The American muscle car revival really took off in the early 2000s. Ford began improving its arguably loveable SN-95 Mustang after a much-needed facelift. Although the Camaro was discontinued in 2002 for obvious reasons, Chevy worked for eight years to give the Camaro the look and performance that true muscle fans would love. Cleverness was not far behind. The Ram SRT-10 was a clear sign that things were about to change.
In the early 1970s, Dodge produced some truly fascinating vehicles. Some of the fastest Mopar cars ever produced were made in that decade. However, some of the most complete modern muscle cars appeared in the mid-2000s. Dodge showed Ford and Chevy that the battle between the Muscle Cars was not just between the Mustang and the Camaro.
10/10 Dodge Challenger: Decent base model
Every gearhead out there would love to get their hands on the best muscle cars on the market. Starting at just over $73,000, the 2022 Shelby GT500 is simply out of reach for the vast majority of people. Slightly more affordable, the Camaro ZL1 starts at around $63,000. That’s enough money to send someone to college for four years.
There are several obscure facts that most gearboxes don’t know about the Dodge Challenger. The 1970 Dodge Challenger was also offered with a six-cylinder engine. In fact, the 198 cu in straight-six engine was only capable of making 125 horsepower. Today, the base Dodge Challenger still comes with a six-cylinder engine. The SXT trim is equipped with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 developing 303 horsepower.
9/10 Ford Mustang: better than a Challenger SXT
The Mustang EcoBoost is, by definition, the Mustang gearbox that loves to hate. However, most muscles forget that the EcoBoost isn’t Ford’s first four-cylinder Mustang. The gruesome Mustang II came with a four-cylinder engine that was every bit as exciting as the Antiques Roadshow. While the EcoBoost Mustang may not feel like a true muscle car, it’s far from a disappointment.
It is said that the Mustang EcoBoost is not a real muscle car. While it may not be equipped with a massive V8, it certainly produces a decent amount of power. The turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine produces 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. This low-end Mustang is more powerful than the fourth and some of the fifth generation Mustang GTs.
8/10 Dodge Challenger: Bad Kitty
When the Dodge Charger was released in 2006, muscle car fans were outraged. They just couldn’t fathom why Dodge would turn the legendary muscle car into a four-door sedan. Emotions began to sink in when the SRT-8 trim was made available. It was around that time that people realized that Dodge was up to something. Something big.
The original Dodge Challenger SRT-8 was a great vehicle. Equipped with a solid 6.1-liter HEMI V8, the car convinced muscle car fans that Dodge was back in the game. Dodge raised the eyebrows of most gearheads when it released the Challenger SRT Hellcat. The supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 was rated at 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque from the factory. These are the kind of numbers usually associated with supercars.
7/10 Ford Mustang: Big Cat Hunter
Since the mid-1960s, Shelby has turned ordinary Ford vehicles into absolute beasts. Shelby was already a respected racing driver. However, it just wasn’t enough. Having developed a liking for Ford’s pony, Shelby took it upon himself to unleash the Mustang’s full potential. Decade after decade, Shelby released one impressive homemade Mustang after another.
Looking at some of the coolest Mustangs of all time, we can honestly admit that the latest GT500 is one of them. Like the previous GT500s, the 2021 Shelby GT500 is an absolute beast. Under the hood is a supercharged 5.2-liter Predator V8 developing 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque. This is a lot more powerful than the basic Hellcat.
6/10 Dodge Challenger: Hot Pursuit Special
In recent years, high-end Challengers have become popular in the hip-hop scene. Given their relatively low prices compared to other cars of the same caliber, they are often cited as the best getaway cars in some of those numbers. You can’t run away from the cruisers with a Challenger SXT, but the Super Stock is a whole different ball game.
The Challenger Super Stock is one of the coolest special edition Mopars of the last two decades. With only 192 units made in 2020, it’s fair to say the Super Stock is a rarity. Essentially a Hellcat Redeye on steroids, the Super stock comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 that puts out 807 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. This beast is the kind of car that the police can easily lose in a chase.
5/10 Ford Mustang: Country Club Special
It is often mistakenly assumed that top Italian and German cars embody luxury and opulence. While it’s true that the vast majority of vehicles parked at the country club have names that most people have a hard time pronouncing, America has produced a number of truly remarkable vehicles that will most likely increase in value over time .
For $29,995, it’s possible to transform an already ridiculously fast snake-badged Mustang into something truly special. Thanks to an upgraded pulley and coolers, the Shelby GT500 Signature Edition engine pumps out over 800 horsepower. Only 100 copies of the Signature Edition will be made, making it a true collector’s item.
4/10 Dodge Challenger: engineering marvels
Chrysler has produced some very respectable engines over the past 70 years. Looking at some of the earlier muscular units, we can say that engines such as the Max Wedge, FirePower or the HEMI have captivated generations of piston heads. Dodge rekindled the passion among his fans when he improved his already fascinating HEMI engine.
Mopar’s 1,000 horsepower Hellephant engine and 6.2-liter HEMI found on the Demon are absolutely insane. That said, they’re not exactly accessible to everyone. For the units widely available to the public, there’s no question that Dodge has set the bar very high. The 2.4-liter and 2.7-liter superchargers found on the regular Hellcat and the Redeye may not be as insane as what comes out of Kenne Bell’s factory, but they sure do.
3/10 Ford Mustang: the work of Michelangelo
The Mustang was a bit lukewarm until Ford brought back the Coyote engine. Until 2011, Mustang GTs were equipped with a debatably enjoyable 4.6-liter V8 that put out just 315 horsepower. This is nearly as much power as the EcoBoost Mustang currently offered. For the sixth-generation Mustang, Ford decided to go all in, and so did its partners.
There’s a reason Ford brought the Coyote back. It’s a great bike with a great reputation. As of 2021, the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 is rated at 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. That’s pretty impressive for a $37,000 MSRP car. Created by Ford and perfected by Shelby, the Predator unit is even more stunning than the Coyote.
2/10 Dodge Challenger: meet you on the strip
Muscle cars are known for being great on a straight line. In fact, taking a highly modified and powerful muscle car to a windy road for aggressive driving is a death wish. Automakers and their related companies have understood that from the start. They’d rather see their mass-produced cars pop wheelies on the drag strip than anything else.
It is important to emphasize that the Challenger Drag Pak is not street legal. However, it is possible to buy it. For $143,485, the Drag Pak could have been yours. The value of the quarter-mile beast skyrocketed in value in less than a year. The 354cu in HEMI V8 comes with a 3.0-liter Whipple supercharger and is NHRA rated at 630 horsepower, but actually produces about 1,300 horsepower.
1/10 Ford Mustang: Thunderbolt
The strip has always been the place where high octane rubber burning gasoline is expected. For about 15 years now, petrol vehicles have been seriously threatened by electric vehicles. In an effort to save the environment and feel better about themselves, people have widely adopted hybrid and electric vehicles. After the release of cars like the Fisker Karma and the Tesla Model S, it became clear that an indecent amount of power could be drawn from those batteries.
Ford decided to jump on the EV bandwagon. Estimated at $130,000, the Cobra Jet 1400 is the kind of quarter-mile rage that polarized the scene. The battery-powered Mustang makes 1,400 horsepower and 1,100 lb-ft of torque. It may not sound like the usual drag-ready monster, but it can lift its front wheels effortlessly. The Cobra Jet 1400 runs the quarter mile in 8.72 seconds at 171 mph.