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Classic Muscle Cars That Cost Too Much (But Aren’t Worth A Dime)

Cameron EittreimAugust 12, 2021

Photo Credit: Davids Classic Cars

13: Oldsmobile Cutlass (1968-1972)

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.

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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.

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12: Chevrolet Nova (1975-1979)

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.

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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.

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11: Mercury Marauder (1963-1965)

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.

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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.

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10: Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1973-1977)

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.

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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.

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9: Dodge Polara (1969-1973)

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.

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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.

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8: Ford Ranchero (1972-1976)

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.

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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.

Photo Credit: Mecum

7: Ford Galaxie (1969-1974)

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.

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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.

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6: Plymouth Fury (1965-1968)

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.

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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.

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5: Buick Riviera (1966-1970)

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.

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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.

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4: Pontiac Grand Prix (1973-1977)

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.

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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.

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3: Ford Thunderbird (1967-1971)

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.

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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.

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2: AMC Hornet (1970-1977)

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.

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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.

Photo Credit: Ford

1: Ford Mustang II (1974-1978)

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.

Photo Credit: Ford

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.

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