They were most popular in their golden age - the 50s through the early 70s - up until the energy crisis. During that time, advances in suspension, brakes, tires, and frame consistency/rigidity had not yet been made, making the cars notorious for their rough ride, poor handling, and ineffective brakes which were made more dangerous by their high acceleration and top speed. For this reason, muscle cars have the stereotype of only being effective at straight line performance, but the few remaining muscle cars have proven otherwise.
The boom of the 90s saw a bit of resurgence with American muscle cars and even some foreign competitors, but their impracticality has kept them from being at the forefront of the public eye's desire or automakers' concerns.
The 2002 Camaro SS had handling that rivaled and acceleration that beat nearly every car costing under $60,000. It even got 28mpg on the highway thanks to its high torque and six speed transmission. But it was 2-doors only, had mediocre leg room in both front and back, and sub par creature comforts considering that it cost over $30,000.
Modern day examples of foreign attempts at the single-minded goal of a car with high performance above all else (muscle cars) are include the: Subaru WRX STi, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Nissan 350z, Honda S2000, and Toyota Supra.
An Australian muscle car, a Holden Monaro 1968 HT GTS (350 Chev) For the Americans, think Chevy Camaro '69-'71
Me (to Rice Boy):... You've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk ?
Occasionally seen sporting a slight lift in rear suspension. Internals are easy to access for maintenance/upgrade, unlike certain other vehicles (coff coff). Contrary to popular belief, will run until the apocalypse if the oil is changed every 3000 miles
Muscle Car Driver: "Hey, how bout this: we race with 6 people in each car"
Muscle Car Driver: "That's what I thought"
How many muscle era imports do you see driving around? Case-in-Point
So what if you have more horspower per liter, i have more horspower PERIOD.
a weak motor does not make up for a light car
my lug nuts require more torque than your engine makes
1. First and foremost, it must be made in AMERICA! Fuck yeah!
2. Rear drive only!
3. Must have a V8 95% of the time, with some domestic turbo 6s counted (Grand National, anniversary Firebird turbo, etc.)
4. Must have 2 doors 95% of the time, except in cases of old hotrod wagons or, barely, the new Charger Hemi.
Things automatically barring a car from being a muscle car:
1. Being made in Asia or Europe, or by a foreign country in the US.
2. Being front- or 4-wheel drive.
3. Having an engine with less than 6 or more than 8 cylinders, and must have forced induction if a 6.
4. Having more than 4 doors.
1949 - Olds introduces the Rocket 88, featuring cool styling, and a Kettering-designed OHV V8 producing 135hp from 303ci and a 7.5:1cr.
1955 - Chrysler introduces the Hemi-powered C300 luxury car. It's advanced 300hp powerplant gives it a top speed of 130mph, making it, at the time, the fastest production car in the world.
1957 - The hideous but fast AMC Rambler Rebel was made this year, featuring a 327ci engine.
1964 - Not since the 50s had their been a performance car this popular. Approved for production by John Delorean, the GTO was truely incredible for its time, with the optional 348hp Tri-Carb engine (and proper gearing) launching it to 60mph in 6 seconds; that's on 6"-wide tires! Unfortuneatly, no disc brakes were available. :(
1964-65 - In just a year or so, several prominent muscle cars were introduced by GM and Ford.
1968 - ChryCo brings out the infamous Road Runner and SuperBee models, favoring low options and big engines for incredible performance. Indeed, a 69 Hemi RR was capable of 0-60 sprints in the low 5-second range, all while driving on bias-ply tires (read: shitty) measuring about 7"-wide.
1971 - Facing raising gas prices and increasing insurance payments, manufacturers were forced to reduce compression on their engines, dropping power in large amounts.
1974 - Import econoboxes take over as the oil embargo swells and the last of the muscle cars die off, mere shells of their former glory.
Examples of Muscle Cars:
- AMC Javelin and AMX
- Buick GS models
- Chevy SS models
- Dodge R/T models
- Ford GT and XR models
- Plymouth Cudas, Dusters, RR/GTXs, and more
- Pontiac GTO and Firebird models
The average muscle car was capable of:
5.5 to 6.5s 0-60 sprints
12 to 14s 0-100 sprints
120-140mph top speeds
.80g skidpad #s (not bad for 18:1 steering and 7" tires)
58-63mph slalom speeds (see above parenthesis)
70-0 braking distances in the range of 120-135ft. (thats even good today!)
2) Any rear-whel drive car made to go fast.
2) My big block Chevette can really fuck up some import crap!!