$15,000 is an interesting price point if you’re looking for a solid muscle car. You can have most of the early-mid 2000’s contenders with reasonable miles on them, or you can have one of the newer 400+hp options with higher miles.
I’m more on the high performance side of things, rather than wanting a muscle car for the style just to cruise in. I do intend to do burnouts, I do intend to explore the car’s high speed capabilities, and I do expect it to handle corners competently. Also, there is no such thing as a muscle car with 4 or 6 cylinders, so 8 cylinders is a given here. Lastly, a manual transmission is a must for me. This is a car to be driven, not an outfit to wear.
I should also state up front that I am pretty much non-partisan when it comes to American Muscle cars or American car brands. I know there are those who live and die by Ford, GM, or Mopar, and for them the $15k choice is a lot simpler.
My top 3 options for a $15,000 muscle car are as follows…