Muscle Cars


Muscle cars are a niche of strong and powerful cars that offer extremely high performance. It should be noted that not all cars that have powerful engines in them are considered muscle cars. Generally speaking, muscle cars are vehicles that are mid-sized coupes with rear wheel drive transmissions and offer large V-8 engines.

Muscle Cars were Generally Produced During the 60’s & early 70’s

The hey-day of muscle car production was during the 60’s & early 70’s when vehicle bodies were generally large and the ability to put a gas guzzling engine under the hood was easy. It should be noted that the term “sports coupe” is different than a muscle car. Both offer the driver high performance, however, sports coupes such as Ferrari and Porsche are generally much smaller- 2 seat vehicles. Muscle cars generally have a back seat or 2 + 2 configuration.

While historically, the roots of the first muscle car can be traced back to the 1955 Chrysler 300, muscle cars in earnest were not sold until the early 1960’s. One of the most famous earlier model muscle car was the Dodge Dart equipped with either the 413 Max Wedge or 426 Hemi engine.

Top Muscle Car Manufacturers

Just like Ferrari, Porsche and Jaguar focused on lean, aerodynamic machines sports coupes in Europe, generally speaking muscle cars were produced by American car manufacturers. The top brands for muscle cars in the high point of the 1960’s include Dodge, Pontiac, Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, Plymouth, Mercury, AMC, Chrysler, Holden and Leyland.

Top Muscle Car Models

Throughout the Years there have been a wide variety of muscle cars developed and sold, some of the most popular include: Pontiac GTO, Ford Thunderbird, Dodge Super Bee, Ford Torino Cobra, Plymouth Road Runner, Chevy II SS327, Oldsmobile Cutlass 442, and Dodge Coronet.

Besides the traditional muscle car, there were a couple of other categories of muscle cars- most smaller in size and sometimes called “pony cars” or compact muscle cars. Pony cars include variations of the Ford Mustang (Ford Mustang Boss 351/429, Mustang Cobra Jet, Shelby Mustang,) Chevy Camaro SS/Z28, Pontiac Firebird, AMC AMX and Javelin, Plymouth Barracuda, Chevy Nova, Dodge Dart and AMC Hornet.

Muscle Cars and the Gas Woes of the 1970’s

Muscle cars were extremely popular throughout the 1960’s and early 70’s, however since these cars had huge engines that sometimes got as little as 10 miles to the gallon of gas, once the gas embargo of 1973 occurred, these cars soon became less popular and were seen as a liability. Muscle cars were phased out from the early 1970’s to just about the end of the 1980’s as car manufacturers switched to more fuel efficient, smaller vehicles with less performance.

The Resurgence of the Muscle Car

During the 1990’s, muscle cars started to be sold once again, however in much smaller numbers than there high point in the 60’s and early 70’s. While gas prices in America during the 90’s and early 2000’s were low, many muscle cars were once again sold-usually keeping the name of earlier muscle cars including the Chevy Impala SS and Pontiac GTO.

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