The Ford Mustang GT is one of the best ways to experience a big American V8 sports car for a relatively low price. The Mustang GT features a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 producing 450 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels only – via either a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Mustang GT blends the sportiness of a coupe with the practicality of a 2-door sedan, providing a large cabin and trunk. The Mustang GT is excellent as a sports car to blast down a mountain road with, or to use as a long-distance cruiser – a fact someone proved by completing a Cannonball Run in one. While the Mustang GT is a great vehicle, there are a few classic muscle cars we’d rather drive over the newer Mustang GT – even if the technology is a bit outdated already.
The feel of the leather and wood in the classic muscle cars are just better than the synthetic interior used for the newer cars, adding to the driving experience. Here are ten classic American muscle cars we’d rather drive instead of a Ford Mustang GT.
10 1966 Pontiac GTO
The GTO nameplate started as a sporty trim on the Oldsmobile Tempest, before transitioning to a model on its own in 1966. The first GTO model featured a 6.4-liter V8 with 325 hp going to the rear wheels via either a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic transmission.
The GTO is a proper muscle car in the sense that it has enough power to make any journey interesting, as well as comfortable – thanks to the soft leather seats and slightly wafty suspension.
9 1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2
The Chevrolet Corvette is known as ‘America’s sports car’ and the second generation certainly added an athletic tinge to the model. The C2 had more streamlined styling compared to the C1, featuring either a sloping coupe-like roofline or a gorgeous convertible top.
Powering the C2 was various V8 engines, ranging from a 5.4-liter producing 300 hp, a 6.5-liter making 375 hp, or a big-block 7.0-liter going up to 435 hp. The C2 was where the legendary Zora Arkus Duntov began his venture into the Corvette, eventually granting him the title of Father of the Corvette.
8 1968 Mercury Cougar
The Mercury Cougar is basically a fancier, more grand touring-orientated version of the Ford Mustang, featuring the same platform and engines, but tuned a bit softer. The Exterior follows the Mustang’s basic silhouette, but the visual changes make it a car all on its own.
The Cougar is a great blend of a car, showcasing great road handling and performance. The Cougar was available with either a Windsor V8 producing 225 hp, a Cleveland V8 producing 350 hp, or a Cobra Jet V8 making nearly 400 hp.
7 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429
The classic Ford Mustang is one of the coolest American muscle cars out there, with the top-spec Boss 429 being the best – not only in terms of performance but also in styling. The Boss 429 featured a 7.0-liter V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor and produced 375 hp.
The Boss 429 is famous not only because it has more power than the similar-looking Boss 302 and Mach 1, but also because it was used in many films – with its most recent excursion being John Wick’s car of choice in John Wick.
6 1969 Dodge Charger R/T
The 1969 Dodge Charger R/T is the biggest and the baddest of the Charger generations as it looked menacing and angry – even when parked. The Charger R/T featured Chrysler’s famous 7.0-liter HEMI V8, which produced 425 hp, thanks to a dual 4-barrel carburetor setup.
The Charger R/T gained popularity thanks to its use in Bullitt, The Dukes of Hazzard, and The Fast and the Furious. The Charger is not only one of the most iconic American muscle cars out there, but it is also a no-brainer when it comes to Mustang GT alternatives.
5 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
The 1970s Chevelle is among the most famous of the Chevelle model years as it gained the characteristic Chevrolet design language that most Chevy models adopted. The Chevelle SS was the top-spec trim, featuring either a 6.6-liter or 7.4-liter V8.
The Chevelle SS produced between 330 and 360 hp depending on the engine choice, with drive going to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic. Some owners opted for the LS6 package, which added cowl induction and a different carburetor, boosting power to 450 hp.
4 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
The Dodge Challenger is just as famous as the Charger and was designed and built as a direct competitor to the original Ford Mustang. The Challenger may have been a bit late to the party – only arriving in 1970 when the Mustang debuted in 1964 – but it was still a success.
The Challenger R/T capitalized on the HEMI name, featuring the same 7.0-liter two 4-barrel carburetor arrangement as in the Charger R/T. The 1970 Challenger is one of the best-looking classic muscle cars ever made.
3 1970 Oldsmobile 442
The Oldsmobile 442 was another trim-level-turned-model that started life as a Cutlass. The 1969 and 1970 models of the 442 are the most memorable, thanks to the 442’s use in the Vista Cruiser. 1969 was also the year Oldsmobile sold a special Hurst collaboration 442 model in the classic white and gold livery.
The 442 featured either a 6.6-liter V8 – left over from the gentleman’s agreement – or a massive 7.5-liter V8 producing 340 and 370 hp respectively. The 442 is a big, comfortable sofa on wheels and that makes a good ol’ American V8 noise. What’s not to like?
2 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 400
By the late 1970s, the energy crisis had taken its toll on the engines of the American muscle car, which meant the most powerful that the 1978 Pontiac Trans Am could ever be, was a meager 300 hp from a 6.6-liter V8.
This got so bad that the mechanics working on the Smokey and the Bandit movies resorted to using nitrous oxide to boost the performance of the engine just to make it slide for the camera. Pontiac also added a turbocharger for the 301, but this was mostly for fuel economy rather than performance.
1 1987 Buick GNX
The Buick GNX was a revolution in the muscle car industry and an evolution in terms of automotive performance engineering. Rather than resorting to using a big V8 with a supercharger stuck on top, the GNX featured a V6 from a pickup truck with a turbocharger bolted to the side.
As a result, the square black monster accelerated slightly faster than a twin-turbo V8 Ferrari F40 and became a near-instant hit. The 3.8-liter engine produced just 300 hp, but the turbocharger helped boost torque. Today, the GNX goes for well over $200,000 on the used market, with a whole horde of dedicated fans.