So you like muscle cars

I’ll neglect to mention the well-known ones (Camaro, Charger, Barracuda, Mustang, etc). If you want one of those then you know what you want. You can’t go wrong with any of those if you can afford them. So this section will highlight some lesser known options: newer, more obscure, or cheaper. The ‘compact’ cars of their era are generally lighter than their full-size siblings so a built small block will give them plenty of scoot. Many of the modern cars come packing very potent engines (5.0, LS, etc) with EFI, tons of performance potential.

Mopar A Bodies:

This refers primarily to the Plymouth Valiant/Dodge Dart family of cars. However, this also includes their sportier derivations: the 1st and 2nd gen Plymouth Barracuda, the Plymouth Duster and Scamp, the Dodge Dart Swinger, and Dodge Demon/Dart Sport. Depending on what you’re into, these cars are pretty cool looking. More notably, parts are dirt cheap since they’re common to their more common cousins (the base Valiant and Dart) and they can be very fast since they’re so light.

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Ford Falcon:

Don’t let this car’s humble looks fool you, these made potent track cars with a lightweight treatment. Designed to be a European-style ‘compact’, tons were made to supply plenty of parts. They have a pretty dedicated user base all over the US and are almost perfectly parts compatible with Mustangs for lots of aftermarket options.

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Ford Maverick:

Replaced the Falcon in 1970 with a more radical styling package. The fastback look of the coupe is very ’70s and they can be had for cheap and heavily modified.

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Chevy Chevy 2/Nova:

A classic in the compact muscle world, the Nova is still a popular and common sight at car shows. They’ve been popular in the racing scene and have graced dragstrips with many a quick time. Paired with the venerable small block Chevy (SBC) and you have a potent vehicle.

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GM G Platform (Chevy Monte Carlo, Buick Grand National, etc):

If Vin Diesel could rock it, so can you. You’ll be ripping off emissions controls left and right but all you really need are V8 motor mounts and an SBC. This platform also carried the potent GNX, a classic turbocharged car, though good look finding one for cheap.

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Ford Mustang Fox body (Mustang, SN95, et al):

Don’t knock the Fox body looks until you’ve seen one on 12″ wide slicks. The potent 5.0 can make for a hauling ride. But that’s not all that rode on the platform: The Mercury Capri and the fun Thunderbird turbo coupe are both interesting and capable vehicles in their own right. The 4th Gen Mustang is also on a Fox platform but with much more current looks.

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GM 3rd and 4th Generation F-bodies (Pontiac Firebird and Chevy Camaro):

The long and lean styling of these cars are unlike the Camaros that came before and after and because of that they’ve been left out in the cold by a lot of classic muscle car guys. But these are many’s first project cars and with the potent SBC or LS V8s under the hood as much power as you desire can be had for pretty cheap.

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Ford Panther Platform (Crown Victoria):

Until the supply of cheap Crown Vics available at auction drops off, the Panther platform might be your best bet for getting into a full size, RWD, American V8. The good news is they all come with a V8, the bad news is you’ll have to swap in a manual to get rid of the slushbox. Look up the Mercury Marauder for an optimistic look at the potential of this car.

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GM B-Body (Impala SS and Buick Roadmaster):

These ’90s cars don’t pack a lot of individuality in the looks department but they hearken back to a lost era of body-on-frame RWD land yachts. The wagon Roadmaster has a great look to it and the Impala SS (also available in police trim!) is a neat and quick car.

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Ford Taurus SHO:

Ahh, where do I classify this? Big and American but FWD and V6 powered, the SHO was a bit confusing but it’s a real performer. The fantastic Yamaha-designed revvy V6 makes plenty of power and the unassuming styling puts it in definite sleeper class. You’ll embarrass a lot of overly confident drivers with one of these.

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