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Our Pick for the Top Ten Muscle Cars for 2012

In 2010 we did our pick of the Top Ten Collector Cars for the new decade 2010-2020. We thought it would be fun to go back and revisit that list and see how we might tweak it for this year. If you would like to see the original story just Click Here.

I don’t have a crystal ball and no special insight to the muscle car market but I do love cars and think I have a perspective that isn’t much different than a lot of the car hobbyist. There are those who collect for investment and there are those who collect for fun and enjoyment. Some like to show and others like to drive. I think we are seeing a return to the driver quality show cars. The economy has brought change to our hobby. It is now often cheaper to purchase a restored car than it is to do it yourself. The 100 point frame off restoration is beyond the reach of most of us and the thought of just looking at such a car without driving it soon becomes unfulfilling and unsatisfying. My Top 10 Collector Car picks for 2010-2020 were for the average car guy and were just a guess on my part based on what I wanted. These were what I thought the average “Joe” was willing to purchase and could afford. In this update I am not trying to predict how to save your 401k with a single purchase. No million dollar get rich quick cars in this pick. The theme remains the same; what do you want to have fun with and still be able to afford.

One thing that is different from two years ago is what I think are a couple of emerging trends. The first is the desire to drive something different than everyone else. This is also reflected in response to the demand vs supply cost issue. More hobbyist, I believe, are moving away from the highly sought after over priced cars such as the 57 Chevy, MOPAR Hemi etc. and moving towards the less common cars like Studebakers (50s low slung coupes) and any non-Chevy GM intermediate like the Buick Skylark, Olds Cutlass and Pontiac Le Mans derivatives. The second is what I think is an increase interest in real high quality drivers. These are not perfect restorations but they are solid high quality drivers. I would even put the lower cost resto=mods into this category. The best part of owning a car is driving it, in 2012 we will be driving our cars more!

Top 10 Collector Cars for 2010-2020; The 2012 Update

These are not presented in any order. I believe the economy’s depressed condition will have a major impact on our hobby for the remainder of this year. Few of us will be investing large sums of money in things we can’t use and have fun with. Since the year 2000 I believe we have seen a turn away from the Rat Rod rage but station wagons are hot, and trucks are growing even more in popularity. The high end museum collectors will still pay big bucks and will be looking for the rare and memorable cars of the past. The rest of us will be looking to have fun and drive the wheels off our cars before the gas is gone and electric outlets replace parking meters.

1. 1970-1972 Chevrolet Camaro: The second generation Camaro has been ignored for way too long. It is a wonderful car and far more refined than the first generation. As with all the cars on this list, they are currently under valued but the prices have increased significantly in the past two years. If you see 10 first generation Camaros at a car show today you will be lucky to see one of the second generation. In my opinion, these cars could easily end up more valuable in the long run than the 67-69 vintage. If you purchase one now restore it to original or make it a pro-touring car just get one of these before the price jumps $10,000 over night, I know I will be looking for a Z28 RS very soon. The Pontiac Firebird and Trans Am sister car also fits into this category.

2. Ford F 100 and Chevy Silverado pickups through the early 70s: Today’s pickups remain very popular and practical. They are far better than old ones. However, just like the modern muscle car is superior to the vintage from the 60s and 70s they build a desire for the old versions, people want one of each!

Older Ford and Chevy pickup have always been popular but now any truck over 30 years old is fair game for the restoration magic and love. Heck, even restore the camper and take your kids along.

3. 1968-1970 AMC AMX and Javelin: I already have my AMX! These are terrific cars, can still be obtained at a reasinabke oruce but I predict that will change in the next few years. These cars are far under rated and in many ways superior to the more recognised brands of Pony cars. A well done AMX or Javelin will stand out in a crowd and can be made to go like crazy. The market is starting to acknowledge their role in the history of having fun with cars. They didn’t make of lot of the AMX cars but they are out there and they have a great reputation on the drag strip. The Javelin was more plentiful and also won the Trans Am series championship twice. Bet you didn’t know that.

4. Rat Rods: This version of the legendary Rat or sometimes called the Rot Rod is going away; the rusted out hulks that are a danger to anyone on the road will disappear. I got to the point there were more Rat Rod Trailer Queens than high end Trailer Queens. Those Rat Rods were so bad they were not even capable of being driven on the road.

This theme of hot rod will morph into the creation of the Traditional Hot Rod.

5. Traditional Hot Rods: I believe this could be a very hot market this year. These will be reproductions made of more junkyard parts and less polished Billet. The owners of these cars will put lots a miles on them every year. Some will be traditional in every way and authentic Hot Rods; others will be recreations with a pro-touring flare. If it looks like it might be at home at a car show, it isn’t a traditional rod. If it looks like it is driven by a high school kid with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve, it is a traditional rod.

These versions will have the old school look but will use some modern mechanical components to make them safer and more convenient.

6. 1966-67 Ford Fairlanes: These are arguably some of the most beautiful designs to come out of the Ford design studio. They are clean, simple and yet very attractive. Engine options were wide and there is no shortage of aftermarket stuff to make them fast. Fords in general (exception being the Mustang and Shelby) are way undervalued when compared to their Chevy and Mopar competitors.

There are lots of Ford loving gearheads out there and they are quietly building there machines.

When you show up with a unique Ford at most car shows there is no shortage of interested folks asking questions and admiring the car. It is about time that these cars get their due recognition.


7. 1969 Ford Talladega: Everything said about the 66-67 Fairlane is true about the Torino and especially the Talladega. These cars are hardly ever seen today but are terrific rides. They and the sister Mercury Cyclone Spoiler and Spoielr II cars are very rare but way undervalued. They are excellent drivers and with a 428 CJ engine are extremely fast. Why so many Chevelles are saved and so few Torinos is beyond me. You Bow Tie guys don’t start to scream and leave the site, we love them all. I am not suggesting fewer Chevelle restorations, just more Torinos. I, for one, just enjoy seeing a lot of variety when I go to a show.

These cars have seen recent increases in value just as some of the more traditional muscle car “must haves” have decreased. It is time to jump on one of these.

8. 1967-1971 Plymouth GTX: Roadrunners get all the attention but the GTX was an upscale car. MOPARS seemed to have gone flat in value. Has hobbyist want to drive their collector car the upscale models from each manufacturer should be more popular.

However, beware most MOPARS may continue to slip in value.


9. 1964-1970 GM Intermediates: This is a broad category that includes the Buick and Oldsmobile intermediate models.

As the population ages more and more of the potential owners will be happy to purchase one of the luxury, air conditioned muscle cars for less cost than a Chevelle SS or Pontiac GTO. These are similar cars but with greatly different personalities and cost points.

Other cars that fit into this category are the 1958-1966 Ford Thunderbirds, 1963-1970 Buick Rivieras and Chrysler 300 letter cars.


10. 1964-1972 Sleepers: As stated previously most of us have far less money to spend on our toys than we did 2 too 5 years ago. I believe this is going to lead to the traditional street look or Day Two look. These muscle cars and their lesser more traditional grocery getter two door sedan versions will be very popular this year. Many will be in primer or appear to be “under construction”. These cars are the muscle car version of the Traditional Street Rod. The GTOs and SS Chevelles bring top dollar because of what they are. The grocery getter versions are more common but provide nearly identical appearance at lower cost. Many times these were purchased new, taken home and modified to out perform the factory muscle car version. This year we will see history repeat itself. I am not saying everyone will be putting the correct muscle car badges and stripes on their cars to make more clones or tribute cars. The sleeper was king of the street back in the day. In 2012 the plain Jane two door will be the car to own. It will be the Day Two car with mags, intake, headers and other traditional modifications done in the vintage style. Owners will not be concerned with owning historically correct restorations. They want a cool look with high performance that is dependable, easy on gas and can be safely driven long distances weather it be on a Hot Rod Power Tour or just a couple of hundred miles to a big show in a neighboring state. Rock chips will be a badge of honor.

Being different, being driven and being built for reasonable cost will rule.

Well, there you have it, my 2912 Update to the Top 10 Collector Cars for 2010-2020! What do you think?

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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