GoBanking Logo
GoBanking Logo

29 Surprisingly Affordable Muscle Cars

FCA US LLC / Dodge

If you’re looking for a vehicle that’s good for the whole family, you probably shouldn’t spring for a Pontiac Firebird or Corvette Stingray. Gas-guzzling V-8 coupes, after all, aren’t exactly the most practical.

But if you have the means for a set of weekend hobby wheels and power is your passion, there are some mean muscle cars out there for the taking. From the classics that defined street-legal drag racers in the 1960s and ’70s all the way to the latest 2020 models, you can get yourself behind the wheel of a growling beast of a car that turns heads on the highway and intimidates at red lights for less than you might think.

GOBankingRates examined a blend of current and old-school muscle cars that are currently up for sale and within the financial grasp of many Americans. There’s a broad range of options: some start at just over $10,000, while others go for more than $120,000. That means there’s technically something for everyone. The reality, however, is that once the cash price gets north of $45,000, muscle cars drift beyond the reach of the average Joe. Many of the cars on this list will remain pipe dreams for most people, but we’ve included some on the higher end for those with cash to burn.

Since the cash price is just one of the many costs associated with owning a vehicle, GOBankingRates calculated the true cost of owning each car over five years. This figure includes things like insurance, fuel, financing, taxes and repairs. True cost of ownership was not quantifiable for all models, however, so the cars on this list are ranked by total cash price from lowest to highest.

GOBankingRates used publications like MotorTrend and CarMax to find examples of affordable muscle cars. Then, the pricing data was further refined using the Edmunds Inc. True Cost to Own pricing calculator for contemporary cars and sale/auction listings from Hemmings.com for classic cars. 

Keep reading to learn about the Shelbys, Vettes, Firebirds, Mustangs, Caddys and Camaros that you actually might be able to afford. You may find that it’s possible to get yourself behind the wheel of one of the coolest cars ever made with money left to spare.

Last updated: Sept. 8, 2020

Greg Gjerdingen / Flickr.com

Ford Maverick Grabber 302

  • Year: 1971
  • Style: Ford 302-cu. in. OHV V-8
  • Total cash price: $10,250
  • True cost to own for five years: N/A

CZmarlin / Wikimedia Commons CC0

AMC Hornet

  • Year: 1970
  • Style: 2 dr coupe 318-cu. in. V-8 attached to an RR833 4-speed manual transmission
  • Total cash price: $14,000
  • True cost to own for five years: N/A

Pontiac Firebird

  • Year: 1979
  • Style: Trans AM
  • Total cash price: $24,900
  • True cost to own for five years: N/A

Related: 15 Great Cars To Own for More Than 15 Years

Greg Gjerdingen / Flickr.com

Dodge Dart GT Convertible

  • Year: 1968
  • Style: 273 V8, 4-speed transmission with Hurst Shifter
  • Total cash price: $24,995
  • True cost to own for five years: N/A

Chevrolet Camaro 1LS

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: 1LS 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
  • Total cash price: $26,817
  • True cost to own for five years: $46,427

sv1ambo / Flickr.com

Ford Torino GT Convertible

  • Year: 1969
  • Style: 351 Windsor cu. in. V8 engine 
  • Total cash price: $28,500
  • True cost to own for five years: N/A

FCA US LLC / Dodge

Dodge Challenger SXT

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: SXT 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
  • Total cash price: $29,181
  • True cost to own for five years: $46,038

IFCAR / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

  • Year: 1985
  • Style: 4-speed automatic (5.0L 305 V8)
  • Total cash price: $29,900
  • True cost to own for five years: N/A

 

Chevrolet Camaro LT

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: 1LT 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
  • Total cash price: $30,150
  • True cost to own for five years: $49,055

Sicnag / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 2

Oldsmobile 442

  • Year: 1970
  • Style: 455 V-8 TH400 3-speed automatic transmission
  • Total cash price: $31,995
  • True cost to own for five years: N/A

Ford Mustang EcoBoost

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: EcoBoost 2dr Coupe (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
  • Total cash price: $32,251
  • True cost to own for five years: $47,977

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

  • Year: 2014
  • Style: 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl 7M)
  • Total cash price: $35,510
  • True cost to own for five years: $65,985

Cadillac CTS-V

  • Year: 2015
  • Style: 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl S/C 6M)
  • Total cash price: $37,737
  • True cost to own for five years: $79,860

Jeremy / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG

  • Year: 2015
  • Style: C63 AMG 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl 7A)
  • Total cash price: $37,932
  • True cost to own for five years: $96,327

Look: The Best and the Worst Time of the Year To Buy a New Car

Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock.com

Lexus RC F

  • Year: 2015
  • Style: 2dr Coupe (5.0L 8cyl 8A)
  • Total cash price: $39,046
  • True cost to own for five years: $70,975

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Premium

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: EcoBoost Premium 2dr Coupe (2.3L 4cyl turbo 6M)
  • Total cash price: $39,787
  • True cost to own for five years: $55,125

Sicnag / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 2

Ford Shelby GT500

  • Year: 2014
  • Style: 2dr Coupe (5.8L 8cyl S/C 6M)
  • Total cash price: $39,863
  • True cost to own for five years: $66,209

FCA US LLC / Dodge

Dodge Challenger R/T

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: R/T 2dr Coupe (5.7L 8cyl 6M)
  • Total cash price: $39,977
  • True cost to own for five years: $57,737

FCA US LLC / Dodge

Dodge Charger R/T

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: R/T 4dr Sedan (5.7L 8cyl 8A)
  • Total cash price: $40,213
  • True cost to own for five years: $57,962

Ford Mustang GT

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: GT 2dr coupe (5.0L 8cyl 6M)
  • Total cash price: $43,082
  • True cost to own for five years: $57,451

 

Chevrolet Camaro SS

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: 2SS 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl 6M)
  • Total cash price: $47,418
  • True cost to own for five years: $65,141

JAMES LIPMAN / JAMESLIPMAN.COM / Ford

Ford Mustang GT Convertible

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: GT Premium 2dr Convertible (5.0L 8cyl 6M)
  • Total cash price: $54,278
  • True cost to own for five years: $68,388

Jessica Lynn Walker / Chevrolet

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: ZL1 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl S/C 6M)
  • Total cash price: $66,685
  • True cost to own for five years: $83,847

Ford Shelby GT350

  • Year: 2019
  • Style: 2dr Coupe (5.2L 8cyl 6M)
  • Total cash price: $69,421
  • True cost to own for five years: $84,260

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: Stingray 2dr Coupe w/1LT (6.2L 8cyl 8AM)
  • Total cash price: $72,133
  • True cost to own for five years: $83,717

Good To Know: 15 Great Cars To Own for More than 15 Years

Lexus RC F

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: 2dr Coupe (5.0L 8cyl 8A)
  • Total cash price: $77,067
  • True cost to own for five years: $86,963

FCA US LLC / Dodge

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: Widebody 4dr Sedan (6.2L 8cyl S/C 8A)
  • Total cash price: $83,340
  • True cost to own for five years: $96,622

Cadillac CTS-V

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: 4dr Sedan (6.2L 8cyl S/C 8A)
  • Total cash price: $101,519
  • True cost to own for five years: $106,469

Mercedes-Benz AMG E 63 S

  • Year: 2020
  • Style: AMG E 63 S 4dr Sedan AWD (4.0L 8cyl Turbo 9A)
  • Total cash price: $120,288
  • True cost to own for five years: $142,602

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates looked at various auto publications, from CarMax to MotorTrend, in order to find examples of contemporary and historically popular “muscle cars” that were surprisingly affordable. From these lists, GOBankingRates used the Edmunds Inc. True Cost to Own pricing calculator for all contemporary models (2014 and after) to find the (1) total cash price, which is the vehicle’s True Market Value‌® (TMV‌®) price plus any typically equipped options, destination charge, base tax, fees assessed by your state and, if applicable, gas guzzler tax. For all historically popular muscle cars, GOBankingRates found cars listed for auction/sale on Hemmings.com and used sale price or final bid price for its total cash price. To be deemed affordable, the total cash price of each muscle car had to come in below the average cost of a new vehicle purchase for the month of May 2020, as sourced from Kelley Blue Book, or it had to come in below the average cost of a new vehicle from its manufacturer, also sourced from Kelley Blue Book.

For all contemporary muscle cars, GOBankingRates also found the five-year totals for (2) depreciation, (3) taxes and fees, (4) financing, (5) fuel costs, (6) insurance, (7) maintenance and (8) repairs. Factors No. 2-8 were then added to give (9) five-year true cost to own. Depreciation costs were shown for each year while the remaining factors were only given five-year totals. GOBankingRates kept the location for the calculations constant, using the ZIP code 90245 (El Segundo, California). The Edmunds Inc. True Cost to Own calculations use the following assumptions: 

  • You will drive 15,000 miles per year
  • You are financing the vehicle using traditional financing, not lease financing
  • You have an above-average credit rating for the purpose of determining your finance rate
  • You are making a 10% down payment on the vehicle at purchase

All data was collected on and is up to date as of June 1, 2020.

Photo Disclaimer: Please note some photos are for representative purposes only and might not feature exact models, base models or the cars’ specific trim levels. As a result, some of the cars in the photos might have different MSRPs than the ones listed in this article.