Pontiac GTO takes all the credit for being the first modern muscle car, but not a lot of people know the Oldsmobile 442 started the same year as the Pontiac. However, Oldsmobile was much more discrete about advertising a new model, so they offered as just an option on the Cutlass line. From the beginning, they marketed the 442 was marketed as a “gentleman’s hot rod.” It was an elegant, well-equipped muscle car with luxury appointments, reserved styling and brutal performance.
The name, 442, caused a lot of controversies back in the day, but the meaning was simple. It has a 400 CID engine, four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. Of course, you could order it with automatic, but if you wanted the most out of your 442, you would get the manual. In 1970, Oldsmobile introduced the biggest engine in the muscle car class, which was the 455 V8. They installed it in the 442.
This created one of the fastest cars of the era, especially with performance-oriented W30 optional package.Today, car fans seek the 442 for its style, discontinued brand and performance, so the prices are strong. For a nice 1970 442 with the 455 engine and the desirable W30 package, be ready to pay around $70,000.
Ford Mustang Boss 429
The mythical Mustang Boss 429 is a proper muscle car legend. Ford conceived it in 1969 as a pure racing engine intended for use in NASCAR championships. The Boss 429 featured a totally different engine architecture than the rest of Ford’s big blocks. The Boss 429 was much wider and had semi-Hemi combustion chambers. This helped achieve higher revs, better flow inside the head, as well as more power and torque.
Factory-rated at 375 HP, this unit produced over 500 HP in reality and much more in race trim. Ford decided to put this engine into the Mustang, creating a limited production Boss 429. But NASCAR decided not to homologate it since the series only accepted intermediate and full-size cars. The Mustang was a pony car model, so Ford homologated the Torino Talladega as the body and the Boss 429 as the engine. It participated in the 1969 season with Torinos and Mercury Cyclones powered by Boss 429 engines.
Those cars proved successful, winning 30 out of 54 races that year. The secret was the engine because they designed the Boss 429 to run at high RPMs for long periods of time. It also reached its peak power high in the RPM range. That is why the Mustang Boss 429 never fulfilled its street racing potential. The powerful engine required a long super-speedway track to show its true power, not those short quarter-mile stretches.
Available in 1969 and 1970 as an engine option on a Mustang Sportsroof, they made the Boss 429 in around 1,300 examples. This car has become a highly sought-after model in present years. The best Boss 429s cost around half of million dollars, but you can find a decent model in the $200,000 to $300,000 range.
This list of the price of 14 popular and highly sought-after classic muscle cars contains a variety of road-ready beasts. If you are shopping for one of these special machines, you’d better hurry up before the prices are beyond your reach.