Muscle cars are some of the most popular cars across the country. They are fast, sleek, small and attractive to the eye. The majority of muscle cars come with a V8 engine, are 2-door, have rear wheel drive and are usually inexpensive. Muscle cars were first mass-manufactured in the 1960s and 1970s and were primarily used for drag racing in the streets. But the first muscle car was produced in 1949. It was the Oldsmobile Rocket 88. This was the first American vehicle with the overhead valve V8 engine. The final model of the Oldsmobile 88 was produced in 1999. The model was manufactured in three different cities: Wentzville, Missouri; Flint, Michigan and Lake Orion, Michigan.
Here is a list of some muscle cars from the past:
1970-1971 AMC Rebel and Matador The Machine
1970-1974 Buick GSX
1965-1973 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
1966-1974 Dodge Charger
1968-1971 Dodge Super Bee
1969-1970 Dodge Charger Daytona with nose and goalpost wing
1966-1969 Ford Fairlane GT, GTA, and Cobra
1968-1974 Ford Torino (GT, Cobra, and Talladega)
1966-1972 Mercury Cyclone
1970-1971 Mercury Montego
1968-1971 Oldsmobile 442
1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass “Ram-Rod" 350
1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass W-31
1967-1971 Plymouth GTX
1968-1974 Plymouth Road Runner
1970 Plymouth Superbird with nose and goalpost wing
1964-1974 Pontiac GTO
1969 AMC SC/Rambler
1971 AMC Hornet SC 360
1963-1974 Chevrolet Nova SS
1968-1976 Dodge Dart GT, GTS, Swinger, and Demon
1970-1976 Plymouth Duster
The concern over muscle cars came to the forefront when Ralph Nader led a group of safety lobbyists against the marketing and production of the vehicles, especially to young adults. New teens, just beginning to drive, loved the idea of having a fast car to impress their friends and especially the girls. Muscle cars don't have the strongest of tires, great handling or excellent breaks. Tires have less adhesion on muscle cars than normal cars do.
A surcharge was placed on all muscle cars by the automobile insurance industry after Nader's group of safety lobbyists caused such an uproar that young drivers weren't able to purchase muscle cars anymore because the price was too high for them to afford purchasing the cars. Since the young crowd was not purchasing muscle cars anymore the market pretty much disappeared and the production numbers dwindled for each model.
Muscle cars became such a popular part of American culture in the 1960s and 1970s that they were included in not only television shows but also in movies. The car from Knight Rider was a muscle car; the cars in Starsky and Hutch were muscle cars; and muscle cars were used in Elvis movies most notably. Elvis would sing while driving in the car or standing next to it with his admirers. The popularity of the muscle car diminished for a while but its allure will never entirely disappear from the American culture.
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