The Chevrolet El Camino commands a high price tag, and some would lead you to believe that it is well worth it. Unfortunately, the El Camino was always sort of a novelty car instead of an actual classic muscle car. A lot of its underpinnings are shared with other GM muscle cars but the basic design is still very limiting.
You are greeted by a three-seater vehicle with a long truck bed and a very low ground clearance. In real-world applications, there isn’t a lot that you can do with the El Camino other than parade it around town. The El Camino just doesn’t stand out from the crowd for anything other than its weird design.
Where do we start with the Mustang? It was the car that started the entire pony car segment. The original Mustang was compact, fast, and offered great styling. But the Mustang is simply vastly overpriced right now, and part of that is because of the current classic muscle car bubble. Prices are going crazy across the board, and the original Mustang, while a classic muscle car, is not worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The car had a lot of reliability issues and early examples of the car are often in bad shape. Body rusting is also a very common issue that tends to affect the first-generation Mustang as well. If you can find one for a reasonable price, which is hard to do, the first-generation Mustang is a steal. Otherwise steer clear of this one.
The second-generation Firebird was inhibited by a painfully slow powerplant due to the new emissions laws taking place. This example of the Firebird was by far the slowest generation of the GM F-Body that was ever made. Aside from that, the prices for these lowly cars have gone off the rails, and unless you’re Burt Reynolds, it’s just not worth it.
That’s not to say that the second-generation Firebird or Camaro are bad classic muscle cars, but they aren’t worth the current prices. Pony cars have evolved a lot over the decades and the middle of the 1970s was a hard time for all domestic automakers.
Chrysler, to their credit, has come to the table with a lot of unique classic muscle cars over the years. But the Dart, not so much. The Dart was a unique car that was designed to sort of alleviate the oncoming threat of foreign compact cars. The styling was ho-hum at best and the car failed to deliver any real performance.
Nevertheless, because of the current classic muscle car bubble, the prices for these cars have gone through the roof. The Dart was a popular model for Dodge because there were a variety of different trim levels to choose from, but as far as a classic, there are much better options to choose from.
The problem with the Impala isn’t that it is a worthless classic car. The problem is that pop culture has blown the pricing way out of proportion. The Impala, by nature, is a big and burly car that offered a lot of personalities. But when you factor in the countless appearances in hip hop music videos, car shows, and more, the prices are out of control.
You can’t find an Impala for a reasonable price, and if you do it’s probably going to be a rolling chassis. The Impala is perhaps one of the most grossly inflated classic cars for the simple fact that it’s so well-known.
Another car that has been the victim of an inflated classic car market is the Oldsmobile Cutlass. No matter which generation of the car you look at, the prices are almost obscene. The 1968-72 models are especially a victim of this because of a close relationship to the Chevy Chevelle. The Cutlass was a fast muscle car out of the gate, and it offered a great number of standard luxury features as well.
But that doesn’t mean that the price is worth hundreds of thousands, and these vehicles are getting more expensive with every passing auction. The Cutlass is a great muscle car but when it comes right down to it the value is vastly inflated.
Another example of GM trying to downsize in the 1970s was the Chevrolet Nova. The Nova had a lot going for it in the sense that it was primarily designed to compete with the imports. At the time, a smaller-sized domestic vehicle was an important thing and GM knew that. But the car isn’t a true classic or even instrumental in any respect.
Which begs the question, why are the prices so high for these? A Nova SS could easily set you back $15,000 and that would be in decent shape. A fully restored or decked-out model will set you back even more and the design of the car just doesn’t justify that high of a price tag.
Nowadays, the Marauder is one of the most highly sought-after muscle cars on the road. The earlier models have just been plagued by the same thing that most classic cars have, and that’s the bubble. These cars are going for 10 times what they are worth, and the Marauder is no exception.
The Marauder was a good car in a lot of aspects, but it’s no pristine muscle car for sure. You have to do a lot of work to get the Marauder where you want it. The name-brand recognition of the Marauder just isn’t there so the high prices are not justified.
The second generation of the Monte Carlo had trouble justifying the price tag when it was new, much less 40 years later. The 1973 model was a huge departure from the Chevelle-influenced car that came before it. How much changed you asked? Well, the body paneling looked like a stretched version of the previous generation.
Aside from that, the performance was vastly underpowered due to all of the new emissions laws. Like with most cars from this era the automakers were just starting to adapt to all of these changes and it didn’t end well for the consumer.
This is a nameplate that you don’t see very often. But just because you don’t see it that doesn’t mean that it is worth thousands of dollars. The Polara was produced in a convertible, coupe, or even a station wagon. The performance of the car is very lackluster, which is why you generally don’t hear about these.
The Polara has been the victim of the same type of price gouging that the rest of the automotive industry is under. However, this is not a classic car that’s worth thousands of dollars, and it’s only geared toward certain collectors.
The Ranchero is that one car that you remember seeing as a kid but it probably never resonated with you like other classic cars. This car was Ford’s answer to the El Camino, but the problem is that the El Camino was an oddball car itself. The prices for a used Ranchero have become sort of astronomical, and they only seem to be getting worse.
The Ranchero was a lot less popular than the El Camino, hence why Ford never revived the nameplate. So if you are going to plunk down thousands of dollars for this car you are going to be making a mistake because the Ranchero just isn’t worth it.
The Galaxie is a nameplate that deserves some recognition. After all, it was one of the most popular Ford models of all time. But popularity doesn’t translate to rarity and the Ford Galaxie isn’t exactly a car that should command hundreds of thousands of dollars. The high price tag for a restored Galaxie can be a tough pill to swallow.
Especially when you factor in just how cheap the car was when it was new. Coupled with the fact that the Galaxy isn’t exactly the most well-known muscle car, and you can see why plunking down a ton of money on one of these is a problem.
Plymouth is a brand that never had much of its personality, the cars have always managed to be rebadged Chrysler models. But the Fury was one Plymouth model that caught on with consumers and did it well. The car was well-appointed for the price and had several unique aspects that made it unique.
Paying several tens of thousands of dollars for one might be a bit of a mistake though, as there are much better options to choose from. The Fury didn’t bring anything to the table in terms of groundbreaking performance and the styling is just like the rest of the cars from this era.
Buick also had its fair share of successes with the muscle car market, and the Riviera is one of those well-known entities. The car had a lot going for it with unique styling and a powerful engine, coupled with the fact that it was luxurious. Sadly the Riviera has been hit especially hard by the current muscle car “bubble” and the prices are outrageous.
You can expect to spend a good chunk of change for one of these in reasonable condition. And that’s including the massive investment you’re going to have to put into repairs and the eventual engine replacement.
Pontiac had massive success with the GTO and the Firebird during the muscle car era, but there was also the Grand Prix. This big boat of a Pontiac was based on the same platform as the Monte Carlo, and it offered a decent package. The Grand Prix was never worth the same as the Monte Carlo but the current muscle car bubble would lead you to believe it is.
You’ll spend quite a bit of money on a Grand Prix, and that doesn’t even factor in the condition of the car. Even a rolling chassis is going to be a big price tag because of the way that people are trying to snap up these muscle cars.
What we have here is a unique piece of automotive history as the Thunderbird was quite a car. Unfortunately, the Thunderbird was also a very common car, and the fact that the price tag has been so vastly inflated is a bit concerning. The car didn’t have any breakthrough performance features that would make it stand out from anything else on the market.
Likewise, the Thunderbird was also a prime example of Ford engineering around this time and there were a lot of reliability issues. Is the Thunderbird a great classic car? Yes, but the price that these are going for right now is way overvalued for what the car is.
AMC had a tough run even when the company was still in business, and the Hornet just couldn’t compete with other muscle cars of its era. Being underpowered was only one of the problems that the Hornet faced during its span. The styling was questionable at best, especially in the muscle car era.
Nowadays there is an aftermarket community that thoroughly enjoys the Hornet. But the pricing has gone through the roof, on a car that didn’t sell all that well when it was new. The fact that it is dubbed a “classic” has made the pricing go through the roof.
Finally, we have what is considered the low point in the history of the Ford Mustang. This Pinto-based Mustang II was a travesty for several reasons. The car was small and the performance just wasn’t there at the time. Ford had relied on market researched instead of focusing on the traditional Mustang demographic.
While the interior is a bit upscale and the car had a lot of features, the design is just minuscule when you take a look at it. The later Fox Body Mustang would address a lot of these issues but at that point, the Mustang II had already put a dent in the brand’s reputation.