I’m currently in the market for a car that’s new to me.
I’ve owned a Mustang before and after years of test driving the latest Stangs, I’m ready to buy one of my own.
But I find myself dragging my feet.
You see, everywhere you turn, there’s a Mustang. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fun to drive and they still turn heads.
The Mustang was and remains a 2+2 coupe with a big engine built to attract young drivers. But its high accessibility takes away some of the appeal.
Which got me thinking, what cars look like Mustangs but aren’t? Here’s a list of tempting considerations to suite the muscle car fanatic’s taste.
1. Chevrolet Camaro
I’ve owned two third generation Camaros.
The latest Camaros have great sounding V6 and V8 engines. I don’t care about the compromised visibility. I don’t care about the quality of the interior materials.
And I certainly don’t care about the cramped back seats. For me, Camaros have always been about the pure joy of cruising.
Don’t forget, this was the car designed to challenge the growing popularity of the Mustang.
2. Mercury Cougar
Although the Ford Motors Company has made some questionable decisions regarding the Cougar nameplate.
The original Mercury Cougar was designed to be a more luxurious Mustang.
The fact that it only lasted for three years makes its iconic status even more noteworthy.
The Cougar had flip up headlamps like the Charger of the same vintage.
But unlike the Mustang, there were no economy versions of the Cougar.
3. Dodge Challenger
The original Challenger debuted in 1970 at the tail end of the muscle car era.
As such the performance wasn’t as impressive as other muscle cars of the time.
Dodge must have taken that personally because the new Challenger comes at you with a vengeance.
It retains a classic muscle-car appearance inside and out. While adding more comfort and accommodations than its predecessor.
And did I mention power? Lots and lots of power.
4. Pontiac GTO
A buddy of mine had a red 2004 with a six-speed transmission.
The new Pontiac GTO is a blast to drive. If I were to get this car, it would have to be yellow. A manual of course.
And a 2005 or 2006 because that’s when GM increased the horsepower. Although the original ‘66 had an eye-catching design.
The latest model had to make do with a body borrowed from the Holden Monaro as GM wasn’t in a position to design a new body for the Firebird replacement.
5. Jaguar XK
I can feel the judgements already – it’s palpable. But hear me out because this is a serious contender.
Unlike the Mustang, the XK only comes in a V8 with different variants to choose from. And once you turn the engine on the cultured growl from the tailpipes exudes muscle.
6. Oldsmobile 442
Here’s another oldie but a goodie. My dad’s first car was an Oldsmobile. So, I have a soft spot for them.
The 442 is an interesting alternative to a Mustang. Unlike a Mustang, it’s rare to find another Oldsmobile 442 starring back at you.
Although the 69 442 with L69 engine is the most sought-after. I’d settle for any 1968 to 1973 coupe I could get my hands on.
7. Chevy Chevelle
Of all the Chevelles, the ’66 is my favorite.
The quad headlights telegraph the car’s long, low stance. The styling evokes speed even when the car is stationary.
Built on the same A-body platform as the Olds, the Chevelle sold over 300,000 units in its first year of production.
1966 was the year the Chevelle SS became a standalone model. While there have been talks of bringing back the Chevelle, nothing has been set in stone.
8. Plymouth Cuda
Talk about a car you don’t see on the road that often. Don Johnson drove a ’71 Hemi Cuda convertible on Nash Bridges.
Marketed toward those with a few more years under their belts, it never attained the same success as the Mustang.
The most prized examples are equipped with a 426 Hemi. This thing still turns heads as much as it shreds tires.
Mine would be a second gen too. But unlike Johnson’s, I would opt for the coupe.
9. Toyota Celica
Did you know that the original Celica took design inspiration from American muscle cars like the Mustang?
In fact, it was hailed as Japan’s pony car. And it reflects Toyota’s desire for the car to be a global success.
Launched in 1970, the Toyota Celica was a 2+2 sports car. Even back then it was a great alternative to the Mustang.
Even offered the same features. You could get a base Celica’s starting MSRP of $2,598 compared to the Mustang’s base price of $3,006.
And the Celica weighs 2,615 pounds compared to the Mustang’s 3,122 pounds.