Hagerty.com

Question of the week: Which retro-designed modern muscle car is your favorite?


#1

When Ford lifted the cover on a redesigned Mustang in 2003, it spurred other manufactures to harness the nostalgia of their classic models in the design of the new cars. But who did it best? We want to hear your opinion in the comments below.

Chevrolet reworked the Camaro, Dodge put the Challenger badge to work, even Buick made an effort when it turbocharged the Regal, ala Grand National or T-type. Each brand attempted to capture the flavor of the first muscle car heyday, to varying degrees of success (depending on who you ask).


This 2017 Ford Mustang GT350 is an evolution of the retro-inspired lines of the 2005 Mustang. (Photo Hagerty)

Putting all the classic lines on a modern chassis presents a tough challenge considering all that a modern car needs to be: fuel efficient, safe, comfortable. Each brand has kept the classic styling for at least a decade now, with regular refreshes.

So which retro design captured the heart of the muscle car era the best? Let us know below.


#2

If there’s one car that captured both the look and the spirit of the '60s muscle era, it would have to be Dodge’s Challenger.

While Chevy and Ford decided to evolve their respective Pony Cars into sports-coupes capable of competing with (and occasionally besting) German rivals, the Challenger remained an unabashed muscle car. Sure, you can take one around race track, but that’s not the point. Just like its grand-dad, it’s a comfortable and stylish boulevard cruiser meant to make a statement.

With all of that said, however, I’d still take a new Mustang or Camaro over a Challenger any day of the week.


#3

Challenger - has the ethos of the old muscle cars - actually more like an old Impala SS sizewise.
Love the other guys but as a former owner of the original - sort of what I think it would have evolved to.


#4

It.’ evolved over the life of the new cars. At first it was the Challenger, as I thought it was the closest to the “look” of the original. Then, it was the Camaro, but now I’d have to go with the Mustang. I just like the look (and sound) of the new one.


#5

As a owner of a 65 Mustang and 69 Camaro I had always been looking forward to the day that auto makers brought back the styes of the late 60’s . The original body styles captured our imaginations and really brought into focus a good looking American car with decent power under the hood, all for an affordable price. The europeans could not match us on performance and affordability. Fast forward to 2005 and the Mustang finally looked like a mustang again. Even though the taillights looked undefined/refined, the car had mass appeal, and both dodge and chevy took notice. Then came the Challenger with few options, but the public loved it. Then Chevrolet ventured out with a prototype Camaro, after discontinuing it in 2002, there was huge void left. The Chevrolet fans finally had something to look forward to, and in 2009 they would get there beloved Camaro back. I think out of the three the Challenger looked the most retro, followed by the mustang. But out of the three the Camaro had the most well rounded design & performance. If the Mustang would have had the 5.0 coyote motor in 2005, then I would rethink it.
To me the best of them was the 5th gen Camaro (specially 2010-2013). I think Chevrolet missed the mark with he 6th gen. However the Mustang has evolved nicely each generation since. The obvious thing is Americans still love the retro design:Look at the challenger still larger the same for the last 10 years and selling well. Maybe Chevrolet will take notice…


#6

I still remember vividly when Ford introduced the new Mustang in 2005 and I was hooked all over again. The retro elements from the various Mustangs from 65 to 69 graced both the interior and the exterior - yet it was still a small block V8, manual transmission and live rear axle… with airbags. I loved the fastback shape, the GT foglights in the grill, the retro gauges, the retro seats, the Bullitt wheels, EVERYTHING! I was further hooked the day in 2006 I was walking into my company’s parking lot and there in the visitor parking spot was a 2006 Shelby GT-H in black and gold stripes just like the 66 GT-350H. I stopped dead in my tracks and I promised myself at that moment I would have one some day… 10 years later, I now have two - that 2006 coupe and the 2007 convertible GT-H. I have driven the newer mustang, camero and hemi challenger and they are all more refined, faster, more electronic do dads but I still think the 2005-09 Mustangs followed by the 2010-12 mustangs are simply the truest renditions of modern (but not too modern) pony cars. The last one I will add to the list is the 2008/9 Bullitt in highland green…


#7

I’m kinda partial to this one!


#8

Dodge got it right. Ford got it close. Chevy got it wrong. By the way I my blood is blue.


#9

I like them all! It’s great to see the old muscle cars reborn into much safer, even faster hotrods. The old classics still have their place though!


#10

2 years ago I went search for a new Camaro.
After driving a couple and feeling terribly cramped in the space and finding side and rear vision lacking for safety reasons I looked a a few new Chalkengers.
Fell in love with a couple 6 speed cars.
Ordered a 2017 SRT in Octane Red with Sepia interior.
Have had it 20 months/ 8,000 miles and it’s such a fun car to drive. More room in the cabin space than Mustang/Camaro, handles nice, loads of power thru all 6 manual gears and nice cruiser that turns heads.
I like the retro styling and especially the larger interior area with greater visibility and comfort for longer drives.
Like the looks of both the Mustang and the Camaro a lot. But the drivability of the Challenger is more practical at least for my mid size 200#, 5’-11” late ‘60’s frame.


#11


#12

none really. Yes they are muscle cars I guess, but back in the 60’s a high school kid could actually afford to possibly by a Mustang, Camaro, Road Runner, Cuda , Challenger, 442, even an AMC. Forget Buick. Never ever considered them in the muscle car category. Sorry Buick lovers. Now if you want to purchase a modern muscle car you have to be old like I am with a little money or forget it. These horse power wars are getting ridiculous as well along with the price of these modern muscle cars. Car makers are cashing in on you older guys like me that want to relive your younger days but at a huge cost to do so. Find a real 60’s muscle car and put your money into that vs. the modern expensive ones. Yes you may have more money in it that a modern muscle car when you are done but there are a lot less of the classic ones that the modern ones you see on the road now.


#13

Having been a died-in-the-wool blue-blood for 50+ yrs, I’m partial to the retro Mustang up to '16. After that not so much. The comment about hp wars & price are right on, I don’t need 500 hp never mind 800+ and whether I have it or not, I’m not about to drop $60G+ in another summer toy. My ‘69 Mach 1 is a challenge to get into at 6’+ and the new 1’s aren’t any easier. That being said, if I find mint, low mileage '09 Bullitt, it might find a home in my collection.


#14

I am glad you asked this question. I did not have to think about it. To me the 2007 Mustang GT coupe design was the best looking modern muscle car; classic. To me it has everything. I don’t like the Shelby versions with the bloated hoods and body kit styling gimicks. To me the recent Mustangs have evolved into something uninspiring. They look squat, angular and sculpted. It looks like the people that designed the Toyota Camry had a hand in the Mustang. If I was a young car guy that wanted something very cool with lasting appeal I would be saving for a low mileage 2007 GT.


#15

I like all American brands but prefer the Mustang and the Challenger for looks. I have driven all 3, an SS Camaro, a Shelby GT 350, and a Hellcat. I have a classic Chevy in the garage and drive an F150 daily. If I was going to buy modern, it would be my first Dodge - the Hellcat. Just awesome all the way around.


#16

Have always owned 60’s and 70’ muscle cars, currently own a 71 camaro and 12 challenger. They both are a blast to drive but I can see why people go with the new cars, reliability and ride. If you didn’t grow up in that era (55-85) it can be tough to relate to the classics. Just glad they’re still making 'em.


#17

If I had to chose between the three it would be the Challenger hands down ! Just wish they would loose all the black wheels and offer some other choices too. They also need to offer the side R/T stripe on the other models besides just the classic and they should let you get the side stripes and modern hood decal both on the same car.


#18

One more thing why didn’t they make the Challenger a hard top ! If you could roll down the front and rear windows like on the original it would have been over the top cool ! I know it can be done look at some of the new BMW 2dr hard top cars . Hint hint Dodge this should be the next update on the Challenger !


#19

40+ years I only bought new cars when the style got my attention. Difficult to clarify what gets my attention, scale, proportion, balance…I am a designer.
Did not need another car back May 2010. As with many of my new car purchases in the past, first time I saw the Gen 5 Camaro it was passion at first sight. Did not care about the engine, it was the body style. So May 2010, I special ordered a 2011 2LT my way, received Aug. 2010. Eight years later, still love my 2011 Camaro. At the time dealership tried to sell me an 8, with SS package. No regrets driving my 6 with more than 300 hp.


#20

Gotta be the Mustang! If in doubt just look at what you see on the road. Ladies, men, boys, girls of all ages love and drive Mustangs. Camaro is a Mustang wannabe and the Challenger appeals to a select market. So if it’s a 1965 model or a 2018 model the Mustang still is America’s car. Just my opinion and I don’t even own a Mustang - I drive a Silverado.