Classic vehicles abound. Finding a 1970 Mustang in good shape and for a reasonable price is easy. Rarer American classics can be hard to find. First, they’re only sold at high-end auctions. Second, they may cost too much. Change is constant.
Cheap classic American cars you’ll love (some you’ll regret)
Classic automobile values have fluctuated in the last year. Classic muscle cars make great dragsters but changing them should be illegal. They’re perfect and need nothing else. In 2021, these historic cars are more valuable. Others, whose value decreases, are perfect for projects.
Chevy battled Ford for market share. The Mustang and Camaro were their most popular rivals. Although the Mustang triumphed, the Nova was untouchable. The Nova was a smaller muscle car than other models.
1969 Chevy Nova SS
Chevy gave the ’69 Nova SS a powerful engine despite its size. Gearheads forget the 1969 Chevy Nova had a 396 cu in V8 with 375 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. Great condition Nova SS auctioned for $32,475 in 2020. 2021’s median auction price was $49,500.
Carmakers make care to have a car for every population, despite tiers. A 429 cu in V8 isn’t for everyone. Even when gas prices were low, driving a sports vehicle with a massive engine wasn’t smart. So, carmakers produced smaller muscle cars.
1971 Mercury Comet
The 1971 Mercury Comet GT is a small yet powerful muscle car. The rarest V8 variant with a two-barrel carburetor produces 210 horsepower. In 2019, a 1971 Comet GT auctioned for $40,700. Two years later, the Comet GT was selling for $23,000.
1969 Dodge Coronet RT Convertible
Dodge lacked power and style in the 1960s. While GM and Ford had some attractive automobiles, Dodge focused on giving their ugly cars great engines. Chrysler may have planned to make Dodges ugly. Chrysler’s executives may not have wanted their luxury automobiles to be dominated by Dodges. ’69 Coronet R/Ts can be modified into monsters. Whoever changes a ’69 Coronet R/T Convertible shouldn’t own a car. This 1969 convertible is unusual because just 10 were built. It’s rare and rapid. The Coronet R/T Convertible’s 426 Hemi makes it a true collectible. This beast might fetch $600,000 to $800,000 at auction. In 2021, its value rose steadily.
1974 Ford Mustang II
Mustang is America’s favorite automobile. Ford teamed with the appropriate individuals and firms to transform the Mustang into a muscle car. The Mustang had its rocky patches, like most classic cars. 1974 Mustang II is wrongly remembered. It came out when the auto industry was struggling. Once-mighty Ford pony cars become donkeys. The base model’s mediocre four-cylinder engine hurt the Mustang II’s value. In 2021, a pristine basic Mustang II is worth $11,000.
1970 Buick GSX
Buick hasn’t released anything noteworthy in 35 years. The last absolutely stunning Buick was the 1987 GNX. Every Buick appears designed for 80-year-olds. Not always. The GSX boosted Buick’s reputation. During the Golden Age of American muscle cars, the GSX was a sought-after underdog. Buick released the Stage 1 GSX to make money. With 118 built, the GSX isn’t a daily driver. The 455-cubic-inch V8 produces 360 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft of torque. The GSX Stage 1 with a four-speed manual transmission increased 20% in 2021. Stage 1 starts at $159,000.
1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442
Oldsmobile was a historic automaker. In 1908, General Motors bought the 1897-founded firm. Oldsmobile was a successful mid-range automaker from 1908 through 1975. Oldsmobile struggled when things changed. The Cutlass 442 was different in 1975. Once a respectable muscle car, the Cutlass got bad engines. The base model now has a 105-hp, 250-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442s cost $31,350 in 2020. A year later, it was $16,500.
1971 Plymouth Hemi GTX
Chrysler’s low-end brand was Plymouth. Plymouth’s muscle vehicles were lovely inside and out, yet Dodge’s were meaner. Most Plymouth muscle vehicles have become as valuable as new sports cars over time. The Barracuda made Plymouth famous. Less popular beasts like the GTX 426 helped Plymouth become a muscle car powerhouse. The GTX has a 426 cu in Hemi V8 with 425 horsepower and 490 lb.-ft of torque. With only 32 pieces created that year, its value is expected to rise. January 2021 value: $175,000. Its value reached $262,000 at year’s end.
1977 Chevy Camaro
Camaro ranks second among pony cars. Camaro released two years after the Mustang, wasn’t well-received. Chevy corrected its Engineering Department’s faults to make the Camaro an American classic. In the late 1970s, Chevy lost its way after producing an icon. Most muscle vehicles’ values have risen or remained consistent in recent years. Some muscle vehicles were so bad when released that they aged like milk in the sun. 1977 Camaro with 250 cu in inline-6 is one. In 2021, the Camaro’s value dropped by 30%, so a standard ’77 model in average condition may be found for less than $6,000.
1971 AMC Javelin AMX
AMC isn’t the most popular automaker, but it didn’t implode like DeLorean. AMC made smaller, cheaper muscle. Most AMC automobiles were not visually stunning. True aficionados recognize AMC’s value. The Javelin AMX is a mid-size muscle car, however not as flashy as a Boss 429. The Javelin AMX’s 401 cu in V8 makes 330 horsepower and 430 lb.-ft of torque. Ringbrothers have created a 1,000 hp Javelin for restomods. Restomod revived AMC. In 2021, V8-powered Javelin AMXs went from $26,400 to $40,700. The top-line Javelin AMX likely follows suit.
1982 Pontiac Firebird
In the 1980s, domestic automakers couldn’t recover from the mid-1970s oil crisis and emissions laws. European fast and elegant automobiles overshadowed American sports cars. Japanese cars were plentiful for the poor. Malaise didn’t end in the ’70s. Most 1980s muscle vehicles were underwhelming like their predecessors. The standard Firebird comes with a 90-hp 2.5L inline-four engine. The base model’s value dropped quickly. The base Firebird dropped from $8,250 to $4,250 between 2020 and 2021. Time will undoubtedly devalue the Firebird.