50 American Sports Cars That Give Imports A Run For Their Money

Enough about the foreign cars already! Everyone knows that Ferrari, BMW, and Lamborghini will never go out of style. Sure, they have a lot of power, beauty, and precision. Despite a couple of not-so-great years, American cars have recently undergone a makeover, proving they can compete with the big dogs. Not to mention there is a host of American cars of the past that are worthy of some attention. Here are the top fifty American sports cars to be proud of.

Pontiac Firebird WS

NY Daily News

The Pontiac Firebird added a large snorkel-filled hood ornament to the 1998-2002 WS6 models. It also featured an upgraded engine with 325 horsepower. Available trims included white and blue with blue-tinted aluminum wheels. Changes in 2001 included an improved air cleaner for the engine that increased performance by five horsepower.

Plymouth Superbird

Hot Rod Magazine

Automotive manufacturers Dodge and Plymouth came together to build the 1970 Plymouth Superbird for the sole purpose of winning a NASCAR championship. It featured a 23-inch rear wing and a 426 Hemi engine with top speeds of over 200 miles per hour. Although it never saw the NASCAR title it wanted, the Superbird was one fast ride.

Chevrolet Camaro SS

Chevrolet Camaro SS

The Chevrolet Camaro is a classic American car in all regards. From 1996 until 2002, the SS had an engine that put out 325 horsepower. It also had a huge hood scoop to give it a classic sports car feel. Although owning one of these was unanimous with rocking a mullet, no one can blame the vehicle for that.

American Motors AMX

American Motors AMX

Independent automotive brand American Motors built the 1969 AMX at the height of the muscle-car era to make a statement. At a closed track session in Texas, it broke the one hundred and six world speed record, proving that American cars could hang. Sure, the car was modified, but it still deserves recognition for its power.

Chevrolet Camaro SS 396

Hemmings Motor News

The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396 made a big splash in the American muscle-car era. It featured all new sheet metal, except the trunk lid and hood, for an extra sporty look. It was also given new door skins and rear quarter and rear panels for a lower, wider stance.

Callaway Corvette Sledgehammer

Hemmings Motor News

The 1988 Callaway Corvette Sledgehammer was so incredible that it took twenty-two years before another car (the Bugatti Veyron) could beat its top speed of 254.7 miles per hour. It featured a 900 horsepower engine built by John Lingenfelter and achieved its world record title at the Ohio Transportation Research Center in 1988.

Monte Carlo SS

Hemmings Motor News

The fourth generation Monte Carlo SS was produced from 1983 until 1986. It featured lots of power and an aggressively low stance. Chevrolet brought back the super sports package after it was discontinued for twelve years. The 1984 SS had a 305 V8 engine with 180 horsepower and was used in NASCAR.

Plymouth Road Runner

The Motorhood

The 1969 Plymouth Road Runner was designed to do one thing: make a quarter-mile run in less than fourteen seconds. It also cost less than $3,000, making it awfully enticing. Plymouth filled the family sedan with a large motor and sold it with an unmistakable horn for the most genius idea ever.

1930 Cadillac Series 452 V16


Built in 1930, the Cadillac V16 was crafted to meet each customer’s needs. It was originally made with two straight-eight Buick engines that shared a camshaft mounted in the center. The massive 452 cubic inch engine that put out 185 brake horsepower was borrowed from the 353 and 355 models.

Shelby GLH-S

Mecum Auctions

Shelby is not known for the GLH-S, which makes it an even better car to own. A limited production of the GLH-S was built in 1986. A Charger platform inspired the car along with a larger blow-through turbo engine with 175 horsepower at 5,300 revolutions per minute. It also has an aluminum-to-air intercooler and a swirl-port/fast burn head.

Pontiac Firebird 455

Hemmings Motor News

The 1971 Pontiac Firebird 455 was the last muscle car of its era to hold its weight before the government regulated fuel standards. With its 7.5 liter fuel-sucking engine, the Firebird 455 could perform a quarter second run in 14.5 seconds. To own one is to honor an American tradition worth remembering.

Dodge Neon SRT-4


The Neon might seem like a stupid chick car but add in a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 230 horsepower that does zero to sixty miles per hour in 5.3 seconds and all of a sudden it is like driving an M3 or S4. That is exactly what the 2004 and 2005 models have.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06


The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette featured a Z06 racing package that sported an optional 36.5-gallon fuel tank, stiffer springs, and a dual master cylinder. The Z06 coupe put out 327 horsepower and was one of the rarest Bowtie editions ever made with only 199 models produced.

Oldsmobile Limited Touring


From 1910 until 1912, the Oldsmobile Limited Touring saw a very short production run, making it one of the rarest cars on this list. It featured a 707-cubic inch inline-six engine with 60 horsepower and earned the title of “limited” when it outperformed a twentieth-century limited train during a race from Albany to New York City.

Shelby Mustang GT500

Car and Driver

Given its massive power, the 2013 Shelby Mustang GT500 had people questioning whether it was safe enough to be driven on the streets. It featured an engine with 662 horsepower, 631 pounds per feet of torque power, and top speeds of over 200 miles per hour with a zero to sixty miles per hour time of 3.1 seconds.

Plymouth Laser RS Turbo AWD


The Plymouth Laser RS Turbo AWD was made from 1992 until 1994. It resembled the Mitsubishi Eclipse and the Eagle Talon. Although it never really took off, the Laser RS Turbo AWD featured a gold package that remains a rare edition to this day. Anyone who has one of these babies is a proud owner.

Vector W8 Supercar


The Vector W8 Supercar holds an exclusive title as the only all American Vector ever made. The models of 1989 until the 1993 era featured a 4130 chromium and molybdenum roll cage and a twin-turbo Rodeck Y block with 625 horsepower and 650 pounds per feet of torque. It also had a body made of s-glass, carbon fiber, and kevlar.

Ford Mustang Cobra R

Car Autos Gallery

In the year 2000, the Ford Mustang Cobra R did not have a rear seat, radio or air conditioning. People still loved the car because it was a virtual street racer that beat the pants off a Camaro. It was powered by a 385 horsepower engine and Recaro seats.

Chevrolet Impala SS


The Chevrolet Impala SS is the perfect example of why the simplest designs are the best. The seventh generation Impala SS was debuted from 1994 until 1996. It featured a sport-tuned suspension and matching trim. The lower-profile wheels made it look like a badass police car, and the Corvette motor put the SS over the top.

1968-1969 Chevrolet Impala SS

Hemmings Motor News

Another great Chevrolet Impala SS model was the 1968/1969 version. It featured a facelift to the front end that was similar to that of a 1965 model. Most models came with hidden windshield wipers and an extensive new interior to entice buyers. It worked. Sales of the fourth generation SS were outstanding. It featured the famous 427 engine with up to 425 horsepower.

Ford GT


The first time Ford made the GT in 2005 and 2006, it was a huge success. It was brought back again for 2016, but there is something cool about the older models. They feature a mid-mounted 5.4-liter V8 engine with a twin supercharger and forged rotating assembly for a rocket on wheels.

Pontiac Firebird Turbo Trans-Am


The 1989 Pontiac Firebird Turbo Trans-Am is best known for out-accelerating both the Ferrari Testarossa and the Lamborghini Countach. It featured a turbo Buick 3.8 liter V6 engine and intercooler that could reach sixty miles per hour in 4.5 seconds. Only 1,555 models have ever been produced thanks to its hefty price tag, which was three times more expensive than standard editions.

Ford Thunderbird

Ford Thunderbird

The 1955 Ford Thunderbird is a total classic that always seems to get overlooked by foreign car lovers. The car was created as a response to the Chevrolet Corvette. It featured a two-seater sportier line than other Fords at the time. It also had a 295 cubic inch V8 engine with 212 horsepower, similar to the Corvette but with much more style.

Dodge Daytona Shelby

Hemmings Motor News

The Dodge Daytona Shelby does not look like anything special at first glance. But by the time Carroll Shelby was finished with the 1990 model, he made it legit. Upgraded features included an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, a Getrag gearbox, larger sway bars, and a 174 horsepower Turbo II Chrysler engine.

Duesenberg Cummins Diesel Special

F1 Fanatic

The 1931 Duesenberg Cummins Diesel Special made history when it ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway race on a single tank. Racecar driver Dave Evans finished thirteenth in the race, which was good enough to leave plenty of other drivers in his dust with the first diesel powered car in the race’s history.

Stutz Bearcat


The Stutz Bearcat was designed and built by Harry C. Stuntz in 1913 until 1916. It was referred to as the “car that made good in one day” for placing eleventh at the Indy 500 in 1911. Owning one of these has much more history than a fancy Italian sports car.

Plymouth Duster 340 Twister

Hemmings Motor News

The 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 Twister was a special sport trim package that included racing mirrors, Rallye wheels, a shark tooth grille, hood scoops, and lower panel stripes. It came with four engine options with the best being a V8 with 275 horsepower. The car was a steal at a little over two thousand dollars and is likely worth a lot more than that today.

Ford Torino Talladega GT


The 1969 Ford Torino Talladega GT was made especially for NASCAR races. Ford even gave it rolled up rocker panels and a grille flush. Production models featured a 428 Cobra Jet engine with 335 horsepower while cars that ran on the track had an ultra-rare 427 Cobra Jet engine.

Dodge Charger


The 1969 Dodge Charger came with an option of seven different engines. Most notable was the 440 Magnum and the 426 Hemi. The 1969 Dodge Charger was also the vehicle of choice for the Dukes of Hazard. Rumor has it they trashed two of these classic cars per episode.

Chevelle SS LS6 454

Hemmings Motor News

From 1970 until 1971, the Chevelle SS LS6 454 was king. It featured a 454 cubic inch V8 engine with 450 horsepower, which was the highest factory horsepower production ever. It also cranked out 500 pounds per feet of torque power. Inside the beast was a traditional bench seat with optional bucket seats available for order.

Shelby Mustang GT350

Mustangs Daily

The 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 is the original American sports car that remains one of the best today. It was fitted with a K-code 289 cubic inch V8 engine with 306 horsepower, a hood scoop, side exhaust pipes, and GlassPak mufflers. Select models also had a rear battery. It was a bit pricey when it came out with starting prices around $4,547, but was worth every penny.

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe


The 2010 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is an obvious choice for two reasons: it has Recaro seating and can leave a Porsche 911 in the dust in a zero to sixty miles per hour race. One of the rear half-shanks were purposely shortened by Cadillac engineers to prevent axle tramp. It offers 556 horsepower as a wagon, sedan or coupe.

Oldsmobile 442

Mecum Auctions

The 1968 Oldsmobile 442 remains one of the most recognizable muscle cars with its big hood scoops in the front. It also featured a four-speed manual transmission, two exhausts, a four-barrel carburetor, and a V8 engine that put out 370 horsepower. Top speeds reach up to one hundred and fifteen miles per hour.

Ford Mustang 5.0


The Ford Mustang 5.0 was responsible for inspiring the Ford Mustang SVT Cobra after it was modified by Ford’s special vehicle team. Models from the era of 1979 until 1993 had everything a sports car lover could want, including a powerful 5.0-liter V8 engine, a classic look, and a price tag made for the middle class.

Chevrolet Corvette ZL1


The 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL1 is estimated at around 1.4 million dollars today, making it one of the most valuable Corvette’s ever. It features an aluminum engine with at least 500 horsepower to make it even stronger than the L88 Corvette. Only two models were built that year. Until recently, it has remained one of the most powerful Corvettes.

Plymouth Barracuda


From 1970-1971, the Plymouth Barracuda ruled the land of muscle-cars. It had a shaker hood to proudly display its clean air intake along with a 426 Hemi engine. The Barracuda was also known for its wild colors, such as Vitamin C, In-Violet, and Moulin Rouge. The three models offered were the base Barracuda, the Grand Coupe, and the sports model.

Mosler MT 900


The 2001 Mosler MT 900 featured a carbon fiber Corvette engine with horsepower that ranges from 350 to 600. The MT 900 was designed by Rod Trenne and stands for Mosler, Trenne, and 900 kilograms representing the car’s target weight. It is super rare and has a .25 drag coefficient for a one-of-a-kind thrill ride.

Chevrolet Corvette 427 L88


The 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 L88 was the best of the line because it saw five years of improvements as the last model of the second generation. Changes included a backup light that was mounted above the license plate, slotted six-inch Rally wheels with chrome caps and wheels, and revised interior upholstery.

Pontiac GTO

Classic Cars

The first generation Pontiac GTO included a 389 cubic inch V8 with 325 brake horsepower and a three-speed manual transmission with a Hurst shifter. With wider wheels, GTO badges, redline tires, and hood scoops, the GTO had “muscle car” written all over it. Opting for the Tri-Power carburetion brought the horsepower up to 348.

Dodge Viper


From 1991 until 2012, the Dodge Viper ruled the streets. It featured a massive V10 engine with 600 horsepower. At the time, it was the only sports car that did not have automatic safety features or stability control, aside from an anti-lock brake system, making it rather dangerous to drive in the wrong hands.

2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Motor Trend

The 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 features an LS9 engine with 638 horsepower, making it the most powerful vehicle General Motors ever built. The convertible holds the title of the most powerful and capable Corvette convertible ever made. Notable features include an intimidating track look, Z06 body panels, and a carbon fiber raised hood and fenders.

Panoz Esperante GT


The Panoz Esperante GT’s from the 2001 to 2009 era are an impressive collaboration of high performance and hand-built design. As the base model, the GT featured an aluminum V8 engine with thirty-two valves and 305 horsepower. The Esperante had something most muscle cars of the past did not: charisma.

1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster

Ideal Classic Cars

The 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster proves that they do not make cars the way they used to. Each car featured a distinct look that was road tested more than any car of its time. Reports indicate they were taken out on Indiana highways and outran the police at speeds of more than one hundred miles per hour.

Buick GNX


The 1987 Buick GNX coupe was built by McLaren Performance Technologies and could smoke a zero to sixty miles per hour run in four seconds. The GNX was underrated by Buick at 276 horsepower with 360 pounds per feet of torque when it actually put out 300 horsepower and 420 torque power, making it the underdog everyone loved.

Shelby Cobra 427


The recipe for a great car is simple; shove a powerful engine in the front fenders of a basic car and go. From 1962 until 1967, the Shelby Cobra 427 was powered by a 7.0 liter Ford 427 side-oiler engine with 425 brake horsepower. It propelled the 2,300-pound car to top speeds of 164 miles per hour in the standard model.

Duesenberg SSJ


Back when sixty miles per hour was blazing, the 1935 Duesenberg SSJ must have seemed like a rocket when it reached speeds of 130mph. It featured a four-valve, twin-camshaft, supercharged engine with as much ground clearance as a Jeep. All these benefits came with a price tag of more than twelve grand when the average car at that time sold for half of that.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1


When General Motors hired Mercury Marine to install a boat motor in the 1995 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, it was a little weird. But the final product turned out to be a success. It featured an LT5 engine with 405 horsepower, four overhead camshafts, and a top speed of near 180 miles per hour. It could even reach sixty miles per hour in 4.4 seconds.

Saleen S7


The Saleen S7 was in production from 2000 until 2006, but the years to focus on are from 2002 until 2004. It is a large car with a 7.0 liter naturally aspirated V8 engine and 550 horsepower that could reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds.

Ford GT40

Top Gear

The Ford GT40 is the only American car ever to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, and it did it four times in a row from 1966 until 1969. It stands 40 inches tall, making it a bit of a runt, but it is still large enough to give a Ferrari nightmares about its capabilities.

Ford Mustang

8000 Vueltas

The Ford Mustang of the 1964 to 1969 era has been a hit ever since it first came out on the market. It featured a design inspired by a mixture of the P-51 fighter jet and all great European cars. It did not get the respect it deserved until 1969 when people finally noticed its horsepower when it hit the showroom with its 302 cubic inch V8.