Skip to comments.The 10 Most Iconic American Muscle Cars
Posted on 08/03/2014 8:08:06 AM PDT by MtnClimber
1. Ford Mustang Where does one even start when talking about the Ford Mustang? This car has become the embodiment of Americas love affair with speed and muscle. This iconic Ford instigated the creation of the pony car classification of automobiles and prompted competing car manufacturers to crank out Americas other favorite muscle cars. For Ford, the Mustang was (and continues to be) a smash hit.
The first Mustang debuted at the New York Worlds Fair in April of 1964. It was originally equipped with a 260-cubic-inch (4.3L) V8 but was quickly upgraded to a 289-cubic-inch (4.7L) V8 in its first year. By 1968, the Mustang was outfitted with a 302-cubic-inch (4.9L) V8. The following year, Ford released several performance packages for the Mustang including the Boss 302, Mach 1, and Boss 429. The speed and power had arrived.
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Olds 442 and AMC AMX.
You need to look below the ad to the "continue" arrow.
I have a 67 Camaro convertible I’m working on, drove for 25 years but now doing a restore.
But my daily driver is my 1957 Bel Air.
poooor me, all I have is old cars with more than 250,000 miles on them :(
Guess I need a new Tesla with about a three year projected lifespan. Course, I can get parts easily and cheap for the old cars, but electricity for a $123k Tesla is free!
Hmmm. Not sure about the list. All great cars but when I think muscle car it’s more the then mid sized cars from the Big Three all with engines over...well over... 350 cu in.
Pony cars eventually get into the muscle car genre but to me they aren’t classic muscle cars.
Better yet, click “Show as one Page”
It had every model of the Corvette, and how many were produced each year.
I worked at a local drag strip in the early 1970s and the fastest production vehicle I ever saw was the 1970 SS 454 Chevelle. With an automatic transmission a fully stock SS 454 would consistently run the quarter mile in 13 seconds. A fully stock 4 speed version SS 454 was capable of elapsed times in the mid 12 seconds.
I’m gonna be nitpicky here and say that the Mustang, Camaro and Firebird are pony cars, not muscle cars. And where are the Ford Cobra, Plymouth Roadrunner, and Chevy Impala SS?
Also, why did the Grand National only get an honorable mention?
“All great cars but when I think muscle car its more the then mid sized cars from the Big Three all with engines over...well over... 350 cu in.”
I’m with you. I’ve always thought of a muscle car as a 2-door intermediate sedan stuffed full of motor.
Knew a guy in 1990s that was taking forever to restore his 442.
Just out of curiosity, were those times on stock tires? As I recall, the stock rubber on a Chevelle SS wasn’t especially wide.
A friend’s son had a 454 Chevelle.I was driving a 440 Roadrunner at the time.We raced one time and I beat him by 4 car lengths.
I am getting tired of these “TEN MOST” articles on the internets.
Evidently the most clickable articles on the ‘net are “top to” or “10 ways” or “10 most...” Lists. They are always lame-ass regurgitations with open-source photos, designed to get clicks.
Plus, Drive a BMW M5 once and you will never again feel as if anything else has real power or performs correctly.
What a joke... How many guys do I know that spend tens (or in one case over $100,000) of thousands purchasing and maintaining these POS UAW pieces of junk, trying to get the body panels to fit for goodness’ sakes!
Rebuilding carbs! My brother went on and on yesterday about his tweaked-out ‘60s Malibu... Had to spend a few days in the shop again... The thing can barely climb a hill and is easily outperformed by a VW Bug.
Go spend $100K on a GTO. Have fun in the shop. My old ‘83 Jaguar for goodness’ sakes was more reliable than ANYTHING Detroit made from 1960 to 1990.
Why glorify these turds?
In the background is my beloved 98 Durango, aka Canyonero.
Stupid Stupid Stupid. The SS 396 is not in the list and neither is the Corvette. Send that know nothing dingbat back to grad school.
There's no official definition but I would definitely call the bigger engined Mustangs, Camaros and Firebirds both pony cars and muscle cars.
Muscle car to me means a powerful engine. I think thats a good definition.
Because they were beautiful, and we could afford to own drive them...
As to the rest of them they can
I had a silver 75 Cutlass Supreme which I dearly loved. Smooth as silk.
I grew up with muscle cars....its the engine
And American made
Not car size
The pony cars were just the smaller muscle cars and played off the mustang...
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Stop it yer killin' me!
I had a brand new '71 XJ6 and it was without a doubt the worst vehicle I've ever owned and that includes a fiat X1/9 and '64 Mercedes 220 SE, a 1988 Renault Medallion (R21), a 1969 Renault R16 and an entire fleet of R5's!
OK the Jag went pretty decent as a cruiser but that was if you remembered to keep the carbs topped up with oil...a once a week ritual. And those inboard rear disc brakes! What FUN! Kinda cheap to replace at the stealer if a thousand for a brake job is cheap.
Don't get me started on the BENDABLE TUBE EXHAUST HEADERS! Stainless steel...yeah RIGHT! Let jag sit for a month and oops!...Need new headers.
did I mention that a month after delivery the windshield wiper regulator gave up? One of many things to go away in the first couple of month. Dealer didn't have the part...couldn't get it. I drove an entire winter with a rope through the windows tied to the wipers!
There was one fair thing about the Jag though. It had twin gas tanks reading of a single gauge with a switch to flip between tanks. Once I took the then future Mrs p6 on a drive on a dirt road in a remote area to see the Legendary Ghost of Country Club Hill.
Gee I guess I forgot to gas the Jag before we left. Awww...too far to walk back in the dark. We'll wait for a while and see if anyone else comes by.
A while later while the future mrs p6 was distracted I secretly flipped the gauge and WHOA CHECK it OUT! All that rocking must have settle some gas in the tank!
By your definition since new handles better why restore P51 or an old Hinckley when a new Lear or Swan will do better respectively
Its nostalgia....and the feel
Frequently lost on the young although some kids like old cars
Its funny they will get excited now about an older Impala that was actually a comparative turd as you say in its day
But if you find a 1969 Roadrunner 383 Hurst a turd or a 67 GTO and so forth probably not much we can do for you
But that’s OK....
Cars are like women....newer is often better but an older one can still give a helluva ride
A real turd car....K cars.....or a modern Fiat
A Gremlin-X in standard Gremlin trim made for an interesting sleeper.
You had me beliving-until you said ‘83 Jag.
I don’t think the Corvette was considered a muscle car, in spite of its horsepower. It is a grand tourer.
"We moved our base camp last night and were now positioned literally
within feet of the river. Have been sitting here watching the border
patrol patrolling in their riverboats all night and all morning..."
Mona Lisa Vito: Because there is no way that these tire marks were made by a 1964 Buick Skylark convertible.
These marks were made by a 1963 Pontiac Tempest.
Using that as the big ‘reveal’ in ‘My Cousin Vinny” kinda ruined the movie for me. The first thing I thought when they showed pic of the getaway scene was “posi rear...that limits things considerably”.
As far as I know any male who went to school in the 50’s-70’s would automatically think the same thing on the very first glimpse of that picture showing the dual rubber. I knew a hell of a lot more than one teenager who ended a car buying story with “and the old geezer had no clue that model came with a posi rear”!
Especially since they listed Buick's twin. At least people bought the 442.
Right. A sports car is not a marketing innovation. The idea of a muscle car was to take a more-or-less ordinary coupe and drop a big engine in it.
By some measures, pony cars might not be muscle cars in the sense that they were originally designed to be four-passenger sports cars.
The SS396, GTX, AMX, and Road Runner not on the Muscle Car list. Girl didn’t do her research. I guess her next article will be on Iconic Automatic revolvers.
Agree with you on All Points. Especially so on the insulting “honorable mention” for the Gran National.
We’re in Reno this week for Hot August Nights. Talk about muscle cars! There are about 10,000 either on display or cruisin’. Yowza!!!!!
When it comes to body style and performance this is the top of the list.
.....1969 R/T ;
Of course these cars were pretty much lo-quality crap as anyone who ever tried to stop one from 80 mph can tell you, or heaven forfend, attempt a sharp curve on a bumpy road at at that speed. But they was truly Murican, as anyone reading an Archie and Veronica Comic book through the gaps in the wavy UAW, barely painted, rusting body panels could also tell you.
But the ones you see on the road today are actually BETTER than originals. They look much better than they ever looked new. Nothing worse than a Detroit paint job from that era and the instant rot underneath. They now all have much better modern brakes (Thank you Brembo from Italy). They all have very good radial tires (Thank you Pirelli and Michelin) they all have vastly improved suspensions (Thank You Koni, Sachs, und Bilstein from Deutschland) and also better springs and bushings made from space-age plastics. Then they are tricked out with Recaro bucket seats (Danke-schoen Deutschland), so that you and the big hair Betsey don't get flipped on the pavement during violent maneuvers. Speaking of which, you'll need a good shop to cure that vague Murican steering.
But the bad news is they still (if they still have their 6-liter V-8s with 11-1 CR) require old-fashioned high test, (100+ Research Octane) (not the crap passed off as high octane at today's Hess), God I would kill for a tankful of old AMOCO lead-free high-test!.... @ $0.35 p/gal! cannot handle the ethanol blends, and at high speeds are capable of delivering perhaps 11 mpg at any thing over 30 mph.
One more thing, my old man and I were partial to the early Chrysler 300 series ... ferocious beasts, indeed. However that was mid-'50s ... by '57-8, they devolved into bloated caricatures of themselves ... while by the late '60's every duck-tailed Tom, Dick (especially him), and Harry began buying very Jersey Shore "muscle cars."
What was left of the Murican Car, died with Jimmy Carter and the self-righteous lesbo Joan Claybrook in '73, not to be revived into a more sensible, but still dull and lo-quality engineering expression in the 1990's.
Obviously, what the Republicans need to do now to win the Latino vote is to introduce federal car financing for low-riders based on those "muscle" and "Pony" cars. ¿Sí, se puede?
Super responsive to fieled input, Jaguar made many changes. My 1976 XJ6 was a wonderful beast indeed. Especially after we installed a 5-row radiator and electric fans, installed huge oil coolers for motor and trans (A GM Hydramatic, BTW, which we hot-rodded with a special torque converter and altered shift points) It had Lucas fuel injection (Do NOT LOL) Capacitor Discharge Ignition, a fuel cooler, GM Climate Control, GM Power windows, weighed 2 tons, had beautiful leather upholstery, an AM-FM 8-track (!), and was quite capable of leaving rubber at 100 mph. It had twin saddle fuel tanks, together holding 25 gallons, got 15 mpg no matter how one drove it, and for the run from LA to Las Vegas, it was simply superb. Beautiful disc brakes all around, inboard at the rear (IRS). Once properly sorted out, this car was very reliable.
Ran 10 years and 225 Thousand miles before being stolen. My story and I'm sticking to it, Mr. Geico.
My current car is a 2013 Audi S6 with the V8 Twin Turbo and AWD. Car & Driver ran 0-60 in 3.7 seconds in their test.
Why not the Diesel?
I would go for a 67 “E” Type Jag. It drives well and performs well.
Corvette was never a muscle car.
The muscle car began as a run of the mill sedan or coupe offered with a fire breathing engine to go fast in a straight line, while doing nothing to help it handle better or stop quicker.
The first muscle car was the 1964 Pontiac GTO. So the muscle car didn’t exist before then, despite how many 50’s Cadillacs could go very fast in a straight line on the highways of Nevada.
Corvette was always a sport car, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Never a muscle car.
The pony cars came to overlap with muscle cars with entries like the Ford Mustang Boss 429 and the Chevy Camaro SS 396, and rat motored 454.
Easy way to tell. Muscle cars have a big block.
I had two friends in high school that had Shelby Mustangs. They were fun cars. Right now I am looking at Nissan GTR’s.
Welcome! Thank you for your contribution to our economy!
73 Red Plymouth Space Duster in my garage.
340 in shed waiting for $.
I agree. The article is blurring the distinction between pony cars & muscle-cars. As much as I appreciate the early Mustangs they really don’t belong in the same class with contemporary Chevelles (for instance). Apples & Oranges.