The clear winner in the muscle car wars was the decade known as the 1960s because Detroit turned the streets into World War III.

The Big Three were in the fight and AMC brought some heat with the AMX, but car guys speak in reverent tones when they talk about the Chevelle SS396; the Fairlane GTA; the Plymouth GTX and the Pontiac GTO—to name a few.

They were legends and they come with legendary prices, so if you want to something to run with classic muscle–without classic muscle car prices–look no further than the 1990s.  


The 1991 Dodge Stealth RT/Twin Turbo was a beast. This road rocket squeezed 300 horsepower out of a V-6—that number might seem tame by 426 hemi standards, but the Stealth Turbo could hit 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds and it would top out at an incredible 160 miles per hour.

It may not be a pure, neck-snapping torque monster like a hemi Road Runner, but a Stealth puts you in the performance game for 10 cents on the dollar.  

The 1991 GMC Syclone is another muscle car diamond in the rough. They didn’t build many of them, but the ones they did build were rockets. They were also V-6 powered and they were tweaked to 280 horsepower, so they did an incredible 0-60 in 4.3 seconds and a 13.4 ¼ mile. That’s impressive in any decade.

Syclones have already climbed in value because these little trucks dominated lesser vehicles, so the word is out, but one thing is certain—they’re an appreciating asset.

Ford’s SVT team jumped into the 90s street wars with the Fox-body Mustang and the 1995 Cobra R was the product of their efforts. This was truly an old-school build because it used the 351 (cubic inch) Windsor as its base.

This Mustang honored the muscle car tradition because it was a fairly low-tech (for the 90s) car with 300 horsepower that propelled it to 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds with a ¼ mile time of 13.8 at 102 mph.

Four-door sedans were never in the 60s factory muscle car mix, but the 1990s changed the game with the 1994 Impala SS. These beasts of burden had a 300-horsepower LT-1 under the hood so they hit 0-60 in 6.5 seconds and if you disabled the governor, they could hit 150 miles per hour.

That speed puts you at the top of the class in the 60s–or the 90s.

The last entry into 90s muscle car stardom is the 1999 Firebird Trans Am WS6. 1999 was the 30th anniversary of the Trans Am and Pontiac didn’t disappoint. They put a 320-horspower LT-1 under the hood and that was enough to push the ’99 T/A to a 0-60 time of 5 seconds, a ¼ mile at 13.4 seconds, and a top speed of an estimated 165 miles per hour.

Those speeds put you squarely in felony driving territory, but they also put you in muscle car territory—for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a ’70 Judge.

This alternative muscle car list is one of those “hurry up before it’s too late” scenarios because guys who were kids in the 90s are going to covet this new breed of classic muscle.                     

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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