The 2020 Dodge Hellcat is already sitting in dealerships across the country. The 707hp muscle sedan sits in a league of its own as muscle cars today have taken traditional shapes, with two doors and hardly any rear legroom.
It hasn't always been this way though, as I'm sure most of us know that the big three American companies were obsessed with power. Before the oil crisis, you could get just about any car with a high-performance motor. Later on, they were few and far between, with some true muscle sedans popping up here and there in the 1990s and 2000s.
When putting this article together, I had thought as to why someone would buy a Charger Hellcat, and not just get the Challenger instead? It has to come down to legroom, as in the case of a muscle car fanatic with a family. Although, instead of spending $70,000 on a Charger Hellcat, what else could we buy for around the same price, or cheaper? That's what we'll explore in this list of 20 muscle sedans.
20 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
Start things off with a hot one. Anyone who knows about the LS-powered CTS-V Wagon just may want one. For about $15,000 dollars less than a Hellcat, and only around 200 horsepower less, it wouldn't take much to get that number over the stock 707 of the Charger.
This Cadillac is the last oddball muscle the company had, now only offering the normal CTS-V for almost $100,000.
19 Dodge Coronet 440
I really wanted to find a Hemi variant! Though with only a few made, and even less surviving, good luck finding a decent example under $100,000. So we'll take a step back and find a beautiful big block 440 for about $35,000. The Coronet may not always be a 4-door, but the 2-door could very well fit the entire family for 440 powered fun.
18 Chrysler 300C SRT8
Still sold in Europe and the Middle East, the SRT 300C was first offered in 2006. Coming with a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 that turned out 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft from the factory.
For only around $13,000, you get most of the power for only a bit of a price. With a little modification, it wouldn't take much to get those same numbers as the Dodge for well under the $57,000 you just saved.
17 Dodge Magnum SRT8
As the Chrysler mentioned earlier, the Magnum just adds some extra space to the equation. Produced for only 2 years (2006-2008), the Magnum featured the same Hemi V8 that I explained for the 300C. Usually, these Magnums are more expensive than their sedan counterparts, though I found one for $500 less, proving that you can still find these interesting Mopars for very affordable prices.
16 Chevrolet Chevelle 300 Deluxe
The 2-door Chevelle came with one of the biggest motors out of Detroit. The 4-door 300 Deluxe didn't get the famed 454 big block, but instead got a 327 small block, until 1969 where Chevrolet offered the 350. The 300 Deluxe may not be the most powerful 4-door on here, but with the modifying potential that could come out of the small block 350, it wouldn't take much to get around that 707 horsepower rating, just a little elbow grease.
15 FPV GS
Let's forget for a moment that there's an import tax and certain modifications it'll take to get an Aussie Ford on western shores. The GS was a rarer variant of the Falcon, with a 5.4 liter V8, pushing out 405 hp and 406 ft-lbs. I feel like the numbers aren't so important here, though that is enough power to be acceptable for the almost $40,000 price tag.
The GS wasn't only offered with a more powerful motor, but with some bright retro colors and some sweet classic decals, hinting that the GS is something more than just another Falcon GT.
14 Chevrolet Impala SS
Originally conceived in “The Toy Box”, GM's Special Vehicle group builds unique one-offs to show the potential from within the company. The Impala SS was such a car, as it first appeared in the 1992 SEMA show.
Essentially starting life as a Police Caprice with an LT1 Corvette motor, the Impala entered full production for 2 years. With only 260hp and 330 lb-ft it may miss the mark, but for significantly less than half the price. You get a decent modern-day muscle car as well as an interesting piece of automotive history.
13 HSV GTSR
Just in case American Dodges aren't your thing, how about an HSV from Australia? As much as everyone who knows about the revamped GTSR wants the ZR1 powered W1, we'll have to settle for the normal GTSR to even come close to the price of a Hellcat. Another 4 grand nets you one of these cars. With 583 hp and 545 ft-lbs, it comes close to the Mopar's numbers, but in this case the numbers don't really matter.
These GTSR's don't just represent a previous trim level from the '90s, but also the end of an era for GM in the land down under, as HSV seized production in 2017, with the final car being a GTS-R W1.
12 HSV Clubsport R8 Tourer LSA
Another HSV, although this one is a special breed, the likes of which are not seen in America anymore since Cadillac. The HSV has always been offered in a wagon configuration but wasn't always offered with a supercharged V8 between its fenders.
The Tourer was originally offered for about $88,000 according to TheDrive.com, but now can be found on CarSales.com for around the same price as our Mopar option. If you need a little more room than a Charger could offer, this is one heck of an option.
11 Plymouth Savoy Max Wedge
Dodge isn't new at this overboard muscle car thing, they were throwing big motors into things before it became popular, albeit in very limited numbers. There are only about 512 Max Wedge MoPars out there, and it's fortunate for us to find one in such good condition offered for a relatively cheap $48,000 OBO.
The twin-quad 426ci motor sits snugly in between the wheel wells, a complete interior, and no special exterior modifications kept this car's sleeper factor up until the accelerator was hammered down and all 425 ponies were able to show off. With such conservative styling, it'll take a true muscle head to know not to test you or the family in this sizable classic.
10 Rambler Rebel V8
This is about as old and as obscure we're getting in this list. The Rambler was a product of the merger between Nash and Hudson, better known as AMC.
The compact Rambler had the powerful (at the time) 327 V8 crammed into it. The strange combination proved potent as the 0 to 60 times were only rivaled by the Corvette. For a seventh of the price, you not only have an early example of a muscle sedan, but also one heck of a conversation piece.
9 Plymouth Satellite Hemi
For almost the same price as a new Charger Hellcat, you could have this tank with its own special weapon that was comparatively competitive back in its day. You could have the Hemi in just about any MoPar in 1966, the mid-sized Satellite was a perfect match.
According to Car and Driver, it was “the best combination of brute performance and street manners we've ever driven.” I'd say that's enough for me to consider the classic Plymouth.
8 Buick Wildcat
Back to bargain land yachts, the Buick Wildcat may be the company's best-kept secret. Sharing the full-sized platform with the likes of the Chevy Impala, the Wildcat came with the legendary 455 big block.
According to Hagerty Vehicle Data Specialist Greg Ingold the Wildcat doesn't come up very often for sale, but when they do they rarely sell for more the $14,000. “...they might actually be the best deal for a higher-horsepower, full-sized car...” Whether or not you take his advice, the Buick is another unrecognized source of big muscle.
7 Pontiac G8 GXP
We talked about HSV's a few entries earlier, and the G8 GXP is not much more than a Holden Commodore. Offered for only a few years before Pontiac's eventual closing, the G8 GXP was the make's last muscle car.
The Corvette powered sedan pushed out a respectable 415 horsepower, but wait... the Corvette has an LS, meaning you have access to a huge tuning community that could easily give your car bucket loads of power for cheap. Someone has taken this route with their G8 GXP that was for sale for around $50,000. You got 400 more horsepower for about 3-quarters the price of a Hellcat.
6 Ford Galaxie R-Code
Chances are slim to get your kitty claws into one of these beauties. Only 48 are known to exist today, and the last time one was auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson, it sold for $44,000.
A rare classic that puts down over 400 horsepower, costing a mear $44k next to a brand new, very available, not so rare, $70,000 Hellcat Charger. I know which one I'd lean towards – nothing against Mopars – but the old blue oval has got them here.
5 Buick Roadmaster
For those who don't know why I'd put the '90s land barge on here, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Corvette Powered. No, I'm not kidding, the Roadmaster comes with a version of the Corvette's 5.7 LT motor.
For a fraction of the price, you can get a Corvette powered sedan or wagon. Sure, it only put down 260 hp, but with buying the Buick instead, you save a few extra thousand and have plenty of money to add some more oomph to that LT.
4 Mercury Marauder X100
Originally sold as a “personal luxury” car, offered among the likes of the Thunderbird, the Marauder was a two-door Marquis. Normally offered with a 390ci motor, for an extra $700 (About $5,000 today) you could order the top of the line X-100 trim, which came with the 429 big block.
The big motor wasn't the only thing that came with the car as it also had a bunch of little extras to give that sporty feel. The X100 may be a large car, but with a 0-60 time of 7.8 seconds. This land yacht is no slouch, and for as low as $10,000 for some examples, it's a great bargain for a forgotten muscle car.
3 Chevrolet SS
Perhaps more exclusive than the GXP mentioned earlier, the SS is the same model of Holden with Chevrolet badges on it this time. Offered more as a continuance to the Pontiac G8, the Chevrolet SS was short-lived, but also comes with some powerful numbers and a manual transmission.
For around $40,000, you can own one of these, and I would as the prices are bound to only get higher.
2 Chrysler New Yorker 440
The Chrysler New Yorker was only second in the line-up next to the Imperial. The ace in the New Yorker's pocket was how obscure it would become, causing prices to plummet next to the Imperial. For $10,000, that price doesn't only cover a smooth ride, but also a tire-melting 440 big block under the long hood.
The 440 may not put down the same power to the Charger, but for only a fraction of the cost, we'd be receiving more smiles per hour than a Hellcat would achieve in the time it takes to pay it off.
1 AMC Ambassador SST
When's the last time you've seen an AMC in a list about muscle cars? Not the AMX, but an Ambassador? Have you heard about the Ambassador? If so, well awesome, you know you're shtick. If not, read on.
The AMC Ambassador SST may be the least powerful car on this list, but that doesn't count it off of the muscle car list. An upgraded motor option gave you a 343 “Typhoon” V8 and rated at 315 horsepower. Not too great, but it can still spin some tire.
There is one set to be auctioned off really soon, so we'll see then what kind of price is to be expected from a pristine example. Until then, the $17,600 price from Barrett-Jackson will be what we go off of for the extremely rare, yet beautifully unknown oddball AMC that would get more attention at any American car show for simply being one of, if not the only one like it there.
References: Autowise, Motor Junkie.com, Drive.com.au