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Even with the popularity of SUVs and crossovers, fast cars like the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will always hold a place of reverence for enthusiasts. Fortunately, the used car market is awash with quick options under $25,000, many of which are American. Check out some of the fastest-accelerating American cars you can snag for under $25,000 or so, like the 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and 2012 Cadillac CTS-V. 

  • 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06- 4.1 seconds
  • 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500- 4.1 seconds
  • 2012 Chevrolet Corvette- 4.2 seconds
  • 2012 Cadillac CTS-V- 4.2 seconds
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392- 4.3 seconds

What is the 0-60 for a 2004 Corvette Z06?

The 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 can hit 60 mph in a blindingly fast 4.1 seconds, making it one of the best American performance bargains on the market. Specifically, the C5-generation Z06 is so fast due to its lightweight and naturally aspirated 405-horsepower 5.7L V8. 

Better yet, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says a 2004 Chevrolet Corvette with average mileage has a fair purchase price of around $21,701 with average mileage. Of course, average mileage refers to nearly 70,000 for the model year. An example with fewer miles on the odometer would demand a higher premium.  

How much is a 2011 Shelby GT500?

The 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a post-facelift pony car with Shelby DNA, but it’s a performance bargain by today’s standards. A 2011 Shelby GT500 with average mileage has a fair market value of about $22,826. 

Still, the supercharged snake is worth every cent. For instance, the Shelby model hit 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds in MotorTrend’s second set of tests. Moreover, the GT500’s 550-horsepower 5.4L V8 will power it through traction-limited 12.35-second quarter-mile runs.  

Is the 2012 Chevrolet Corvette one of the fastest American cars under $25,000?

The 2012 Chevrolet Corvette base is a beast without the addition of a Z06 badge. For instance, Chevrolet said its C6-generation supercar killer could hit 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds from the factory. However, the fire-breathing Z06 could make the same run in around 3.5 seconds. 

This Chevrolet Corvette is almost as fast a car as the previous Corvette Z06, evident from its performance on the track.
C6 Corvette | General Motors

Of course, the Z06 is well outside the $25,000 parameters unless you opt for an other-than-clean title. Instead, the C6 base model demands an average of around $23,346 from a private party. 

Is the CTS-V faster than a Corvette?

While the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V is fast, it’s not typically faster than a Corvette. The CTS-V’s 556-horsepower supercharged 6.2L V8 is enough to motivate the Cadillac model to 60 mph in around 4.2 seconds. That’s on par with the base C6 Corvette from the same period. 

A Cadillac CTS-V blasts down a test track using its Corvette Z06 motor.
Cadillac CTS-V Coupe | Photo by Cadillac via Getty Images

Of course, the CTS-V uses a derivation of the C6 Z06’s mill, and Road & Track rightfully calls it “a 4-door Corvette with ventilated bucket seats.” 

Is the SRT 392 fast?

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392 is very fast; it will top out at around 182 mph. Moreover, the SRT-badged Challenger, courtesy of its 485-horsepower 6.4L V8, will hit 60 mph in between 4.2 and 4.3 seconds. 

Still, the Mopar machine has rolled off a factory floor in Canada for years, but its design and purpose couldn’t be more American muscle car. 


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What other fast American cars are affordable?

In addition to these cars, the post-facelift S197-generation Ford Mustang GT packed a 5.0L Coyote V8 that could push it to sixty in less than 4.5 seconds. Moreover, the Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 are performance bargains capable of hitting 60 mph in the low four-second range. Also, those Charger sedans cheat the air better than the Challenger, resulting in higher top speeds. 

What other bargain bullets would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below!