5 great alternatives to high-priced muscle cars


Several years ago, a men’s magazine had a popular feature that suggested healthier substitutes to your favorite food cravings. As enthusiasts, it is not unusual for us to crave a certain vehicle, only to find ourselves a few pennies short for that special car. Rather than spend your time hoping something will fall into your lap, you could be having clutch-popping fun driving one of these muscle car alternatives that offer at least 95 percent of the experience for half the price.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/07/03/5-alternatives-to-muscle-cars


I like these affordable classics.


Most of these cars are quite rare. I think due to that, if you could actually find one it probably wouldn’t be a hell of a lot cheaper than its musclecar big brother.

Exceptions: 383 Belvedere/Satellite and 330 Olds Cutlass. Lots of these around and they’re almost always cheaper than Roadrunners or 4-4-2s.


i had a 1973 Pontiac Lemons GTwith the 350 HO and factory 4-speed. Wow it was nice


Did you get rid of it because of the lemon law?


There 400 chevy is a small block . In 1970 the 396 was in fact a 402 bigblock .


Back in the day when you could order a car exactly the way you wanted I was 19 years old. I ordered a 1965 Pontiac LeMans. At the time I didn’t think my Dad would approve a GTO. I ordered all black inside & out, 326 cu in, 4 barrel, 4 speed, duel exhaust, bucket seats, black wall tires & small standard hub caps. I already had Mickey Thompson mags & installed them the first day. They didn’t have all the dealer fees back then, like extended warranty, dealer prep, delivery charge, paint & interior protection & numerous other charges. I bought this car for a total of $2,900.


Funny - my first swap was a '67 Malibu 283/Powerglide (bought from a little old lady for $600 - yes, a long time ago)… when I blew up the 283, like a typical idiot teenager, I went to the junkyard and told them I was going to “make an SS”, so they sold me a 396. I only found out it was a 402 when the guy at the parts store asked for the engine codes to get the correct water pump! (he had a book - pre-interweb). Another one I should have kept…


Oh and the 350 Pontiac is closer to a 355 cid than a 350 cid. The block is also the same size as a 400 and uses the same 3.75 stroke crank . Just has a smaller bore. Very easy to make a 350 into a 400.


I had it for about 6 mths and got orders to Korea and had to let it go at a loss


No. I had it for only about 7months when I got orders to go back to Korea. Wish I had kept it as it was a great car. Dark Maroon, had the optional buckets and loaded with air and Posi 3.60 gears. JB


Hard to find the “junior” models since car flippers buy them up to build clones. They’ve ruined any chance of getting these models.


I have a 70 Malibu 400 with a four speed. The 400 is a 402 big block but on the build sheet, air cleaner and fender emblems it has 400.


400 is a small block the 402 is a big block in 1970 the 396 badged cars had 402 big blocks in them .


Supply and demand. Lots of people would prefer a Road Runner to a 383 Belvedere, even if the Bel has rarity on its side. Plus, they’re easy to buy cheap from someone who thinks it’s “just an old Plymouth.”


The 350 HO was built in 1968-69. What you had was just a 350.


The badges of the Chevelle said 400.

So the 402 masqueraded as a 396 and 400. :slight_smile:


Spiritual precursor to the 350 HO. In fact, I had trouble deciding between the two for the article.


Wouldn’t the precursor to the 350 HO be the 326 HO?


I found a 1970 442 for 12,500 is that a good price? Maybe it’s a 1969 not sure