Mike Brewer picks the top five muscle cars to buy right now
Think of a car thats been to the gym and instantly the mind conjures up muscle cars that have huge engines, loud exhausts and make no practical sense whatsoever. Muscle cars are just pure automotive joy and we love them.
I’ve always had a thing for the impractical and when I was asked about my list of five muscle cars, I immediately thought: Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Hemi Barracuda etc, but then I thought, hold on! Almost every manufacturer has had a stab at the protein shakes and flexed its muscles, so here’s my alternative list of great muscle cars that never smeared the oil on, stood under a spotlight and posed with the obvious.
This is the British muscle car cool enough for Bond, which means it is cool enough for me. This a true multicultural muscle machine, as it was designed by the Italians at Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, powered by an all-American 6.3L Chrysler V8, and all put together by the Brits at Jensen Motors.
While high end classic circles might blow off the Jensen because of its American drivetrain, you shouldn’t. These are comparable to the Aston Martins of the period, and don’t require the same $10,000 engine out maintenance. Just pure muscle wrapped in a blissfully European package.
The Buick Riviera was a muscle car ahead of its time. GM needed to fight back against Ford’s Thunderbird, so they took a big swing and released the Riviera, which wasn’t far from the GM concept.
Its design is provocative, and its lines are more similar to what you could find in 1960s architecture than automotive design. The public never really got excited about the Riviera in the period, but in today’s market it is seeing some of the biggest gains in value in the entire segment, precisely because of that provocative design. Now is the time to get into one, as the value is only set to climb.
Mercedes has had a long history of rolling muscle cars like this Benz out of the factory. One standout example through their history is the Mercedes Benz 500E. Many fanatics believe this was the pinnacle of the V8 and Mercedes history together.
Mercedes took the 300E, a mundane luxury sedan for your average branch manager, and dropped in an absolutely sinister 5.0L V8. This wasn’t the typical shoehorn though, as Mercedes had to widen the front end, and called on Porsche to help engineer the design. Porsche even built them in the factory that had just finished building their legendary 959.
The Mercury Meteor was a two-year only model run made to expand the 1960s Mercury line-up. The Meteor name came from Mercury trying to capitalize on the ever-growing space race. Its styling cues are tastefully 1960s, with fins that aren’t too big, and just the right amount of chrome.
These are obscure, making it still one of the greatest values in the muscle car market. It is built on the Ford Fairlane platform as well, so modifying, and obtaining parts is much easier than one would expect for such an obscure muscle car.
Lexus, at the end of the 2000s, was looking to break from its boring stigma. So corporate tasked a small team of their best engineers with creating something exciting.
Working late nights, they shoehorned a 416 horsepower 5.0L V8 into the unassuming second generation IS platform, creating a true muscle car capable of getting to 60mph in under five seconds. While the project only sold around 12,000 units, it made a bold statement, and will go down in history as one of the best Japanese muscle saloons.