Muscle Car Definition: Understand the Requirements

January 27, 2012

Ever since the first GTO rolled off the assembly line in 1964, there has been a debate as to what the true muscle car definition is. Back during the 60s, the original intent of the muscle car was to put the most powerful motor that would fit, into the lightest car possible. Though over the years this definition seems to have changed. The Muscle car has evolved over time to include such modern muscle cars as the Mustang, Camaro, Charger, Challenger, and the GTO. The lone wolf in this list is the Dodge Charger because it is the only four door listed among the others. But does having four doors remove the muscle car classification? Some would say yes, and others would say no. To answer that question, one has to look back on the history of the muscle car during its heyday in the late 60s and early 70s. During that time the target horsepower to weight ratio for a car to be classified as a muscle car was 10 lbs per horsepower. If that definition is applied across the board, then many cars fall into the classification of a Muscle Car. For the purist, a Muscle Car is a two door, that is as light and cheap as possible, and has the largest motor that will fit installed. The quintessential car that fits all of these specifications is the 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner. The times have changed though, and most of the modern cars that fit into the muscle car category contain many options and come with hefty price tags. Some of these changes were made in response to stricter government regulations on safety and fuel mileage, while others came about as customer's preferences changed. The people who grew up during the pinnacle of the muscle car years are getting older, and want their cars to have all of the modern amenities along with ground-pounding power. As a result, the modern muscle car is far removed from those of long ago, but the general idea is not dead. With the SRT 8 Charger and Challenger, Mustang GT, and SS Camaro all making more than 400hp and running sub 13 sec quarter miles, the muscle car is far from dead. In fact, it can be argued that the best muscle cars are the current ones. 

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