Merriam-Webster says a muscle car is an American-made sports car with two doors and a powerful engine. With such a loose definition, there's some definite wiggle room when it comes to classifying one of these vehicles.
Take, for example, three cars that might not immediately come to mind when you think of a muscle car, but could nonetheless prove to be good investments.
First up, the 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk. With its 275 horsepower Sweepstakes 289 engine, this vehicle arguably had the best power-to-weight ratio in its day. There aren't many left that are still in good condition, and it's been largely ignored in the world of collector cars.
Almost a decade later there was the 1965 AMC Rambler Marlin. It was also strong, boasting 250 horsepower, and its defining feature was a long, continuously flowing fastback roof. AMC was one of the first manufacturers to design a true version of the fastback.
A few years later, America saw the 1969 Mercury Cyclone CJ 428. The CJ stands for Cobra Jet, suggesting it does something fierce. What was fierce was the 335 horsepower.
Unique in their own ways, all three also value quite differently. So which one is the better investment? Automotive valuation expert Donald Osborne met up with Jay Leno to take a look.
Each week, Jay Leno shares his thoughts about hot topics in the auto industry. Tune in to "Jay Leno's Garage" Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.