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Among performance cars, American models often get laughed at by European models. To their credit, the old continent is home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, McLaren, Aston Martin, Bugatti, etc. The list could go on for a while. We have the pure aggression and strength of American muscle, but that muscle seems kind of weak when one of our least reliable American performance cars doesn’t last as long as we’d like.

How long should American performance cars last?

Yellow 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 at dusk with a sunset background
2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 | Chevrolet

Although early European cars were known to leave drivers on the side of the road (we’re looking at you, Jaguar), drivers still loved them. In America, we expect our cars to take us from sea to shining sea, across the plains, to the purple mountains majestically standing tall, and from New York to Houston.

We expect our cars, even those made for power, speed, and performance, to last a long time. Some of the best models can last up to 200,000 miles with some hard driving under their belts, while others will crack and crumble at the thought of a high-speed challenge.

Here are five American performance cars that run and hide when it’s time to step up and drive.

2008 Chrysler Crossfire

2008 Chrysler Crossfire, represents one of the least reliable American performance cars ever made.
2008 Chrysler Crossfire | Chrysler

The Crossfire looks cool and should be pretty quick, but it turns out to be one of the least reliable American performance cars ever made. This car doesn’t often pass 160,000 miles, and many barely cross 100,000 miles. The Drive Adviser gives this car a life expectancy of eight years, which means it’s well beyond that if you find one.

2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Silver 2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am parked in the sunlight
2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am | General Motors

The powerful V8 engine gives this American muscle car all the grunt you need. Driving this Pontiac alternative to the Camaro should have been a boon for GM, but it wasn’t. Although powered by the 5.3-liter V8 that produced 310 horsepower, 340 lb-ft of torque, and a quick sprint of 5.5 seconds to hit 60 mph, the Firebird Trans Am couldn’t last long. This car typically only reaches 130,000 miles, with only 3.24% lasting 150,000 miles. So much for performance.

2009 Pontiac G8

Red 2009 Pontiac G8 parked under a tree
2009 Pontiac G8 | General Motors

The average Pontiac G8 only lasts about 140,000 miles before it’s done and needs to be scrapped. This Pontiac is near the top of the list among the least reliable American performance cars. Although sold as a performance machine, many owners were less than pleased with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that only produced 256 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. If this is supposed to be an American muscle car, it’s no wonder Europeans laugh at us.

2004 Dodge Viper SRT-10

2004 Dodge Viper SRT-10 posed with greenery in the background
2004 Dodge Viper SRT-10 | Dodge

This amazing high-powered car was made for the track. Although street-legal, the Viper has been considered difficult to handle at lower speeds. The Viper brings a massive 8.3-liter V10 engine to the mix, which delivers 500 horsepower and offers insane speeds. The Viper is a tricky car to think about. On the one hand, many have been kept under wraps and don’t see roads often, which keeps the miles down. On the other hand, this car can only last about 120,000 miles at the most.

2015 Dodge Challenger

2015 Dodge Challenger parked on a tarmac
2015 Dodge Challenger | Dodge

Say it isn’t so! One of the most revered American muscle cars of the modern era is also considered one of the least reliable American performance cars. Unfortunately, when The Drive Adviser analyzed this Challenger, only 2.22% made it beyond 150,000 miles. Most survived to 100,000 miles, but at that point, the chinks in the armor began to show. It’s too bad the Dodge Challenger represents one of the most affordable and most powerful cars of the modern era.

What American muscle cars can last for more than 200,000 miles?

Yellow 2005 Ford Mustang GT parked and posed in front of a brick building
2005 Ford Mustang GT | Ford

As a quick list, the best alternatives to the five not-so-muscular cars offered are:

  • 2005 Ford Mustang GT
  • 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
  • 2009 Ford Focus RS500 (not sold in America)
  • 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt SS (surprisingly quick)
  • 2009 Dodge Charger R/T

Next, check out six popular but worst made cars ever, or learn more about some of the least reliable American performance cars ever made in this video below: