By Dave Ashton
You only have to mention the term ‘muscle car’ to bring up visions of a large, monstrous vehicle that has power as a priority. While scouring the Internet thingy, there are plenty of lists showing the ‘best’ or the most expensive muscle cars out there. But which one claims the title as the most muscular muscle car?
Anybody with a passing acquaintance with bodybuilding will know the most muscular pose is just like the one shown in our header image. The gentleman in question is multiple Mr. Olympia winner Phil Heath throwing the pose made famous by Lou Ferrigno in the Hulk TV series. What Mr. Heath is actually showing is how muscle cars look all the time. Constant flexing of all sinews, in all areas, so the judges don’t deduct any points.
But a muscle car isn’t just about the exterior appearance. It also has to have gargantuan power under the hood. Still using the bodybuilding analogy, those guys are highly optimized for their chosen niche event, but they still have the strength and power like any top-line athlete. Therefore, our highly subjective view of which is the most muscular muscle car is evaluated on looks, performance, and if all those muscles are in perfect symmetry. Once the winner is announced, they can quit their diet and eat as much cake as possible.
1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
Mr. Carroll Shelby certainly produced some potent muscle machines in his time. From looks alone, the Shelby Cobra looks like one huge muscle, with a powerplant and traction to scare the most experienced driver. The 427cu. or 7L V8 features two Paxton superchargers, pumping out twice as much power as a regular 427cu. at 800bhp.
Unfortunately, if this is your ultimate muscle machine, then you’ll have to part with at least $5.5 million to own one.
1970 Buick GSX Stage 2
In music, culture, or industry, there are certain years where all the stars seem to align. 1970 was one of those years for muscle cars.
Both the 1970 Buick Stage 1 or 2 could have been dropped in this spot. The car’s design was typical of its time. ‘Huge’ is the operative word in all areas, featuring a 455cu. V8 engine, 11.0:1 compression, 500BHP, and an equal amount of torque. All that power was good for a 5.5 second 0 to 60 time and a 13.38 second quarter-mile.
The design is not just muscular-looking but also sharp. Other notable mentions from the Buick camp which could have got the most muscular award are the GNX and Grand National. Yes, the eighties did produce some muscle cars….
1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda
Like most muscle cars that started their life in the mid-sixties, the Plymouth Barracuda started out looking quite sedate. By 1970 The Plymouth Barracuda had morphed into a full-blown muscle machine. The topline 426cu./7L V8 engine produced 420hp and 490 lb. feet of torque. This was translated to a 0 to 60 time of 5.8 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 14 seconds.
As well as having muscular looks, the ‘Cuda could handle corners better than most of its day. This was due to the added torsion bars, Sure-grip rear differential, and the option of power front disc brakes.
Just like the Cobra above, if you want a convertible 71 ‘Cuda then you had better have a few spare million in your bank accounts.
1970 Chevelle SS 454
The second-generation Chevrolet Chevelle started in 1968. By 1970, the Chevelle design had morphed into a definitive muscle car shape. While the Plymouth Road Runner and Cuda seemed longer and flatter, the Chevelle looked muscular and bulbous in all areas. The power was equally impressive from the 454cu./7L V8 producing up to 450hp.
In other words, the Chevelle SS had the power and the looks to perfectly sum up the times. If it wasn’t for the modern examples, the Chevelle SS 454 would easily win the contest.
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody
Ever since Dodge decided to make widebody versions of the Charger and Challenger, the muscle car tag has never been more firmly fixed. Instead of everybody buying and fitting huge aftermarket wheel arches, Dodge decided to fit them as standard. An extra-wide Dodge Charger was the finishing touch the model needed. The extra-wide wheel arches completed the muscular look with the power to back it up.
The Charger SRT hellcat widebody has 707HP and 650 feet of torque, which can be laid down in a four-second 0-60mph time.
Dodge Challenger Demon
The Dodge Challenger Demon is exactly what a modern muscle car should be. Displaying huge deltoid muscles, and power to destroy a set of tires in an instant. The Demon was debuted in 2017, with an over-the-top 6.2 L V8 engine, 2.7 L supercharger, and power rated at 808HP and 770lb. ft. of torque. All that power equated to a 0-60mph time of 2.3 seconds.
The Demon also came with a bunch of ‘you have to read it twice to believe’ stats. The Demon could pull 1.8G’s on the dragstrip, and pop a wheelie on takeoff. The car also had some unique features such as the air-con. system used to pre-chill the intercooler.
With only 3,300 Challenger Demons ever made, they were soon snapped up. But the Demon’s influence carries on to the current Dodge lineup, for example, the Super Stock and latest Hellcat models.
Therefore, being the latest and greatest, and the most powerful production muscle car, makes the Demon the strongest contender. From looks alone, you could swing the vote to any of the current Challenger models. But the Demon is now also a modern classic that is bound to be talked about for decades to come.
When picking the most muscular muscle car, it was a hard choice between the old and the new. There are so many to choose from concerning the golden era of muscle cars. But we couldn’t help but think that the Dodge Demon summed up everything perfectly for what a modern muscle car should be. Heaps of power and performance, looks, and a constant nod to the past.
For each car we have listed above, there are clearly many more examples that could fit the bill. This is especially true from the golden age of muscle cars, where there was no replacement for displacement and bigger was always better.
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