5 Affordable Muscle Cars of the 21st Century


If you’re looking for affordable muscle cars, your options are limited if you’re looking at this century.

The early ’60s through the early ’70s is a time frame generally considered the “Golden Age” of muscle cars. Americans clamored for hopped up engines, and they could actually afford them.

Some of the more notable chariots included the ’64 Pontiac GTO, 1968 Dodge Charger R/T and 1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi. Not to mention the 1969 Chevy Camaro ZL1 and of course the 410-horsepower 1968 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet.

They were all hot, we can all agree on that. But there is one thing about the muscle cars of that time that is overlooked. They were mostly all affordable. If you could afford a car you could afford a muscle car.

Today we have cars with more than 1,000 horsepower and crazy torque, but they all cost a fortune. If you want performance, it’s going to cost the equivalent of an entry-level luxury car and up.

But that’s a fairly new phenomenon. However, there are affordable muscle cars from this century. If you have a need for speed and a beer budget, you’ll want to check out these five affordable muscle cars.

2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

This pony car is outrageous when equipped with the 5.7L 346 CID V8. A stock Trans AM completed the quarter mile in 13.16 seconds at 106.05 mph on Eagle F1 street tires.

The interior is a bit chintzy with an excessive use of plastic trim, but you’re not making a fashion statement. What’s more important to the car’s performance is the Hurst six-speed transmission, aluminum drive shaft and an aerodynamic body that won’t quit.

You can grab one of these for about $23,000. Be prepared however, for some painful news from your insurance carrier when you try to add the V8 version to your policy.

2006 Pontiac GTO

The ’64 Goat was one of the first American muscle cars. It quickly established a reputation for performance and sexy good looks. When the GTO brand was re-launched in 2004, they got the hot engine part right but missed the mark on overall design.

The GTO was actually a rebadged Australian Holden Manaro. In 2006 the nondescript Aussie look was dumped and the GTO got a new flared hood, spoiler, bigger brakes and the same 400-horsepower, 6.0-liter LS2 V8 engine that powered the Corvette.

With that kind of power, it is no surprise this “Goat” can go 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds. These sold for about $30,000 when they were new. Today the market value of an ’06 GTO is about $17,000.

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