Since you’re here on this site, chances are you already know what muscle cars are – and you probably even have a favorite muscle car or two in mind (right?) but I just want to throw this basic introduction to muscle cars out there.

Muscle Cars 101

By: Laure Justice

68 Yenko Camaro: Muscle Car
By Dana Hurt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

What Are Muscle Cars?

Rather than toss my own definition of a muscle car at you, I’m just going to pull out a couple of dictionary definitions.

According to Merriam-Webster, a muscle car is “any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.”

The definition from Encarta Dictionaries is a bit plainer, Encarta defines a muscle car as “a flashy car with a big engine, designed to look like a sports car.”

The First Muscle Car

While the majority of popular muscle cars came out of the 1960s and 1970s, there are cars as far back as the pre-war 1936 Buick Century or the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 that are cited as the earliest cars of this genre.

1936 Buick Series 60 Century: First Muscle Car
1936 Buick Century Muscle Car image courtesy of Sicnag

Popular Muscle Cars

I searched and searched for the most popular muscle car, and while there were numerous models that came up again and again, there was no single clear winner, so I compiled the lists from multiple sites and I’m going to share the models that came up the most often.

While there was an unreal number of cars that turned up in my research, there were only five that made multiple lists:

  • 1968-1970 Road Runner
  • 1967-1969 Camaro ZL-1
  • 1966-1970 Chevelle SS
  • 1968-1969 Nova SS
  • 1969 Mustang
Muscle Car Source Book
Click here to buy this book!

Some of my personal favorites didn’t come up in multiple “most popular muscle car” lists from my research, so I’m bummed that they didn’t make the cut for this particular article, but they are still popular and will be turning up in future articles here on the site.

How about you, was your favorite muscle car covered in this short list?

Stop by the classified ads section to browse through listings of classic cars for sale, or to place your own free ad.

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