The Classic Muscle Car: History In Brief

Steven Spielberg

Classic Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high performance automobiles. However Merriam-Webster definition is more limiting, “any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.” This term generally points out to a 2-door rear wheel drive mid-size cars, and sometimes full-size cars equipped with large, powerful, V8s, and sold at an affordable price for street use and both formal and informal racing. They are distinct from two-seat sports cars and expensive two plus two GTs intended for high-speed touring and racing. Developing on the American phenomenon and developing simultaneously in their own markets, muscle cars also emerged in their own fashions in Australia, South Africa, the UK, and elsewhere.

According to the 1967 June issue of Road Test magazine, a “muscle car” is “Exactly what the name implies.” It is a manufacturing of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder’s philosophy of taking a small car and putting a BIG engine in it. The Muscle Car is Charles Atlaskicking sand in the face of the 98 hp (73 kW) weakling. Author of the book Muscle Cars, Peter Henshaw, says that the muscle car was designed for straight-line speed, and did not have the “sophisticated chassis”, “engineering integrity” or “lithe appearance” of European high-performance cars. However, there are varied opinions as to whether high-performance full-size cars, compacts, and pony cars qualify as muscle cars.

Manufacturers have showcased performance hardware in limited-edition models. Chrysler led the way with an inspired blend of Hemi power and luxury-car trappings that fast became the new star of NASCAR. With 300 horsepower it was rightly publicized as ‘America’s Most Powerful Car. Capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.8 seconds and reaching 130 miles per hour, the 1955 Chrysler 300 is also recognized as one of the best-handling cars of its era. Later in the next two years “Rambler Rebel” was the fastest stock American sedan, according toMotor Trend.

Muscle cars attracted young customers with their parents into showrooms, and they bought the standard editions of these mid-size cars. To develop the “halo” effect of these models, the manufacturers modified some of them into turnkey drag racers

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