11 modern muscle cars (and trucks) under $20K


There’s no replacing 1960s and ’70s muscle cars. They have style and road presence that can’t be matched. However, they also bring with them 1960s and ’70s suspensions, brakes, and fuel economy. As manufacturers rediscovered how to make power efficiently in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, huge strides were made in vehicle safety as well. A vehicle built in the last 15 years is a lot easier to live with on a daily basis and has fewer compromises overall when compared to its 40-year-old counterpart.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/09/18/11-modern-muscle-cars-and-trucks-under-20k


There’s two cars that immediately come to mind that should be on the list - at least if defining a muscle car as a car that has a big motor stuffed into a chassis that normally has a smaller motor.

The first gen Caddilac CTS-V can be had for well under $20K. With either the LS6 or LS2 and easily get over 500hp with some simple mods it’s a muscle car.

And the W204 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG with the 6.2L V8 is a torque monster that rivals any GM or Ford engine for grin making potential. Easy to 500+ hp with also some simple mods.


Just a thought…the Mustang GT actually received the 5.0 Coyote in 2011. Those might be a tad cheaper still…


@m3driver - You are right, the first-gen CTS-Vs are a decent buy right now. Certainly a lot of car for the money!


The 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Super Charged SRT,6 has the S32 AMG motor which is rated at 350HP and weighs only 3200lbs. These cars can be found for price range of $8000-$18,000, depending on mileage, and whether it is a coupe or roadster…THey are fun to drive and have great suspension and handling.


@rckdcknson - Good catch. We are updating the story.


I’d love to know where you can find an 03-04 cobra for under $15k-20k in good condition with less that half a dozen owners and 150k miles.


Where’s the e39 M5? All but the most pristine examples can be had for < $20K, and in addition to being a straight line performance match for most of the cars on your list, it’s arguably a much better overall vehicle (handling, comfort, luxury, etc.) than many of your selections.


@aranderson - While the E39 M5 is a decent performance match, most would consider it closer to a sports sedan than a muscle car.


That would certainly be a fair point if the list didn’t already include a truck, a sedan, a wagon, and an SUV :slight_smile:


They all seem to be real affordable now…low mpg’s and high insurance rates are just the tip of the iceberg…don’t even see the cost of a daily driver fitting in here…we own an 89 Mustang GT convertible and seems to be cheap enough to maintain even after 30 years running…what will happen with these models when their cost start depreciating even more??? I’m still in the frame of mind that at any time gas prices will sky rocket again and the big 3 will stop production of their latest models in the horse power wars and go back to gas sipping models that appeared at the end of the last muscle car race…


In another 15 years or so you will probably have to go to a specialty store to buy gasoline of any kind.


Good call on the Pontiac G8 GT. I have owned one for almost 3 years, and they are a very rare sight out on the road. They are total sleepers in that to the average person, they’re just another Pontiac 4 door. However, they handle as good as a 5th gen Camaro and every bit as fast. And as with all LS family engines, they respond well to mods. So what if the Aussies built it? At least it was built in the first place.


Where is the 2003 Mercury Marauder on this list?! What a miss.


Under $20K Trailblazer SS and it’s cousin (the car I have ) Saab 9-7x Aero / 6.0 L-S2, 415hp
AWD. Full frame SUV 0-60/5.3 seconds. So Much fun…Soccer mom sleeper


Finding a decent Ram SRT-10 for less than $20,000 is tough. The quad cab ones fit the price limit, but the standard cab ones are usually in the low to mid 20s.


I think that the definition of a muscle car usually includes something of the American variety so I don’t blame them for not including it. I don’t think many baby boomers could handle the idea of a European car on the list let alone Holdens dressed up in Pontiac badges, specifically the GTO which is the favorite whipping boy of classic muscle car fanatics for not being a “real” GTO.


Don’t forget the Chevrolet SS. If I’m correct it’s basically a GTO. Discontinued Chevrolets


@robert2 - The SS falls closer to the Pontiac G8, but that also traces some linage back to the GTO. I think buyers would likely have a difficult time finding one for $20k or less. I certainly wish I could though, as I would be a buyer and so would @Greg.


The problem we have here is that the old muscle cars(or any pre 74) cars have style that can’t be matched. And they will never go out of style. None of these cars mentioned have the style of a 67 Fairlane, 62 409 Bubble Top or the 70 Challengers and Cudas. And the list goes on. And I don’t care what brand you love its hard not to stop and stare at a 68 Dodge Charger R/T, 70 Chevelle SS or a '70 Boss 302. And if you don’t care about numbers matching you can build a vintage car with modern technology.