1969, with plenty of Camaro fiends scooping them up. They were actually created for Can Am races, with lots of aluminum used throughout the construction of the engine block and heads, making it a preview of things to come much later.
Even though the engine weighed slightly more than a small block, it cranked out about 550 horsepower. Of course Chevrolet said it made more like 430 horsepower, helping owners to skirt ridiculous insurance rates and other nuisances that kill all the fun.
These things are still highly sought after today, with collectors willing to pay a pretty penny. Still, you can’t drive a pile of cash like a madman, so if you have one you might want to take that into consideration.
Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that way back, there were some nuts street legal muscle cars, which even by today’s standards were fast (and had the sloppiest handling you can imagine). The Fairlane Thunderbolt was the factory drag car for the Blue Oval back in 1964, which is why the company poured a lot of resources into it, all in the name of embarrassing the competition.
Consumers benefited big time, thanks to the brutal High Rise 427 under the hood. Ford listed output at 425 horsepower, but the reality is it made somewhere between 500 and 600 horsepower (people will fight all day long about dyno measurements on this thing, but let’s just all agree it was powerful). If the driver knew what they were doing, laying down some serious rubber and blowing away just about anything on the quarter mile was second nature in this car.