What Makes American Muscle Cars So Special?
The history of the American muscle car was rather short, but these great cars made quite an impression on people- they're even more popular today than when they were first rolled off the assembly line. The true muscle car era only lasted about a decade, but its legacy has endured in the fact that these cars are some of the most sought-after in the world.
In the strictest definition, a muscle car is one that was built from 1965-1973, and it has a V6 or a V8 with a medium-size chassis. Muscle cars usually have masculine, aggressive lines, and sit low and wide. Most don't have the best handling, but they all have one thing in common- lots of power and speed. Within these short eight years, major American car manufacturers all competed to build the fastest and most aggressive muscle car; the battle continued onto the drag strip.
A couple of years after WWII ended, thousands of soldiers came home and the baby boom generation started. Back then, cars were inexpensive, slow, and didn't look very good. They served a purpose, and recreation wasn't it. However, starting in 1964, things began to change. Pontiac debuted the GTO package, based on its Tempest with a V8 motor. The new vehicle was powerful and fast, but that wasn't enough for Pontiac. They wanted it to be attainable for the average worker. The GTO package was so well-received that it soon became a separate line, and set the bar for automotive performance at the time.
Not to be outdone, Ford debuted its Mustang in 1965, and in less than two years, the car sold 1.5 million units. In subsequent years, heavier cars such as the Super Bee and Roadrunner became the norm, but none attained the popularity of the Pontiac GTO. The end of the muscle car era came about in the mid 1970s as insurance companies began raising premiums for these fast cars, due to a high number of accidents. The fuel crisis of the time also encouraged drivers to bypass the muscle car.
Although the muscle car era ended over three decades ago, these cars still hold a special place in the hearts of many Americans. They will only increase in value as time goes on, and they are special because they are a good investment- not to mention a blast to drive!