It’s the pinnacle for many car enthusiasts. In fact, the muscle car commands the attention of anyone who is in its presence. Besides the attention it demands, the muscle car also commands a heavy price tag from people who want to experience the ride firsthand. While they aren’t all extravagant budget-busters, a select few have gone for a cool million or more at auction. This is only a sample of them:
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 ($1 Million)
In 1969, Chevrolet had many engine options, but none had more muscle than the 427 cubic inch V8 known as the ZL1. The engine was based on the L88, but was made completely of aluminum for a lighter load. The Camaro ZL1 had to be special ordered for $4,160 over the Camaro’s base price. They were so special, that only 69 Camaros came with the ZL1 engine. It’s no wonder that one sold at the 2013 Mecum auction in Chicago for $1,000,000. That said, these rare specimens usually only command half that price, but this particular vehicle was restored to the factory specifications by Barry Burstein, one of the original ZL1 engine builders.
1967 Shelby GT500e Super Snake ($1.3 Million)
Before becoming street legal in 1967, the Super Snake was used exclusively as a race car. This Mustang is packed with over 500 horsepower and a top speed of 170 mph. Originally, the plan was to produce 50 of these beauties, but the Shelby Company opted to go the special order route, due to the high production cost. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single order placed. So, the world was left with a one of a kind.
Another noteworthy Mustang, the one used in the hit movie Gone In 60 Seconds, went for $1 million at the 2013 Dana Mecum 26th Original Spring Classic Auction in Indianapolis. But the final auction price on the 1967 Shelby Super Snake went for considerably beyond that price at $1.3 million, making it the most expensive Mustang of all time.
1970 Hemi Cuda Convertible ($2 Million)
Spending a million dollars on a car may sound beyond belief, but that number gets left in the dust from here on out. Only 14 Hemi Cuda convertibles were produced in 1970. Only nine of them came with a Hemi 727 three-speed transmission. This Cuda has only 19,000 miles on it and still sports its original white paint and red interior. In 2011, it fetched $2 million at the Russo and Steele auction.
1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible ($2.2 Million)
Inching past the $2 million mark, we get to the 1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible. The 1971 version of the Cuda is slightly rarer than its predecessor, with only 11 being made that year. Even though it doesn’t have the original engine (it was replaced by a 1971 427 cubic inch Hemi), that didn’t keep it from being sold for $2.2 million at the 2007 Barrett-Jackson auto auction.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 ($3.2 Million)
Considered the crown jewel to Corvette fans, there were only 20 Corvette L88s produced in 1967. This rare gem was originally purchased at Lyman Slack Chevrolet by Jim Elmer of Portland, OR.
Elmer and subsequent owners used it for racing, mostly in the Pacific Northwest (including the Puyallup Dragway in Puyallup, WA), running 11.12 seconds at 127.45 mph. While it went through a few restoration processes, it is believed to be the only 1967 L88 to still have its original body panels. It sold in 2013 for $3,200,000.
The restoration process used on this L88 is now recognized as the proper way to restore Corvettes by the National Corvette Restorers Society.
1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible 4-Speed ($3.5 Million)
Called “The Holy Grail of Muscle Cars,” this 1971 Cuda Convertible’s price tag confirmed that its nickname wasn’t just hype. It’s one of 11 original Hemi Cuda convertibles, and only one of two produced for the U.S. market with a 426/425 hp V8 and 4-speed manual transmission. The other one no longer exists, so it’s now one of a kind.
It holds the claim as the highest price ever paid for a muscle car (and any Chrysler). at $3.5 million But it’s not even close to the current record holder of all cars sold. That distinction goes to the 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, which sold in 2013 for $52 million in a private sale.