1967 Mercury Cougar GT
Granted, muscle cars from the golden era are pretty expensive nowadays, but unless you want a top-notch, high-spec or rare model, you can find a few for under $20,000. One such model is the Cougar, essentially a redesigned Ford Mustang. While Mustang prices kept and keep soaring, the Cougar isn’t as desirable unless it’s a really special or limited-edition model.
For around $19,000, not only you can get a Cougar from 1967, its first year on the market, but you also get one with the GT package. The bundle added a lot of cool extras, starting with a 6.4-liter V-8 engine rated at 270 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. It also added improved suspension, brakes, exhaust, and better tires. The GT also features sequential taillights and an exclusive chrome grille with vertical slats with hidden headlamps. It’s powerful, it looks mean, and costs as much as a base Toyota Corolla. What more could you want?
1970 Ford Torino GT
Another gold-era muscle car you can buy without robbing a bank is a 1970 or 1971 Ford Torino GT. Based on the Fairlane, the Torino was already in its second generation in 1970 and had a decidedly more aggressive look. Bigger than its predecessor, the Torino had a unique design among muscle cars of the era and was inspired by supersonic aircraft. It had bulging fenders that extend far in front of the nose, a fastback rear end and a racy look. Not surprisingly, Ford used the Torino as the base of its NASCAR race cars. The coupe was also featured in the “Gran Torino” movie, which makes it highly recognizable even now.
You can snap one of these for $15,000 to $18,000, which is quite alright given that the GT was just one step below the range-topping Cobra. Under the hood, the Torino GT had a 4.9-liter V-8 Windsor engine rated at 220 horsepower and 300 pound-feet before emission regulations kicked in for the 1972 model year. Standard features included a non-functional hood scoop, “GT” emblems, body-colored mirrors, full width tail lights with a honeycomb effect, black decklid appliques, and hubcaps with wheel trim rings. If you’re lucky enough to find a Torino GT with the optional 429 Cobra Jet engine, you’ll enjoy 370 horsepower and a 0-to-60 mph sprint of only six seconds.