Although displacements in modern muscle cars’ engines have gone south compared to those from sixties and early seventies, some of them still pack a heavy punch. The problem is to determine which of the modern cars is eligible to qualify for the muscle car moniker. Things were much simpler back in the day when a car only needed a sturdy 300 plus horsepower V8 in order to be considered a fastest muscle car. Today, it’s more about turbocharging, and even supercharging, but the principle remains, more or less, the same. Modern muscles still pack plenty of heat under their hoods, and they’re still some of the most coveted cars around – to the right people, that is.
While compiling this list, we have decided to include only muscle cars featuring V8 engines. After all, that was one of the first rules in determining whether a car is a muscle or not. This means that the likes of the Dodge Viper (V10) and even the Ford Taurus SHO or the Nissan GT-R (V6) won’t make an appearance here. Furthermore, by fastest, we mean their respective acceleration and top speed combination; not their net horsepower. Finally, we have decided to limit the term “modern” to the last few model years. That means only the newest muscle cars (those you can actually buy with 0 miles on their odometers) will make it here.
And to make matters more interesting, we’re also going to list some of the greatest muscles cars of all time underneath. Those beautiful machines that we lust after – but did you know, most of them are as slow as, in comparison to modern cars…
Top 10 Fastest Modern Muscle Cars!
10. Dodge Challenger SRT 392
As you’re about to find out (if you didn’t know already), Dodge’s dynamic duos comprised of various Challengers and Chargers are pretty much the same when it comes to performance. They are fitted with exactly the same powertrains, and only their size makes the difference. That said, the Challenger SRT 392 is slightly faster than its Charger counterpart with max top speed of 182 mph (compared to 175 mph). 0 to 60 time comes to around 4.5 seconds, but we feel that 6.4L V8 with 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque should definitely fare better than that. Still, it’s one of the fastest muscle cars around!
9. Chevrolet Camaro SS
Brace yourselves, for the trio of Chevrolet Camaros are coming! Sixth generation, 2018 year models are still rather fresh, hence the SS is still the flagship model for now. Not counting the iconic ZL1, of course. It’s a much better performer than outgoing SS models, though, which is evident by its top speed of 165 mph and 0 to 60 time of 3.9 seconds. Well, 6.2L V8 LS3 tends to offer that kind of figures – especially thanks to updated power ratings which now amount to 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque.
8. Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Z/28 is definitely one of the most coveted of all the Camaros, but its hefty price tag presents a huge obstacle for most people. Although available since the first generation, this iconic track Camaro is currently unavailable in the sixth. You can still get it as 2015 year model, and it’s as entertaining as it ever was. If top speed of 190 mph, 0 to 60 time of 4 seconds, 505 horses and 481 pound-feet of torque aren’t exhilarating enough, then I don’t know what is?!
7. Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R
While the Shelby GT500 lies dormant hibernating, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 R is the one currently reigning over Mustang’s famous lineup. Thanks to its 5.2L flat-plane crank V8, latest of the Shelby’s puts up 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. Top speed of 175 mph doesn’t say a lot about it, but 3.7 seconds it needs to reach 60 mph certainly do. The Ford GT350R is, however, much more than a tire-burning Shelby. It’s now stable and tight around corners thanks to improved handling dynamics. You can get yourself one for just north of $63,000, while it’s slightly slower R-less sibling can be had for just shy of $50,000.
6. Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
The mighty Dodge Challenger SRT Demon hit us like a lightning bolt when its details were first disclosed in 2017. A maximum of 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet of twist were already mind-blowing to begin with. But Demon’s 0 to 60 and quarter mile times were even more staggering. Mopar’s most powerful production car ever accelerates to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds while eating quarter-miles in high nines. 6.2L supercharged SRT Demon powerplant wasn’t tuned for high speeds, though. The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon “only” makes it to 168 mph.
5. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
The ZL1 is slightly more affordable than the Z/28, but it packs even more heat. New 2018 year models feature 6.2L supercharged V8 powerplants capable of putting up no less than 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. This is good enough for the top speed of 190 mph and 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds time. Even its 2015 model year predecessor the ZL1 was worthy of this list, but sometimes you simply have to move on. Outgoing models made 580 horsepower and almost 100 lb-ft of torque less than the ZL1 1LE. This one is the fastest Camaro going.
4. Cadillac CTS-V
Unlike the aforementioned ponies, Cadillac’s nominee for this 10 fastest muscle cars list is a 4-door sedan. This doesn’t mean it’s any less entertaining, though. To the contrary. The Caddy now packs a 6.2L supercharged V8 with no less than 640 horses and 630 pound-feet of torque. The same mill motivating the aforementioned Camaro ZL1 1LE. With all that power going to its rear wheels, CTS-V is capable of hitting 60 mph from standstill in 3.6 seconds, and maxing out at 200 mph. Not bad for a luxury 4-door sedan.
3. Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Speaking of 4-door sedans, here’s the fastest one alive – sort of. Dodge has really done a great job with the SRT Hellcat engine which graces their pony Challenger as well. This supercharged HEMI 6.2-liter V8 engine yields incredible 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Thanks to these figures, Hellcat-fitted Charger is capable of hitting 204 mph and accelerating to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds according to Car & Driver’s test.
2. Equus Bass 770
Where to even begin with this one? If you’re looking for the ultimate retro muscle car, the Equus Bass is the way to go – if you have $250,000 to spare, that is. This custom-built luxury muscle car features design cues from the Mustangs (even the modern Ford Mustang Boss), Camaros, Barracudas, GTO’s, Challengers, Chargers, and many other nameplates of old. It also packs some major heat since GM’s 6.4L V8 LS9 helps it raise 640 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque. This should be enough for the top speed of 200 mph and 0 to 60 time of 3.4 seconds.
1. Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
And, here’s the unofficial winner of fastest modern muscle car competition. Like the SRT Hellcat Charger – the Dodge Challenger Hellcat too packs 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque thanks to a supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 engine. Top speed is estimated at 199 mph, while 0 to 60 time is close to the 3 second mark. Some sources state 3.4 seconds, but with the Challenger being slightly lighter than the Charger, we bet it’s pacier as well. Throw in the SCAT pack and your’re cooking on heat.
Update January 5, 2018:
The following have been surpassed by newer models. Original text and ranking position remain for comparison’s purposes.
10. Mustang GT Fastback
You just know the rest of the cars on this list are going to be fast and furious if the Mustang GT is the one that starts it. 5.0L naturally aspirated V8 is capable enough of delivering 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. That said, the fastest non-Shelby Mustang is capable of hitting 60 mph from standstill in 4.3 seconds, but its top speed is, sadly, governor limited to 155 mph.
10 Classic Muscle Cars a Minivan Would Beat
You wouldn’t even need the fastest minivan to beat these old muscle car classics on the drag strip. Still we love the old classics on this muscle car list, but they’re actually a lot slower than you’d think. What used to be the fastest American muscle, like the Pontiac Firebird, the Plymouth Road Runner, and HEMI Cuda, don’t measure up to modern cars that well at all.
It’s pointless mentioning this really, but I’ll do it anyway – golden era of American muscle cars is long behind us. Today we have only a handful of choices, and they’re mostly pony cars. However, modern muscle doesn’t allow surprises even in 4-cylinder form. Being beaten by a minivan is what we consider a surprise, and a number of the fastest muscle cars back in the day would have allowed just that. While all of them featured some variation of pure American 8-cylinder action, or 6-cylinder at worst – they still can’t compare with modern cars 40 or even 50 years younger. Times have changed – simple as that, and with them characteristics and specs of all cars; not just muscle cars.
This is why we’re resorting to this awkward comparison of 0 to 60 times between classic muscle cars and modern minivans. Our aces for the day are Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna, all of which are well capable of hitting 60 miles per hour from standstill in under or around 7.5 seconds. I know these are some of the fastest minivans out there, and that we could have picked much slower options. Of course, we could have picked 2007 Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG which hits 60 mph in 4.5 seconds but that wouldn’t be fair towards most supercars, let alone muscle cars. Before we begin, let’s clarify one more thing:
Some of listed muscle cars were fitted with smallest possible options when it comes to powertrain, but they still existed and counted as muscle cars. However, every single one of them came with a capable V8 under its hood, so it’s not like we intentionally searched for 6-cylinders out there. What was car of the year back then, isn’t as potent as an average car these days. You can check how your favorite muscle car stands here and here – if it’s not already among these 10 handpicked models, of course. Finally, if you want to see how classic American muscle compares to this trio of eastern minivans, continue reading to start the countdown.
10. 1970 Ford Torino GT
0 to 60: 8.1 seconds
1970 is the first year of the Torino’s dominance over the Fairlane. The Ford Torino came in no less than 13 versions for model year ’70 – one of which was the GT. The Torino GT 351 ci 5.8L V8 mill putting up 300 horses flat, but even that wouldn’t be enough to beat modern-day minivans. Incidentally, they would have had similar quarter mile time as well.
9. 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator
0 to 60: 7.6 seconds
I’ll be perfectly honest with you – we’ve chosen this one for its name mostly. That and it’s rather slow acceleration. I mean, how can something called Cougar Eliminator be slower than a minivan? It’s only a tad bit slower, but slower nevertheless. Our Cougar Eliminator had 302 ci 4.9L Windsor V8 with slightly below-par 290 horses. Maybe that’s why it was slightly slower as well.
8. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396
0 to 60: 8.1 seconds
The Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 used to pack 350 horses back in 1970 thanks to its 6.5L big-block V8, but that still wasn’t enough to make it fast enough. Even SS454 versions would have fallen prey to modern minivans in certain situation. I know most people (myself included) simply love the Chevelle, so I’ll just move on to the next car now.
7. 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS454
0 to 60: 7.7 seconds
You’re probably noticing a pattern of ’70 models here. Well, it was the first year for Monte Carlo back in the day, and even though SS454 version came with humongous 7.44L Turbo-Jet V8 mill putting up 360 horsepower, Monte Carlo still wasn’t fast enough. It’s mostly due to its heavy full-size frame, but it’s still slower than Sienna, Sedona or Odyssey alike.
6. 1968 Plymouth Barracuda 340-S
0 to 60: 8.1 seconds
Although the same car with 3-speed automatic was able to hit 60 in 7 seconds flat, 4-speed manual counterpart needed a full second more. Or at least that’s what people from Motor Trend wanted us to believe back in the day. In any case, vintage ’68 Cuda generated 275 horsepower thanks to the 5.6L Chrysler LA V8 engine.
5. 1967 Plymouth Fury
0 to 60: 9.6 seconds
Sticking with Plymouths – ’67 383 ci 2-barrel Fury model was one of the slowest muscle cars with such a large engine (6.28L V8).This coupe had around 325 horses, 3-speed automatic transmission and a top speed of only 118 mph. That, and 0 to 60 time of close to 10 seconds.
4. 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1
0 to 60: 8.2 seconds
Wondered where Mustangs were all this time? Here’s one. 1970 Mustang Mach 1 tested by Motor Trend had the smallest available engine that came with Mach 1 package, but it still was a Mach. 351 ci 5.8L V8 developed around 300 horses which is not a figure to be trifled with, but still insufficient to topple modern minivan’s 0 to 60 times.
3. 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS/RS
0 to 60: 7.8 seconds
It wouldn’t have been fair listing Mustang and omitting to mention Camaro. There were slower models than this one, but ’68 Camaro SS/RS packed some serious power under its hood. That’s why we’ve selected it for this list of not exactly the most boastful of features. It’s 396 ci 6.5L V8 generated as much as 325 ponies, but it still wouldn’t be enough against Japanese or Korean V8 minivans of the day.
2. 1970 Dodge Charger 500
0 to 60: 8.1 seconds
B-Body Chargers have gone through four more or less successful generations. Our Dodge Charger 500 had a 383 ci 6.3L 2-barrel V8 engine, hence its lack of power and speed. Its 300 horses were enough for low 8-second region when it comes to acceleration. Yet again, not enough to beat trio of far eastern minivans.
1. 1967 Corvette Convertible
0 to 60: 7.8 seconds
Even Corvette had its ups and downs over the years. While early sixties models were even slower, this ’67 version rated by Car and Driver had 327 ci small-block V8 which was capable of putting up around 300 horsepower. What it wasn’t capable, though, was beating 7.5 seconds 0 to 60 time we’ve set up as a limit here. If you want a Corvette with speed, try a modern Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 instead!