Before supercars became more common in the U.S., those seeking a thrill turned to muscle cars. These vehicles were lightweight, powerful, and capable of extremely high speeds. Unfortunately, due to the amount of gas the cars consumed as well as the strict safety regulations introduced in the 70s, the popularity of muscle cars dwindled.
You won’t easily find classic muscle cars on the current market, but you can still get a restored muscle car. Due to the demand from both muscle-car enthusiasts and collectors, the prices of these vehicles continue to rise. Here are some you can still get for $15,000 and under.
1. Plymouth Fury
Before the Fury became known as the evil car featured in Stephen King’s thriller Christine, it was a capable muscle car in the mid-’60s. The fourth generation of Furys had the most aerodynamic design after a structural makeover, according to AutoWise. The car’s body had sharper angles, giving it a more stylish appearance.
The Plymouth Fury also got some of the latest technology for the time, including air conditioning, power steering, a stereo system, and even an automatic transmission. It had a good selection of engines, but the most powerful was the 7.2-liter V8 RB with 385 hp. You can score a 1968 model for around $10,000 to $15,000.
2. Buick Riviera
The Buick Riviera was originally made to be a luxury car, but it gained popularity with muscle car enthusiasts after a late-’60s redesign. The longer body was more ideal for drag racing. It also got a new V8 7.0-liter engine capable of 360 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque, which made it much faster than its predecessor.
This was the beginning of the stricter safety requirements, so this model got locking seat belts, four-way flashers, and an energy-absorbing steering column. These days, you can buy a Buick Riviera for around $8,000.
3. Ford Galaxie
Like the Riviera, this car had the added perk of luxury interior styling before it was upgraded to muscle car status. The 1969 Ford Galaxie has the most ideal racing specs. It inherited the new “Thunderjet” engine from the Thunderbird, which was capable of 360 hp.
Becoming one of the most popular cars on the market, Ford sold more than seven million units. The Galaxie was discontinued in 1974, but you can still own one of these classic muscle cars for as little as $10,000.
4. Chevrolet El Camino
Originally built as a small pickup, the El Camino received a makeover in the late ’60s to look more like a station wagon. It also got more powerful engine options that made it a popular contender in drag races. Its 5.4-liter Small-Block V8 was capable of 300 hp. Available options also included a more luxurious interior as well as a hydromatic three-speed manual transmission and disc brakes. Today, you can buy a Chevrolet El Camino for $8,000 to $10,000; later models will be less expensive.
5. Mercury Comet
The Comet’s price range varies widely on the used market, but you can find a model from 1975 for as little as $15,000. It may not be as popular as the Ford Mustang or Chevy Impala, but it has the muscle car design and the engine of a good muscle car: a 7.0-liter V8 capable of 335 hp. Later models got many styling changes like an updated hood adn better taillights. A custom decor package was also available.