If you’ve been chassis dyno testing your rides for years, then you know these cars well. This is not a list of rarities or cars that fetch the most at auction. This is a sensible list; a list of American classics that combine reasonable purchase price, availability of parts and resell price—projects that any muscle car enthusiast can restore and drive with pride.
#5 – Pontiac GTO – 1971-’72
Early models can be pricey but ’71-’72 versions are still in range for the average enthusiast. The body design has that mean and beefy look and a lot of body and trim parts have been reproduced. The top engine available for this model was the 455 HO V-8 rated at 335 hp. Their are a ton of GTO fans out there so reselling at the end of your restoration shouldn’t be hard.
#4 – Chevrolet Corvette – 1978-’82
A lot of rebuilds start out as rust buckets on the back of a trailer. But, if your not looking to dig that deep this could be your ride. Many of these are available in drivable condition and there are a bunch of Corvette specialists selling reproduction parts and high-performance speed parts. If you want to bring in the big money you’ll have to be flawless in your restoration, but a ‘vette is a ‘vette—interest will always be there.
#3 – Dodge Charger – 1968-’70
Charger is one of the most desired and respected names in the world of American muscle cars. Production numbers were high so these models aren’t difficult to find and every mechanical part is obtainable. Naturally the bigger the engine the higher the restoration price. But if you can afford to drop-in a 426 Street HEMI that kicks out 425 bph during chassis dyno testing, why wouldn’t you splurge? Plus, the Dukes of Hazzard drove one of these. The General Lee. We’re just saying.
#2 – Chevrolet Camaro – 1967 – ’69
They look great. They are easy to get parts for. They are fun to drive—and they can be built fast and mean thanks to a booming aftermarket for performance parts. What’s not to like? The first generation Camaros came with a lot of engine options the biggest factory offer being the L78 SS396 a 396 cubic inch V8 with 375 hp.
#1 – Ford Mustang – 1964 -’68
You didn’t think we would have a Top 5 list without a ‘Stang on it did you? Mustangs are perfect starter projects. They tend to be affordable and literally every part is available via catalogue or website. The support clubs are great and even forums can be helpful. Early model Mustangs are among the easiest restoration projects to resell. Do a good job on this one and maybe you’ll be able to dip into Shelby territory next round.
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