In the summer issue of Hagerty’s magazine, we listed the “10 Cars to Buy Now”: our picks for the next cars to take off in the market. Now we're narrowing our scope a little; here are our top 5 picks of muscle cars we expect to do well in the coming years.
This is admittedly an eclectic list of muscle cars; it could easily have included 15 – or 50 – cars, so we’ll rely on you to weigh in with your own choices in the comments. Our picks fall into two categories: Sleepers that haven’t quite caught on despite plenty of horsepower and good looks; and a couple of blue chippers that have taken it on the chin recently in values. We think they’ll be among the first to come back when the economy rights itself.
1. 1970 AMC Javelin 390 “GO Package”
AMC fans can rejoice at the inclusion of several Kenosha underdogs on this list, but this first one is our favorite. We’re big fans of the first generation (1968-70) Javelin. They look great and sell for a huge discount over a comparable Mustang. In 1970, AMC redesigned the cylinder heads of the 390 V-8 and it was available with cold-air induction, a four-barrel carb and dual exhaust. Good for 325 hp, right around the actual output of the Boss 302 Mustangs, but for half the price. The Team Penske Javelins jousted with Boss 302s in the SCCA Trans Am series. So why not fight the herd mentality and buy one of these things right now? Price: about $33,000
2. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454/450 LS6
At the height of the market in late 2007, these were bringing frightening prices. The drop in values after the summer of 2008 was a story too scary for Stephen King. But guess what? The economy will rebound. The housing market—upon which so many muscle car fans depended for their livelihood—will be healthy again and there will still be plenty of horsepower-addicted baby boomers looking to buy. The prices of the hottest Chevelles are sure to rise again. Right now hardtops are selling for about $86,000.
3. 1971 AMC Javelin AMX
Sure, we’ve broken the “one AMC per list rule,” but what’s not to like about the ’71 Javelin? Wider, longer and curvier than the first-generation cars, the new AMX (no longer a short wheelbase two-seater) came with the new AMC 401 cid V-8 that made 330 hp on regular gas. Yeah, we know that AMC parts aren’t given away by the Girl Scouts with every Thin Mint order the way they are for Mustangs and Camaros, but most everything you need is available with some looking. With the money you save over a comparable Mustang or Camaro, what’s a little bit of your time spent on parts hunting every now and then? You’ll find an AMX with the GO package for about $30,000.
4. 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix 428 HO
Some might argue that the GP was more of a personal luxury car than a muscle car. With a 390 hp 428 HO V-8— that’s about forty horsepower more than a ’64 Tri-Power GTO — and available 4-speed, let’s call a spade a spade. If you look hard enough you can find one for under $20,000. The combination of horsepower, looks and performance you get with the ‘69 GP is simply unbelievable. Price: about $24,000 for a 428 HO.
5. 1965 Shelby GT 350
Among the bluest of the blue chips, these were $300,000-plus cars a few years ago. They’re around half that now. Shelby himself isn’t getting any younger and these cars sure aren’t half as cool as they were in 2007, if you catch our drift. These are surely a safer bet than the stock market these days. Make ours white with blue stripes. They’re selling for around $170,000 – for now.