Jim’s Blog: What’s In Store for Modern Muscle?

Every year, Detroit pumps out more and more nasty modern muscle cars, from ZL1 Camaros through Hellcats, Demons, and GT500s. But how will these cars’ values stack up to the values of their vintage counterparts in the future? 

That’s a tough question. There’s no good answer. But how they’re treated now is a pretty good indication of how they’ll be treated later. These cars are already bringing good money at auction, and a bunch of them have been stored away by careful owners who are unwilling to even pull the plastic from their seats. I imagine that owners have seven-figure Hemi Cuda convertible prices swirling in their heads while they lovingly polishing that on-MSO plastic-wrapped Demon, waiting for the payoff. 

But here’s the thing about original muscle — it was only available for a short time, say from 1964 through 1972. That’s just eight years before the door slammed shut on fun due to oil prices, emissions, and rising insurance rates. In turn, that made these cars rare, and the years following the fun highlighted how special the cars really were.

You can argue that the dawn of the new performance era started in the 1990s with GM’s Jon Moss and Ford’s John Coletti, when the Boss Mustang faced off the ZL1 Camaro. But even if you figure the rebirth was as late as 2005, when the first retro Mustangs came out, we’re still looking at a 13 year run of muscle as of today. And with the most recent machines, it’s become a crazy numbers game of high horsepower figures combined with respectable mileage. Who would have assumed back in the 1980s that you’d be able to purchase 800 horsepower from your local dealership?

These modern cars are already collectible, but are they going to be viewed the same way the original cars are today? I don’t think so, as comparing a Demon to a Hemi Cuda is comparing an apple to an orange: same basic shape, but a totally different experience. These modern, faster, numerous cars have their own collectible path to take — a different one than 1960s muscle — but there’s room for both in your garage, because you’re not duplicating an experience by owning both at the same time.

Agree with me? Think I’m way off track? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

2 comments

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  1. I agree with the author’s conclusion that driving 1960’s muscle is a different experience then driving modern muscle. I have a 69 Dodge Charger and an 18 Challenger R/T Scat Pack. The driving dynamics of the Challenger is totally different from the Charger as one would expect.

  2. I have my original
    67 Camaro ss/rs 350 w/ 4:10 gears driving it compared to my 15 Z06 is quite a dramatic difference.It all depends what mood your in to which one you pull out and RIP on.