Before you indulge too much over the holidays and force yourself into making that obligatory New Year’s resolution to lose weight, perhaps you’d like to also add some muscle into your life? Good news: You can steer clear of the gym and head straight to the garage. The muscle we’re talking about is the four-wheeled variety.
And since an informed buyer is a smart buyer, we used the latest Hagerty Vehicle Rating to determine the hottest collectible muscle cars of 2018.
The Hagerty Vehicle Rating is based on a 0–100 scale, tracking vehicles’ performance relative to the rest of the collector car market. The data-driven rating takes into account the number of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales results.
A 50-point rating indicates that a vehicle is keeping pace with the market overall. Ratings above 50 show above-average appreciation, while ratings below 50 indicate a car is tracking behind the market average. A score of 100 means a car is appreciating at a better rate than anything out there, but HVR is not an indicator of future collectibility. Although it certainly says something about what’s hot (and what’s not).
Without further ado, here are the seven hottest muscle cars of 2018. Don’t see your favorite car on here? Blame the data—numbers don’t lie.
The first-generation Chevelles aren’t the ground-pounding muscle car icons that came later (like the 1970 LS6), but you could still get one with a fairly potent 327 of various outputs. Plus, a big-block 396 was available from 1965 on.
High sale prices on the private market (and, to a lesser extent, at auction) are responsible for its above-average score, enough to offset the fact that insurance and quoting activity are actually trailing the rest of the market.
The Chevelle’s values are up lately, but don’t put too much stock in that. Most of the increases were for station-wagon versions following a massive sale ($143,000) for a restored 283 wagon at Mecum Monterey. Other than some other modest increases for the 1965 Chevelle SS Sport Coupe, values have been flat.
The first GTO—that distinction means the ‘64-67 Pontiac GTO is always collectible from a historical standpoint, since it’s widely credited with sparking the muscle car craze. Officially a LeMans submodel in 1964 and ’65, it became its own model in 1966.
The first-gen GTO’s score is mostly driven by its continual strength when it crosses the block at auction. And these years are the ones to get right now, because the 1968–72 GTO has a paltry rating of 18.
Speaking of the Torino, it was initially unveiled as the Fairlane Torino, and the handsome new mid-sized model was offered in a full range of coupes, hardtops, and sedans. The super-slippery fastback was an immediate hit with NASCAR, and David Pearson drove one to the 1968 championship.
Although calling later Torino models “muscle cars” is a bit of a stretch, early GT models could be had with a 427-cu-in/390-hp power plant, and Cobras were available with a 428/335 Cobra Jet. In 1970, available engines included the 429/360, 429/370, and 429/375.
Insurance activity and buyer interest/quote activity actually trail the market average slightly, but all of that was offset by very strong private sales and auction results.
Not the first Charger but definitely the one that people picture in their minds when it comes to classic muscle, the second-gen Charger was the “other” car in Bullitt, the one drive by the bad guys that met a fiery fate. This version, with its famed Coke-bottle body, was an immediate hit when it made its way to dealer showrooms in 1968.
Its score was mostly driven by recent increases in values and buyer interest/quote activity. Average values for #3-condition (Good) cars are up from $21,900 in 2013 to $26,400 in 2017 and $27,700 in 2018.
Eight years after it built its last car, Pontiac still holds a special place in the hearts of collector car enthusiasts. It also holds the top two places on this muscle car list. The 2008–09 G8 isn’t as well known as the GTO, but it too has a Corvette engine under the hood. It’s total sleeper, and Holden Commodore underpinnings that deliver excellent handling.
In what seems like only a flash, the G8 has gone from used car to collector car, and to prove it we have to look no farther than the insurance quote activity/buyer interest, which—along with the next GTO on this list—was higher than any car we track.
GM executive Bob Lutz drove a Holden Monaro on a trip to Australia and was immediately impressed—so impressed that he became convinced the car would sell well in the U.S. as the new GTO. Although the car has what some people consider yawn-inducing mid-2000s Pontiac styling, it carries a Corvette LS V-8 under the hood. In other words, it’s a big-time sleeper on the prowl.
Like the G8, the 2004–06 GTO moved quickly from used car to collector car, long before it served the commonly accepted 25-year wait to become a “classic.”
Quote activity/buyer interest was through the roof, which helped propel its score to the top of the muscle car market in 2018.