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Old School Muscle Cars

Old School Muscle Cars

Old School Muscle Cars

Perhaps one of the most exciting periods in automotive history was during the production years of the classic American muscle car.  Muscle cars were big, loud and ultra-powerful rubber burning machines.  During the 1960’s and 70’s the American automakers progressively became more competitive with their muscle car offerings. Each year it seemed Ford, Chevy, Chrysler or even AMC would out-do the competition in terms of brute power and aggressive exterior styling.  Since we love muscle cars we thought it would be fun to create a list of the all-time top 10 best muscle cars made on US soil.  Obviously this is merely our opinion so we don’t anticipate all readers to agree with the inclusion of all of the muscle cars on this list.  Since muscle cars are widely considered to have more than 2 seats; the Chevy Corvette, Shelby Cobra and other very powerful, fast cars from the era were omitted from this best muscle cars list.  Make sure to cast your vote on which of these you think is the greatest muscle car.  View a Complete List of Classic Muscle Cars.
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Old School Muscle Cars

How did muscle-car madness start? 1 of 8 Ford Because it is a genre that enthusiasts are passionate about, you are bound to generate some criticism when compiling a list of the 7 greatest muscle cars of all time. However, Bankrate stuck its neck out to do just that. Some enthusiasts trace the history of muscle cars to the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. But the heyday of this genre ran from 1965 to 1970 before collapsing under the weight of higher gas prices, more stringent exhaust emissions regulations and soaring insurance costs. Check Auto Loan Rates What is a muscle car? There isn’t a settled definition, but most experts agree it’s a smaller, 2-door car powered by a high-displacement engine typically found in a larger, full-size sedan. Some argue that pony cars, such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, aren’t muscle cars at all, but for this list, Bankrate chose not to make that distinction. Manufacturers engineered muscle cars for straight-line speed, inspiring more than an occasional Saturday night drag race between traffic lights. Neither built nor sold in huge numbers, muscle cars were bait, luring buyers into showrooms where they would purchase more mundane models. Yet, the muscle-car mystique lives on. Here’s our list in model-year order. Previous Next 1 of 8
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Old School Muscle Cars

Are you looking to buy a muscle or pony car? Classics on Autotrader helps you find new muscle or pony cars for sale through classifieds posted by muscle or pony car dealers. You can also find used muscle or pony cars for sale by owner and private sellers – pre-owned classic, old and late model muscle or pony cars. Classics on Autotrader also helps you check muscle or pony car prices or sell muscle or pony cars. If you’re lucky, you can even find a great deal on a cheap muscle or pony car for sale near you! Popular models include the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Chevelle, Chevrolet Nova, and Pontiac GTO.
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Old School Muscle Cars

The Australian muscle car and the American muscle car are two types of vehicle that are largely the same. Both fall under the same category in terms of performance, size and other characteristics. You can accurately describe both Aussie performance muscle cars and their American counterparts as mid-sized vehicles with rear wheel drive and two doors. They are also considered high performance sports cars. However, there are a few differences between Australian muscle cars and American muscle cars that are important to keep in mind if you’re looking to purchase a vehicle of this type.
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Old School Muscle Cars

The 1970s: The Beginning of the End for the Muscle Car The 1970s saw the Environmental Protection Agency take the muscle out of muscle cars. New emissions standards implemented by the EPA and oil embargos forced American car makers to reduce performance in muscle cars and simply make them a cool looking, yet basic, means of transportation. While there are a few exceptions, like the 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle and the 1970 Dodge Challenger, most other muscle cars produced in mid to late 1970s should be avoided.
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Old School Muscle Cars

Muscle car is an American term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as “any of a group of American-made 2-door sports cars with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.” A large V8 engine is fitted in a 2-door, rear wheel drive, family-style compact, mid-size or full-size car designed for four or more passengers. Sold at an affordable price, muscle cars are intended for street use and occasional drag racing. They are distinct from two-seat sports cars and expensive 2+2 GTs intended for high-speed touring and road racing.

Old School Muscle Cars

Australian Muscle Cars The main manufacturers of Australian muscle cars were the branches of Chrysler and Ford in that country, as well as the Australian-specific manufacturer Holden. In contrast with a general desire for speed on the streets, these manufacturers built muscle cars originally for racing purposes. In the United States, on the other hand, the cars were only included in drag races and other similar events after they gained overall popularity.
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Old School Muscle Cars

In the United States, lightweight cars featuring high-performance engines were termed “supercar” before the classification of muscle car became popular. For example, the 1957 Rebel’s “potent mill turned the lightweight Rambler into a veritable supercar.” “From the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies, what we now think of as muscle cars were more commonly called ‘Supercars,’ often (though not always) spelled with a capital S.” This term described the “dragstrip bred” affordable mid-size cars of the 1960s and early 1970s that were equipped with large, powerful V8 engines and rear-wheel-drive. “In 1966, the supercar became an official industry trend” as the four domestic automakers “needed to cash in on the supercar market” with eye-catching, heart-stopping cars. Examples of the use of the supercar description for the early muscle models include the May 1965 Car Life road test of the Pontiac GTO along with how “Hurst puts American Motors into the Supercar club with the 390 Rogue” (the SC/Rambler) to fight in “the Supercar street racer gang” market segment. Moreover, the “SC” in the model name stood for “SuperCar”.
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According to Muscle Cars, a book written by Peter Henshaw, a “muscle car” is “exactly what the name implies. It is a product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder’s philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it. The Muscle Car is Charles Atlas kicking sand in the face of the 98 horsepower weakling.” Henshaw further asserts 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.
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It is easy to forget that muscle cars (and cars in general) in the U.S. weren’t limited to the “Big Three” automakers. In 1969 American Motors Corp. joined forces the well known parts company Hurst Performance and surprised everyone with the SC/Rambler (aka “Scrambler”). The SC stood for “stock-car”, but this was a race-ready production vehicle. Maintaining the typical small-car-big-engine strategy, AMC stuffed their 390 cid 315 hp V8 power-plant into its light-weight Rambler Rogue hardtop coupe. This car could hold court with many of the more popular machines of the day, as stock vehicles regularly turned low 14s at the strip. No options were available (except an AM radio), which kept the price below $3,000. All cars had plain grey vinyl interior with bench seats and red white and blue headrests, carpeting, and a Borg-Warner 4-speed with a Hurst shifter. But perhaps the car’s most striking feature was its bold paint scheme and a large, functional “Ram Air” induction hood scoop. The first 500 units all were a base white with a wide red side panel running the length of the car, and had a blue stripe running front to back across the top of the car. An arrow graphic pointed towards the scoop and lettering noted the engine size. Additionally striking were the blue two-toned mag wheels. When these cars quickly sold out, AMC released a second batch of 500, this time with “B” trim, which was mostly white with narrow red and blue side stripes. A third batch of 512 units was later released which are thought to have gone back to the “A” trim, though this is a source of controversy among enthusiasts, as vehicle VIN codes do not differentiate between the two paint schemes. What is known is that of the total 1,512 SC/Ramblers built, the majority of surviving examples today have the “A” trim. The SC/Rambler is perhaps one of the least remembered muscle cars from the era.
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Due to a few separate incidents in which people drove Australian muscle cars recklessly or suffered high profile accidents, the Australian government began to closely regulate the sale and manufacturing of these vehicles. The government ensured that any new models must be approved and sold to the public in a certain quantity before they could be put on the market as muscle cars. This effectively limited the power of the engines in Australian muscle cars. For that reason, none of the engines approached the capacity of those in the States, and the largest engines were around four liters.

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