A Brief History of Classic American Muscle Cars

Appearing at the start of the 1960’s and making a big impact on roads throughout the World before disappearing from car showrooms during the mid-seventies, The Muscle Car was unique variety of US sports car which became instantly popular and sought after, particularly with younger drivers.

Muscle Cars were called this because of their powerful supercharged V8 or V12 high performance engines producing over 300 to 400 bhp and blindingly fast acceleration.

The Muscle car was invariably fitted with high performance engine parts such as specialist valves , overhead camshafts ,enhanced air-intake manifolds, advanced dual carburettors and free flowing double exhausts that generated the extra engine power.

Sports cars before the Muscle cars were often a rework of the Manufacturers large and heavy top end of the range motors.
The exception to the rule was the ‘first’ real Muscle car, the Chevrolet Corvette.

First manufactured 1953 it was America’s first real sports car as such . As the demand for more muscle from the public increased,  the Corvette was re-worked, redesigned and upgraded with a larger V8 327 hp engine which became the first of huge range of two seater American sports cars , replacing the much bulkier earlier versions .

In 1964 Ford entered the market and the now illustrious Ford Mustang became an instant hit with the US public, spurning many pop songs about the modern day classic.

The success of the Ford’s sales of Mustangs quickly led to other Marques following suit.

Other sports car manufacturers were quick to embrace the demand and developed by lightweight sportscars with V8 engines which became widely known as  ‘Pony Cars’.

To deal with the competition the older popular classic muscle cars, such as the Ford Thunderbird  and Dodge Charger were upgraded with even bigger V12 motors to compete with the ‘Ponies’ .

The Muscle car period came to an very quick end in 1974 with the global oil crisis and petrol rationing , which when coupled with very high insurance costs, led to a a lack of demand causing production to cease. The Muscle Car instantly became an American classic and today the rarer models can fetch in excess of 200,00 dollars to buy.

Source by Dave Healey

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