For many shoppers, the choice in a performance car is a simple function of the most possible performance and power for the least possible price.

When it comes to delivering conquering speed on the (relative) cheap, two specific American models come to mind. These relatively-affordable, extreme-performance models leave pricier machinery in the dust when it comes to power output and all-out velocity.

When it comes to cheap speed well below six-digit pricing, these choices from Ford and Chevrolet have the market cornered. You’ll find lightly used copies of both in the used market today. Here’s a closer look at each, and a few tips on how to shop smart for the one that interests you.

Model: Ford Shelby GT500

New Starting Price: $61,699

Overview: The highest-performing factory Mustang model to date wears the late Carroll Shelby’s name proudly, while offering shoppers an unparalleled level of power and torque for the money. Take $62,000 to your favourite BMW, Porsche or Audi dealership, and you’ll get a middle-of-the-line model with about 300 hp. Take it to Ford, and you got a simply sinister 5.8L V8 engine with a supercharger the size of a toaster oven. Result? 662 horsepower and 0-100 km/h in under four seconds, and the (at the time) most powerful V8 engine on the road under your hood. That’s good for a top speed past 200 miles per hour!

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