The 10 Most Awesome American Muscle Cars

Climb aboard as we floor the new guard of the meanest, sleekest, and most powerful pieces of domestic-born machinery.

Just like rock’n’roll, Sly Stallone, and Double-Double Animal Style cheeseburgers, muscle cars are uniquely American. Climb aboard as we floor the new guard of the meanest, sleekest, and most powerful pieces of domestic-born machinery.

Corvette C7 Stingray Convertible

The biggest domestic car launch of the year—all right, of the century—the seventh generation ‘Vette is, in our not-so-humble-opinion, the best-looking yet. So when the topless version was unveiled at the New York International Auto Show this spring, we were there with our jaws on the floor. As the first model in decades to be tagged with the iconic “Stingray” designation—and with the most powerful standard engine in the model’s history—it’s clear the good folks at Chevy know they’ve created something special. (So does NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick, who dropped a million bucks on the first Stingray convertible to roll off the line.)

Spec Check:

Price: $56,000

Engine: 6.2-liter V8

Horsepower: 460

Torque:465 lb.-ft.

0-60: 4.0 seconds

Top Speed: 180 mph

Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

If you looked up “muscle car” in the dictionary (they still make those, right?), you would see an image of this iconic Mopar model. It has more power than ever, with a massive 392-cubic-inch (or 6.4-liter, for all you Commies out there) Hemi V-8, but besides its raw speed, just look at the thing. Has a sculpted piece of metal ever been more menacing?

Spec Check:

Price: $43,425

Engine: 6.4-liter V-8

Horsepower: 470

Torque: 470 lb.-ft.

0-60: 4.9 seconds (est.)

Top Speed: 182 mph

[pagebreak]SRT Viper TA

If there’s one car that can legitimately challenge the Stingray’s domestic supremacy, it’s this badass brainchild of Chrysler’s insane Street Racing Technology division. The TA version—TA stands for “time attack,” another term for racetrack time trials—takes the already mind-bogglingly fast Viper and soups it up even more (think retuned dampers, springs, and stabilizer bars as well as a lightweight carbon-fiber X-brace that replaces the standard aluminum unit). Only 33 lucky people will be able to call a Viper TA their own, and we hope they like orange…’cause that’s the only color this monster comes in.

Spec Check:

Price: $116,000 (est.)

Engine: 8.4-liter V-10

Horsepower: 640

Torque: 600 lb.-ft.

0-60: 3.3 seconds (est.)

Top Speed: 206 mph (est.)

Chevrolet SS

It’s been 17 years since the last rear-wheel-drive performance sedan rolled out of a Chevy factory (remember, you were dancing to the Macarena?), so we could not be happier that the SS has arrived to fill that void. Powered by a giant 6.2-liter V-8—the same engine used in the last-generation Corvette—the family-friendly four-door delivers an extremely impressive 415 horses. It’s perfect for packing up the kids…or running away from them forever. (Just tell ’em you’re going out for milk.)

Spec Check:

Price: TBA

Engine: 6.2-liter V-8

Horsepower: 415

Torque: 415 lb.-ft.

0-60: 5.0 seconds (est.)

Top Speed: 165 mph (est.)


Cadillac CTS

The current-generation CTS-V—the one that goes 0–60 in four seconds—is one of the most fun cars ever to park in the Maxim garage. Now Caddy is introducing the next-generation CTS model for 2014, and it looks like the legacy of awesomeness will continue. The car, the lightest in its class, is upgradable to a powerful twin-turbo V-6 that produces 420 horsepower, and its direct high-pressure fuel injectors have the potential to get this bad boy up to 170 mph. Speed and beauty, thy name is Caddy.

Spec Check:

Price: TBA

Engine: Twin-turbo V-6

Horsepower: 420

Torque: 430 lb.-ft.

0–60: 4.6 seconds

Top Speed: 170 mph

[pagebreak]Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Camaro. Need we say more? Well, if you insist…The Z/28 was last produced by Chevy in 2002, and the long-feared-on-the-streets model is finally making a return, leaner (it’s 300 pounds lighter than a Camaro ZL1) and meaner (500 horses, anyone?) than ever. How barebones and track-ready is the car? Let’s put it this way: Air conditioning is optional. In a world where you can get a GPS, electric seats, and multiple speakers (the Z/28 has only one, for a seat belt chime) in a bargain-basement Hyundai, this is a throwback to a whole different era. 

Spec Check 

Price: TBA

Engine: 7.0-liter V-8

Horsepower: 500

Torque: 470 lb.-ft.

0–60: 4.2 seconds (est.)

Top speed: TBA

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

There’s one number to keep in mind when discussing the automotive incarnation of speed god Carroll Shelby’s legacy: 662. That’s how many horses the supercharged 5.8-liter engine churns out, meaning the GT500 has the most powerful V-8 of any production car in the world. While that number alone would put this monster on any list of supercars, it’s the intangible ferocity you feel emanating from the machine—a former Maxim cover model—that makes it unique. If America were a car, it would be a Shelby Mustang.  

Spec Check

Price: $54,800

Engine: Supercharged 5.8-liter V-8

Horsepower: 662

Torque: 631 lb.-ft.

0–60: 3.5 seconds

Top Speed: 200 mph

[pagebreak]Ford Atlas

“Built Ford Tough” is more than just a catchy marketing slogan, and the company’s truck of the not-so-distant future is proof. It has a next-generation EcoBoost (Ford’s name for its efficient-but-powerful engines) that will create leading fuel efficiency and capability. Inside, lightweight seating allows for extra legroom, and “floating” instrument pods and glove-friendly buttons keep everything nice and pushable. Most importantly, though, the thing looks like a goddamn beast. Ford, let’s put this thing on the market already, shall we?

Spec Check: 

Engine: Next-gen twin-turbo EcoBoost

Body: High-strength steel, including boron Cargo Cradle 

Weight Capacity: 500 pounds

Frame: 55,000 psi high-strength steel ladder frame

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Jeep has been at the forefront of SUV technology ever since your grandpa was patrolling the North African front during WWII. Well, they’re pushing the boundaries yet again with the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT. It’s the most powerful (that is, most fun) version ever made, with the same giant 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 under its hood as the Challenger SRT. The exterior is manlier than ever—we particularly like the blacked-out headlamps—and the interior has all the leather, suede, and technology your spoiled heart desires.

Spec Check:


Engine: 6.4-liter Hemi V-8

Horsepower: 470

Torque: 465 lb.-ft.

Payload: 1,350 lbs.

Maximum Trailer Weight: 7,200 lbs.

BONUS: Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob

With the possible exception of George Washington’s weird haircut (what’s up with that?), there is nothing more American than a Harley. This Dyna Street Bob maintains the tradition, combining classic performance with a modern look. A solo bobber seat not only adds style but keeps you comfortable and committed to life on two wheels. Powered by a twin-cam engine with a six-speed “Cruise Drive” transmission, it’s guaranteed to give you a smooth ride (assuming you don’t run into any angry biker gangs). 

Check out Maxim Motors with Marisa Hunter and the new 2014 Chevy Impala