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What’s the Next Big Thing for American Muscle

Emre Buğra Çetin
February 08, 2023
American muscle cars have always been some of the most exciting cars on the planet. Whenever you hear a burly V8 out in the distance and feel the road shaking, you know there’s an American muscle car around the corner somewhere. But it wasn’t always like this. As most of you know, the US was hit with a big oil crisis in 1973, and it started a little something called the “Malaise Era.” The malaise era was a dark time to be a gearhead, and most of the huge nameplates were discontinued. Even though Ford was producing the Mustang and Chevrolet had the Camaro going, they were a far cry from the screaming monsters American muscle fans were accustomed to. Even after the oil crisis’ effects were gone, it had scarred the American automobile manufacturers for life, or so it seemed. 

That changed when Ford introduced the 5th Generation Mustang to the market in 2005. It was a mean machine that had a furious scream. Most importantly, it looked like a muscle car.  It was the big American muscle we had all been waiting for. The muscle cars soon followed, and now it is a great time to be a fan. However, things change quickly in the automobile industry, and legendary nameplates like Challenger and Camaro will soon be discontinued. But what will the future be like, what will be the next big thing in American Muscle, and which cars will soon be collector pieces? Let’s answer those questions!

What Does the Future Look Like for American Muscle

In every sense of the word, the future looks electric for muscle cars. Dodge is discontinuing its muscle car, Challenger, and the pony car, the Charger, to make way for its e-Muscle cars this year. Camaro will be gone in 2024 and is expected to be replaced by an “electric-powered performance car.” 

Dodge Challenger Daytona e-muscle car

Why Dodge and Chevrolet are Making Electric Muscle Cars?

The decision to make an electric muscle car is understandable. But we weren’t expecting the first ones to pull the trigger would be Dodge and Chevrolet. Most automotive enthusiasts thought that a small startup would be the first to launch an all-electric electric car, but we digress. 

It makes a lot of sense to build an electric muscle car. First and foremost, electric cars are scary quick. They accelerate like an arrow and hug the road because of their heavy battery packs in the middle of the car. These battery packs are also installed under the carpets, which means the center of gravity is lower, further improving the handling. So, no. We don’t think the performance would be an issue for muscle car fans. 

Also, government regulations are a thing, and you can’t build a big hunk of a car just because you feel like it. The new CAFE regulations will hurt pretty much everybody, and the regulations will hit Dodge harder than most because Dodge is the designated performance division of Stellantis. Also, the US is preparing to ban the production of ICE cars in not too distant future, and Dodge will need a halo car that can bring the masses to the dealerships. 

Things are different for Chevrolet. While they will make a Corvette when they need a halo car, they will probably make a couple of electric muscle cars to hone their skills in creating a fun-to-drive performance car. 


Should You Be Scared of Electric Muscle Cars?

Whether you like them or not, there’s no denying that electric cars are the future. However, there are some fundamental things that a muscle car fan will miss. The first thing they’ll miss will be the gasoline. While it is true that gasoline is not the most environmentally-friendly thing, it is the norm, and the whole infrastructure is built for gasoline. Now, muscle cars are not very fuel-efficient, but you can fill them up regularly and quickly. One quick trip to the gas station for a quick top-up takes around a minute, and you are ready for more fun. Finding charging stations is inconvenient, and you must plan your route and stick to it before hitting the road. Even if you do all that, you need to wait around quite a bit for your car to charge, which is not ideal. 

 Also, having no gasoline means there will be no V8 engines, which is pretty sad. V8 engines are big, powerful motors, and they are fundamental to muscle cars. Electric cars don’t have an ICE at all, so there will be no exhaust sound. While these vehicles can sound attractive, they won’t be anything like you are used to now. For example, just take the 5.2 Voodoo engine from the Ford Mustang, a high-revving V8, and compare it to the Dodge’s “Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust system,” and you will see that, yeah, we will miss V8 engines.  

You see, when you are near a muscle car, you will feel it in your body. You probably remember very vividly hearing a Hellcat for the first time.  However, when you are near that “Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust system” of the Dodge Charger Daytona, which is just a speaker strapped to an exhaust-shaped tube, you just want to move your feet because it sounds like a vacuum cleaner.   

Now, you don’t need to be too scared because things will improve, and manufacturers will find a way to excite you with unique sounds. However, you might want to hold onto your gasoline-powered muscle car in the meantime because there won’t be anything like them for a long time, especially if you have what we call future classics. 


What Will Be The Next Future Classic?

This might feel controversial, but we live in the true golden age of American muscle cars. While, yes, we don’t have some legendary marques like Oldsmobile, Pontiac, AMC, and the nameplates like Superbee are long gone, we have much better cars in this day and age. You don’t have to agree, but you have to hear us out. 

Most automobile historians and gearheads agree that the most potent “stock” classic muscle car is the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It made 430 horsepower and hit 0 to 60 in 5.3 seconds, which is impressive for its time. For comparison, the 2023 Chevrolet Camaro 1LS, the most spartan of all the Camaros, has a measly 275 horsepower from its 2.0-liter four-pot. However, it can hit 0-60 in 5.4 seconds. 

We live in an age where muscle cars are more advanced than ever, and they benefit from every technology under the sun. From traction control to active aerodynamics, modern muscle cars have better handling, much better driving characteristics, more powerful engines, and some great designs. So, if you can get your hands on one, hold onto it for dear life because it will become the next big thing. Especially if you already have or can buy one of the following cars. 

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Exclusive to the 2018 model year, Dodge Challenger Demon is not one hell of a Muscle car; it is the demon itself. It has the power of the mighty 6.2-liter Hemi V6 under the hood with some amazing wizardry to make it produce 808 horsepower, 840 if you fill it with race fuel. Remove passenger seats and other creature comforts, and you have a car that can achieve a sub-10-second quarter mile. 

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon on the road

This tire-eating monster is one of the best production muscle cars of all time. It is also quite rare. Dodge only produced 3500 SRT Demons, and they weren’t too cheap. If you have one with its $1 “Demoncrate” intact, you should take very good care of your car because it is bound to be a big classic!

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT® Hellcat

Automobile journalists used almost all superlatives to describe the SRT Hellcat, and it is for a good reason. Hellcat is one of the most exciting products that came from Detroit since, well, forever! Equipped with a 6.2-liter Hemi engine with a shrieking supercharger, the least powerful SRT Hellcat makes 717 horsepower and climbs all the way to 807 horsepower with trims like Super Stock and Jailbreak. 

A green Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat on road

No matter which one you get, though, the 2023 Challenger SRT Hellcats are bound to increase in price for one simple fact, it is their final year. That’s it. There will be no more gasoline-powered Mopar muscle car, which is a big deal. If you want a Hellcat in your life but delaying it, this might be your final chance to get one at a reasonable-ish price. 

Chevrolet Camaro Yenko SC

If you are unfamiliar with Yenko Camaros, you are in for a treat. Now, if you thought that the ZL/1 is the most powerful Camaro you can get, you are half right. However, some dealers had access to the COPO program and knew how to build a crazy Camaro. However, that was in the past. Now Specialty Vehicle Engineering will care for your Yenko/SC needs. 

A Chevrolet Camaro Yenko/SC on the race track

If you want a Yenko SC in your life, you must visit a Chevrolet dealer and ask for one. Not so fast, though, because even though Yenko Camaros range from 750 to 1150 horsepower, they run out as fast as they go because SVE only makes 50 of each of them. If you can get your hands on one, take real good care of it because it will be a hot commodity.  

2023 Dodge Charger SRT® Hellcat Redeye

Dodge’s pony Charger also got SRT Hellcat treatment, the same 6.2-liter Hemi with a supercharger, the same engine, and power options from 717 horsepower to 807 horsepower. Sadly, it also got the same end-of-production date, so 2023 is the last year for this four-door muscle car. 

A Charger Hellcat Redeye in an airport

While the Charger nameplate will live on with Charger Daytona e-muscle car, we all know it won’t even hold a candle to the real deal. While we mention the SRT Hellcat in this list, if you have any gasoline Charger with V8 engines, take good care of them because you won’t be able to replace them anytime soon. 

Dodge RAM SRT-10

Dodge RAM SRT-10 is the real deal. It is one of the last examples of true muscle trucks, and it was fantastic. Powered by an 8.3-liter V10, the same one found in the Viper, RAM SRT-10 could talk the talk and walk the walk better than almost anything out there. 

 A red Dodge RAM SRT-10

Dodge RAM SRT-10 is a true modern classic in the making. The prices are not skyrocketing, so if you want a V10 truck with all the power, you better act quickly and get one in your collection. 

Ford Mustang Bullit

Ford Mustang Bullit needs no introduction. It is an updated version of the original Bullit. It has the coveted 5.0-liter Coyote V8 under the hood with 480 horsepower. Apart from the Coyote, Bullit has its name going for it. 

A Ford Mustang Bullit in front of a beautiful landscape

As a movie special and a significant part of Ford Mustang’s history, Original Bullit is highly sought after. We are unsure if this Bullit lives up to its predecessors’ name, but it will surely climb up in value. 

Shelby Mustangs

If you are a Ford guy, Shelby is a synonym for performance. Carroll Shelby’s performance shop returned home after a long time in 2007, and starting from the S197 GT500, Shelby Mustangs redefined the performance for American muscle fans.

A Shelby Mustang 50th Anniversary edition

Any Mustang that carries the last name of Carroll Shelby is worthy of attention, and later-model Mustangs are no different. Any GT350R, GT500, and special editions such as GT500KR and GT-H will surely appreciate in value, so hold on to your snakes. 

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

There’s usually a pretty significant difference between a muscle car and a supercar. Somehow Chevrolet seems to forget that when they make the ZL1 Camaro. Add a 1LE to the name, and you get a bonafide supercar slayer. 

A Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on a race track

Now, a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine is bound to produce a lot of horsepower. So, the 650 horsepower figure is not a surprise, but the Camaro has unexpectedly good handling for a muscle car, or any car for that matter. Plus, Camaro is preparing to say goodbye, so if you have an SS or a ZL1 1LE, hold on to that beast. 

THE EXORCIST

Muscle car names were much more naive back in the day. You got cars like Dodge Superbee, Plymouth Superbird, and Buick Skylark. Nowadays, we have Demons and Hellcats. When there is hellspawn roaming around, there has to be an Exorcist, and what an exorcist it is!

A Chevrolet Camaro Yenko/SC

As the name implies, Hennessey built the Exorcist to be a direct competitor against the Dodge Demon. It is built upon the above-mentioned Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and it is bound to be powerful. How much power does it have? Well, we are glad you asked because it has 1000 horsepower. Now that’s something you want to hold onto if you have one! 

Dodge Magnum SRT-8

Dodge Magnum SRT-8 was one of the best station wagons ever produced. It is also the best modern muscle wagon. This is interesting because Americans don’t really like their wagons. But you can’t hear us complaining about it. 

Dodge Magnum SRT-8

Well, it is hard to complain when you have 425 horsepower under your right foot. If you are a car enthusiast with a big family, you can’t get a better modern-ish car than a Dodge Magnum SRT-8 for the price. Get it while you can because its price will climb up for sure. 

Improve the Performance of your American Muscle Car with Pedal Commander.

American Muscle cars are fantastic. We truly are in their golden age, but we all miss the throttle cables.  While you can buy a cable-driven throttle body, get a throttle cable, and pay somebody to install it, it is a hassle. Just flagging down the parts and shipping will take a long time, and it will cost a pretty penny to pay somebody to install it. However, there’s another way of getting that sweet throttle response: Pedal Commander. 

Pedal Commander will transform your vehicle’s throttle response! With four modes and 36 presets, you’ll find the perfect throttle response for your muscle car in no time! Whether you need a slower throttle response for your kids, a valet mode, or just want a quicker throttle response, Pedal Commander is the perfect solution for you. Install it in under 15 minutes, and you will be off to the races. It won’t ruin your warranty or cause any damage. You don’t need to worry about whether you like it or not. Try it now with our 30-day money-back guarantee! With more than 10.000 5-star reviews, Pedal Commander will make you fall in love with your car once more! 

What’s the Next Big Thing for American Muscle