Bidders looking for a solid, daily-driver 1960s muscle car at the last week’s auctions in Scottsdale had a feeding frenzy on their hands. There was a lot to choose from, and even a modest muscle collector could have driven home in a very respectable machine for less money than a modern version of the same car. Compared to the very top end of the market, especially north of a million bucks where things slowed down, popular mainstream muscle cars below $100,000 performed very well.
Still, buyers were out in force this year, which also meant prices for the most desirable muscle cars were up. If you were looking for that rare, numbers-matching car that would be the crown jewel of your American muscle car collection, you likely faced some serious competition. (And yet, Worldwide’s 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible failed to sell despite a $1.32 million bid.) We previewed some of our favorite muscle prior to the auction, and many of them were also among the highest prices among muscle cars all weekend.
It was the Superbird that lured Richard Petty back to Plymouth for a dominating 1970 NASCAR season that included 18 wins. This example of Plymouth’s one-year-only wing car is equipped with the 426-cubic-inch Hemi, the most powerful of the three big-blocks available.
The 1970 Plymouth Superbird looks odd, but its wind-tunnel-sculpted nose and wing were no accident. Packing a 440-cu-in V-8 with Six Pack induction, this pristine example has a numbers-matching engine, down to the date codes on the carbs.
After NASCAR banned the overhead-cam 427-cu-in V-8, Ford schemed up the Boss 429 engine to take on Mopar’s Hemi. The engine’s huge cylinder heads have amazing potential for horsepower and make for a tight squeeze into a Mustang’s engine bay. Only 857 Boss 429 Mustangs were built in 1969 and their scarcity, combined with the monster 429-cu-in V-8’s legendary status and the ’69 Mustang SportsRoof’s gorgeous lines, make it one of the most sought-after of all pony cars.
Although it was restored nearly 20 years ago, this numbers-matching Shelby was driven only sparingly since then and still looks fresh. It features the correct gauge pod, tachometer, Le Mans stripes, and Cragar wheels.
Hagerty auctions editor Andrew Newton got a close look at this Pepper Green convertible before it crossed the auction block and described it as “pretty much a perfect car in #1 / #1- condition.” The rare Goat is powered by the Ram Air IV, Pontiac’s most potent of Ram Air V-8s.
This car’s unique history as a pre-production prototype no doubt caused the bidding to heat up. It was used to develop and homologate the 1966 GT350 for SCCA competition and included a number of options, including its vinyl roof, that never saw production on other 1966 GT350s, making it one-of-one Shelby. Provenance wins the day.
The ZL1 Camaro was fitted with an all-aluminum, 427-cu-in big-block V-8 intent on wreaking havoc on the Pro Stock drag racing scene. And it did. It’s the high-water mark of first-generation, big-block Camaros, and because only 69 copies were produced, demand with collectors has remained high.