Powerful automobiles which represent the notion of the freedom are one of the symbols of America known in the entire world. The American manufacturers revolutionized mass production and made automobiles available for the people. The next step was to make powerful cars, which had been the privilege of the wealthy people, affordable for the common people.
This problem was solved with the introduction of the so-called “muscle cars”. Those to some extent were the usual cars with the performance improved by the installation of powerful engines. Thus almost any person got the possibility to purchase their own private freedom of the movement. There were many more additional benefits to come for the common people thanks to the competition among the manufacturers who strived to make their products superior in every sense.
The manufacturers competed at two different grounds. Retail market places for the stock cars were the first ground and racing facilities for the specialized racing cars were the second. But these distinct competitions influenced each other very much. Stock cars quality was defined through comparison to the performance of racing cars. On the other hand racing cars at many competitions were to be the usual stock cars with the minimal changes.
Thus two different groups of “muscle cars” exist. Namely the affordable cars for the daily usage and the specialized cars for racing. But the affordable cars were often used for amateur racing and the specialized racing cars were sometimes sold to the common people in order to comply with the certification (homologation) rules for the professional racing. Here is the list of Top 10 “muscle cars” significant for the history.
10. Oldsmobile 88
This is the first mass produced car with the powerful engine installed into the body of the usual full-size car. This pioneer model won 6 out of 9 relevant NASCAR races in 1949, 10 out of 19 in 1950, 20 out of 41 in 1952. Oldsmobile 88 was very popular among the customers — mostly young people who got used to the powerful military automobiles during the recent war. This car was the inspiration for the “Rocket 88” song which is considered by many experts to be the first rock and roll record.
9. Galpin Fisker Rocket
This special coach-built model of the 725 horsepower 2015 Ford Mustang was created by Galpin Auto Sports and Henrik Fisker and named the “Ultimate American Muscle Car”. Galpin Fisker Rocket was shown to the public at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. 21″ wheels and carbon fiber materials complement the abundant power.
8. Ford Torino Talladega
Production of this 2-door hardtop fastback was started at the beginning of 1969. The car main purpose was to participate in the NASCAR stock car racing. Several hundred of these cars were sold to the common people so that the model complied with the homologation rules of the racing. This excellent car won 29 Grand National races in the 1969 and 1970 NASCAR racing seasons which is more than any other model had done at that time.
7. Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt
Approximately one hundred units of this experimental 500 brake horsepower 2-door sedan were produced in 1964 for the drag racing purpose. This automobile is the extreme case of “muscle car” — engine from the full-size Ford Galaxie was installed into the much smaller Ford Fairlane seriously modified for the improvement of the performance. The Ford company even placed a plate with the disclaimer about the appearance of this car into the glove box.
6. Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IV
Only one out of planned several hundred such 400 brake horsepower full-size sedan supercars was assembled in 1972. The car was purposed for sales to the ordinary customers to comply with the homologation rules for the 1972 Hardie-Ferodo 500 racing. But it was this model that caused the “supercar scare” in Australia when the governmental officials proposed the national ban on the sales of the powerful cars to the general public. Eventually this “supercar scare” caused changes of the regulations for the racing. The requirement to sell the racing cars to the common people was excluded from the rules.
5. Ford Mustang
This family of cars was started in 1962 as the concept cars and introduced new class of “muscle cars”, so-called “pony cars”, which are the affordable compact cars with emphasis on performance. 1965 Ford Mustang shown in 1964 was one of the most successful new products created by the Ford company. All the cars of this family have the sporty look that has been copied by the numerous competitors.
4. Chevrolet Camaro
This family of “pony cars” was the explicit response from the General Motors corporation to the challenge posed by the very successful Ford Mustang family of the cars. Sales of the first model started in 1966. The model has been evolving throughout the years. Today the 6th generation of Camaro is available on the market. Since its introduction this family of the cars has been used for all the major racing events and has been advertised as a friendly car in the numerous mass culture products.
3. Shelby Mustang GT 350
This is a high performance variant of the usual Ford Mustang which was designed by Carroll Shelby in 1965. Business association among the Ford car manufacturing company and the Hertz car rental corporation led to the introduction of the unique “Rent-a-Racer” program in 1966. Thanks to the program usual customers were able to rent racing cars. During the rent time these cars were occasionally really used for racing.
2. Plymouth Duster
This sturdy compact semi-fastback 2-door coupe was purposed for heavy duty daily usage. It had been offered for sale from 1970 to 1976 and was famous for its durability at the affordable price. Everything was simple and made to last during intensive usage. People at Chrysler, the manufacturing company, described the cars of this model as automobiles that were durable enough for a travel of 200 thousand miles.
1. Ford Maverick Grabber
This compact 2-door sedan was designed to be inexpensive to manufacture and maintain and had been offered for sale from 1970 to 1975. It was one of the most affordable mass produced “muscle cars” in the world with much better performance than of the cars offered by other manufacturers within comparable price range.
It is impossible to list all the details of the numerous models, modifications and combinations of the options that has been introduced under the common name of muscle cars throughout the years. Yet more it is difficult for a reader to dig through all the cubic inches, horse powers and miles per second. That’s why we have limited this article to the distinct features that characterize the whole families of the best “muscle cars” in order to tell you the most interesting facts. We hope that you liked this article.