There’s nothing quite like a muscle car. Classic American muscle cars capture the spirit of the auto industry, and the open road, like no other vehicle. It is also the type of car that gear heads and motor enthusiasts are most passionate about. From the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 to the 1970 Ford Mustang, people love muscle cars—their looks and their engines. Loosely defined as a smaller, two-door car powered by a high-displacement engine that is typically found in a larger, full-sized sedan, classic muscle cars continue to be hot sellers at auctions and dealerships across the United States, and they continue to generate intense debate among car lovers. Here is a list of 10 classic American muscle cars that people feel particularly passionate about.

10. 1967 Pontiac GTO

One of the most intense debates surrounding muscle cars is which vehicle was the very first muscle car. Many people claim the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 as the very first muscle car. However, there are good number of people who disagree and cite the 1967 Pontiac GTO as giving birth to the muscle car as we know it today. Legend has it that engineers at Pontiac defied General Motors’ ban against putting any engine larger than 330 cubic inches into small cars and snuck a 389 cubic inch V8 engine into a Pontiac Tempest and offered this model as an option called the “GTO.” Response to the GTO model was so crazy that the car won over senior executives at General Motors, paving the way for a steady succession of Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Buick and Pontiac muscle cars. While the very first Pontiac GTO came out in 1964, the 1967 model is more significant as it marked the first availability of Ram air through a functional hood scoop on the GTO. The 1967 Pontiac GTO also came with a 400 cubic inch V8 engine capable of delivering 360 horsepower.

9. 1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi

The Road Runner has a cult of its own among car lovers. For many people, the Road Runner is the definitive muscle car. That is because the Road Runner is known as a muscle car that offers up raw power and torque with no apologies. And no version of the Road Runner Hemi is more powerful and explosive than the Hemi version—the 1968 Hemi to be precise. Equipped with a 425 horsepower, 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine, the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner is a legendary drag racing car. Interestingly, Plymouth licensed the Road Runner name and likeness from Warner Brothers, and even went so far as to develop a horn for the 1968 Hemi that mimicked the cartoon character’s famous “beep-beep” sound. So cool.

8. 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429

The brand most associated with muscle cars is, arguably, the Ford Mustang. This brand has been synonymous with muscle cars for half a century. And while there have been many classic Ford Mustangs over the years, few compare to the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429. Less than 1,400 of these cars were built between 1969 and 1970, making the Ford Mustang Boss 429 rare and desired by car collectors everywhere. Surprisingly, the engine in this car was not overly powerful and noteworthy. The 429 cubic inch V8 engine delivered 375 horsepower—decent but not earth-shattering. More impressive with the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 was the fact that the car was hand-built, owing to the fact that the engine wouldn’t fit into a standard Mustang without extensive modifications. Ford farmed out its assembly to Michigan-based car builder Kar Kraft, which literally assembled each vehicle by hand.

7. 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1

Anyone who thinks that Buick has not made some cool cars has never seen a 1970 GSX Stage 1. Admittedly, Buick was late getting into the muscle car market, but when the car maker did enter the ring, it did so with a purpose. In fact, Buick has made some of the most luxurious and powerful muscle cars ever. And the best of the Buick muscle cars is the GSX package. First available for the 1970 Gran Sport 455, Buick added a rear spoiler and body striping to the “Stage 1” upgrade—making it very un-Buick like in the process. Of the 687 GSX cars built, 488 were ordered with the Stage 1 package. The 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1 also came with a 455 cubic inch V8 engine that produced 510 pounds foot of torque. Those with Stage 1 tuning and engine tweaks delivered 360 horsepower to the rear wheels alone. Now that’s power!

6. 1969 Ford Fairlane/Torino Cobra

Known simply as “Cobras,” the 1969 Ford Fairlane/Torino Cobra featured two body styles: the hardtop and the more common, and popular, sport roof fastback. The car’s performance package included a standard 335 horsepower, 428 V8 engine that had a Holly 4bbl. Optional Ram Air boosted the vehicle’s performance peak to 5,600 rpm. Pretty damn impressive. Also included on the 1969 Cobra was a locking rear differential, which was exclusive to Ford. About 14,000 Cobras were sold in 1969, with the vast majority of them being the fastback version. Only about 3,000 hardtop Cobras left the Ford assembly line, making them more prized today among collectors.

5. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454

People who love the Chevy Chevelle love it a lot. And while many people think of 1970 as the best year ever for muscle cars, many more claim the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 as the very best muscle car made that year. Chevrolet offered two versions of the car that contained a 454 cubic inch V8 engine—the LS5 that generated 360 horsepower, and the LS6 that hit 450 horsepower. And it is the more powerful LS6 version of the car—with its Holley four-barrel carburetor—that put the Chevelle SS 454 on many muscle car lovers’ top 10 all-time list. Many people consider this the most powerful muscle car ever built. The Chevelle SS 454 also looks great with its swept-back roof line and bulged hood. Hard to take your eyes of this car.

4. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 name is still used today, but it is named after the legendary 1969 Camaro ZL1 that is still considered one of the greatest muscle cars ever to burn rubber. And with less than 70 of these cars built, the 1969 Camaro ZL1 is sought after by collectors, dealers and auctioneers all over the world. Not only is the ’69 ZL1 a rare bird, it also contains the most powerful Chevrolet engine ever built. In fact, the 1969 ZL1 is the rarest production car made by Chevrolet. At an original price of $7,200 it was expensive when first delivered at the end of the 1960s. Today, this car sells for more than $1 million. Based on Chevrolet’s iconic 427 V8 engine, the ZL1 engine has an aluminum block in place of the regular 427’s iron one—the first Chevy production engine. Although it was officially rated at the regular 427’s 430 horsepower, independent tests have clocked the engine’s output as much more powerful.

3. 1970 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda

The Hemi ‘Cuda, as it is known, gives muscle car aficionados fits. Powered by a selection of six- and eight-cylinder engines, the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda also came with an optional dual carburetor, 426 cubic inch Hemi engine that revved up to 425 horsepower. Not surprising then that the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Barracuda is in the conversation for top muscle car of all time. It can certainly stand next to the era’s top muscle cars, and boasts a superior suspension tailored to acceleration and later copied by other car makers. The Barracuda was originally based on the Plymouth Valiant. But with a 1970 redesign, the Barracuda finally shifted away from the Valiant’s design and achieved its own identity. Plymouth produced a limited number of the Hemi ‘Cudas, making them highly prized today. And who can argue with the shaker hood that sticks out through a hole in the car’s hood?

2. 1968 Dodge Charger R/T

For some people, there is no muscle car other than the 1968 Dodge Charger. The sleek body, black-out front grill and hidden headlights make this car a true classic. Dodge even came up with the “R/T” designation to denote that the car could be used for drag racing. How cool is that? The Dodge Charger also features heavy duty suspension, exemplary handling, and a powerful 375 horsepower 440 Magnum V8 engine. The R/T Chargers also came with an optional Hemi engine under the hood that offered even more power and torque. A total of 96,100 1968 Chargers were built in 1968, with 17,000 of them having the R/T designation. This car is so cool it was featured in the Steve McQueen movie Bullit in perhaps the best car chase ever filmed. This is one car that has endured.

1. 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88

The grandfather of muscle cars, and the vehicle credited with starting the drag racing craze, the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is the most influential muscle car in automotive history. While not the fastest or coolest looking, this car nevertheless helped to kick start an entire genre of cars. Indeed, Oldsmobile created a sensation when it dropped a V8 engine into the light weight body of its Rocket 88. Automotive historians claim this car ushered in the modern high performance era. And Oldsmobile introduced a generation of drivers to a short stroke, high compression, V8 engine that continues to be popular to this day. Oldsmobile began working on its new V8, which it dubbed the “Rocket,” in 1946. The completed Oldsmobile Rocket was introduced in late 1948. The rest, as they say, is history. By the mid-1950s every car maker was in the V8 engine game. Chrysler introduced its first car with a Hemi V8 engine in 1951. Ford and General Motors followed closely behind, as did all the previous cars on this list.