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

Vukasin Herbez April 27, 2023

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1969 Dodge Coronet R/T – 13.88 seconds

Price New: $3,200

Price Now: $40,000 +

The Coronet was a mainstream Dodge model that sold well in sedan body style. However, Dodge had a trick up its sleeve: the Coronet R/T. Same as the Charger R/T, the R/T option totally changed the nature of this car and transformed the ordinary two-door sedan into a muscle car beast (via How Stuff Works).

Photo Credit: Hemmings

With 440 V8 under the hood, the 1969 Coronet R/T had 375 HP on tap. With its four-speed manual transmission, good tires, and a skilled driver, it could return some respectable times. Mechanically it had a lot in common with the Charger and Plymouth Roadrunner, but it was a bit lighter and better to drive.

Photo Credit: GM

1969 Chevrolet Nova SS – 13.87 seconds

Price New: $2,600

Price Now: $50,000

The Nova was Bow Tie’s compact car introduced first as the Chevy II in the early ’60s. The small and affordable model was just a scaled-down Chevelle or Impala. Still, it obtained serious street credibility by the end of the ’60s since it became a favorite street racer’s weapon. The combination of Nova’s lightweight body and potent V8 engines made it very fast (via Hemmings).

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Chevrolet introduced the SS 350 and SS 396 versions in 1968/9, which were extremely fast. The 1970 model still retained classic styling and two powerful V8 engines as an option. Independent tuners like Yenko even offered brutally fast 427 conversions.

Photo Credit: Hemmings

1969 Dodge Dart GTS 440 – 13.71 seconds

Price New: $3,800

Price Now: $60,000

The smallest Dodge was the compact Dart which eventually got the muscle treatment with the GTS model. This included a 340 V8 with 325 HP, performance equipment, and a graphics package. The little Dart GTS was pretty fast and even faster than some bigger muscle cars (via Motor Trend).

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Dodge said the 340 is the largest engine that will fit Dart’s engine bay. However, Mr. Norm, a famous Chicago-area performance dealership, managed to shoehorn a big 440 in this tiny engine bay, making it the Dart 440. The car had a 375 rating and was amazingly fast as records show.

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1969 Plymouth GTX – 13.70 seconds

Price New: $3,600

Price Now: $70,000

Introduced in 1967 as a luxury option in the Belvedere lineup, this model used the same platform as the Coronet. But it was much more luxurious and had 375 HP 440 V8 as standard. Plymouth wanted the GTX to compete with luxury cars of the period, so it installed almost all possible creature comforts and some unique trim on the outside to distinguish the GTX from the rest of the model lineup (via Muscle Car Facts).

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The GTX was a gentleman’s hot rod with lovely interior and exterior details but only one optional engine choice – the mighty 426 Hemi. The 440 Magnum was the standard engine, but if you wanted the ultimate Plymouth muscle luxury, you had to go for the Hemi. Because it was significantly more expensive than the rest of the Mopar muscle car lineup, the GTX was never that popular. It’s quite rare today as a result.

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1969 Pontiac Trans Am – 13.70 seconds

Price New: $3,600

Price Now: $130,000

In 1969, Pontiac wanted to present a model to homologate for Trans-Am racing. To mask its intentions, Pontiac introduced the Firebird Trans Am as a loaded version. It featured big-block power from the famous 400 V8 engine equipped with a Ram Air III or IV intake system (via Hemmings).

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However, with its signature white paint, blue stripes, Rally II wheels, and other equipment, this special version proved to be a tough seller. So they sold only 634 Firebird Trans Ams. Among those, only eight were convertibles.

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1969 Mustang Boss 429 – 13.60 seconds

Price New: $4,800

Price Now: $600,000

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. They made the Boss 429 much wider. It also had semi-Hemi combustion chambers that helped achieve higher revs and better flow inside the head. Ultimately, it produced more power and torque (via Supercars).

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With factory ratings of 375 HP, this unit produced over 500 HP and much more in race trim. Ford decided to put this engine into the Mustang, offering a limited production of Boss 429. However, NASCAR decided not to homologate it since they only accepted intermediate and full-size cars. But the Mustang was a pony car. 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.

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1969 Chevrolet Corvette – 13.57 seconds

Price New: $5,100

Price Now: $100,000

The new third generation of the Corvette left the factory in 1968, bringing a new, sleek design called the “Coke bottle” look. The mechanics, chassis, and drivetrain were the same, and the car was still great value for the money. The C3 generation brought us some of the most powerful Corvettes, and the standard models’ top range was 427 big blocks (via How Stuff Works).

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The Corvette C3 with the 427 V8 engine was available in several power levels and the most powerful had 430 HP. It had multiple car setups, heavy-duty suspension, and wide tires. It was more expensive than standard muscle cars, but it was faster as well.

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.

Photo Credit: Auto WP

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.

Photo Credit: Auto WP

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.

Photo Credit: Auto WP

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).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

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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