Skip to comments.7 best American muscle cars of all time
Posted on 01/01/2014 12:12:58 PM PST by virgil283
"How did muscle-car madness start?...Some enthusiasts trace the history of muscle cars to the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. But the heyday of this genre ran from 1965 to 1970 before collapsing under the weight of higher gas prices, more stringent exhaust emissions regulations and soaring insurance costs.
What is a muscle car? There isn't a settled definition, but most experts agree it's a smaller, two-door car powered by a high-displacement engine typically found in a larger, full-size sedan. Here's our list in model-year order.....1967 Pontiac GTO...1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi...1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429...1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1...1970 Buick GSX Stage 1...1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda...1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454...."
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I say it was 1964 when Pontiac put a hot V8 with 3-2s, a 4 speed and a 411 gear in a plain jane LeMans and called a
Straight from the dealer would run under 15 seconds in 1/4 mile...
My first car was a 1971 LeMans (used). The GTO is a special auto.
Once knew a guy who had owned a Chevelle SS 454. Good lord, that thing was a monster.
IIRC, AMC had a muscle car at one point, too. Don’t know how it rated against the ones on the list. It was kinda before my era, and my memories of AMC center around my older brother’s Gremlin, and the Hornet my dad drove for a while.
The GTO was a+ John DeLorean contribution:
He also intro’d the Firebird, at GM.
Studebaker Avanti. Ahead of it’s time. Too bad the company itself was on the ropes.
If you mastered power shifting you were king of the road.
Where’s the 1966 Chevy Chevelle Super Sport 396? Much more of a muscle car than the GTO.
What about the 442?
That was a close second to my favorite, the ‘66 version. Your pic is a ‘70 model is it not? A 454 powerplant internal flywheel version? A pretty awesome motor in its own right.
They don’t count the Avanti as a muscle car, engine displacement was too small, and yet there were versions that were faster than the “muscle cars” go figure.
1963 Studebaker Avanti, “Bonneville Record Breaker”
Hahahaha, that Gran Torino Sport was a lead sled. It couldn’t get out of its own way. Had terrible over steer issues. It sure was popular thanks to Starsky & Hutch.
We had a '73 Le Mans. The first time we washed it, the trunk flooded because there were no seals. The motor mounts later had to be replaced because they were not strong enough. Once, while on the Hollywood Freeway in LA, the alternator went out, and I was fortunate to be able to coast into the parking lot at Denny's on Vignes.
The car ended its life when I turned on the air conditioner and acrid smoke came out of the vents. I got off the freeway and drove into the parking lot of the Caterpillar tractor plant near Whittier and an employee put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. The last time I saw the car was on a truck carrying other wrecks that I happened to pass on the freeway.
I read that the 1973 Le Mans was designed by John De Lorean. He must have done it while he was high on cocaine.
LOVE THIS CAR! My first boyfriend had one.
2010 Dodge Viper 600 hp stock.
These were cars that (in their day) a factory worker could afford.
Also the Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk in 1958 certainly deserves mention! The Lark Daytona too.
Interesting. All I can say is a speeding misguided yoot hit the front left side of the LeMans which was badly bruised. The reporting police officer looked at me and said “You don’t bleed, do you.” The Pontiac took one for the team. :-)
My first car was a 1958 Ford Fairlane 500, with 338 ci and 4 Holly carb, hard-linked, tuned and ported. No posi, tho, and it suffered for it.
muscle cars started because of baby boomers, same reason as the fast food restaurants.
I have never viewed the 442 as the most beautiful, but it ranks up there with the most beastly!
Our band director had a gold 442 convertible with the Hurst shifter, and he sent a bunch of us 17 year old boys out in it one day to pick up lunch for a bunch of the instructors.
“Don’t beat on it. Don’t lay any rubber.”
We were barely out of earshot of the field when we began laying rubber. That day was also notable because we were wearing no shirts, and my buddy in the front seat was smoking a cigarette and tossed the lit butt out the window. It came right back in between my back and the seat where I leaned back on it...
I let out a holler that if the owner of the car didn’t hear the screeching of the tires, would have definitely heard that!
Hahahahaha...poor AMC. Then they cut their balls off, and they produced the Gremlin and the Pacer!
Heh, no kidding. Even the kit cars give me wood...:)
I liked the 69 Charger.
I had a 1970 Chrysler Newport Tuna Boat. My friend had a Plymouth Fury. We use to race up and down the Jersey Turnpike. Lots of fun
It depends on your definition.
Those were 6 grand minimum which was a LOT of money back then.
To me the thing that made muscle cars special was the relative affordability.
I learned to drive in a new 67 Plymouth Barracuda convertible with the 383 ci 8 cylinder.
And I lived to tell about it... ;-)
Lest we forget the sound of 7000 rpm coming from the factory in 8 cylinders under tennis ball sized intake ports and valves...
Boss 351 Mustang.
Pontiac GTO has got to be Number One.
A drunken illegal alien lost control of his car and smashed into my 1973 Ford LTD while it was parked--I was in it half a minute earlier. I later drove another '73 LTD with a 429 motor--a speeding ticket hazard, because you could find yourself going well over 100 mph without realizing it.
one of the biggest turds AMC ever made
Avanti was the 2’nd ugliest car in the world, next to the Citroen.
There is a reason you don’t see any of these around. Seriously???