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2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

CARFAX Finds: V8 Muscle Cars

The thought of something sporty with a V8 and rear-wheel drive might sound appealing as you dream of summer from your snow-crusted driveway. Mind you, the sound a muscle car makes is appealing all year round.

The American muscle car was something of a dying breed, revived during a time of high nostalgia and low interest rates. The muscle car has also managed to survive a recession and high gas prices. Today, muscle cars are being given a dose of modern technology, too. The latest versions of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang can sing more than one note.

But what if you don’t have the money for a new, V8-powered American muscle car? Fortunately, there are plenty of used ones with clean histories in our Used Car Listings.

Nothing says “I wish it were summer,” quite like a Ford Mustang convertible, and we found a one-owner 2001 Ford Mustang Cobra convertible with no accidents for just under $12,000.

2003 Ford Mustang Cobra
(The Ford Motor Company)

With 320 horsepower, about 60 more than a normal Mustang GT with the 4.6-liter V8, it also features the Mustang’s first attempt at independent rear suspension – something they made a huge deal about in the new 2015 model.

While it spent a few years parked where General Motors keeps its dormant nameplates, the Chevrolet Camaro is the only American muscle car that hasn’t changed too much in recent years since its 2009 revival. The addition of faster variants and a somewhat improved interior have helped keep it fresh and selling well.

We found 2013 Camaro SS models for about $26,000, and there’s plenty of them in this price range. Models with the six-speed automatic have a 6.2-liter V8 engine with 400 horsepower, which is plenty of power to get you burning fuel quickly.

2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS
(General Motors)

Sure, the Camaro is tiny inside given how huge it is inside, but even after several years on the market in this form, it’s just the sort of thing that wins stoplight races and attracts a lot of attention. It’s still the mascot for the Transformers films, it’s still one of the first car posters a six-year-old will have. It’s still so muscle car-ish.

But what if you want comfort with lunacy? That’s where the Dodge Challenger comes in. After a 30-some year hiatus, the Challenger roared back to life in 2008 with something certainly evocative of a big, American coupe. Based on the Dodge Charger sedan, it’s actually kind of the perfect car for those who love to cruise very long, very straight roads.

Starting around $25,000, you can get an early launch model like a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 that has 425 horsepower from its 6.1-liter HEMI V8 and a 5-speed automatic transmission. It’s ostentatious like a Challenger should be.

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8
(Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

But a Challenger has five seatbelts, whereas the Camaro and Mustang seat two adults and two briefcases. It isn’t for hustling around corners so much as it is for relaxed driving. American driving. Like our founders taught us.

Any of these three cars will undoubtedly give you tire-melting, brake-burning joy. They’ll also bring you certain looks and thumbs up, or “What was he thinking?” glances, depending on where you are and how fast you’re going. And for some people, that’s just what makes muscle cars magical.

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