Cars designed (usually) with big or small-block V8s. Today, mostly small-block. American muscle cars are commonly found to have high amounts of torque, and moderate to high horsepower WITHOUT tuning. Oftentimes, they aren't quite as expensive as their well-known nemesis, the import tuner (or rice rocket
), which commonly features a four-cylinder engine, built up with all kinds of "technology" (i.e. turbo chargers, nitrous, etc.) to make up for its shortcomings to any American muscle car.
American muscle is sometimes found equipped with a "supercharger," which can give them far more horsepower and torque than their counterpart, the turbocharger, commonly used by imports, which can cost even more than a supercharger, and is also known to be nowhere nearly as reliable.
It should also be noted: American muscle is very easy to spot (and hear) on the highway. It is often associated with a deep, rumbling exhaust sound, as opposed to the annoying, high-pitched wail commonly produced by the imports' four-bangers
. American muscle is also noted for not needing any sort of body modifications (i.e. tail lights, body kits, huge aluminum spoilers, etc.) to make it look fast and aggressive.
When properly modified and built, an American muscle car will easily match or outperform any tuned import. It's also worth noting that bone stock American muscle cars can often outrun highly modified import cars, and have even been known to ruin highly sought-after imports such as Lancer Evo9s and Subaru WRX-STIs.
Many myths surround American muscle cars, which can commonly be dismissed. One example is the theory that American muscle is a poor-handling vehicle. While this may have been true in the early years of muscle, this is a common misconception now, as many of the modern American muscle cars, such as the late Pontiac Trans Am have a wide stance, and a stiff, sport-tuned suspension, which stops excessive roll, allowing for a well-balanced turn when driven PROPERLY.
Another common misconception is that American muscle is the only gas-guzzling vehicle around. This is to the contrary, as a twin turboed four-banger import will do just as badly on gas mileage due to the excess draw on gas to pull more power from the weak four cylinder engine.
Also to note is gear ratios: many imports have very small gear ratios, which allow for high acceleration, but no top-end speed. Many American muscle cars on the other hand, have large gear ratios, which allow for decent acceleration, and a very high top-end speed.
These large gear ratios are possible due to the high amounts of horsepower and torque produced by an American muscle car's engine. On the contrary, many imports have small gear ratios in order to accelerate without any torque or horsepower to boot.
Finally, to drive an American muscle car, one must be truly experienced at driving. Any scrawny, acne-ridden teenage kid can jump behind the wheel of his Eclipse and pretend he can drive. However, with some talent and driving practice, any American muscle car can be taken to the next level, and prove for good which car is truly the top choice.