A Brief Look at the History of American Muscle Cars

Have you ever heard the term "muscle car"? Of course you have! But you might not know what these cars actually are. The term "muscle car" can be used to describe any number of classic, high-performance cars manufactured in the USA. In other words, a "muscle car" could be any American, two door vehicle that has a powerful engine inside of it.

If you take your time to look around some classic car websites or motor shows, you should be able to discover a fine range of American muscle cars. Some of which, you might not have even realized were muscle cars until closer inspection.

Image Source: Alden Jewell  / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0
Those of you that are really interested in learning about muscle cars probably know that the Oldsmobile Rocket has been widely regarded to be the very first American muscle car. It has the first high compression overhead valve V8 in it. This was back in the 1940’s.

By the early 1960's, the muscle car was doing very well. The very first Ford Mustang made its debut on April 17, 1964. At the time, it cost just $2,368 (about £1400 at todays exchange rate). The Mustang was an immediate hit - car buyers loved its sleek, sporty look and roaring power.

Image Source: Ford Europe / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0

Not even the manufacturers themselves could have predicted the success of the vehicle; originally, they thought a projected 100,000 annual sales would be made...and they were way off. The first year alone saw 417,000 units leave the lots, and in just two years, the numbers made it over a million. This ensured that American muscle cars continued to remain popular well into the 1970's.

However, just like everything good, it had to come to an end and they eventaully began to decrease in popularity. One of the reasons for this was because of the fact gas prices were starting to rise. No-one wants to pay to put gas into a muscle car!

There was also a great deal of pressure shifted onto muscle car owners by political action groups. That is not to say that the muscle car does not still have a place within American history. It certainly made its mark and it is a mark that will never be replaced.

There are enthusiasts all over the world that have decided that they would like to preserve these cars so that they will always look wonderful. If you have thought about doing that then you should know that there are a lot of amazing muscle cars out there that are worth a lot of money because they have been restored or taken care of. There are also a lot of individuals that have decided to make the restoration of these vehicles a hobby. It can be expensive and it can also be very time consuming but the end result can be amazing if you are interested in starting a project and following through with it.

Editors note: Serious enthusiasts will argue that the Mustang is a "Pony car" not a muscle car. However to me, they will always be "American muscle cars".
A Brief Look at the History of American Muscle Cars A Brief Look at the History of American Muscle Cars Reviewed by Hayley Reeve on Monday, May 19, 2014 Rating: 5

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