Modified Muscle Cars That Are Tougher Than The Original

While there is no doubt that many iconic muscle cars were fast back when they had just hit the market, the same cannot be said today. After all, it is simply impossible for cars that were built over half a century ago to keep up with their modern counterparts. Unless you modify the classics, that is. These muscle cars were modified to outperform vehicles made today. You’ll want to take a look.

1972 Prestone AMC Javelin “Defiant”

AMX Javelin
Adams Wood / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Adams Wood / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

This monstrosity is undoubtedly one of the craziest modified muscle cars in the world. The Ringbrothers used to be famous primarily for their crazy Dodge Charger. This ’72 Prestone AMX Javelin, however, is arguably even more insane.

A quick sight at this intimidating beast is enough to get an idea of just how powerful the AMX Javelin may be. In fact, it pushes out over a thousand horsepower, all thanks to its Hellcat V8 motor sourced from Dodge. Naturally, the vehicle is equipped with all kinds of upgrades other than the engine.

1972 Chevrolet Camaro

The second generation of the iconic Chevrolet Camaro remains one of the top picks among vintage muscle car buyers. The split bumper version, built for just three years starting from 1970, is one of the rarest and most sought-after versions of the car.

This particular unit had been fully restored from the ground up. Moreover, the shop added a wide array of different modifications inside and out, such as a muscular hood scoop and a full roll cage. However, the powerful motor fitted with a 496-cubic inch stroker kit is unarguably the star of the show.

1965 Pontiac GTO

Pontiac’s GTO hit the market back in 1964. The car was less than ideal at first, to say the least. Many owners and journalists criticized the vehicle’s steering system which lacked responsiveness, as well as awful brakes. Thankfully, this particular unit was restored from the ground up, perfected, and modernized. It may just be the greatest Pontiac GTO of all time.

This very GTO is powered by a supercharged LS3 motor mated to a 5-speed transmission. The owner does not have to worry about keeping up on the freeway, that’s for sure.

1970 Ice Charger

'Fast & Furious Live' Media Launch Day Event
Ollie Millington/Getty Images
Ollie Millington/Getty Images

The Ice Charger isn’t like any other modified muscle car on this list. That’s because practically all of its modifications enhance the styling. The Ice Charger is a movie car used in the Fast and Furious franchise, hence tweaking its performance was simply not necessary.

You may be surprised to hear that there is a real-life version of the Ice Charger from the Fast and Furious blockbuster. The unique vehicle is on display at the Celebrity Car Museum in Missouri. Be sure to pop by and catch a glimpse of this quirky movie car.

1969 Project Tetanus Roadrunner

KB® All StarsProject Tetanus ’69 RoadrunnerKeith Black Racing Engines® HEMI®Images courtesy of 6SixtyStreet, Ralph Bell, and other respective rights holders.

Posted by Keith Black Racing Engines on Sunday, December 27, 2020

Not every powerful muscle car has to look the part. Theoretically speaking, a rusty body would reduce the overall weight of the car. When it comes to drag racing, weight reduction is one of the crucial factors that determine the performance figures of the vehicle. This could just be the secret behind Project Tetanus’ success!

This insane ’69 Roadrunner is powered by a Keith Black Hemi V8 motor, just like the previously mentioned ’70 Barracuda. This quirky-looking muscle car can often be spotted at drag racing events all over the country.

1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

Don’t let the lack of aggressive stylistic touches fool you, though. The exterior of the car may have stayed classic, but the same cannot be said about the car’s power plant. In fact, this gorgeous Chevelle SS is powered by a 396-cubic inch V8 motor that peaks at over 400 horses!

Paired with a four-speed manual transmission, this muscle car must be an absolute joy to drive. It sure is beautiful to look at.

1968 Dodge Charger “Destroyer”

The mighty ’68 Charger Destroyer is yet another monstrous muscle car modified by RodZ Factory, a renowned American car workshop based in Central Europe. Like many of the other muscle cars built in this shop, the Destroyer is an intimidating beast that could outperform many modern sports cars.

An enormous 440-cubic inch V8 motor sits beneath the hood of this beast. Its power output is rated at over 350 horsepower, prior to any modifications done by the workshop. Naturally, the Charger Destroyer is fitted with lots of other tweaks and upgrades, such as a revised suspension system.

Chevrolet Corvette C3

Nearly every generation of the Chevrolet Corvette would make for the perfect automobile to lap a race track. The third-gen is no exception. According to this crazy workshop, a 700-horsepower motor is all a C3 Vette needs to break track records.

Though the build was developed with motorsport in mind, it can be driven out on the streets as well. Apart from the monstrous engine, this C3 Corvette features a custom-built interior and a high-definition stereo system, among an arsenal of other tweaks and upgrades.

1970 Dodge Challenger by XV Motorsports

An XV Motorsports-modified 1970 Dodge Challenger XV001 vinta
Craig Ruttle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Craig Ruttle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One of XV Motorsports’ greatest creations of all time is a resto-mod ’70 Dodge Challenger. Though it’s pretty much impossible to call any first-gen Challenger a sleeper, the styling is not an instant giveaway of what this powerful car is capable of.

The XV Motorsport Challenger features a fully custom interior complete with modern comfort features, a reworked suspension system that drastically improves handling, as well as a powerful 440-cubic inch V8 under the hood. The powerful engine is mated with a 5-speed stick-shift, of course.

1968 Chevrolet El Camino “El Raptoro”

The third generation of the Chevrolet El Camino, an iconic unibody pickup built by GM, hit the market for the ’68 model year. The American automaker did offer a couple of different souped-up variants of the truck, including one powered by a 454-cubic inch V8. However, none of them would stand a chance against modern sports cars. Except for the “El Raptoro”, a one-off built by RodZ Factory.

This monstrous El Camino is powered by a 383-cubic inch V8 motor. The workshop renovated the entire vehicle, completely rebuilt the drivetrain, and threw in a bunch of cool modifications.

1969 Dodge Charger “Defector”

This is easily one of the coolest units of the late 60s Dodge Charger on the planet. Given the quality of this build, it’s hard to believe that this ’69 was the first Mopar ever built by Ringbrothers. According to the workshop, building this beast took nearly 5,000 hours of work.

This restored Charger has had its original motor thrown out in favor of a modern 6.4L Hemi V8, the same one that can be found in the new Charger. This particular power plant, however, was modified by Wegner Motorsports to deliver an even higher power output.

1968 Plymouth Barracuda

This mean-looking Plymouth Barracuda is even more powerful than it looks, all thanks to its turbocharged Hemi V8 beneath the hood. According to the owner, the Barracuda was originally a “grandpa’s car” powered by a weak 318-cubic inch V8. After Keith Black’s modifications, this Cuda is the polar opposite of a grandpa’s car.

Keith Black fitted a supercharged V8 in the muscle car, rated at an astounding 2,400 horsepower! In effect, this ’68 Plymouth Barracuda can complete a quarter-mile sprint in around 7 seconds at a whopping 190 miles per hour.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro

What could possibly be better than a classic first-gen Chevy Camaro? According to the Roadster Shop, this vintage muscle car requires major modifications to keep up with modern sports cars. Hence, the workshop released the beastly “Axis”, based on a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro.

This beautiful ’69 Camaro features a wide array of upgrades. Naturally, its supercharged LT4 V8 power plant is the star of the show. You cannot overlook the track-ready chassis, or the glamorous Fifteen 52 wheels either.

1970 Dodge Challenger “Havoc”

This monstrous 1970 Dodge Challenger is perhaps the most powerful muscle car on our list. It’s also one of the most unique units when it comes to exterior design. Unsurprisingly, this amazing build has won many awards at different shows throughout the country.

The Havoc ’70 Challenger features an enormous big-block V8 motor, paired with two superchargers to increase the power even more. In effect, this amazing muscle car can easily make 2,500 horsepower, depending on the tune and engine setup.

1979 Turbine-Powered Chevrolet Corvette

1979 Turbine-Powered Chevrolet Corvette
Richard Gonzales / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing
Richard Gonzales / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing

A regular Chevrolet Corvette from the late 70s is not exactly too sophisticated engineering-wise. However, the same can’t be said about this particular unit modified by Andy Granatelli. In fact, this is the world’s only C3 Corvette powered by a turbine motor. In effect, it doubles as one of the quickest third-gens of all time.

This unique power plant is rated at a whopping 880 horsepower, allowing this fiberglass sports car to reach 60 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds! The top speed is over 180 miles per hour.

1965 Chevrolet Chevelle

This glamorous Chevrolet Chevelle received a top-notch resto-mod treatment completed by the Roadster Shop. Much like the previously mentioned ’69 Camaro modified by the same workshop, this 1965 Chevelle is breathtaking in terms of both the aesthetics as well as the performance.

This enormous coupe requires a powerful engine beneath the hood to beat modern sports cars. That’s exactly why the workshop installed a massive 440-cubic inch LSX power plant. A lack of horsepower is surely not an issue with this ’65 Chevy Chevelle.

1970 Dodge Charger R/T

'Fast & Furious Live' Technical Rehearsal
Ollie Millington/Getty Images
Ollie Millington/Getty Images

This iconic ’70 Dodge Charger shares one thing in common with the previously mentioned Ice Charger from the same year. Both of these muscle cars are movie cars built for the Fast and Furious franchise. Unlike the Ice Charger, this vehicle was extensively used by Dominic Toretto, a protagonist portrayed by Vin Diesel.

This movie car quickly became famous after a scene in which the ’70 Charger raced an orange Toyota Supra driven by Paul Walker. As the light turns green, the sheer power of the muscle car causes it to perform impressive wheelies. The original unit makes over 900 horsepower.

1969 Chevrolet “Yenko” Camaro

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko Custom
Barrett-Jackson via Getty Images
Barrett-Jackson via Getty Images

The Yenko Camaro has a rather interesting history. It’s probably the only muscle car on this list that was modified directly by the dealership and not a workshop that specializes in building modified rides. Back in the late 60s, a Chevy dealer in Pennsylvania became famous for selling a souped-up version of GM’s flagship pony car.

Chevy did not offer any motor larger than 400 cubic inches for the first-gen Camaro. That’s why Yenko ended up dropping a 427-cubic inch crate V8 beneath the hood. The final product was a rare version of the Camaro that could only be bought via Chevy’s Yenko dealership. The car is rated at 450 horsepower.

1970 Chevrolet Camaro “Road Rage”

The “Road Rage” Chevy Camaro quickly made headlines following its official debut at the 2018 SEMA show. This unique build is widely considered to be one of the most radical second-gens of all time, in terms of both the mind-blowing performance as well as the intimidating styling.

The Road Rage is a true showstopper, largely because of its aggressive stance. The custom wide body kit looks impressive, to say the least. Let’s not forget the 750-horsepower 454-cubic inch V8 power plant under the hood, either.

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge “The Crow”

This monstrous build is based on a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge. It features an enormous V8 under the hood, complete with a stroker kit that increases its displacement even further, as well as a twin turbocharger set up. The Crow 405 could complete a quarter-mile sprint in less than 8 seconds!

Sadly, the original Crow 405 was crashed a couple of years ago. The owner, however, did decide to build a second one! Nothing can come close to the spectacular original Crow, though.

1968 Ford Mustang “Helleanor”

You don’t need to be a die-hard Mustang fan to appreciate this spectacular build. The Helleanor is a custom restomod, based on a first-gen pony car from 1968. It is easily one of the hottest Mustangs you’ll ever see. Unsurprisingly, the Helleanor made it to the top 10 hot rods at the 2020 SEMA show.

The owner decided that the original motor wasn’t powerful enough and instead decided to fit a 427-cubic inch V8 under the hood. The build is complete with a beautiful stylistic makeover, as well as modern comfort features in the cabin.

1968 Pontiac Firebird

If you thought a Pontiac Firebird couldn’t look as mean as a Chevrolet Camaro, this souped-up ’68 boosted Firebird is here to prove you wrong. It is unarguably one of the best-looking Pontiac builds in the country. The murdered-out look has clearly done wonders in terms of aesthetics.

The boosted V8 power plant is the star of the show here. A massive displacement wasn’t quite enough, hence the owner decided to fit this Firebird with twin turbochargers. One can only imagine how ridiculously fast this thing must be.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro

There is no doubt that the first-gen Chevrolet Camaro remains one of the most iconic muscle cars of all time. While the vehicle still looks amazing, a five-decade-old muscle car is not considered fast by today’s standards. The owner of this ’67 Camaro decided to fix that by dropping an 800-horsepower power plant under the hood.

This resto-mod is renowned in the muscle car community for its rapid throttle response, impressive power output, and, of course, the design and immaculate attention to detail inside and out.

1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda “Kraken Kuda”

The Kraken Cuda is yet another beautiful muscle car that was praised during SEMA. The sleek grey paint job of this Plymouth Cuda ideally matches its aggressive stance and, of course, a gigantic V8 motor to enjoy.

The Kraken Kuda is powered by a 408-cubc inch V8 engine, fitted with a stroker kit. A wide array of tasteful stylistic touches all make this one of the best-looking Cudas of all time.

1968 Dodge Hurst Hemi Dart

This ’68 Dodge Dart is one of the best muscle cars modified by Keith Black. The car’s thick drag racing tires are one of the only dead giveaways of what this Dart is capable of. Unless you pop the hood to reveal its souped-up V8 power plant, that is.

This particular Dart makes nearly a thousand horsepower from its enormous 604-cubic inch Hemi motor. In effect, it can complete a quarter-mile sprint in only 9.17 seconds at 146 miles per hour. It pops impressive wheelies, too!

1970 Chevrolet Nova “Kam Nova”

Rides By Kam is a workshop that specializes in extravagant modified muscle car projects, and the gorgeous Kam Nova is no exception. This powerful muscle car is based on a ’70 Chevrolet Nova. When it comes to its underbody, most of the original components were thrown out in favor of high-performance, modern parts.

The Kam Nova packs a gigantic 572-cubic inch V8 under the hood, complete with twin superchargers to increase the power output even further. In effect, this absolute beast makes over 1500 horsepower!

1967 Ford Mustang “Villain”

It would be difficult to come up with a better nickname for this insane Ford Mustang. This ’67 is called the Villain for a great reason. It packs a 5.0L Coyote V8 beneath the hood, mated with a six-speed stick-shift transmission! Thanks to a supercharger, the total power output is a whopping 770 horsepower. Not to mention the Villain’s unique design, both inside and out.

Thinking of getting one as a daily driver? Don’t worry, Classic Recreations offers a naturally-aspirated version of this first-gen Mustang that “only” makes 457 horsepower.

1960 AMC Rambler

An AMC Rambler may not be the first choice for many buyers willing to get into the custom muscle car game. This build, however, is a solid piece of proof that a Rambler can be just as cool as some of the more famous muscle cars.

A stock Rambler is far from the quickest car in the world, yet the same cannot be said about this modified unit. This particular Rambler makes 325 horsepower. In effect, it could surely surprise many modern sports cars in a drag race!

1963 Chevrolet Corvette

Many petrolheads may be surprised to hear that this build is based on a super-rare variant of the second-gen Corvette from the early 60s. The original Corvette Grand Sport saw a short production run limited to just 5 units. That’s why Superformance decided to make licensed replicas of this legendary automobile.

The original Grand Sport, also referred to as the Lightweight, was a hardcore race-oriented variant of the C2 Corvette. Its power plant is modified to make a whopping 550 horsepower!

Ford Maverick

Much like the previously mentioned AMC Rambler from the early 60s, a Ford Maverick may not be the vehicle of choice for enthusiasts of modified muscle cars. The owner of this jaw-dropping Maverick came up with the perfect solution to make the project more exciting. The answer proved to be more horsepower.

This particular Ford Maverick has a V8 power plant with a twin-turbocharger setup. In effect, it’s likely one of the quickest Mavericks on the planet. Its sleek makeover ensures that the car looks the part, too.

1979 Chevrolet Camaro

This powerful second-gen Chevrolet Camaro proves that a powerful muscle car does not need expensive paint jobs or fancy rims to be a great project. In fact, keeping the exterior rusty can turn a modified muscle car into a seamless sleeper. Until you spot the turbocharger sticking out of the hood, that is.

A quick peek at the turbocharger coming out of the hood is enough to assume that the owner of this Camaro clearly means business. Thick tires are another dead giveaway that this muscle car has got to make some serious power.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach I

While a stock Mach 1 version of the first-generation Ford Mustang is already a cool car, modifying it can make the vehicle even more appealing. This amazing build is based on a Ford Mustang Mach 1 from 1970. The custom pro touring project has truly breathed new life into this iconic pony car.

Back in the late 60s, Ford released the Mach 1 as a sport-oriented variant of their flagship pony car. Its 335-horsepower motor found in the top-trim variant may have been fast at the time, though a modern refresh is much needed to ensure that the vehicle keeps up with the sports cars of today.

Chevrolet C10

Though not exactly a muscle car by definition, this Chevrolet C10 pickup truck deserves a spot on this list. This is yet another spectacular project done by Roadster Shop. Naturally, it packs a V8 motor that makes over 600 horses!

This C10 is nothing like its stock counterpart. In fact, its LS3 engine delivers 625 horsepower! The workshop has added a bunch of other modifications that dramatically improve the performance around corners, too. In terms of aesthetics, this C10 may be one of the greatest units in the country. The green paint job beautifully matches the matte gold American Racing rims.

Chevrolet Camaro

It is no secret that this build is anything but a sleeper. Some of the other modified muscle cars on this list preserved a rather normal look. That way, it would be difficult to know just what the vehicle is capable of. This is clearly not the case when it comes to this first-gen Chevrolet Camaro.

This project is the polar opposite of subtle. The tall shaker scoop paired with a hood delete as well as some of the thickest tires in the industry all makes it pretty apparent that this muscle car packs some serious power.

1977 Holden LX Torana

The Holden Torana is one of the top picks among muscle car enthusiasts in Australia. Whilst the LX generation of the Torana certainly looks like a proper muscle even without any modifications, its power plant is not up to standard. In fact, the LX Torana only made 240 horsepower in its most powerful configuration, while the base model was rated at 105 horses.

Once the power plant is upgraded, though, the Torana suddenly turns into a small muscle car. A vibrant paint job paired with a hood scoop and cool wheels all help make this coupe look more aggressive, too.

1972 Dodge Demon

Most auto enthusiasts have heard of the latest version of the Dodge Demon. The souped-up variant of the Dodge Challenger used to be the quickest-accelerating production car back when it was released. Back in the 70s, though, Dodge revealed the original Demon.

This ’72 Dodge Demon follows in the footsteps of its younger cousin. Clearly, it is all about breaking records at the drag strip. An aggressive stance and thick tires must help to improve the zero to sixty sprint even more.

1969 Ford Mustang

Let’s face it, the Ford Mustang is perhaps the most iconic American automobile of all time. Ever since its debut back in the mid-60s, the Mustang has remained a crucial part of the vehicle industry and American pop culture as a whole. Over five decades after its debut, a regular first-generation Mustang would not be able to keep up with its modern counterpart. Unless, of course, it packs a supercharged V8 beneath the hood.

This jaw-dropping build is more than just a well-preserved body. In fact, this insane ’69 Mustang packs a 681-horsepower motor taken from a modern GT500!

1970 Plymouth Barracuda

Keith Black Racing Engines is a well-known company in the world of drag racing. After all, this American manufacturer has a portfolio of power plants that can easily surpass a total power output of more than a thousand horsepower. One of the craziest projects done by Keith Black has got to be this sweet ’70 Plymouth Barracuda.

This modified Barracuda is all about going quickly in a straight line. In fact, it came in first place at the 2018 Hot Rod Drag Week, with an average time of just 9.37 seconds! When the motor is tuned for low boost, it peaks at a whopping 1600 horsepower.

1968 Dodge Charger “Maximus”

The Maximus could very well be the ultimate movie car featured in the Fast and Furious franchise. Unlike the ’70 driven by Dominic Torretto, the Maximus may seem like any other 1968 Charger at first sight. However, this could not be further from the truth.

The Dodge Charger Maximus has seen lots of different modifications. One of the highlights is its Hemi V8 motor which is rated at 2250 horsepower, thanks to a dual turbocharger setup. A sprint to 60 miles per hour takes only 1.8 seconds! Unsurprisingly, the Maximus was named the best car of the SEMA show back in 2013.