20 of the Worst Muscle Cars That Have Ever Been Released

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The history of muscle vehicles is fascinating, interesting, and enjoyable. However, not all muscle cars were made equal, and throughout the era, there were inevitably some vehicles that were overlooked.

Sometimes the entire automobile is awful, and other times it’s only specific generations and years. We can only anticipate seeing more muscle vehicles in the future as automakers and fans continue to push the envelope. Here are some of the worst muscle cars up until that point.

1967 Buick Gran Sport

Buick’s Gran Sport was an effort to create a muscle vehicle similar to the GSX. Because of its size and increased bulk, the automobile was heavy and weighted down.

Buick Gran Sport worst muscle cars

It wasn’t even somewhat aerodynamic, so it moved slowly despite the engine’s 175 horsepower. The automobile weighed about two tons on a scale, which was excessive even for cars or trucks at the time. As a result, the Gran Sport became outmoded, and sales began to decline.

1976-77 Dodge Charger Daytona

The Dodge Charger Daytona was built especially for NASCAR racing and was intended to be quicker than other Chargers in the Dodge range. The car’s body was given a more aerodynamic, pointed shape in the late 1960s, and it was truly spectacular.

Greg Gjerdingen/Wikimedia Commons

Dodge attempted to rename a Chrysler Cordoba in the late 1970s but made no modifications to the vehicle. The general population did not like the automobile since it was so low and ugly.

1970 Chevy Camaro

In 1970, Chevy replaced the Camaro with a new model that, for whatever reason, wasn’t as entertaining to drive as the previous one. Although the new engine was technically superior, it ultimately made the Camaro more of a commuter vehicle than a masterpiece of muscle.

1976 Chevrolet Camaro worst muscle cars

However, the Z/28 is no longer as exciting, as one reviewer observed. It now tolerates different driving styles better and exhibits more mature behavior. All things considered, the engine is now better, but it is impossible to see the loss of a carefree and irrepressible young spirit without feeling some remorse.

1980 Dodge Aspen R/T

One of the worst Dodge models ever released was the Aspen. The vehicle experienced many recalls as well as serious mechanical problems.

1980 Dodge Aspen worst muscle cars

The car’s engine was comparable to the Chevrolet Camaro of the era, and purchasers could choose between the R/T and Super Coupe trim levels. Dodge tried to fix their errors, but it was too late, and the vehicle finally failed.

1977 Pontiac Trans Am

At the time of its introduction, the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am seemed like a revelation. It served as an homage to vintage Pony automobiles and boosted sales in the sluggish market.

Pontiac Trans Am worst muscle cars
Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW

Unfortunately, Pontiac neglected to pay adequate attention to the engine. The maximum horsepower for the standard model was 180, which more than justifies the asking price. The engine might be improved for a few thousand dollars more, but the only true justification for purchasing this automobile was its appearance rather than its performance.

1970s Era Oldsmobile Cutlass

When Oldsmobile first entered the muscle car market, the Cutlass was part of the lineup. Many significant alterations were made at the last minute to salvage any earnings as the corporation itself began to experience financial difficulties.

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Unfortunately, the once-promising muscle car gradually devolved into nothing more than a Chevrolet Malibu with fresh badging. The Oldsmobile’s original V8 was no longer available, and the car’s powerplant was identical to that of the Chevrolet Malibu.

1982 Pontiac Firebird

In 1982, this mismatched automobile was a huge letdown. Many automakers were huge proponents of name-branding engineering, which meant they would take the same vehicle and give it a new name to get a different result.

Pontiac Firebird worst muscle cars
Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images

The Pontiac Firebird, which was essentially a Chevrolet Camaro with a red paint job and a new emblem, was no better. Customers could still anticipate the same engine as the Camaro because Pontiac just slightly altered the car’s body shape.

1994 Ford Mustang

Before Ford learned from its errors and began producing vehicles people could genuinely appreciate, the Ford Mustang went through several decades of failure. Due to the car’s few improvements, the 1994 Mustang was merely another of their total losses.

1994 Ford Mustang worst muscle cars

The car’s exterior hardly included any modifications to its body; instead, it just appeared to be the same Mustang with which we were all familiar. The Mustang’s engine was even more depressing, featuring a V6 that produced less than 150 horsepower.

1993 Chevy Camaro

With the release of its 1993 model, the Camaro underwent the majority of its most significant body modifications. The Camaro’s days of having a strong stance are long gone, and Chevy has now given it a more rounded and softer frame.

1993 Chevy Camaro worst muscle cars

A V6 engine with only 160 horsepower was standard on the Camaro, which likewise had poor power. Fortunately, the Camaro was still constructed on the same F-body basis, which meant that better upgrades were about to come.

1995 Chevy Monte Carlo

This vehicle was only one of many failures for the muscle car scene in the 1990s. After a seven-year sabbatical, Chevy decided to bring the Monte Carlo back, but it was worse when it returned.


The Monte Carlo’s revisions were lackluster and boring because it didn’t offer a V8 option or get significant body updates. The Monte Carlo would mostly stay unmodified for the decade until the 2000s, which made issues worse.

1982 Ford Thunderbird

The Thunderbird has a reputation for being a vintage muscle vehicle and has consistently been one of the more opulent Ford cars. Due to adjustments Ford made to the Thunderbird’s power and performance, the model years from 1980 to 1982 were among the worst for the car’s lifespan.

thunderbird landau
Mr.Choppers/Wikimedia Commons

Despite being a huge vehicle, the 1982 Ford Thunderbird’s V8 engine only produced 120 horsepower. Fortunately, Ford significantly revised Thunderbird’s following generation to boost consumer interest in the vehicle. The Town Landau edition is shown.

1974 Pontiac GTO

The Pontiac GTO was one of the first muscle cars on the road, and although it is well-known and revered for the contributions it has made to the history of the automobile, the 1974 edition was a huge letdown.

Pontiac GTO worst muscle cars
Getty Images

It had a fantastic engine and was still quicker than many other vehicles on the road in the 1970s. Pontiac’s choice to slow down the vehicle and apply unsightly body modifications to it is what led to the GTO’s demise.

1982 Pontiac Trans Am

The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am appeared aggressive from the outside. It even appeared in the television series Knight Rider with David Hasselhoff and had a futuristic style.

Trans Am
Ozzy Delaney/Flickr

Even though the 1982 Trans Am had a lot of potential, its performance ultimately fell short. Its base engine only had 90 horsepower, and even when a driver chose to upgrade to a larger engine, the horsepower only increased to 165.

1976 Chevrolet Camaro

Although the Chevrolet Camaro is still the most popular muscle vehicle on the market today, the mid-1970s version was one of its worst. The Chevrolet Camaro lost much of its performance by the 1970s as a result of switching to a 5.0-liter engine from a more potent one.

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Chevrolet modified the Camaro’s body in addition to its performance, resulting in a bumper that ruined the vehicle’s aerodynamics.

1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra

The King Cobra was a Pinto with Ford badges and one of the worst vehicles in the history of the Ford Mustang. The automobile had a new paint job and a snake decal that made it appear incredibly nice on the road, but in the end, it wasn’t exceptional or very good, and the engine was another disappointment because it didn’t provide the driver much power.

1978 Ford Mustang King Cobra worst muscle cars

Ford produced a small number of Cobras before making significant alterations to the models the following year.

1976-80 Plymouth Volare Road Runner

The Plwas was quite remarkable on the track and was a road hog. It featured a decent exterior and a 426 Hemi engine with 160 horsepower under the hood.

Plymouth Volare Road Runner worst muscle cars
Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

Everything that made the Plymouth special was taken away from the Volare Road Runner, and as a result, its performance was significantly diminished. In addition to performing poorly, the automobile also had a significant recall because some of them had subpar attention to detail and were rotting beneath.

1978 AMC Gremlin GT

The AMC Gremlin is a 1970s muscle automobile that is unattractive. Only a small number were constructed when it was rebuilt. The automobile had almost nothing to distinguish it from other cars of the same era and was effectively a copy of those models.

1978 AMC Gremlin GT worst muscle cars

Even with a V8 engine, the Gremlin’s initial horsepower rating was only 120. After 1978, AMC stopped making the Gremlin because of declining sales and switched to the AMC Spirit as their flagship model.

1980-85 Chevrolet Citation X-11

One of the greatest problems with the Citation was how many times it was recalled and how risky it was in general. The Citation was created as a more compact, front-wheel-drive muscle vehicle that was only offered with either a three- or four-speed automatic transmission.

Chevrolet Citation worst muscle cars

Chevrolet made several improvements to the Citation, such as a new steering rack and stabilizer bars, but the vehicle was still a failure.

1980-81 Delorean Dmc-12

Aside from being widely known for its appearance in the Back to the Future movie series, the car itself was an utter failure. The Delorean was developed by the car’s creators to create something futuristic and unique that would stand out from all other vehicles on the road.

Delorean worst muscle cars
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It barely had 130 horsepower and took more than 10 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour, while being categorized as a muscle vehicle. Even though the Delorean was well-liked in movies, sales were poor, and the business failed in 1984.