It happens all the time. You see a perfectly restored muscle car from Detroit’s golden age and you start to drool. Then you find out it went for $68,000 at auction. For that type of money, you could buy a brand-new Camaro ZL1 or the 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and have plenty left over. But that wasn’t the point. Finding a classic was the idea. If only the nice ones were affordable.
Actually, the muscle car boom — which lasted roughly from 1965 to ’75 — left behind scores of treasures for enthusiasts. Without an intense search, you can find examples of the era’s best nameplates for less than Toyota charges to drive a new Corolla off the lot. You don’t have to be a wizard with a wrench, either, though it would help in the long run.
To make our point, we picked out 10 vintage rides that had multiple listings around $15,000 or less, and we did not include auctions. Here are 10 classic muscle cars almost anyone can afford.
1968 Mercury Cougar
As the gentleman’s muscle car, Mercury Cougar served as the upscale alternative to Mustang. It was a few inches longer, featured a better finish, and showcased a distinctive grille that hasn’t lost any bite after all these years. At press time, buyers could drive home a gorgeous 1968 model in red from Northern California for $13,000. There are many other deals like this one out there. Though the Cougar bested the Ford icon in some respects, it was never as popular, and its affordable prices reflect it.