10 Classic Muscle Cars to Consider Instead of the Ford Mustang

the Ford Mustang may not have been the first muscle car, but it was the car that started the metaphorical ‘muscle car gold rush’. Today, the Ford Mustang remains the weapon of choice for a V8-powered muscle car around the world.


The Mustang was released in 1964 and almost instantly became a hit. The original version had a straight-six engine, but Ford quickly added a V8 and saw the money pour in. Dodge and Chevrolet had to wait three years before having the same experience with their Challenger and Camaro, by which time the Mustang had already made its mark on history. Models that followed in the 1960s captured the public imagination and ran with it, giving us builds like the Boss 429, Boss 302, and Mach 1. The Mustang had a bit of a hard time in the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s, but it remained more popular than any of its competitors, some of which did not survive the energy crisis. The model returned to its original intention with the S-197 generation, regaining public attention. the S550 It finally got right-hand drive and modern suspension technology, making it the most popular sports car sold on the planet.

The old first-generation Mustang is now an icon within the auto industry, with models ranging from $3,000 to a ridiculous $3.5 million. Although, if the Mustang isn’t exactly your speed, here are ten classic muscle car alternatives that were just as good.

10/10 mercury cougar

1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E cropped
Via mecum.com

The original Mercury Cougar was the slightly sleeker alternative to the Ford Mustang, sharing the same platform, engines, and tuning. The Cougar also shared the same basic design but featured different body panels and a completely different front end.

1968 Mercury Cougar GT-E 2 cropped
Via mecum.com

Unlike the Mustang, which featured a straight-six as its base engine, the Cougar only had V8 engines, ranging from the 4.7-liter Windsor to the massive 7.0 liters 427. As with the Mustang, transmission options included a 3- or 4-speed manual, or the famous 3-speed. Cruise-O-Matic transmission.

Related: Muscle Envy as Ford Mustang Owner Chases Mercury Cougar Eliminator

9/10 Chevy Camaro SS

1967 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro SS auction front quarter view
Via: Mecum auctions

The Chevrolet Camaro was GM’s answer to the Mustang, with both 6-cylinder and V8 engines in its lineup. The Camaro was roughly the same size as the Mustang and featured the same three-box design to appeal to potential Mustang customers.

1967 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro SS auction rear quarter view
Via: Mecum auctions

The Camaro SS featured either a 5.7-liter or 6.5-liter V8 and additional chassis upgrades to help with the added power. SS versions produced between 295 and 350 hp, depending on engine choice. The Camaro included gearboxes of the same ratio, but also included a 2-speed automatic.

8/10 buick gsx

1970 Buick Skylark GSX Stage 1
Via vistapointe.net

the Buick GSX was the sportiest of the Skylark Gran Sport models, developed to compete with the muscle cars of the time. The GSX featured the same 7.5-liter V8 found in the Gran Sport 455, but with an added performance package.

1970 Buick Skylark GSX Stage 1
Via mecum.com

Interestingly, the GSX remained America’s most torquey naturally aspirated vehicle until the second generation Dodge Viper V10, which debuted 33 years later. The GSX is a beast of a machine, on par with the Oldsmobile 4-4-2 and the Chevrolet Chevelle SS.

7/10 Dodge Dart R/T

Dodge Dart GTS 440
Via: Mecum auctions

The Dodge Dart was the smallest of the traditional muscle cars, ranking below the likes of the Challenger. Although the model was physically smaller, Chrysler still gave it the largest engine in its arsenal.

1968 Dodge Dart GTS 440
Via: Mecum auctions

The range started with the 2.8 liter inclined-6 engine, moving up to a 4.5-litre V8 and finally, to a 7.2-litre V8. The Dart got multiple fun trims, including colorful Swinger and HEMI trims. Today the Dart is a popular model for use in drag racing due to its size, light weight, and large engine bay.

6/10 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454

Rare 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle 454 SS LS6 Classic Car
Way: with me

the Chevrolet Chevelle SS is one of the most iconic American muscle cars ever produced, with some of the largest engines of the time. Base models had the normal inline-six, but the SS models went all-out from the 6.5-liter Camaro SS to the 7.4-liter famed 454.

Extremely Rare 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle 454 SS LS6 Classic Car in Black Cherry Color
Way: with me

The second generation Chevelle was the most popular and remains so to this day thanks to its styling and performance. The Chevelle was discontinued in 1977 due to non-compliance with regulations and fuel prices getting too high.

5/10 Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda

1971 Plymouth Cuda Convertible
via MecumAuctions

The Plymouth Barracuda is often credited as the first proper muscle car, debuting a few months before the Ford Mustang. The third generation Barracuda, known as the HEMI ‘Cuda, was the most famous and was built on the same platform as the Dodge Challenger.

1970 Plymouth Cuda
Via: Trade Unique Cars

The ‘Cuda has all the same engines as the Challenger, from the smaller 3.2-liter inline-6 ​​to the massive 440 V8 of 7.2 liters. The ‘Cuda was more expensive to buy than the Challenger, but it had excellent styling and was more comfortable on longer trips.

Related: Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the iconic Plymouth Barracuda.

4/10 Dodge Challenger R/T

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
Via: Mecum auctions

The Challenger is one of the most famous models produced by Dodge. It was designed and developed specifically to combat the Ford Mustang and steal some sales from the pony car with the emblem of a horse.

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T
mecum auctions

The Challenger became famous in its own right, having landed multiple roles in various movies since it was introduced, with one movie specifically focusing on it as a car: Vanishing Point (1971). The name Barracuda has been rumored to return several times, but nothing has happened yet.

3/10 Oldsmobile 442

1969 Hurst Oldsmobile 442
Auctions through Mecum

the Oldsmobile 4-4-2 is one of the best classic American muscle cars. with its huge hood scoops, spoiler and white and gold Hurst paint. The 4-4-2 was originally so named because it had a 4-barrel carb, 4-speed transmission, and dual exhausts.

1969-Hurst-Oldsmobile-442-1
mecum auctions

The 4-4-2, later reduced to just 442, featured either a 6.6 or 7.5-litre V8, producing between 290 and 365 hp. the W-30 The package added performance and handling improvements, increasing power to 380 hp. The 4-4-2 really is an amazing vehicle, perfect for long road trips thanks to the comfortable seats.

2/10 pontiac

1966 Pontiac GTO
the road with me

The Pontiac GTO is one of the most perfect muscle cars ever made. The first purely GTO name arose in 1966 as it was a performance upgrade added to a Tempest Le Mans model. The GTO was updated annually between 1964 and 1968.

1966-pontiac-gto-rear-angled-view
Via: bring trailer

The GTO featured either a 6.4-liter V8 rated at 360 hp or a 6.6-liter V8 with the same output, but with 14 lb-ft more torque, ending at 438 lb-ft. The second-generation GTO dropped the 6.4-liter and gained a 7.5-liter that made 370 hp.

1/10 Plymouth GTX 440+6

Purple 1971 Plymouth GTX 440
path: with me

The Plymouth GTX 440+6 was one of the most powerful models within the Road Runner lineup, featuring a 7.2-liter V8 and three 2-barrel carburetors, producing an impressive 385 hp. The only GTX trim that produced more power was the 426 Hemi, but only 30 cars were produced due to spending and new regulations.

1971 plymouth gtx 440
path: with me

the B-body GTX only lasted through the 1971 model year and the model was discontinued afterward because it could no longer meet increasingly stringent regulations due to the energy crisis. The GTX may look a bit strange thanks to the lowered front end, but it’s still an amazing car.

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