5 Cheap Muscle Cars To Buy In This Insane Project Car Market

Affordable Project Cars

Tony Angelo from YouTube Channel Stay Tuned tells you something you likely already know — The classic/muscle car/Hot Rod market has gone insane!

It’s nearly impossible to find a good cheap project car right now! But if you’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000 for a project car, he’s got some picks that might be some of the last affordable buys, and they all have massive potential!

1993-2002 Camaro, Firebird, Trans Am — 4th Generation GM F Body Cars

The fourth and final generation of F-body was released in 1993. It was an extensive revision to the third generation car, instead of a clean-sheet design. It was produced until the platform was canceled at the end of the 2002 model year.

Unlike most of the years past, the engine choices were simplified considerably; each year, on both the Camaro and the Firebird, there was only one V6 and one V8 available.

4th Generation GM F Body Engines

  • 207 cu in (3.4 L) L32 V6 (160hp)
  • 231 cu in (3.8 L) L36 V6 (205hp)
  • 350 cu in (5.7 L) LT1 V8 (275-305hp)
  • 350 cu in (5.7 L) LT4 V8 (330hp)
  • 346 cu in (5.7 L) LS1 V8 (305-330hp)

4th Generation GM F Body Transmissions

  • 4-speed automatic — 4L60E
  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual

Wheelbase: 101.1 in (2,568 mm)

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1979-1993 Fox Body Cars — Other Than Mustangs

In total, fifteen distinct vehicles were produced on the Ford Fox platform, with the Ford Fairmont, Mercury Zephyr, Ford Durango, Ford Mustang SVO, and Continental/Lincoln Mark VII produced exclusively on the architecture. The platform would be produced in a variety of body styles, including two-door and four-door sedans, two-door coupes, three-door hatchbacks, five-door station wagons, two-door convertibles (marking the return of the body style to Ford), and a two-door coupe utility (the last coupe utility produced by Ford in North America).

Fox-Platform Compact Vehicles

  • 1978-1983 Ford Fairmont
  • 1978-1983 Mercury Zephyr
  • 1981-1982 Ford Durango

Fox-Platform Mid-Size Vehicles

  • 1981-1982 Ford Granada
  • 1983-1986 Ford LTD
  • 1981-1982 Mercury Cougar
  • 1983-1986 Mercury Marquis
  • 1982-1987 Lincoln Continental

Fox-Platform Pony Cars

  • 1979-1993 Ford Mustang
  • 1984-1986 Ford Mustang SVO
  • 1994-2004 Ford Mustang (SN-95)
  • 1979-1986 Mercury Capri

Fox-Platform Luxury Vehicles

  • 1980-1982 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1983-1988 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1980-1982 Mercury Cougar XR7
  • 1983-1988 Mercury Cougar
  • 1984-1992 Continental Mark VII
  • 1984-1992 Lincoln Mark VII

Wheelbase: 100.5–108.5 in (2,550–2,760 mm)

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2006-2010 Dodge Charger — 6th Generation

After a 20-year absence, Dodge reintroduced the Charger in 2005 for the 2006 model year as a Chrysler LX platform-based four-door sedan.

Initially, the Charger was available in SE, SXT, R/T, R/T with Road/Track Performance Group, Police, and Daytona R/T versions. For the first time, a V6 engine was available, as was all-wheel drive (AWD). All-wheel drive was first only available on the R/T package. However, from 2009 onwards, all-wheel drive was also an option for the SE and SXT versions.

Engine/Transmission Options

The basic SE model included a 2.7 L V6 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission with “AutoStick” manual shifting feature, 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, all-speed traction control, as well as ABS, and electronic stability control. The Charger R/T offered a 5.7 L Hemi V8 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. A multiple-displacement system that allowed it to save fuel by running on only four cylinders when cruising was also featured in the V8.

Performance was the focus of the Charger SRT8 equipped with a 6.1 L Hemi engine mated to a 5-speed automatic, as well as a host of conveniences. An optional Road/Track package offered ten additional horsepower.

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1982-1993 Chevrolet S10, GMC S15, Sonoma — 1st Generation

The Chevrolet S-10 is a compact pickup truck that was produced by Chevrolet and was the first domestically built compact pickup of the big three American automakers. When it was first introduced as a “quarter-ton pickup” in 1981 for the 1982 model year, the GMC version was known as the S-15 and later renamed the GMC Sonoma. A high-performance version of the GMC truck was released in 1991 and dubbed the Syclone.


  • Gasoline:
    • 1.95 L LR1 I4
    • 2.0 L LQ2 I4
    • 2.5 L L38/LN8 I4
    • 2.8 L LR2/LL2 V6
    • 4.3 L L35/LB4 V6
  • Diesel:
    • 2.2 L LQ7 I4


  • 3-speed THM-200C automatic
  • 4-speed Isuzu S101 manual
  • 4-speed Borg-Warner T4 manual
  • 4-speed 700R4 automatic
  • 4-speed 4L60 automatic
  • 4-speed 4L60-E automatic
  • 5-speed Getrag 290 manual
  • 5-speed 5LM60 manual
  • 5-speed NV3500 manual
  • 5-speed Borg Warner T5 manual


  • 108.3 in (2,751 mm) (reg. cab short bed)
  • 117.9 in (2,995 mm) (reg. cab long bed)
  • 122.9 in (3,122 mm) (ext. cab short bed)

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1975-1979 Chevrolet Nova — 4th Generation

The 1975 Chevrolet Nova was the most-changed Chevy car for that model year. “Now it’s beautiful,” said the brochure of Nova’s all-new sheet metal, “refined along the lines of elegant European sedans.”

Chevrolet wisely maintained a visual kinship with the 1968–1974 design and also retained Nova’s efficiently sized 111-inch wheelbase. The front track width grew by an inch and a half, and the front stabilizer bar had a larger diameter. Novas now had standard front disc brakes and steel-belted radial tires. The front suspension and subframe assembly were similar to the one used in the second generation GM F-body cars (the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird), whereas the rear axle and suspension were carried over from the previous generation.


  • 151 cu in (2.5 L) Iron Duke I4
  • 230 cu in (3.8 L) V6
  • 250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
  • 262 cu in (4.3 L) V8 (1975 only)
  • 305 cu in (5.0 L) V8
  • 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8


  • 3-speed manual
  • 4-speed M-21 manual
  • 4-speed M-22 manual
  • 4-speed Borg-Warner T-50 manual
  • 3-speed THM350 automatic
  • 3-speed THM400 automatic

Wheelbase: 111.0 in (2,820 mm)

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