The Worst Muscle Cars That Have Ever Been Released

The history of muscle cars is both unique, exciting and fun. But not all muscle cars were created equal and throughout the span of time, there are always bound to be some cars that fall through the cracks.

Sometimes the car as a whole is bad and other times there are only certain generations and years that are bad. As car manufacturers and enthusiasts push the limit only further and further we can only expect to see more muscle cars in the future. Until that time, here are some of the worst muscle cars.

1975 Buick Gran Sport

Buick Gran Sport worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@streetcarmafiaofficial

The Buick Gran Sport was Buick’s attempt at making a muscle car similar to the GSX. The car was heavy and weighed down because of its size and extra mass.

It wasn’t remotely aerodynamic so it went slow even with the engine putting out 175 horsepower. On a scale, the car weighed nearly two tons which was too much even for sedans or trucks at that time. Because of this, the Gran Sport became obsolete and sales started to increasingly fall.

Dodge Magnum

Dodge Magnum worst muscle cars
Photo by John B. Carnett/Bonnier Corporation via Getty Images
Photo by John B. Carnett/Bonnier Corporation via Getty Images

Dodge’s performance station wagon has never truly been that amazing of a car. The car had a rear-wheel drive and a 5.9-L V8 Hemi engine. Despite all of its bells and whistles, the car was still extremely heavy and ugly.

Drivers couldn’t get enjoy all that the Magnum had to offer because its weight slowed it down even with the Hemi engine. To add fuel to the flame, who would want to drive a performance station wagon?

1976-77 Dodge Charger Daytona

Dodge Charger Daytona worst muscle cars
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Produced specifically for NASCAR racing, the Dodge Charger Daytona was designed to be faster than the other Chargers in the Dodge lineup. The body of the car was made pointier and more aerodynamic and in the late 1960s, the car was really impressive.

However, in the late 1970s, Dodge tried to rebrand a Chrysler Cordoba and make no changes to it whatsoever. The car was slow, ugly and poorly received by the public.

1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Oldsmobile Cutlass worst muscle cars
Photo by Dünzlullstein bild via Getty Images
Photo by Dünzlullstein bild via Getty Images

The Oldsmobile Cutlass was originally designed as part of Oldsmobile’s entry to the muscle car lineup. As the company itself started to struggle financially, a lot of last-minute big changes were made to try and scavenge any profits.

Unfortunately what was once a promising muscle car quickly became just a Chevrolet Malibu with a name change and new badging. The engine of the car was also identical to the Chevrolet Malibu and long gone was the V8 that the Oldsmobile originally sported.

1993 Pontiac Firebird

Pontiac Firebird worst muscle cars
Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images
Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images

This mismatch of a car was a major letdown in 1993. A lot of car companies were big into name branding engineering which meant that they would use the same car and rename it for a different effect.

The Pontiac Firebird was no better and it was essentially a Chevrolet Camaro with a red paint job and a new badge. Pontiac only slightly changed the body style of the car and buyers could still expect the same engine as the Camaro.

1994 Ford Mustang

1994 Ford Mustang worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@cantgowrongwithacar

The Ford Mustang has had many generations that failed before Ford realized their mistakes and started making cars that people could actually enjoy. The 1994 Mustang was just another one of their complete fails because of the car’s small changes.

On the outside, the car barely had any updates to its body and it just looked like the same Mustang we had all been accustomed to. Under the hood, the Mustang had an even sadder engine that only had a V6 engine that got under 150 horsepower.

1993 Chevy Camaro

1993 Chevy Camaro worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@tver.spotter

The Camaro saw most of its biggest body changes come with the introduction of its 1993 model. Long gone were the days of the aggressive stance of the Camaro and now Chevy introduced it to a more rounded and softer frame.

The Camaro also had lackluster power and came standard with a V6 engine that only had 160 horsepower. Luckily the Camaro was still built on the same F-body platform so better changes were just around the corner.

1995 Chevy Monte Carlo

Chevy Monte Carlo muscle car
Photos by Lyle Setter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photos by Lyle Setter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This car was just one of many disappointments in the 1990s for the muscle car community. Chevy decided to bring the Monte Carlo back after it took a 7-year hiatus but it came back worse than when it went out.

The Monte Carlo didn’t have a V8 option nor did it have many updates to its body making the changes unimpressive and bland. To make matters worse, the Monte Carlo would remain mostly unchanged for the remainder of the decade until the 2000s.

1971 Ford Pinto

Ford Pinto worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@1000viewsofoakland

Considered one of the worst muscle cars by even Time Magazine, the Ford Pinto was a car that was anything but amazing. For starters, this car started off with only 75 horsepower which in the 1970s was still very slow for any car, let alone a muscle car.

In addition to that, the engine of the car was in the rear located next to the gas tank which was potentially dangerous if the driver was involved in a rear-end collision.

1982 Ford Thunderbird

Ford Thunderbird worst muscle cars
Photo by BG015/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Photo by BG015/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Always one of the more luxurious Ford models, the Thunderbird has a reputation for being a classic muscle car. The model year from 1980 to 1982 was one of the worst generations for the Thunderbird because of the changes that Ford made to its muscle and performance.

As large as the car was, the 1982 Ford Thunderbird was only equipped with 120 horsepower even with having a V8 engine. Fortunately, Ford made major changes to the next generation of Thunderbird to resurge the model among drivers.

1974 Pontiac GTO

Pontiac GTO worst muscle cars
Getty Images
Getty Images

The Pontiac GTO has been considered one of the first muscle cars on the road and while it is highly regarded and respected for what it has done for auto history, its 1974 model was a major disappointment.

It came with a great engine and was still faster than a lot of the other cars on the road in the 1970s. What caused the downfall of the GTO was Pontiac’s decision to make the car slower and make body changes to it that were unappealing.

1982 Pontiac Trans Am

Pontiac Trans Am worst muscle cars
Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW
Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW

On the outside, you could say that the 1982 Pontiac Trans Am had an aggressive look. It had a futuristic design and was even featured alongside David Hasselhoff in the show Knight Rider.

While the 1982 Trans Am had so much potential, the car ultimately fell short in performance. Its standard engine only produced a measly 90 horsepower and even if a driver did opt-out for the bigger engine the horsepower only went up to 165.

1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra

1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@pbm_89_gt

One of the worst models in the Ford Mustang history, the King Cobra was a Pinto with Ford badging. The car got a new paint job and a snake decal that made it look really cool on the road but ultimately it wasn’t special or very good.

The engine was another let down and didn’t offer the driver much in power. Only a limited amount of Cobras were made and then Ford made major changes to the models in the following year.

1976-80 Plymouth Volare Road Runner

Plymouth Volare Road Runner worst muscle cars
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

Initially, the Plymouth was a road hog and was really impressive on the track. It looked good and under the hood, it was sporting the 426 Hemi engine and had 160 horsepower.

Once it came to the Volare Road Runner, all of the things that made the Plymouth great were removed and its performance was greatly depleted. On top of poor performance, the car also was majorly recalled due to a number of them rusting underneath, indicating poor attention to detail.

1978 AMC Gremlin GT

1978 AMC Gremlin GT worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@zombiecotija

The AMC Gremlin is an ugly muscle car that was made in the 1970s. It was slow, and only a limited amount were built. The car was essentially a carbon copy of other models in the same time period and had little going for it to make it any different.

During its initial release year, the Gremlin had only 120 horsepower even with its V8 engine. Facing declining sales, AMC discontinued the Gremlin after 1978 and made the AMC Spirit its main model.

1980-85 Chevrolet Citation X-11

Chevrolet Citation worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@portlandparkedcars

One of the biggest issues with the Citation was that it had a lot of recalls and generally considered unsafe. The Citation was designed to be a smaller front-wheel-drive muscle car that was only available in the four-speed overdrive or the three-speed automatic transmission.

Even with some of the updates that Chevrolet made to the Citation including its new steering rack and stabilizer bars, the car was still a fail overall.

1980-81 Delorean Dmc-12

Delorean worst muscle cars
Faik Geci/ Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Faik Geci/ Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Outside of the car being really popular for being featured in the Back to the Future movie franchise, the car itself was a real dud. The designer of the car wanted to make something that was futuristic and unlike anything else on the road and came up with the Delorean.

Although it was classified as a muscle car, it only got 130 horsepower and took over 10 seconds to go from 0 to 60. Even with its cinematic popularity, the Delorean didn’t sell well and the company went bankrupt in 1984.

1980-81 Mercury Capri Turbo RS

Mercury Capri Turbo RS worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@fomoco_gnatsum

The Mercury Capri was originally a part of Ford Europe before being brought over to the US to be sold alongside Ford’s other muscle cars. Sold for over three decades, the Mercury Capri has gone under name changes as well.

One of the worst things about the Capri is that it is very unreliable and was known to break down a lot. Because of the car’s bad reputation, it was lowered in price which helped boost its sales in Europe.

1980 Chevrolet Corvette California 305

Chevrolet Corvette worst muscle cars
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

With the 1980 Corvette California 305 came high federal emission requirements that halted its glory. Regulations required that the Corvette have a smaller engine so the plans to put in a larger engine were halted.

The newly updated V8 engine now only put out 180 horsepower instead of what was originally projected. After the federal regulations, Ford found another way to increase the horsepower of the engine by the next model year.

1971-1975 Ford Maverick Grabber

Ford Maverick Grabber worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@autocrusade

The Ford Maverick Grabber, which is based on the 1960 Ford Falcon was a muscle car made by Ford. It was designed to be affordable for consumers and cheap to build so that it could be easily mass-produced and manufactured.

Although it was designed with good intentions, the car was overall just bland and nothing remarkable. The Grabber was essentially a regurgitation of a decade-old car with a new paint job and stripes.

1968-70 Pontiac Tempest

Pontiac Tempest worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@oldcar_spotting

This second generation of the Pontiac Tempest was supposed to attract new drivers with its updated body style. The first generation of the Tempest was publicly accepted and in an effort to improve it, Pontiac ended up ruining the second generation altogether.

Bad sales and negative feedback led to the Tempest’s short stint on the market and it only lasted 2 years before being discontinued and the Tempest was taken over by Le Mans.

1978 Oldsmobile 442

Oldsmobile 442 worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@dad_af_carclub

Based on a classic muscle car design, the Oldsmobile 442 got its name from the makeup of the car including the car’s four-barrel carburetor, from speed transmission and two twin exhaust pipes.

What made the Oldsmobile so bad in 1978 was its lack of options available to the buyer. The Oldsmobile was only sold in the “aeroback” body style and its 5.0-L engine only produced 145 horsepower making for an even duller ride.

Ford Mustang II Ghia

Ford Mustang II Ghia worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@samvbatt

The Ford Mustang II Ghia was the second generation of the Ford Mustang. After the success of the first Ford Mustang, Ford tried to desperately follow up with the Ford Mustang II but fell flat.

It was based on the Pinto platform, and was a lot slower and heavier than its predecessor. The Mustang’s style wasn’t reminiscent of its first model either and it looked a lot different in the worst ways including its square boxy shape.

1975 Chevrolet Corvette

1975 Chevrolet Corvette worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@thenuttycarguy

The 1970s for the Chevrolet Corvette were some of its worst years ever. In the 1970s, the Corvette would see little changes to its body and interior but also would get a smaller and slower engine.

The engine it had then was only 15 more horsepower than the engine that the Corvette had two decades prior. The Corvette itself looked really stunning but because of its drop in horsepower, not much can be said for how it held up.

1982 Chevrolet Camaro

1982 Chevrolet Camaro worst muscle cars
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The 1982 Chevrolet Camaro is an example of how even with all of the best designing and planning, some of the best cars can still fail and have bad years.

One of the biggest issues with the 1982 Camaro was its engine, even with its more powerful 5.0-Liter engine, the Camaro still couldn’t break 200 horsepower. It took this Camaro 20 seconds just to go from 0 to 60 seconds which was just as slow then as it is now.

1983-1987 Dodge Charger

1987 Dodge Charger worst muscle cars
Photos by Lyle Setter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photos by Lyle Setter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 1980s weren’t good for the Dodge Charger. Counting on the popularity of hatchback cars at the time, Dodge gave buyers the option to buy the Charger as a hatchback model which didn’t suit its audience.

To make matters worse, they included this hatchback model with a 4-cylinder engine that lacked in performance. Carroll Shelby tried to improve the Charger by adding a turbocharged engine but even that didn’t help.

Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2

Pontiac Grand Prix worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@markus_4475

Although the Pontiac Grand Prix is named after a car race, its 2+2 model was anything but race-worthy. Alongside the Monte Carlo, the Pontiac Grand Prix was barely able to hold its own on the road with only 150 horsepower.

The Grand Prix also didn’t have much to offer in terms of its looks. The body of the car wasn’t very unique in comparison to other models at the time and overall was boring.

1980 Dodge Aspen R/T

1980 Dodge Aspen worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@boostedcaravan

The Dodge Aspen was one of the worst Dodge to ever come out. The car had back to back recalls, and issues with the body rusting really badly.

The engine of the car was similar to that of the Chevrolet Camaro of the time and it was offered to buyers in both an R/T and Super Coupe trim level. Dodge made an attempt to correct the mistakes that they made but it was too late and the car ultimately failed.

2004-2005 Chevrolet Impala SS

2005 Chevrolet Impala worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@summit_ls4

When the Chevrolet Impala SS was first introduced in 1994, it was regarded as one of the coolest cars available. Its 2004-2005 Impala model was one of the worst that came out in the Impala’s history because of its lack of creativity and innovation.

Chevrolet made no real changes to the car to improve its look nor did they upgrade the engine. If you were buying one of these cars, it basically borrowed the Lumina body and had an outdated engine that had no changes from last year.

Buick Regal Sport Coupe

Buick Regal worst muscle cars
Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images
Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

The Buick Regal Sport Coupe was a bland and boring muscle car during the late 1970s when the car was available and sold. They came with a standard V6 engine but weren’t very fast or powerful.

While they were publicly accepted because of their affordability, as a muscle car they continued to underperform against competitors. Buick is completely revamping the Regal Sport Coupe and will debut its latest model in 2020.

AMC Hornet AMX

AMC Hornet worst muscle cars
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The AMC Hornet was another cheap car that was made to be economically friendly and attract drivers who wanted an entry-level muscle car. The Hornet was not too impressive of a model and was mostly plain and too familiar with the other cars on the market.

The AMX option was supposed to add more horsepower to the car but even with the AMX label, the Hornet only got 120 horsepower, which was slow even for the 1970s.

1974 Chevrolet Nova SS

1974 Chevrolet Nova worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@autoantigo

This was a cheap muscle car that was really popular in the 1970s. The “SS” badging meant that a car came with a performance package and was faster than the other trim levels in the lineup.

Chevrolet decided to remove the performance package and instead made the “SS” badging an appearance package only. With the appearance package, Chevrolet didn’t anything new or special to offer meaning the only thing buyers could expect was a black grille and badging.

1978-1983 Dodge Challenger

1983 Dodge Challenger worst muscle cars
Photo by Dünzlullstein bild via Getty Images
Photo by Dünzlullstein bild via Getty Images

Dodge only brought the Challenger back in the 1970s and 1980s for a short period of time but during that time made some mistakes. In 1974, the Challenger was a fierce competitor on the drag strip and then Dodge discontinued it.

When Dodge decided to try and bring it back in 1978, they rebadged it as a Mitsubishi and it had substantially less horsepower than its predecessors until Dodge released the updated Challengers in the late 2000s.

1977-1979 Mercury Cougar XR7

Mercury Cougar XR7 worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@somedayclassics

The Mercury Cougar was marketed as a luxury muscle car that was also affordable. It had a boxy shape and the interior was almost identical to that of a Ford Mustang at the same time.

One of the biggest changes that the Mercury Cougar saw in the late 1970s was a huge weight gain. This extra weight made the car ultimately slower and Mercury Cougar struggled to keep its muscle car reputation shortly after that.

1979 Ford Mustang

1979 Ford Mustang worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@mrree75

Before the Ford Mustang became what it was today, it started out as this square boxy slower car. Barely resembling anything close to the modern Ford Mustang, this model didn’t have nearly the same level of crib appeal or muscle that its newest successors have.

This Ford Mustang had only 140 horsepower to start even with its 5.0-L V8 engine. Over time Ford would add a bigger engine and change the look of the Mustang to attract more drivers.

2006-10 Dodge Charger SE

Dodge Charger SE worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@jenna_mopar.monster

The 2006-2010 Charger was the start of a new era for the muscle car brand. Dodge completely redesigned the body and style of the Charger and it was met with a mixed reception from the public.

The SE was at the bottom of the list of popularity as an entry model because of the faster and more attractive trim levels available. Dodge made note of the dissatisfaction and the next generation in 2011 came back with a better base-level engine.

Chevrolet Monza

Chevrolet Monza worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@blackbeargarage

One of the least popular cars on the list, the Chevrolet Monza was a performance compact car built on the Chevrolet Vega platform. It was sold in the mid-1970s into the 1980s but was never mass-marketed or well-received by the public.

Though the Monza was a performance car, it was one of the slowest cars ever built on the Chevy lineup. A few years into it selling, Chevy dropped the option to buy the V8 engine and then the car was discontinued shortly after.

1996-1998 Ford Mustang

1998 Ford Mustang worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@98snwhat

Where this generation of Mustang fell was in the styling of it. By trying to keep a retro look, Ford missed the opportunity to compete with a newer looking model or newer engine.

Futuristic cars were popular during the late 1990s but Ford decided on a different direction for this generation. Fortunately, Ford decided to completely overhaul the look of the Mustang and made massive improvements to its body style and performance in the future.

2010 Ford Mustang

2010 Ford Mustang worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@ask.mustang

The 2010 Ford Mustang was a part of the fifth generation of the muscle car and its body style was one of the most popular. While Ford was making updates to the outside of the Mustang, it was also making changes to the engine of the Mustang.

Instead of improving the engine for production, Ford made the Mustang stagnant by choosing not to replace the engine 4.0-L V6 or 4.6-L V8 engine.

1976 Chevrolet Camaro

1976 Chevrolet Camaro worst muscle cars
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Instagram/@_wicked_whips

The Chevrolet Camaro is still a top-selling muscle car today but its mid-1970s model was one of its worst. By the 1970s, the Chevrolet Camaro lost most of its performance due to dropping its more powerful engine and going to a more fuel-efficient 5.0 liter.

Outside of its performance, Chevrolet also made changes to the body of the Camaro resulting in a bumper that destroyed the car’s aerodynamic abilities.