Five great muscle car investments

Americans love their muscle cars — just look at the prices that golden age cars from the 1960s and early 1970s fetch at auctions. The cars on this list were all made after the first golden age of American muscle and some are getting a bit pricey already, but they all have this in common: Their best years appreciation-wise are still in front of them. Buy now.

  1. 1987 Buick Regal GNX: Built to lower the curtain on the rear wheel-drive Regal, the GNX may also have been the last Buick that gearheads have truly lusted after. The highest performance variant of the Regal T-type and Grand National, great ones have broken $100,000. But with fewer than 550 built and the generation that wanted but couldn’t afford one back in the ’80s now flush with disposable income, the sky is likely the limit for this car.
  2. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am: While the 6.6-liter T/As from this era were hardly the most powerful, they had one thing going for them: the wildly popular Burt Reynolds movie “Smokey and the Bandit.” They were also arguably one of the best-looking Malaise Era muscle cars, with the iconic black and gold colors, giant “Screaming Chicken” hood decal and gold simulated engine-turned dash applique. Burt Reynolds recently sold his personal car for a cool $450,000, and ordinary cars have tripled in value over the last several years. [Video: Click here to take a spin in a 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am]
  3. 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra R: The ’93 Cobra R was arguably the most desirable Fox-body Mustang, and as the launch car for the new SVT team at Ford, it’s a special car. While later Cobra Rs might have been more powerful and more heavily modified, collectors almost always appreciate firsts. The fact that just 107 were built ensures that this Mustang has nowhere to go but up.
  4. 1994-96 Chevrolet Impala SS: Chevy built a ton of these wildly popular four-door muscle cars, and it’s their enduring popularity that has been both a blessing and a curse. These cars tend to get driven to death, to the point where there is now an extreme shortage of low-mileage, stock, clean examples. Today, under $20,000 gets a near-perfect one. We’d wager that will seem cheap in 10 years.
  5. 1997 Pontiac Trans Am Firehawk LT4: This may be the rarest F-body variant. Sporting the exact same engine as a Corvette, the Firehawk LT4 was one of the rarest and fastest of 1990s muscle cars. Just 27 were built. They rarely hit the market, so pegging precise values is always tough, but we suspect that anything under 40 or 50 grand will seem like a screaming deal one day.
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