Rare muscle cars are extremely collectible. The rarer they are, the more a person is willing to pay to obtain one. Typically, these old American muscle cars need to be completely restored. They require new engines, transmissions, paint, etc. A very limited number of them have survived the test of time. These are the ones people pay the most for. Collectors will also pay a hefty sum of money for a restored car, but it must be very rare and the restoration job must be done extremely well.
Auction companies love when one of these rolls onto their block. Potential buyers go crazy over them. People will travel all across the world for the chance to buy it. Unfortunately, only one person will drive away in their new car. The rest of those potential buyers will more than likely leave with something else in order to make their trip worthwhile. Because these cars bring in some very fat wallets, the auction company makes more money on all the cars just because the one highly collectible model was available.
This list is all about muscle cars. There are some criteria a car must meet in order to be considered a "classic" muscle car, and therefore be included on this list. First the car must be equipped with a V-8 engine. It also must be made in America during the late 1960s or early 1970s. Most muscle cars have only two doors. Four door models are the subject of a long argument between muscle car fans; however all agree that two-door models are muscle cars. Lastly, they must have been production cars. This means they are not race cars. Someone could have actually gone to a dealership and bought one these. It does not matter if it was available on lots or if it had to be specially ordered from the manufactureer. It just has to a car that could be purchased by anyone.
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10 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 -- $825,000
A 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 was sold in a Gooding’s & Company auction in 2013 for $825,000. The L88 engine was only available in Corvettes from 1967 to 1969. They are incredibly rare and are the most highly sought after of all the Corvettes. Chevy only produced 116 of these in 1969. This particular L88 was completely un-restored from its original condition. At the time of the auction, it only had 20,000 miles on it. The car came with its original bill of sale and a statement of origin. It was named a Gold Survivor by Bloomington Gold, a company that specializes in Corvette auto shows.
9 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 -- $880,000
The second Corvette L88 on this list is the considerably rare 1968 model. Only 80 were made that year. Because of the lower production number, Corvette fans will pay a much higher price to get their hands on one of these. This one had 13,000 original miles on its L88 engine. It was actually purchased by the seller 13 years prior to putting it up on the block at a Barrette Jackson auto auction. He bought it specifically as a show car and had only driven it 20 miles since he bought it. The car came with its original bill of sale, tank sticker, window sticker, and all the original owner’s manuals. The buyer paid $880,000 for this Corvette.
8 T7. 1966 Shelby Cobra Roadster -- $1 Million
Any time a matching numbers Shelby goes up for sale everyone knows a great deal of money is about to exchange hands. This 1966 Shelby Cobra Roadster sold for $1,000,000 at a 2014 Mecum auto auction. This car was completely restored in 1991 to the exact specifications of Carroll Shelby’s Cobras. The odometer was even reset to zero as a symbol of the new life the car was about to begin. In 1993 it won Best in Show at the Carroll Shelby Awards. It has appeared in two issues of Shelby American magazine and its entire history is completely documented in the Shelby auto registry.
7 T7. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 -- $1 Million
The ZL1 engine was the finest of all the Chevy engines put into its classic muscle cars. It was based on the same design as the L88 engine, but was made entirely out of aluminum in order to reduce weight. Chevrolet believed these engines were too powerful for road cars. Because of this, they had to be specially ordered from dealerships. Only 69 Camaros were fitted with the ZL1 engine. Following 1969, the ZL1 engine was no longer produced, making these Camaros the most highly sought after of any of the car’s production years. One of these sold in a Mecum auto auction in 2013 for $1,000,000. Typically, these Camaros will cost only half of that price tag, but this one was a bit different. This one was completely restored to the factory specifications by Barry Burnstein. Burnstein was one of the original ZL1 engine builders at the Chevrolet plant in St. Louis, Missouri.
6 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 427 LS6 -- $1.15 Million
The Chevelle is one of the most sought after muscle cars by collectors. However, to those who specifically collect Chevelles, there has never been a finer one produced than the 1970 Chevelle SS 427 LS6. Only 20 Chevelles were ever made with a LS6 427 cubic inch engine. This one sold at a 2013 Mecum auto auction was professionally restored by Car Connection and had its matching numbers verified by the National Chevelle Owners’ Association. Its build sheet came with the car and was verified as the original by forensic analysis. This Chevelle was purchased for $1,150,000.
5 1967 Shelby GT500e Super Snake -- $1.3 Million
The 1967 Shelby GT500e Super Snake is a one of a kind car. Originally, the Shelby Company planned on producing 50 of these models. However, Carroll Shelby believed that due to its high production cost it would not sell. Instead, he would make it a special order option available on the GT500e. Not a single person ordered one. Prior to 1967, the Super Snake was only used as a race car. 1967 was the first year they became street legal. Because of this, this car was the first Super Snake, with the same engine the LeMans winning Shelby GT40 used, ever to be built into a Ford Mustang body. At a purchase price of $1,300,000, this is the most expensive Mustang ever sold. Typically, cars that are one of a kind are not considered muscle cars because they are not production cars. However, since a person could have ordered one of these at a dealership if they so pleased, it is technically classified as a production car despite the fact that only one was made.
4 1970 Hemi Cuda Convertible -- $2 Million
Eventually a Hemi Cuda had to find its way onto the list. The popularity of convertibles was at an all time low in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a result, only 14 Hemi Cuda convertibles were produced in 1970. Of those, only nine of them came with the Hemi specific 727 three-speed transmission. This particular Cuda has all matching numbers and its white paint over a red interior is authentic to its VIN number. In over forty years since it rolled off the assembly line, only 19,000 miles were put on it. It sold for $2,000,000 in a Russo and Steele auction in 2011.
3 1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible -- $2.2 Million
The 1971 Hemi Cuda convertibles are rarer than the 14 from the 1970 production year. Only 11 were made in 1971. This one sold for $2,200,000 in 2007 at a Barrette Jackson auto auction. This car does have one weakness though. Its engine is not the same one that was originally put in the car. However, it does have an original 427 cubic inch Hemi produced from 1971.
2 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 -- $3.2 Million
The 1967 Corvette L88s are the most highly sought after by Corvette fans. Only 20 were produced. This car sold at a Mecum auto auction in 2013 for $3,200,000. It was originally bought for racing purposes and completely destroyed. However, it retained its original body panels. It is believed that this is the only 1967 L88 to still have its original panels. It has since been completely restored. The restoration process used on this L88 has since been adopted by the National Corvette Restorers Society as the proper way to restore a classic Corvette.
1 1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible 4-Speed -- $3.5 Million
This particular 1971 Hemi Cuda convertible has earned the nickname as “The Holy Grail of Muscle Cars”. It is one of the 11 original Hemi Cuda convertibles. It is also one of the two Hemi Cudas that were fitted with a four-speed transmission and Hurst shifter in the factory. It is believed it is the only original four-speed Hemi Cuda that still exists. The other one still runs but doesn't have its original engine or transmission. This was purchased for $3,500,000 in a 2014 Mecum auto auction. It is the highest price ever paid for any muscle car and the highest price ever paid for any car produced by Chrysler.
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