History of Muscle Cars in AmericaHistory of Muscle Cars in America
By David Urmann and Wasim Ahmad
A “muscle car” is a term referring to the high performance variety of automobiles. This term usually refers to Australian, South African and American automobile models. It is generally a 2-door mid-sized vehicle with a rear wheel drive. It also has a powerfully large V8 engine and sold at a very low price.
The very first one that came out was produced between 1960s and 1970s. In most cases, the two main purposes of muscle cars are for racing and street use. They are different from GTs and sports cars. These have two seats or 2+2, intended for touring and road racing. These are different from the muscles cars because of the small size, special nature and high cost. There are varied opinions as to whether compacts, high-performance cars as well as pony cars qualify as classic muscle cars.
The country of origin and age of a car determines if it is a classic muscle car or not. The use of the term “muscle car” occurred only after the end of the vehicle’s production. During the time when the production of muscle cars is still at its peak, the American media regard them as “super cars.”
History of American Muscle Cars
Some say that the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 from 1949 was the very first breed of muscle car. It aroused the public interest for its power and speed. It featured a powerful and innovative engine, consequentially America’s very first high-compression overhead valve or V8. This engine is present in the earlier Oldsmobile body. A magazine for muscle cars said that putting a V8 engine in the hood of a typical car and running faster like a sports car belongs to the Oldsmobile.
Some manufacturers showcased a performance of limited edition and flashy models. Chrysler is among the first ones that led such vehicles to become popular. An inspired mixture of Hemi luxury car trappings and power found in Chrysler’s 1955 C-300 became the newest attraction of NASCAR. This particular model became “America’s Most Powerful Vehicle” due to its 224 kW or 300 horsepower.
The model is also one of the best selling cars of its century. The C-300 has the ability to accelerate from 0 up to 60 miles per hour or 97 kilometers per hour within 9.8 seconds. The car can reach up to 120 miles per hour or 200 kilometers per hour. After two years, another fast car became available in the market. This honor belongs to the Rambler Rebel. As said by Motor Trend, Rambler Rebel is the fastest American sedan.
Muscle cars gained popularity in the 1960s. It happened when major companies such as Plymouth, Chrysler, Ford and Dodge battled in drag racing. The Dodge 1962 Dart Max Wedge, for instance, can run a quarter of a mile drag strip with just 13 seconds. This 1962 Dart Max Wedge can run more than 110 miles per hour or 170 kilometers per hour.
Muscle car productions from other manufacturers such as Pontiac, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile occurred in 1964. Between the years 1964 and 1965, Mopar introduced its 7-liter or 426 cubic inches V8 engine, special trim and sift linkage with shifted transmission. Ford released its Thunderbolts model in the same year.
We still see these vehicles today but the owners seldom use them. They have a second car which they use to go to work everyday. Meanwhile, the muscle car is stored in a safe place in their garage, kept as a collection.