The ’60s and ’70s were the golden age for muscle cars. Torque, speed, sleekness, wild colors, and of course V8 engines separated muscle cars from other models. As a muscle car enthusiast, you know there is a story behind every car. And, you are always on the lookout for more exciting stories about your favorite genre of vehicles. With that in mind, we prepared the following list of facts about muscle cars.
1. The 1964 Pontiac GTO was not the first muscle car
Enthusiasts came up with the name muscle car in the ’60s. However, the invention of muscle cars happened much earlier. In 1949, Oldsmobile launched the Rocket 88, which sported a V8 engine and a scaled-back body.
Do not underrate the success of the Rocket 88 as the line continued for about half a century; up to 1999. Also, this first muscle car inspired the Delta Cats’ hit song Rocket 88, a jam considered to be the earliest rock ‘n’ roll record.
2. Pontiac stole GTO from Ferrari
Many consider the Pontiac GTO to be the first muscle car. Not only is it not the first of this popular auto genre, but the name was also not original. Pontiac probably borrowed “Gran Turismo Omologato” from Ferrari 250 GTO to give their muscle car the Italian charm and flair.
Nevertheless, the original Pontiac GTO was better than the Ferrari GTO – 360 HP compared to 300 HP. So maybe we can forgive Pontiac’s lack of originality.
3. Ford forced Carroll Shelby to work on the Mustang
One of the cars that come to mind when you are talking muscle cars id the Ford Mustang. However, the Mustang was a low-level sports car before Carroll Shelby started working on it in 1965. It was not a job he was enthusiastic about at first since he was still working on Shelby Cobra engines.
But Ford was not taking no for an answer. They needed the Mustang to come at par with the Corvette. So, they reminded Shelby that they had helped him kickstart the Cobra project three years earlier. In the Sports Car Club Races of America competitions, the 1965 Mustang, the Shelby GT 350, beat the Corvette. And you wonder why Cobra Shelby is a muscle cars legend?
4. The Mustang is not a muscle car
Speaking of the Mustang, is it really a muscle car? In the broad definition of a muscle car, maybe it is. But muscle car purists give the Mustang a different title: a pony car.
Like muscle cars, pony cars are 2-seater autos with a big engine and small body. But pony cars are much smaller and even have a smaller V8 engine. Other cars that fit the pony car definition are the Plymouth Barracuda, Mercury Cougar, and the Chevy Camaro.
5. The Pontiac Judge commercial made it to the music charts
The high demand for muscle cars made the prices skyrocket. There was a need for an affordable option for people with a limited budget. Chrysler did it with the Plymouth Roadrunner. Pontiac followed suit with the Judge.
Pontiac used Paul Revere and the Raiders, a famous rock band, to create a TV commercial for the Judge. The ad was catchy enough to feature in music charts. The commercial is considered one of the first rock music videos. No wonder muscle car enthusiasts favor rock music.
6. The muscle car thrives
Iconic muscle cars have production years between 1960 and 1970. Emission laws became strict in the early ’70s. That, plus gas prices and the high insurance premiums for muscle cars made car manufacturers significantly reduce horsepower.
Still, in the years that followed, we had muscle cars such as the 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, 1984 Chevy Corvette, and 1987 Buick GNX. In the 21st century, we have seen cars with even more horsepower, like the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, which has 797HP.
Aside from speed and elegance, muscle cars have a rich history. That explains why they are coveted possessions, especially the classics from the ’60s. If you have an eye on a specific muscle car, check its history and details on vincheck.info.
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