We all know that Cars have always been a craze for us, whether it is a Super-car, SUV, luxurious sedans or saloons, maybe a wagon, and a lot more. But for some, the craze is ‘Muscle Cars’. If you don’t know what are they, let me tell you that, American Performance-centred cars which were made during the late 1940s to the early 1970s are known as Muscle cars. During this era, a lot of carmakers were coming in the spotlight, such as Dodge, GMC, Cadillac, Ford, etc. Let us breakdown to the fact that why are Muscle cars still so popular, loved by everyone.
So, before we start, I want to tell you that there are going to be numerous facts about why muscle cars are like that. So, let us go point by point and cover spot by spot, and These facts are kept in brief paragraphs to make sure that you go straight to the fact and do not miss out on anything about Muscle cars.
1. The 1950s: Definition + Origination of muscle cars
Boxy in shape, the American High-performance cars are known as Muscle Cars. Usually, the Carmakers of these Masterpieces are from The United States of America. Even in modern times where there are carmakers like Tesla, Muscle cars are being produced with the badge of Ford, Dodge, and GMC.
As Classic Car-lovers like us still exist in this era of electric, these brands do not hesitate to Mix up Modern tech and style with Classical strength and Power. They are still in so much demand that they have to launch some special editions every year. So, that people like us never miss our freakouts.
So, It all started when in 1949 GM introduced the first proper Muscle car, named Oldsmobile 88. Oldsmobile was quite a full-sized car, it had a V8 fitted inside a 5.0 L engine.
Then Chrysler brought out the 300 letter series which was powered with 300 hp and had luxurious comforts mixed up with high-performance and then carmakers like Plymouth, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Ford came into the spotlight being the major producers of muscle cars not just in the USA but all over the world.
People of that era, like the people of our Grandfather’s age, were loving these types of cars as they had style mixed with the Power of 300 – 600 horses. Because of their craze for these cars, the carmakers started to make them affordable as much as they could but that doesn’t mean that they cost around a mid-sized VW, but still, they were affordable as per their abilities. It was done for the purpose of marketing. Like their prices were being reduced model after model.
2. The Early 1960s: Muscle cars Entering Drag Races
In the 1960s, The popularity of Muscle Cars grew the most, as they were influencing drag racers around the world. Ford was putting a huge amount of effort into the Muscle department while Chevy Impala SS was simply rocking it with a 6.7 L V8 producing 425 hp. In 1962, Dodge introduced Dart 413 that had a 6.8 L V8 which produced 420 hp.
In 1963, Ford produced 200 factory-built cars specifically for drag racing named Ford Galaxie R-code and they were so tuned that they could cover 2.4 km in about 12 seconds.
In 1964, A drag racing Version of the Dodge 330 was created, called the 330 Lightweight. It had a 7.0 L version of Hemi-racing producing 425 hp but as per the rumors to pave more than it.
During this era, The Muscle car industry was going towards its peak. Car manufacturers like Plymouth, Dodge, Pontiac were also pushing all of the factors to make their cars more suitable for Drags but Ford was the one leading it with the thunderbolt, Fairlane, etc.
Wanting more the Dragers (Drag racers) fitted more fiber made parts by removing heavy metal parts in order for more suitability in the drag race.
Carmakers also tried to make them fully suitable but it turned out that the self-customized cars were performing better than the factory-made versions.
3. The 1960s: The Muscle Car industry at its Peak
One of the cars that influenced the Muscle car era, was the Pontiac GTO. It was introduced in 1964, packing a 6.8 L V8 producing 325 hp. It was a successful intermediate-sized car which made the GM divisions to produce more intermediate-sized cars.
Just to make it clear, GM (also known as GM, General Motors) is the parent company for Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC (General Motors Truck Company).
The 1964 Oldsmobile 442, 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, and 1965 Buick Gran Sport were the intermediate-sized cars produced by GM after GTO.
The main point here which is to be observed is that Muscle cars provided the American car culture relatively affordable and excellent performance on the streets.
But as their enormous size increased, their types of equipment and luxurious customs went higher and higher, So their prices. As a response to this, Budget-friendly Muscle cars came into the limelight. The 1967 Plymouth GTX, 1968 Plymouth Road Runner, and the 1968 Dodge Super Bee were one of the much loved Budget-friendly Muscles.
One of the first Muscle cars which were based on the compact car size was The 1968 Plymouth Barracuda. It had a 6.3 L V8 engine producing 300 hp. The 1970 Plymouth Duster also performed tremendously in the segment. These Comparatively small Muscles were the ones that brought back the value of money for the buyers in 1970.
4. The 1970s: Downturn for the Muscles.
Just when they had started to become cheaper in terms of price, The 1973 oil crisis made people aware of fuel as rationing of fuel, fuel price hikes started to become headlines all over the nation.
The prices of the Muscles started to get costlier than ever and slowly they got impractical for several reasons including fuel efficiency.
The 1970 Clean Air Act also made the Muscle industry shutdown as these cars were a lot heavy and packed with huge engines burning more and more fuel, making the environment polluted.
But the Carmakers were forced to produce high-compression engines, which improved their fuel efficiency and also reduced the air polluting factors but it affected their performance a lot. And then, people were seeking for mileage rather than power output.
5. The last two decades of the 20th century: The Rebuilt Muscles.
The car performance was now a resurgence. Ford Mustang GT along with Chevrolet Camaro Z28 was back with their V8 engines and they had improved fuel efficiency and performance using Electronic Fuel Injection systems and many other advanced techs.
Muscle car performances were back with the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS which is still missed by many of the people as the Modern Muscle.
There were only a few muscle cars remaining in production by the mid-1990s namely, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Pontiac Firebird.
6. The 2000s to Present: Modern Muscles, Resembling their Grandfathers
The Pontiac GTO came back in 2004 with a fresh new modern look. In 2005, Dodge came back with a 4-door blockbuster, Dodge Charger, and in the same year another Muscle hit the road and that was Ford Mustang which resembled a lot like the 1st generation Mustang.
It really made quite a large fandom in just days after its launch. Chevy also came up with Monte Carlo SS V8.
Three years after Dodge showed back a Muscle, In 2008 came the Dodge Challenger, and just like Mustang, it also had a similar appearance as the 1970s Dodge Challenger. And looking at Ford and Dodge, Chevrolet also released its Camaro which also resembled the First-generation Camaro, 1969.
And Finally, when they debuted in games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted, guys like us came to know about them and that was how I and many other Men got to know about these cars more. You know, We don’t see them a lot but at least we all play games and we drive them in it.
Most Popular Muscle Car: The 1969 Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang is the most known Muscle car around the world. It was the major selling unit for Ford. The Car is named after the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane.
It wasn’t much popular during its debut, but as years passed, the popularity spread and became one of the most known and recognized Muscle Car along with Camaro and Challenger which are still in production.
Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger, these are the top three Modern Muscle cars in production. In August of 2018, Ford produced the 10-millionth Ford Mustang matching the first 1965 Mustang and the Sixth Generation 10-millionth one.
Personally, it is my favorite Muscle car. It looks even better than the clean look of the modern Mustang.
After all, Voguish males like us love the roar of these Muscle beauties.
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