Muscle car fans may disagree on the best decade of all time for the classic automobiles, but there is hardly a doubt that the 60’s birthed some of the most timelessly stylish models ever built. With the Pontiac GTO that arguably started it all, to the beloved Camaros from ‘69,…
Top Muscle Cars of the 1970’s
Let’s take a walk down memory lane – remembering the burnt rubber, horsepower, chrome and torque of some of the coolest, strongest cars ever made. Between 1964 and 1973, demand was at an all-time high for powerful, fast cars that looked as good parked in the driveway as they did flying down a quarter-mile. At their peak, these vehicles survived the test of time as they grew from the racing and stock car circuits of the 1960’s. Here’s our list of the best muscle cars of the 1970’s.
1970 Chevelle SS
In the late 60’s and early 1970’s, muscle cars peaked in both popularity and power. In 1964 Chevrolet introduced the Chevelle. It took several years, however, for the Chevelle to make a name for itself in the among a list of top muscle cars. It was with the 1970 SS model that the Chevelle – thanks in part to its big-block V8 – truly broke on to the scene. That engine measured in at a whopping 454 cubic inches and produced 450 horsepower and 500 ft/lb of torque. The result of all that power? A zero-to-sixty time of 5.3 seconds, making the Chevelle SS every bit as fast as it is flashy.
Credit: Via Flickr
1971 Plymouth Hemi’ Cuda
One of the most sought-after muscle cars of the early 1970’s is the 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda. This rare model came with a 425 cubic-inch V8 engine that produced 425 horsepower, which served as but one of the ways the engineering of the Hemi Cuda challenged Plymouth’s competitors in the early 70’s – competitors that included classic muscle car models like the Camaro and the Mustang.
Of all the Barracudas (which is what ‘Cuda is short for) produced, the 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda remains among the rarest and most expensive of them all. With only 11 units produced in total, this makes the Hemi ‘Cuda one of the most unique 1970’s muscle cars – ever! With matching-numbers cars routinely fetching between 3-4 million dollars at auction, this is definitely one vehicle you won’t see at your normal car show!
Credit: Via Flickr
1969-70 Mustang Boss 429
Only between 1,300 -1,400 of these cars were built between 1969 and 1970, making this a true classic and a rare find. With a 429 cubic-inch, hand-assembled V8 engine that pushed 375 horses, this stallion came ready to rumble! The larger engine, however, wouldn’t fit in the standard Ford Mustang chassis without modifications. Kar Kraft, a company in Michigan assembled the car with custom modifications. This 70’s muscle-era vehicle had few differences to the stock model other than a hood scoop and spoiler mounted to the trunk.
Credit Via Flickr
The End of the Muscle Car Era?
In 1968, federal safety and emissions rules came into play; in 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was founded and started to regulate auto safety. At the same time, consumers and enthusiasts increasingly recognized the high cost of insuring 1970’s muscle cars. Inflation combined with the fuel shortages and lower-octane fuels of 1973 also helped re-size and re-power most of the muscle car lines.
The late 1960’s and early 1970’s could be viewed as the height of the muscle car era, as by 1974 only the Camaro and Firebird remained as true examples of the era’s former glory. As a result, most big-block cars were discontinued by 1975. In recent years, revivals of older models such as the Dodge Charger & Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevy Camaro have made their way back on the scene. New versions of classic models have sparked consumer interest, and there has been a recent rush to rediscover classic 60’s and 70’s models.
Hobbyists and collectors can actually afford to park many of our top classic 70’s muscle cars in their driveways! As you peruse the car shows and auctions across the country, the classic cars that make up this list will continue to hold onto their value and classic stylings with a mix of grit, muscle, and vintage performance.
Additional Reading: Storing Your Muscle Car – https://www.blackburnwheels.com/storing-your-muscle-car/