Best Mopar Muscle Cars Under $20,000

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You might think you can never afford a proper muscle car, as expensive as new models are, but we found some quick Mopar cars you can buy for under 20k dollars.

The top picks for the best Mopar muscle cars under $20,000 are listed below, with descriptions.

  • 2008 Dodge Charter SRT8
  • 2011 - ‘13 Dodge Challenger R/T
  • 2004 - ‘06 Dodge RAM SRT10
  • 1974 Plymouth Duster 360
  • 2015 Dodge Challenger RT

The recent pandemic helped increase the cost of everything, including the price of used cars. While the pre-owned market has shown some signs of easing a bit, prices are still high as American drivers hold onto their cars for longer than ever before. The average age of a used car is over twelve years old, and climbing. That sobering statistic is unwelcome news for potential buyers, because it means that the inventory of fresh, newly modeled cars on dealers lots is dwindling. So, if you are looking for a piece of Mopar muscle, what are the best mopar muscle cars under 20,000 dollars? Well, read on and let see if we can help you find the powerful performance car you always dreamed of owning.

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What Are The Best Mopar Muscle Cars for Under $20,000?

There has always been a rich history of Mopar muscle through the years. Whether we’re talking about a 64 Plymouth Sport Fury Max Wedge, a ‘70 Barracuda or RoadRunner 426 Hemi, or even a more recent Charger or Challenger, the drag strip and Mopar just go together.

2008 Dodge Charger SRT8

When Dodge brought back the Charger for the 2006 model year, there was a collective cheer from the angels in heaven.. The retro styling looked great with its bulky, low-centered stance, and buyers began to line up to purchase the hip, new ride. With the inclusion of the 5.7 Hemi V8 and the 6.1 Hemi (on the SRT8 model), Dodge was poised once again to rule the quarter-mile. When in 2008, Dodge introduced the retro-styled Challenger to go alongside the Charger, Dodge set the world on notice with two glorious speed options.

The new, improved Dodge Charger SRT8 had 6.1L Hemi engine backed up by a 5-speed automatic transmission. The engine produced 425 hp and 420 ft-lb of torque, translating into a 4.7 second time 0 - 60 and a quarter mile time of 13.1 seconds @ 108.1 mph. MotorTrend ran an article on a supercharged version of the 6.1, which when mated with a 3.6L supercharger upped the horsepower to over 1,000. While the 2008 Charger SRT8 might not compete with new more potent models (like the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon), it is still plenty of muscle for the average driver, and its about $40k cheaper.

There were only 6400 Charger SRT8s produced and they were all sold before the first one hit the showroom floor. The 6.1 L Hemi was also used on the Chrysler 300C SRT8, Jeep Cherokee SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8, and Dodge Magnum SRT8.

There are plenty of 2008 Charger SRT8s on the market with most of them ranging in price from $17k to $19,995. However, the car does have a history of some engine issues, like PCM/TCM issues for shifting problems, and engine issues due to thermostat failure according to

2008 Dodge Charger SRT8 Specification
Engine 6.1 Hemi V8
Displacement 370 cubic inches
Horsepower 425 hp - 431 hp
Torque 420 lb-ft
0 - 60 mph time 4.9 seconds
Quarter Mile time 13.1 seconds
Top Speed 174 mph
Original MSRP $37.425

2011 - 13 Dodge Challenger R/T

The 2013 Challenger R/T was introduced in the spring of 2013, with Dodge taking orders before the cars arrived in dealerships. With a 5.7 Hemi V8, the Challenger produced 375 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. While the Challenger wasn’t as fast as the Charger, it was still plenty fast doing 5.5 seconds 0 - 60 mph and 14.6-second quarter mile. (The automatic was a touch slower at 5.8 seconds). The best part of the engine was that it had “Fuel Saver” technology which allowed the car's computers to deactivate four cylinders when needed to boost fuel economy. Dodge paired the engine with a 6-speed manual transmission or the option for a 5-speed automatic.

The Challenger R/T Classic included HID headlights, functional hood scoops, and a retro look reminiscent of the classic 1970s Challengers. With unique 20-inch wheels, the car was powerful enough to compete in a straight-line race but had enough interior room to take the kids to church on Sunday.

Dodge built 18,770 RT units in 2013, about 34% of the total production (54,578). The original MSRP was listed at $32,995, but most models are priced between $14k - 17k on most websites (depending on miles). The fair value of the current car on KBB is $15,477. While you won’t win any races at the track, this is still some serious Mopar muscle that is very reasonably priced.

2013 Dodge Challenger RT Specification
Engine 5.7 Hemi V8
Displacement 347 cubic inches
Horsepower 375 hp - 431 hp
Torque 410 lb-ft
0 - 60 mph time 5.5 seconds
Quarter Mile time 14.6 seconds
Top Speed 164 mph
Original MSRP $32.995

2004 - 06 Dodge Ram SRT 10

No one said that Mopar muscle had to be limited to cars. In 2004, Dodge put a 500-hp aluminum block V10 into its 1500 pickup. (it was the same engine being used in the ultra-fast Viper). The 8.3 L V10 was a screamer, producing 5.05 second 0 - 60 mph time and a quarter mile 13.62-second run, which made jaws drop. The 154.587 mph top speed dethroned Ford’s F-150 SVT Lightning time of 147.71 mph. The SRT10 would hold the title as the fastest production truck ever built. The time was fast enough to be certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, and it is a title that the truck still holds.

Dodge only built a little over 10k SRT10 units from 2004 - 2006. The $45k price tag was more than the average truck consumer wanted to pay, and only Mopar gearheads saw a need for a pickup truck that could do 154 mph in a straightaway. While Dodge put in the Viper engine, they did not upgrade the clutch or master cylinders, so the truck tends to go through clutches fairly regularly if not upgraded. In addition, a 2008 review indicated that the truck tended to ride roughly over any kind of road surface that “is rougher than a baby’s backside.”

While many low-mileage SRT10 pickup trucks will fetch significantly higher prices, those over 100k are available for around $20k.

2004 - 06 Dodge RAM 1500 SRT10 Specification
Engine 8.3 L Viper V10
Displacement 505 cubic inches
Horsepower 500 hp - 431 hp
Torque 525 lb-ft
0 - 60 mph time 5.05 seconds
Quarter Mile time 13.62 seconds
Top Speed 154 mph
Original MSRP $45.000

1974 Plymouth Duster 360

We wanted to give a nod to our classic car buffs, by suggesting that one classic Mopar that might be worth looking into is the 1974 Plymouth Duster 360. The standard high-performance engine for the Plymouth Duster 360 produced 245 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. At the same time, the 0 - 60 mph of 6.8 seconds was pretty strong in its day, although it couldn’t compete with the ‘74 Barracuda with the 440 V8. The Duster 360 was produced for owners who wanted more power, better suspension, a front sway bar, and E70 x 14 heavy-duty tires. Plymouth placed a 4 bbl carburetor on top and mated a 3-speed manual transmission on the floor to the engine.

Plymouth flooded the market with Dusters making 289k units for the ‘74 model year alone. Only 3,929 Duster 360s were made because they did not sell very well. The original MSRP was $3,288 (the base Duster was priced at $2,820 and did sell very well, unlike the 360 version). (The 1975 Duster 360 sold less than 2000k units). In 1976, Plymouth scrapped the Duster 360 as a separate trim level and offered the 360 V8 engine as an option on any Duster model.

The cars are easy to work on, with mechanics from a simpler time. They are fun to drive and, if restored well, can make quite an impression at your local car show. Many sites advertise Duster 360s for sale in the used car market in the $20,000 range (Hagerty values the car at $18,200). While this Plymouth might not receive the attention a muscle car like a Barracuda or Road Runner might enjoy, it is a piece of Mopar that will only increase in value as the years continue.

1974 Plymouth Duster 360 Specification
Engine 5.9L V8
Displacement 360 cubic inches
Horsepower 245 hp
Torque 320 lb-ft
0 - 60 mph time 6.8 seconds
Quarter Mile time 15.5 seconds
Top Speed N/A
Original MSRP $3.298

2015 Dodge Challenger RT

While the Hellcat version of the Challenger gets all the glory on the track, there were plenty of Challenger RT trims made with a 5.7 Hemi V8. While less powerful than the 6.2 Hemi, the junior motor was no slouch. It produced 375 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The Challenger offered up 0 - 60 mph times in the six-second range while motoring down the quarter mile in just under 14.

(The Ford Mustang eco-boost is a touch faster, but you won’t get the room in a Mustang that you get in a Charger - it isn’t even close). Dodge paired the 5.7 Hemi with a six-speed manual transmission or eight-speed automatic.

There were over 65k Challengers sold in 2015, primarily due to the buzz about the new Hellcat and SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat. This year was the Challenger's first refresh in several years, and one glance will tell you how much of the iconic ‘71 beast found its way into the new design. Dodge made a big deal about their Mopar muscle car birthright when it advertised the new Challenger, telling buyers that this happens “when you have 45 years of muscle car heritage coursing through your veins.”

Dodge offered several versions of the Challenger RT, base, RT shaker, RT Plus Shaker, RT Classic, and RT Scat Pack. The Scat Pack trim upgraded the powertrain to a 6.4 Hemi V8 (392), which produced 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. The upper trims got higher-performance components, and while not as powerful as the Hellcat, the RT did provide a more sporty feel with an infectious growl that was appropriate for a muscle car.

The Challenger passed the NHTSA with a five-star crash test rating, the highest rating a vehicle could receive.

Most 2015 Dodge Challengers float around the $20k mark (depending on the mileage and equipment, they could be slightly more). If you can find an RT Scat Pack version, it will have the 6.4L Hemi and a heavy-duty suspension, which makes it considerably faster, but you will have to settle for a car that may have some miles on it.

2015 Dodge Challenger RT Specification
Engine 5.7L Hemi V8
Displacement 345 cubic inches
Horsepower 375 hp
Torque 410 lb-ft
0 - 60 mph time 5.8 seconds
Quarter Mile time 13.9 seconds
Top Speed N/A
Original MSRP $34.585