The Car Chasers

Ten of the hottest new modern-day muscle cars of 2014

Modern-day muscle cars of 2014

2014 SRT Viper
Image Source: Chrysler

Muscle cars are part of an enduring high-speed American subculture that originated in the 1960s. But the era is far from over, and modern-day muscle cars for 2014 are making their debuts in showrooms at this very moment.

Karl Brauer, a senior director at the car valuation and analysis company Kelley Blue Book, provided his list of classic muscle cars in April. Today, presents his list of muscle cars for 2014, and what consumers can expect to pay for them.

"When it comes to American muscle cars they sure don't make them like they used to ... they make them much better," he said. "With engines capable of producing between 400 and 650 horsepower, and zero-to-60 times approaching 3 seconds, the modern American performance car could chew the original 1960s versions into tiny bits of bias-ply rubber, and that's in a straight line. Throw in some turns and hard braking and your classic American muscle car offers as much control and precision as a napalm blast."

That's quite an endorsement, but can these new vehicles really compare with the classics that Brauer ran down for us six months ago? Read's list of top modern-day muscle cars to find out.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Updated 25 Oct. 2013

Tune in to the new season of "The Car Chasers" on CNBC Prime, all new episodes Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Chrysler 300 SRT8

2014 Chrysler 300 SRT8
Image Source: Chrysler

In 1955, the original Chrysler 300 set a new standard for performance and luxury. According to Brauer, the 2014 version continues this proud tradition, and carries a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $50,520.

"With a 470 horsepower V8 this Chrysler sedan harkens back to the original, with an adjustable suspension, Brembo high-performance brakes and a host of standard luxury features like heated seats and bi-xenon headlights," he said. "But even with all those fat-cat features it will still hit 60 miles per hour in less than 5 seconds."

Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee

2014 Dodge Charger SRT8
Image Source: Chrysler

The Chrysler 300 SRT8 is a powerful machine, but it emphasizes luxury more than performance. The Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee, on the other hand, emphasizes nothing as much as performance. Consumers can expect a manufacturer's suggested retail value of $44,920.

"Its 20-inch wheels, black brake calipers and Super Bee exterior graphics perfectly complement the 470 horsepower V8's stinging exhaust note," Brauer said. "Its five-speed automatic transmission has a manual mode to take full advantage of the 470 pound-feet of torque churning the rear tires, and 60 miles per hour arrives in just 4.6 seconds."

Dodge Challenger R/T

2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Redline
Image Source: Chrysler

When the Dodge Challenger returned to the marketplace in 2008, it had been out of production since 1974. There had been a second-generation model manufactured by Mitsubishi from 1978 to 1983, but according to hardcore fans, if it's not made in America, it's not a muscle car, so that one doesn't count.

Brauer said that when the car was re-released in the 21st century, "they completely knocked off the original 1970 model." However, that's not a flaw, that's a feature, which makes the retro-looking 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T worth the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $31,490.

"With perfect lines and proportions the 2014 Challenger continues its history of beauty and brawn, the latter coming from a 372 horsepower, 400 pound-feet V8 good for zero-to-60 in 5.5 seconds," he said. "While not the fastest car on this list, the Challenger offers an excellent combination of price, performance and timeless style."

This entry has been updated to provide more information about the model's manufacturing history.

Ford Mustang GT

2014 Ford Mustang GT coupe
Stan Honda | AFP | Getty Images

The 2014 Mustang GT has a 420 horsepower V8 engine, which makes it slightly less powerful than its fellow muscle car brethren, and it carries a relatively low manufacturer's suggested retail price of $31,695. Still, don't underestimate what it can do.

"The original pony car still runs with the big dogs, pulling zero-to-60 times of 4.7 seconds while offering responsive steering and confident handling," Brauer said. "A wide range of Mustang options, including a powerful audio system, shorter axle ratios and various exterior enhancements make it easy to personalize your pony."

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Image Source: General Motors

When someone utters the term "muscle car," the Camaro most often springs to mind. The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 does justice to that iconic status, with a 6.2-liter 580 horsepower V8 engine and the ability to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds.

"The ZL1 also features a high-tech magnetic ride suspension, 20-inch wheels and Brembo brakes," Brauer said. "A unique rear spoiler and front fascia serve notice to would-be rivals that this Chevy means business." The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $57,250.

Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core

2014 Dodge Challenger SRT
Image Source: Chrysler

If you're a muscle car fanatic, high-performance capability is a must-have attribute of any vehicle that you're sizing up. If this sounds like you, then Brauer thinks you'll be suitably impressed by the Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core, which carries a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $41,020. It's missing a few bells and whistles, but he said that's a nonissue.

"It's designed as a less expensive alternative to the SRT8 392, which means no adaptive suspension, no fog lights and no high-end stereo," he said. "But it still has the 6.4-liter V8 engine with 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, and it still gets to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds. Only hardcore muscle car fanatics need apply."

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

2014 Shelby GT500
Source: Ford Motor Company

To the discriminating muscle car connoisseur, the 420 horsepower engine of the base Ford Mustang GT may seem a little weak. Well, the 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has arrived, and it has a supercharged, 5.8-liter 662 horsepower V8 engine, so whatever else it is, it's not weak.

The car's "662 horsepower is an astonishing number, as is its zero-to-60 time of 4 seconds flat," Brauer said. "The Mustang will be completely redesigned for 2015, but the current generation will go out with a big bang for enthusiasts who snag a GT500 and push the loud pedal to the floor." This Mustang has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $55,595

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Image Source: General Motors

The Camaro Z/28 is a classic vehicle in the muscle car subculture. In 2014, this familiar nameplate returns to dealer parking lots, and while the name remains, it has a few new features.

"The newest version gives up 80 horsepower to the ZL1, but it's also 300 pounds lighter and features a host of performance-oriented features like carbon-ceramic brakes, a track-oriented suspension and a single-speaker audio system," Brauer said. But look alive when you're behind its wheel.

"The Z/28 only comes with a six-speed manual transmission, so plan on being engaged when you drive it." The manufacturer's suggested retail price is not yet available from Kelley Blue Book.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray equipped with Z51 performance package
Image Source: General Motors

The Stingray is the oldest sports car in the U.S., but you would never know it from sitting behind the wheel of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51. Brauer said it "feels younger and livelier than ever," and according to Kelley Blue Book, it sells for a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $54,795.

"A long overdue high-quality interior complements the Corvette's updated suspension and drivetrain, including a 6.2-liter V8 with 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque," he said. "Zero-to-60 arrives in 4.1 seconds and the Z51 performance package adds several performance items to an already capable car."


2014 SRT Viper
Image Source: Chrysler

Brauer said that for any other self-respecting muscle car fan, it's only considered the genuine article if it has a V8 engine. However, he has chosen to break his own rule and add the 2014 SRT Viper GTS to the list anyway, despite its V10 engine.

He said that since its 2013 redesign, it has become a "world-class supercar" that can hold its own against any exotic vehicle that Europe or Asia has to offer. It's also the priciest car on this list, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $127,058.

"The 8.4-liter V10 engine is good for 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque," he said. "It catapults the Viper to 60 miles per hour in a scant 3.7 seconds while emitting an exhaust roar that will either thrill or terrorize onlookers ... probably both."

The Car Chasers

Jeff Allen and Perry Barndt are gamblers—their game being classic and exotic cars. They travel the country looking to buy and sell them. Whether it's a rare Shelby Mustang or a vintage hot rod, the key is to buy low and sell high, something that doesn't always happen.

Selling cars is a dangerous business, but perhaps there's no greater risk than negotiating with your own father. Tom Souter, Jeff's dad, runs a classic car dealership around the corner from Jeff's shop in Lubbock, Texas. They are not just regular trading partners; they are trading partners hell-bent on one-upmanship. Tom said doing a deal with his son is like being locked in a closet with a porcupine: "It's gonna hurt, but you know it won't kill you."

Tune in to the new season of "The Car Chasers" on CNBC Prime, all new episodes Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.