Classic Muscle Cars

 by Tonyb

Muscle Cars usually refer to high performance autos. They could be American or Australian and usually mean a 2 door rear wheel drive car with a powerful V8 engine. A V engine has eight cylinders with two fours set at right angles but could be at a narrower angle. The camshaft is driven by all eight pistons.

Fans agree that classic muscle cars were produced in the 60's and 70's and were used for racing and street use. In fact the term muscle car was not even used until after production had ceased.

Plymouth Duster 340

Plymouth Duster 340

One of the first muscle cars was the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, 1949 and it had a new high compression overhead valve V8. In 1950 the Rocket won 8 out of 10 races in NASCAR. This success with it's 135 horsepower V8 ensured that it was confirmed as the first Muscle car.

In 1955 Chrysler along with other manufacturers brought out the C-300 and this became the new NASCAR star and at the same time was advertised as America's Most powerful car, the best handling muscle car and the fastest reaching 130 mph and 0-60 in 9.8 seconds.

A couple of years later the Rambler Rebel was the fastest American Sedan with 0-60 in 7.5 seconds from it's 255 horsepower engine. This car was only available in silver with gold trimmings and in 1957 1500 Rambler Rebels were built. The car was produced in various models until 1968 and then it was dropped and called the AMC Rebel.

In the middle and late 60's AMC with it's Rambler Marlin competes with the Plymouth Barracuda and Ford Mustang for top performance. Competition by the Detroit manufacturers made it possible to choose even larger engines with up to as much as 450 horsepower.

Also around 1968 budget muscle cars became available, these were lighter and cheaper. Examples are the Plymouth Road Runner, the Plymouth Duster, and the Dodge Super Bee. The 1970 Plymouth GTX 440 came in at a price of $3355 with more performance per dollar than most other muscle cars for sale in that era.

In the early 1970's, guess what, the safety lobby decided that offering powerful cars perhaps with handling problems to young people was not a good idea any more, high insurance levies, air pollution problems, oil embargoes and petrol rationing slowly brought an end to the big engine muscle cars. If you are patient and browse the advertisements in specialist magazines and on the internet you can still find classic muscle cars for sale.

Article Source: March 29, 2009

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