Muscle cars seem to never go out of style, right? Well, think again. With Ford beefing up its Mustang for 2024, Dodge bringing in a new line powered by twin-turbo inline-6 engines and performance EVs, and Chevy giving the Camaro the ax in 2024, it is high time that you invest in a high-horsepowered muscle car. If you don’t do it now, you might lose out on your chance.
While these picks for the top 8 high-horsepowered muscle cars might not be the most decked-out with options or as popular as other models, these muscle cars will let you get down and dirty on an actual racetrack. The fewer options you have tacked onto one, the less excess weight and cost you will face. From the Mustang Mach 1 to the absolutely bonkers Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye, you can take your pick from these relatively affordable hotrodders to try out.
Mustang Mach 1 (470 HP)
The Mustang Mach 1 derives its suspension and chassis from the GT350 and is scheduled to get beefed up even more in 2024 with the Dark Horse models, which will come with a minimum of 500 hp. For now, their 470 hp should suffice. That power is mustered up by a naturally aspirated DOHC 5.0-L Coyote V8 engine, which is paired to a 6-speed manual transmission and sends power to the rear wheels.
The 2023 base GT Fastback will set you back about $37,500, but going all the way up to the Shelby GT500 costs about $74,000. Sticking to the base GT Fastback will get you that V8 engine, and there is a High Performance package available that tacks on upgraded Brembo brakes and heavy-duty front springs.
Dodge Challenger Scat Pack (485 HP)
Chrysler and Dodge give buyers multiple options to choose from that are all equipped with the 6.4-L Hemi, which is good for 485 hp. However, the model that stands out is the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack. This lightweight, narrow-bodied variant is the most affordable and, in its current iteration, has been available since 2015. There is also plenty of aftermarket support.
Unfortunately, the Stellantis L-Series vehicles (including the Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300) will be taking their final vow at the end of the 2023 model year, this is a great time to buy one. All of those vehicles come with the 485-hp V8 and offer a swift acceleration rate. With a base price of $46,940, it is easy to justify buying the Challenger Scat Pack.
Chevy Corvette Stingray (495 HP)
Who doesn’t love a high-powered ‘Vette? In particular, the Stingray is a popular choice for serious hotrodders and has been for a long time. Back in the ‘60s, the Corvette was a pack leader among muscle cars, offering 427 hp from the L88 tri-power engine. Today’s Stingray is powered by a 6.2-L OHV V8 that generates 495 hp, which might not seem like much. However, given that the Stingray is so lightweight, you can put it under hard acceleration to get the Stingray up and moving at a quick pace. Power builds quickly, even though after about 300 feet, it will get outpaced by other high-powered muscle cars.
The Stingray has a base price of $64,500, and there are enough units being manufactured to help you find a reasonably priced model.
Chevy Camaro ZL1 (650 HP)
In 2017, the Chevy Camaro ZL1 was boosted from 580 hp up to 650 hp from its 6.2-L V8 engine in an effort to keep up with Dodge and their 707-hp Hellcat Challenger. While 2023 is the final year of manufacturing of the ZL1, it is a good time to buy it. The ZL1 has a better power-to-weight ratio than the narrow-body Hellcat, and its engine is more powerful. The ZL1 has a 500-lb mass advantage over the Dodge Redeye and Jailbreak, plus its Magnetic Ride Control suspension gives it superior handling capabilities.
With a price tag starting under $70k, you will have a hard time finding better value from a vehicle in this segment.
Chevy Corvette Z06 (670 HP)
Another ‘Vette to make this list is the 670-hp Chevy Corvette Z06. With naturally aspirated 670 hp on tap and just 3,434 pounds of weight to move with the bulk of it sitting above the rear wheels, this vehicle has no problem passing others on the highway.
Make a few minor tweaks, and you can take the Z06 out for a fun day at the dragstrip. Cornering is the Z06’s strength, but be prepared to spend over $100k on this vehicle. Most of what you will see in a dealer’s inventory will be loaded up on options.
Dodge SRT Hellcat Challenger (717 HP)
Dodge shook things up in 2015 when they introduced the SRT Hellcat Challenger with its mind-blowing 707-hp Hellcat Hemi engine. While a few top rivals have since surpassed this amount of power, they had to really put up a fight to do it.
Outfitting the Hellcat with DOT drag radials will make this vehicle a swift 10-second muscle car – and all for a reasonable price. You can find a narrow-body variant for about $70,835 to start, although the widebody gives you better grip and two more doors for less than $10k more.
Ford Shelby GT500 (760 HP)
Leaving the Ford Shelby GT500 off this list would be a huge mistake. Its 760-hp supercharged DOHC 5.2-L Predator V8 engine is nothing to scoff at, as it can get this vehicle up to speed in about 10 seconds straight out of the box. A slew of experienced drag racers even assisted Ford in finalizing shift calibrations for the car’s drag more, meaning you won’t get all that clutch slippage from the Tremec-sourced 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
Going down the quarter-mile, the GT500 is as swift as the SRT Redeye and Camaro ZL1, making it a fierce competitor. And, for a base price just under $80k, the cost feels justifiable for the experience you get.
Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye (797 HP)
When it comes to high-octane muscle cars, the Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye is about as bonkers as it gets. Its supercharged OHV 6.2-L Redeye Hemi V8 engine delivers 797 hp, and there are plenty of these units available to help keep the price reasonable. There are also a ton of variants to choose from, including the SRT Super Stock and its 807 hp and the SRT Jailbreak Widebody Charger with the same horsepower.
The narrow-body Redeye Challenger is not exactly a popular choice, but you can easily give it grip to rival the Super Stock. Also, it is the most lightweight option with the lowest price tag, which makes it ideal for hotrodders.
Regardless of which muscle car you choose, the eight models that make this list offer plenty of power for a cost that makes them more attractive than their exotic European counterparts. Snagging a base option and spending a little time and money on upgrades can result in one beefy muscle car fit for the drag strip.