As this list shows, some of today’s most valuable muscle cars were not popular among buyers when they were first produced.
Others are rare for being the last of their generation, or part of a very small production.
Within the past decade, these ten cars have grown the most in value.
The list is based on this article at CNNMoney.com from 2006, but the values have been adjusted to current prices.
1. 1971 Plymouth “Hemi” ‘Cuda convertible
1971 was the last year of production for the “Hemi” Barracudas. Only eleven convertibles were produced that year, and each was manufactured with custom trim, color, and transmission. Not many were produced because of the high price tag and insurance rate at the time. In 2000, these cars were priced around $49,000. In 2007, one sold for $2.2 million at an auction in Scottsdale, AZ.
2. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS-454/LS-6 convertible
In 1970, GM removed its restriction on putting engines over 400 cubic inches in intermediate-sized cars. The Chevelle’s LS-6 option included a 454 ci V8 engine, which helped it to beat out Chrysler in NHRA racing and become known as the “Killer Car” of the era. In 2000, this car was worth about $28,000, but today its value is just under $370,000.
3. 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 Roadster
These highly collectible sports cars were some of the last to feature the compact 289-ci engine. They had tremendous success on the racetrack and have gained a lot of attention among collectors in recent years. In 2000, these cars were valued around $175,000. Today they are valued somewhere between $330,000 and $600,000, although one sold for $1.6 million at an auction in 2006.
4. 1969 Pontiac GTO “Judge” convertible
The name for the Judge came from a comedy routine and it was originally conceived as a low-cost GTO. However, it was eventually developed as the ultimate muscle car, with the Ram Air III engine and a variety of custom features. Its value in 2000 was about $36,000, but now it is worth over $200,000.
5. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28/SS coupe
The Chevrolet Camaro was created to compete with the popular Ford Mustang, and 1969 was the last year for the first generation of Camaros. In fact, the 1969 Camaro coupe is perhaps the most sought-after Z-28 due to its unique appearance and quality engineering in the brakes, induction, and exhaust. In 2000 this car was only valued at $18,000, but today its estimated price has jumped to $91,000.
6. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T-440 hardtop
This car is one of the most recognizable muscle cars due to its “coke bottle” design. It was also immortalized in the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV series during the 1980s. The R/T edition (Road and Track) came with a powerful block 440 cubic V8 engine, which makes it highly sought after today. The estimated price for this car in 2000 was $39,000, but today it is valued around $170,000.
7. 1970 Oldsmobile 442/W-30 hardtop
The 442 is undoubtedly the fastest car that Oldsmobile ever built. The 455-ci V8 engine was rated at a powerful 370 HP, which speaks to its tough look of a true muscle car. In 2000 these cars were worth $21,000, but today their estimated value has risen to $85,000.
8. 1968 Shelby GT 500KR convertible
Just 318 of these cars were produced in 1968, which makes them truly rare today. It looks intimidating and handles like a race car – just as a true muscle car should. Its 2000 value of $64,000 has climbed to $190,000 today.
9. 1970 Plymouth Superbird-440 hardtop
This car was originally designed to beat the Ford Torino in NASCAR races and was based on the Roadrunner. Its engine was a Magnum 440-ci V8, but the most valuable cars have the upgraded 426-ci Hemi V8 engine, which is rated at 425 HP. In 2000, its value was $67,000; today, the car is worth over $100,000.
10. 1969 Ford Torino-Talladega hardtop
This car was only produced for a few weeks in 1969 specifically for qualification in NASCAR races, so only about 750 were built. It featured a sleek front section with a close-fitting grille and bumper, along with heavy-duty suspensions and a 428 Cobra Jet V8 engine. Its value in 2000 was $24,000, which has risen to $37,000 in today’s markets.
Dawn Lovett has worked in automotive engineering for over 20 years. She also owns the site Online Engineering Degrees for students interested in getting an online degree in engineering.