Home Cars The Fastest Muscle Cars of 1969: What They Cost Then and Now

The Fastest Muscle Cars of 1969: What They Cost Then and Now

Vukasin Herbez April 27, 2023

Photo Credit: Auto WP

1969 Dodge Coronet Super Bee – 13.56 seconds

Price New: $3,300

Price Now: $80,000

In 1969, the Super Bee package was still available on the Coronet model, and in 1971, it became an option on Charger. The 1969 Coronet Super Bee was mechanically almost identical to the Dodge Charger, but it had different styling and lower weight and was a bit faster (via How Stuff Works).

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The R/T option meant that buyers could get 440 V8 as standard but 426 Hemi as an option. It made the 1969 Super Bee a very fast muscle car with respectable times. Also, the cool graphics made it instantly recognizable to any muscle car fan.

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1969 Dodge Charger 500 – 13.48 seconds

Price New: $5,200

Price Now: $230,000

Most muscle car fans know the Dodge Charger lineup well, including the wild Charger Daytona from 1969. But, Daytona’s predecessor, the Charger 500, was far less known and less successful. In the late ’60s, Dodge was desperate to race in NASCAR and the Charger was the perfect candidate. However, since NASCAR cars approached high speeds of almost 200 mph on the newly constructed superspeedway tracks, aerodynamics played a role in the results (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Hagerty

The standard Charger with the deep grille and concave rear glass needed to be aerodynamic. Despite its powerful engines and skilled drivers, it couldn’t achieve the speeds required for winning. So Dodge decided to introduce their limited-edition Charger 500. They named the 500 because they only made that many of them. It came with a flushed grille, fixed headlights, and regular rear glass to improve the aerodynamics of the car. The Charger 500 came with two engines, a standard 440 and an optional 426 Hemi.

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1969 Corvette L88 – 13.30 seconds

Price New: $6,500

Price Now: $1 million +

Even though the first big block, the 427 Corvette, left the factory in 1966, it was further refined with four levels of power for the 1969 model year. The list started with a 390 HP 427 V8 and ended with an extremely rare and powerful L-88 427 V8 (via Hagerty).

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Corvettes equipped with this engine were a class for themselves since the aluminum head L-88 produced close to 600 HP and came with a heavy-duty suspension, brakes, and handling package. This option was for racers and was very expensive, almost doubling the price of the base ’69 Corvette.

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1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – 13.16 seconds

Price New: $7,200

Price Now: $1 million +

In the late ’60s, Can-Am was a famous racing series featuring prototype-class cars with V8 engines. Chevrolet wanted to purpose-build a power plant for this championship. They produced an all-aluminum 427 big block called ZL-1 in 1969. It was a high-revving, 7.0-liter V8, with around 550 HP in mild tune. Chevrolet produced about 200 of those engines. While most of them went to Can-Am racing teams, 69 of ZL-1 were installed in C.O.P.O Camaros and sold to drag racing teams (via Motor Trend).

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The Camaro ZL-1 was the same as a regular 1969 Camaro on the outside, but it was so fast it was barely street-legal. The 1969 official Chevrolet literature doesn’t mention the ZL-1 option for the Camaro. But if you were a successful drag racer or dealer, you knew about this expensive option. That’s why only 69 Camaros ZL-1 left the factory.

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1969 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi – 12.91 seconds

Price New: $3,900

Price Now: $240,000

When it first appeared in 1968, the Roadrunner proved to be a very influential and essential muscle car. It introduced the new trend of inexpensive and fun cars and was also a strong seller, affecting the whole segment. The entire idea behind the Roadrunner was simple. that was to present a low-priced but still powerful model and attract performance-minded buyers on a limited budget (via Riga Master Workshop).

Photo Credit: Barett Jackson

The most appealing thing about the Roadrunner was the fact that Plymouth used the popular cartoon character. Chrysler paid $60,000 for the rights to use the name and design, and everyone thought the company was crazy for doing so. The sales results proved everybody wrong. The Roadrunner was the first muscle car with crazy graphics and the car that started the trend. The Roadrunner had a bench seat, no luxury options, and manual steering. But it came with the powerful 383 V8 as the base engine and buyers could also opt for the 440 or the mythical Hemi 426.

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