There is no "best" when it comes to musclecars and in the end it boils down to personal preference. I recently was in the market for a car to restore and I made a list of 25 cars that I would be interested in owning. Found my 440 Six Pack Super Bee last weekend.
As far as a list goes keep in mind that any comparison (especially when some of the cars are modified and some aren't) is going to be a little "off". Along the same lines, modern vs. classic musclecar times don't tell the whole story if you use times out of old road tests due to the marked superiority of both the size and composition of newer tires. I watched a recent comparison on Speed Channel and although it was interesting, it wasn't definitive IMO. Cars all had different gearing; autos vs. manuals; and some of the cars weren't running right (Hemi was having clutch problems). The Boss 429 won FWIW.
Anyway, here's my top 10 musclecar horsepower list (as per Musclecar Magazine):
- #1 Corvette 427 L-88; rated at 430hp; actual 480hp
- #2 Mopar 426 Street Hemi; rated at 425hp; actual 470hp
- #3 Chevelle 454 LS-6; rated at 450hp; actual 450hp
- #4 Olds 455 W-30; rated at 370hp; actual 440hp
- #5 Corvette 427 L-71; rated at 435hp; actual 435hp
- #6 Mopar 440 Six Pack; rated at 390hp; actual 430hp
- #7 Ford 427 dual quad; rated at 425hp; actual 425hp
- #8 (tie) Buick 455 Stage I; rated at 360hp; actual 420hp and the Ford Boss 429; rated at 375hp; actual 420hp
- #9 (3 way tie) Mopar 440 Magnum; rated at 375hp; actual 410hp
Ford 428CJ; rated at 335hp; actual 410hp
Pontiac 400 RA; rated at 366hp; actual 410hp
- #10 Chevy 396 L-78; rated at 375hp; actual 400hp
Before anyone gets thier panties in a knot, I didn't make this list, I'm just posting it for interests sake. Several noteable motors are missing from the list that should probably be there. The 426 Max Wedge and 413 Max Wedge Dodges and the 425hp 409 dual quad Chevy come to mind.
In addition there were several very rare engines that weren't sold in production cars or are so rare as to be effectively non-existant. Such engines would be a 427 Ford SOHC; Buick 455 Stage II; Pontiac RAV; Chevy LS-7, etc. These engines were all in the 500hp range (or more)