History of Muscle Cars
When you hear the name ‘muscle cars’, the words that first come to your mind are power, performance and speed. Well, muscle cars are muscular, not exactly in the sense of their external construction but more in terms of their internal build. In other words, the muscle is in the engine. Typically, these American cars are equipped with a powerful high performance engine coupled with light weight body and excellent acceleration, which makes them perform like a common man’s Ferrari. So, who conceptualized these high power performers? When did these cars begin crackling the roads with their power punch? Which was the first of these beauties to sizzle on the roads? Read on for a brief history.
High performance sports cars were in existence all over the United States and Europe even before World War II. However, these were expensive. In order to cater to the demand of such cars among the masses, 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was designed. This vehicle defined a muscle car, with super powerful engine and light body. The car featured a full size V8 six cylinder engine that performed at 135 hp and 3600rpm. Oldsmobile continued to dominate the muscle car scene for the three decades. The only other car that was launched in competition of Rocket 88 was Hudson Hornet, which although close was not quite in the league of 88.
In the 1950s, Detroit became the center of attraction as more muscle cars made their foray into the American market. In 1955 came a true powerhouse of a small car – Chrysler C-300. With a whooping 300 hp, an acceleration of 0 – 60 in a mere 9.8 seconds and a max speed of 130 miles, this was undoubtedly America’s most powerful car. In 1957, Rambler Rebel muscle sedan was manufactured. This sedan used V8 engine and became famous as the fastest American Sedan.
More big players such as Ford, Buick, General Motors and Mopar entered the league of muscle cars in the 60s. While Ford captured a major share of market with Thunderbolts, General Motors developed Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac muscle cars. Mopar brought out Hemi Engine. All these cars had a capacity of 400 cu and above. During the same period, Pontiac GTO created a buzz. General Motors brought out a muscle car with 330 cu. The low capacity was compensated with an electric performance, which made the car very popular and triggered a release of several such cars by the top companies.
In the same decade, American Motors released Rambler Marlin with just 280 hp. However, it did not garner a lot of patronage from muscle car enthusiasts. This kind of cut-throat competition among the big wigs of American automobile sector ensured that customers had a wide variety of muscle car choices. Several cars were built exclusively for drag racing. The 60s can rightly be called the golden age of muscle cars.
In the 70s, the demand for these cars declined, only to elevate in the 80s. However, the cars never reached the huge popularity that they enjoyed in the 50s and 60s, the main reason being high insurance costs, extra surcharge, fuel crisis and high compression ratio which made them unfriendly to the environment.
Richard is the author of this article who writes on automobile issues, security and getting a van insurance. He also suggests using Invoice Factoring that helps solve your cash flow problems.