Muscle cars are a huge part of American car history. In the golden age of muscle cars, from the 1960s to the early 1970s, General Motors (GM) stood out by producing some of the fastest and most iconic cars of the time.

GM’s decision to fit their mid-size cars with large engines revolutionized the market, leading to the creation of legendary vehicles like the Pontiac GTO and the Chevrolet Chevelle.

In this article, we’re ranking the fastest classic muscle cars GM produced.

1969 Pontiac GTO Ram Air IV Convertible

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
  • Top Speed: 125 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 14.7 seconds

The 1969 Pontiac GTO Ram Air IV Convertible stands out with its 400 cid V8 engine, generating 370 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque, pushing it from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. This model had a top speed of 125 mph and quarter-mile time of 14.7 seconds.

Its scarcity, with only 45 units produced, underscores its exclusivity. The Ram Air IV engine, designed for high performance, enables this convertible to deliver a rapid acceleration.

1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30

By Mustang Joe – 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=108412052
  • 0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds
  • Top Speed: 116 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 14.3 seconds

The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30, powered by a 455 cid V8 engine, produces 365 hp and an impressive 500 lb-ft of torque. This powerhouse accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds.

This model’s enhancements, like the W-25 fiberglass hood and efficient air induction system, contribute to its remarkable speed and agility. It had a top speed of 116 mph and completed the quarter-mile in 14.3 seconds.

1969 Chevrolet Nova SS 396

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds
  • Top Speed: 127 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 14 seconds

The 1969 Chevrolet Nova SS 396, with its 396 cid V8 engine, boasts 375 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to race from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. Its quarter-mile dash is completed in just 14 seconds, reaching a top speed of 127 mph.

Originally a trim upgrade, the Nova SS became a performance icon in its own right. The optional L78 engine package was a game-changer, offering significant power that marked the Nova SS 396 as a standout performer in the muscle car category.

1971 Pontiac GT-37 455 H.O.

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
  • Top Speed: 117 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 14 seconds

The 1971 Pontiac GT-37 455 H.O. emerges as a speed enthusiast’s dream, equipped with a 455 cid V8 engine delivering 335 hp and a robust 480 lb-ft of torque. This muscle car achieves a 0 to 60 mph sprint in just 5.4 seconds.

Its quarter-mile run matches the Nova at 14 seconds, with a top speed of 117 mph. This performance leap over its base model, which takes 8.7 seconds for the same acceleration, proves the GT-37 455 H.O.’s superior engineering and power.

1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
  • Top Speed: 162 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 13.7 seconds

The 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6, a late-model standout with a 5.7-liter LS1 V8, outputs 320 hp and 345 lb-ft of torque. It accelerates to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and completes the quarter-mile in 13.7 seconds, with a top speed of 162 mph.

1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 RS

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 5.3 seconds
  • Top Speed: 132 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 13.8 seconds

The 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 RS, known for its 302 cid V8 engine, delivers 290 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque, achieving 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13.8 seconds. This model was initially race-oriented but gained massive appeal for street use, evidenced by its significant sales.

1970 Buick Gran Sport 455 Stage 1

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds
  • Top Speed: 135 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 14.3 seconds

The 1970 Buick Gran Sport 455 Stage 1 showcases a 455 cid V8 engine with 360 hp and an impressive 510 lb-ft of torque, sprinting to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. Its quarter-mile run is clocked at 14.3 seconds, reaching a top speed of 135 mph.

The Stage 1 package elevates its performance, drastically cutting down the 0 to 60 mph time from the standard model’s 6.5 seconds.

1969 Pontiac Trans-Am Ram Air IV

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds
  • Top Speed: 113 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 13.7 seconds

The 1969 Pontiac Trans-Am Ram Air IV, equipped with a 400 cid V8 engine, produces 345 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, achieving a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.1 seconds. Its top speed stands at 113 mph with a quarter-mile time of 13.7 seconds.

Featuring enhancements like high-flow heads and a more aggressive camshaft, the Ram Air IV engine offers a significant performance boost over its predecessor, making it one of the fastest and most revered muscle cars of its time.

1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds
  • Top Speed: 122 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 13.6 seconds

The 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV, with a 400 cid V8 engine, outputs 370 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque. This muscle car accelerates to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, boasting a top speed of 122 mph and a quarter-mile time of 13.6 seconds.

This version of the GTO, known as the Judge, represents the peak of Pontiac’s performance engineering, offering a significant power increase over the standard model.

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS6

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph:  4.8 seconds
  • Top Speed: 114 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 13.4 seconds

The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS6, featuring a 454 cid V8 engine, is capable of 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, achieving 0 to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. With a quarter-mile time of 13.4 seconds and a top speed of 114 mph, this muscle car was a force to be reckoned with.

The LS6 model was at the pinnacle of the Chevelle performance lineup, often believed to have been underrated in power to mitigate insurance premium spikes.

1987 Buick GNX

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
  • Top Speed: 124 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 13.5 seconds

The 1987 Buick GNX, with its turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine, officially rated at 276 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque, clocks a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.7 seconds and a quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds. However, its actual performance is believed to exceed these figures, with estimates suggesting over 300 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque.

Limited to just 547 units, the GNX was a model that incorporated significant enhancements like a more powerful turbocharger, advanced cooling, and a refined suspension, marking it as a high-performance vehicle with collectible status.

1964 Pontiac Tempest GTO Tri-Power

Mecum Auctions
  • 0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds
  • Top Speed: 115 mph
  • Quarter-mile: 13.1 seconds

The 1964 Pontiac Tempest GTO Tri-Power, equipped with a 389 cid V8 engine, produces between 325 and 348 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. This iconic muscle car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, leading its class with a quarter-mile time of 13.1 seconds.

The GTO’s Tri-Power setup, featuring three two-barrel carburetors, was instrumental in achieving its remarkable speed and power, making it one of the most respected and fastest classic GM muscle cars.

More From RideRambler – 10 Pontiacs Every Collector Wants

Mecum Auctions

10 Pontiacs Every Collector Wants

More From RideRambler – 25 SUVs We Don’t Encourage You To Buy

Kevauto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

25 SUVs We Don’t Encourage You To Buy

More From RideRambler – What You Need To Know About Michelin’s New Airless Tires (With Pictures)

MICHELIN®

What You Need To Know About Michelin’s New Airless Tires (With Pictures)

Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs

Bio:

Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.