Large vehicles come to mind when you hear the phrases muscle cars. However, they may not be as large as they appear.
Muscle cars are high-performance vehicles that are typically rear-wheel-drive and equipped with extremely strong V8 engines, with some manufacturers sourcing the best using a VIN decoder.
Seven fascinating facts about muscle vehicles are presented following.
1. Australia Used To Manufacture Muscle Cars As Well
When we think about muscle cars, we usually think of them as being solely found in the United States, but these vehicles also had a devoted following in Australia.
According to recent study, muscle cars became popular in Australia around the same time as they did in the United States. Chrysler Australia, Ford Australia, and Holden are three of Australia’s major muscle car manufacturers.
In fact, the Australian government banned muscle cars in the 1970s because prototypes could achieve speeds of 170 mph, which were dangerous. Source
2. Nobody Knows The First American Muscle Car
Most people consider the 1964 Pontiac GTO to be the first muscle vehicle ever built. The 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 has a lot of fans who believe it was the first muscle car.
It was one foot shorter than the 98-series predecessor and had a scaled-black body with a V8 engine.
The Oldsmobile Rocket 88 has a 303-cubic-inch engine with a 135-horsepower output and a two-barrel carburetor.
The torque and horsepower provided a formidable low-end speed, but it could only reach 97 mph. Source
3. Is The Ford Mustang A Muscle Car?
This is a contentious issue that people are divided on. It’s a pony car, as stated in its official sales documentation.
Pony cars have larger engines and bodies than sports cars, but their engines are significantly smaller than those found in muscle vehicles. Source
4. Different Horsepower Ratings For Muscle Cars With The Same Engine
Many production companies used to hide the horsepower ratings for fraudulently touted automobile capabilities and also for insurance concerns during the peak of muscle car popularity.
Manufacturers were not allowed to produce cars with more than one horsepower every ten pounds of vehicle weight, according to a GM guideline. This was designed to keep carmakers from making powerful vehicles.
Pontiac introduced a new model in the late 1960s with a 400 V8 engine that produced 320 horsepower, but the GTO model’s 400 V8 engine produced 366 horsepower. Source
5. The Price Of The First Chevy Camaro Was $2,572
Some of the add-on packages in today’s Camaros would cost more than the base price of one of the most revered muscle cars in history.
According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, that 1967 Chevy Camaro is worth roughly $26,000 now. A baseline 2017 Camaro costs $25,700 without extras. Source
6. The Name ‘Cobra’ Came To Mr. Shelby In A Dream
Shelby Cobra was the moniker given to Carroll Shelby’s first Mustang. Mr. Shelby claims that the name and animal came to him in his sleep.
“I woke up and jotted the name down on a pad which I kept by my bedside — a sort of ideas pad — and went back to sleep,” Shelby said. “Next morning when I looked at the name ‘Cobra,’ I knew it was right.” Source
7. The First Car To Break The 400 Horsepower Mark
The late 1950s were not a favorable time for sports vehicle development. The combination of a recession and some really unappealing designs resulted in a significant reduction in vehicle sales from the Big Three.
However, not everything from that time period was lost. While the outside didn’t look fantastic in 1958, the performance was excellent.
The Mercury Marauder of 1958 was the first manufacturing muscle car to reach 400 horsepower. Three two-barrel carburetors atop the 360-horsepower engine provided the extra boost needed to attain 400hp. Source