History of the muscle cars

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Your pick. Rank the most fearsome examples of American muscle from the golden era. With the end of World War II, soldiers came home and there were babies everywhere!

The Best American Muscle Cars of the s | AxleAddict

Cars during WWII and after, were pretty conservative in their styling and speed. Chop Shops and performance shops sprung up after the war, and the hot rod was born.

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The problem with this was it cost a lot of money, and took a lot of work to modify a car. It was not economical for most.

This is what made the muscle car successful with the new baby boomers — price. Factory performance was a lot cheaper, but the current models lacked power and speed.

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That all changed in with the Pontiac Tempest. GM Corporate policy at this time did not allow anything other than a full size model to have anything larger than a cid engine. The engineers at Pontiac worked around this by offering the cid engine as an option, instead of creating a new model for it.

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In specific technical terms, the Mustang is considered a pony car. A pony car is a small bodied vehicle, with large sized engines. Each year, muscle cars kept on getting bigger and heavier, due to added options. These were designed to have a lower cost than the other models, without the extra options and plush interior.


How Muscle Cars Work

They were designed to be cheap and fast, and you could go race on the same day you bought the car without any modifications — and probably win! The Fun Is Over As soon as the muscle car craze got to full speed, it slipped a gear and never recovered.

Manufacturers including Dodge and Plymouth shunned the bigger cars they were known for and started focusing on smaller, faster, lighter cars. Cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Dart enjoyed tremendous popularity, thanks in part to advertising campaigns that emphasized the blending of torque and coolness.

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But the industry hit a roadblock as the s began. Marinos points to a combination of factors, including changes in insurance regulations — with more states requiring drivers to carry liability insurance — and the oil crisis, which sent gas prices skyrocketing. Suddenly, those power-hungry muscle cars seemed less attractive. Recent years have seen increased interest in the muscle car.