In the ’60s, with the onset of the muscle car, American cars were increasingly built to be fast, powerful, and acoustically rude. American car manufacturers bolted the largest power units they could find in these models to ensure the market being wooed by muscle cars was getting the most intoxicating packages Detroit could make.
However, not every automaker was paying attention to reliability. Some automakers ensured their cars could run as powerfully as that V8 could allow for a lifetime. For others, you’d have to visit the mechanic’s shop a few more times than you wished.
8th Most Reliable: 1964 Pontiac GTO
The 1964 Pontiac GTO is considered one of the pioneer muscle cars in some circles. This car was the brainchild of John DeLorean, Bill Collins, and Russell Gee. Under the hood, it packed a 4.6-liter (389 cu-in) V8 engine that was surprisingly reliable. It’s this reliability that earned the 1964 Pontiac GTO a solid reputation.
That V8 engine produced 348hp, which was more than enough for this 1960s beauty. The ’64 Pontiac GTO is still remembered as one of the world’s best muscle cars.
7 Most Reliable: 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback
There have been some rather average Mustangs that have come out of Ford’s production line. However, the 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback is considered one of the best, earliest-version Mustangs ever built. It is also wildly popular.
Under the hood, the ’69 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback packed a healthy option of V8 engines. You could get a model powered by Windsor, CJ/SCJ, and Cleveland V8 engines. This model is one of the most coveted in the collector’s market for its performance and reliability.
6 Most Reliable: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The modern Chevrolet Camaro is one of the most revered current-gen muscle cars. It has been a long journey for this model that was once the underdog of Detroit. In 1969, Chevy was already busy making a name for the Camaro with the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
This car was a little stunner. It was one of the fastest and most powerful muscle cars built on US soil when it was launched. Chevy wanted to make an exclusive statement with this model, so only 69 were ever built. It is one of the rarest muscle cars of the ’60s.
5 Most Reliable: 1968 Dodge Charger R/T
The Dodge Charger R/T is a muscle car that has stood the test of time. Most muscle cars from its era have dwindled in popularity, reliability, and performance, save for this Dodge beauty. It is still an exceptionally popular car today.
It is impossible to miss spotting the 1968 Dodge Charger R/T on the road, motor show, or auction center. This model has an unmistakable design with a 440cu-in four-barrel Magnum V8 power unit, one of the most legendary engines ever fit in a muscle car. You can also get models equipped with a 426 Hemi.
4 Stay Away From: 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was a mighty shot in the foot of Detroit giants. Dodge built a car that was equipped to rip timesheets on dragstrips. Dodge went as far as fitting the ’69 Daytona with aerodynamics powerful enough to dominate NASCAR. In stock form, this car could hit 200 mph.
But that is where the problem came in. For a daily driver, that engine was burrowing through itself faster than the average Joe would appreciate. However, playing devil’s advocate, this model wasn’t built for the average Joe anyway.
3 Stay Away From: 1964 Ford Mustang Base
The first-generation Mustang was a bomb. the Gone in 60 seconds star car, driven by Steve McQueen and built by Carroll Shelby, inspired petrolheads and the industry to dream big and drive extravagantly. The fire-breathing V8 under the hood of the Mustang was a wild power unit to have in a car this size.
However, the V8 was not the most reliable engine you could get in a model compared to other V8s bolted in other models. Nonetheless, petrolheads loved the 1964 Ford Mustang. The wild experience of driving this model triumphed the shortcomings with the model’s comparable reliability.
2 Stay Away From: 1968 Chevrolet El Camino SS 454
The SS is the Chevrolet badge that excites petrolheads. Put the 454 number after it, and you have a car that would fly off showrooms faster than Mcdonald’s can make Big Macs. For a couple of years, the 1968 Chevrolet El Camino SS454 packed a big block 454cu-in LS6 V8. That power unit developed 365 horsepower. All that power was sent to the rear wheels with little grip to keep the car driving straight.
The downside to this package was the V8 engine which didn’t score that well regarding reliability.
1 Stay Away From: 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Ford bringing back the Boss 302 in 2007 was celebrated as a return to the good old days. However, some petrolheads might argue otherwise. The original Ford Mustang Boss was designed to be the king of the race track. Under the hood, it packed a peppy 300-horsepower V8 that could take the fight to the door of Hemi and COPO Chevy cars.
However, all that power came at a cost. The 4.9-liter V8 in the Boss 302 could eat through pistons faster than an army of piranha can chew through a finger. After about every 20,000 miles, you’d have overhauled its engine.
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