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Classic Muscle Cars


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Classic Muscle Cars

Perhaps one of the most exciting periods in automotive history was during the production years of the classic American muscle car.  Muscle cars were big, loud and ultra-powerful rubber burning machines.  During the 1960’s and 70’s the American automakers progressively became more competitive with their muscle car offerings. Each year it seemed Ford, Chevy, Chrysler or even AMC would out-do the competition in terms of brute power and aggressive exterior styling.  Since we love muscle cars we thought it would be fun to create a list of the all-time top 10 best muscle cars made on US soil.  Obviously this is merely our opinion so we don’t anticipate all readers to agree with the inclusion of all of the muscle cars on this list.  Since muscle cars are widely considered to have more than 2 seats; the Chevy Corvette, Shelby Cobra and other very powerful, fast cars from the era were omitted from this best muscle cars list.  Make sure to cast your vote on which of these you think is the greatest muscle car.  View a Complete List of Classic Muscle Cars.
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Classic Muscle Cars

Classic Chevy Parts and Chevrolet Performance Parts We are passionate about classic muscle cars as well as our customers; hard-working muscle car enthusiasts. Chevy classic muscle cars such as a 1969 Camaro, Chevelle, Nova, Monte Carlo, and El Camino are some of our specialties. That’s why you’ll find all the muscle car parts and components you need to either restore a vintage Chevy model car or truck or upgrade a late model auto to performance status. Whether its GM Performance parts, Chevy parts, or classic Chevy truck parts, you’ve come to the right place. Since 1996, we’ve outfitted an 80,000 square foot facility with muscle car parts and experts in 50’s, 60’s and 70’s era Chevy cars and trucks. We’ve also managed to become one of the top ten Chevrolet Performance Parts dealers in the nation.
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Classic Muscle Cars

Classics on Autotrader is your one-stop shop for the best classic cars, muscle cars, project cars, exotics, hot rods, classic trucks, and old cars for sale. Are you looking to buy your dream classic car? Use Classics on Autotrader’ intuitive search tools to find the best classic car, muscle car, project car, classic truck, or hot rod.
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We are passionate about classic muscle cars as well as our customers; hard-working muscle car enthusiasts. Chevy classic muscle cars such as a 1969 Camaro, Chevelle, Nova, Monte Carlo, and El Camino are some of our specialties. That’s why you’ll find all the muscle car parts and components you need to either restore a vintage Chevy model car or truck or upgrade a late model auto to performance status.
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Muscle car is an American term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as “any of a group of American-made 2-door sports cars with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.” A large V8 engine is fitted in a 2-door, rear wheel drive, family-style compact, mid-size or full-size car designed for four or more passengers. Sold at an affordable price, muscle cars are intended for street use and occasional drag racing. They are distinct from two-seat sports cars and expensive 2+2 GTs intended for high-speed touring and road racing.
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In the United States, lightweight cars featuring high-performance engines were termed “supercar” before the classification of muscle car became popular. For example, the 1957 Rebel’s “potent mill turned the lightweight Rambler into a veritable supercar.” “From the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies, what we now think of as muscle cars were more commonly called ‘Supercars,’ often (though not always) spelled with a capital S.” This term described the “dragstrip bred” affordable mid-size cars of the 1960s and early 1970s that were equipped with large, powerful V8 engines and rear-wheel-drive. “In 1966, the supercar became an official industry trend” as the four domestic automakers “needed to cash in on the supercar market” with eye-catching, heart-stopping cars. Examples of the use of the supercar description for the early muscle models include the May 1965 Car Life road test of the Pontiac GTO along with how “Hurst puts American Motors into the Supercar club with the 390 Rogue” (the SC/Rambler) to fight in “the Supercar street racer gang” market segment. Moreover, the “SC” in the model name stood for “SuperCar”.
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According to Muscle Cars, a book written by Peter Henshaw, a “muscle car” is “exactly what the name implies. It is a product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder’s philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it. The Muscle Car is Charles Atlas kicking sand in the face of the 98 horsepower weakling.” Henshaw further asserts that the muscle car was designed for straight-line speed, and did not have the “sophisticated chassis”, “engineering integrity”, or “lithe appearance” of European high-performance cars.
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The popularity and performance of muscle cars grew in the early 1960s, as Mopar (Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler) and Ford battled for supremacy in drag racing. The 1962 Dodge Dart 413 cu in (6.8 L) Max Wedge, for example, could run a 13-second 1/4-mile dragstrip at over 100 miles per hour (161 km/h). In 1961 Chevrolet introduced the SS package on the Impala for $53.80, with included an optional 409 cu in v8 with 425 hp and upgraded brakes, tires, and suspension. By 1964, General Motors’ lineup boasted Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, and Pontiac muscle cars, and Buick fielded a muscle car entry a year later. For 1964 and 1965, Ford had its 427 cu in (7.0 L) Thunderbolts, and Mopar unveiled the 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi engine. The Pontiac GTO was an option package that included Pontiac’s 389 cu in (6.4 L) V8 engine, floor-shifted transmission with Hurst shift linkage, and special trim. In 1966 the GTO became a model in its own right. The project, led by Pontiac division president John DeLorean, technically violated GM’s policy, limiting its smaller cars to 330 cu in (5.4 L) displacement, but the new model proved more popular than expected, and inspired GM and its competitors to produce numerous imitators.
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The muscle car market segment was in high gear “until shifting social attitudes, crippling insurance rates, the Clean Air Act and the fuel crisis removed the cars from the market in the early 1970s.” The OPEC oil embargo led to price controls and gasoline rationing, as well as higher prices. “Muscle cars quickly became unaffordable and impractical for many people.” The automobile insurance industry also levied surcharges on all high-powered models, an added cost that put many muscle cars out of reach of their intended buyers. Simultaneously, efforts to combat air pollution focused Detroit’s attention on emissions control.
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While the aging baby boom generation inspired the modern demand for classic-type American Muscle cars, the consumer market is much more diverse than it was in the 1960s and 1970s. Looking at modern muscle as a social trend, Ford and GM are the “innovators,” followed by baby boom males in their 50s as “early adopters.” The big bulge or “early majority” in the modern muscle movement comes from the men in their teens and early 20s. For these non-baby boomer consumers, the “cool” image is key. In the 1960s “a car was not quite a car unless punching the accelerator resulted in screaming tires and the landscape blurring around you…” according to Brent Staples of The New York Times. Fuel was cheap and the staple of drag racing counterculture was to be fast and loud. Now being “cool,” fuel efficient, and cost effective is all a part of the package. Instead of fuel guzzling V8 engines, you see V6 or turbocharged I4 models. Despite the reduction in power, Detroit is successfully selling this package. The Camaro and Challenger saw a 13% and 11% spike in sales during June 2011, which “outpaced” the growth in sales of all other passenger cars, according to Autodata.
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3 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona The 1969 Dodge Daytona and its sibling, the 1970 Plymouth Superbird, are arguably the most radical vehicles to emerge from the muscle car wars. But the Daytona, as the name might suggest, wasn’t designed for street racing. It was built to win Nascar races on the superspeedways—the longest and fastest tracks.To increase top speed, engineers took the Charger to the wind tunnel. The aerodynamic modifications to the big Dodge included a nearly 2-foot-tall rear wing, a flush rear window, and a longer, sloped nose cone. The results were impressive. The race version of the Daytona became the first car in Nascar history to break 200 mph. After numerous Dodge wins in 1969 and some by Plymouth in 1970, Nascar’s new rule book banned these cars. The production cars, which came packing a 440 big-block or the legendary 426 Hemi, are sought-after collector cars today that bring more than $150,000 at auctions.Little-Known Fact: The Daytona’s aerodynamic modifications over a those of a standard Charger helped lower the coefficient of drag to 0.28—an excellent figure even by today’s standards. But did that huge rear wing really need to be so tall to maximize rear-end downforce? According to legend, no. The reason for the exaggerated height of the wing was so that the trunklid on the production cars could pass underneath it and fully open.

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