How do you define 'Muscle Car'?

How do you define 'Muscle Car'?

  • A V8

    Votes: 46 56.8%
  • A big engine (displacement wise, V10, W12, whatever)

    Votes: 36 44.4%
  • Front engine

    Votes: 51 63.0%
  • Rear drive

    Votes: 68 84.0%
  • Power

    Votes: 51 63.0%
  • Torque

    Votes: 58 71.6%
  • Cheap

    Votes: 34 42.0%
  • Practical

    Votes: 9 11.1%
  • Something else (please tell us)

    Votes: 9 11.1%

  • Total voters
    81

MattD1zzl3

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But it cant be a muscle car if its german, plain and simple.
 

Interrobang

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But it cant be a muscle car if its german, plain and simple.
I disagree. I don`t think "nationality" has any say on the matter when it?s build in the spirt of a muscle car.

Just like sports and supercars don?t have to be "Italian".
 

gaasc

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I am afraid I have to agree with matt on this one. For example the E60 AMG is not a muscle car, it's a Super sedan. Germans are the best at doing those, However if you went and asked the masses to name a muscle car I reckon the amount of people mentioning anything other than American steel would be very small indeed.

It is also expensive as hell, muscle cars should have loads of power, Rear wheel drive, be very cheap and preferably painted on a loud color.
 

Merc63

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Matt generally has it right - except that musclecars generally were intermediate or mid-sized cars with full-sized engines.

One of the first musclecars - the 1964 Pontiac GTO - was a mid-sized LeMans with the 389 ci engine from the full-sized Bonneville. Four door musclecars were very rare. The only one I can think of offhand was the 1964 Olds 442. But the 442 was basically the police package Cutlass when it first came out. Full-sized cars were never considered musclecars. I have reprinted road test from Car Life magazine back in 1969 where they compare a 427 Chevy Caprice, a 429 Ford LTD, a 440 Dodge Monaco, and a 383 Plymouth Fury. In the article, they repeatedly refer to the cars as "Power Cars". I've also heard the term "Super Car" thrown around - especially when referring to the Chrysler 300 letter cars.

The line between pony car and muscle car has always been blurred. And I think a lot has to do with the handling and the engine size. 1967-69 Camaro Z28s and 69-70 Boss 302s were handling machines - as were the small-block Shelby Mustangs -and are considered pony cars. COPO Camaros with the big block, 428 Mach 1s, and Hemi E-body cars are considered muscle cars because they are all about straight line acceleration. Which I guess makes the Challenger the only true modern muscle car.

To recap: Big engine in a small(ish) car designed for straight line acceleration = muscle car.
THis is pretty much spot on. Pony cars were a subset of musclecars, based on comnpact chassis, and often also used for road racing. Full size muscle, liek galaxies and teh like, were also used for circle track and NASCAR for a bit before they went to intermediates.

European cars, even if muscular, are NOT musclecars. Period.

I'm 48, and grew up in the beginnings of the muscle car era and remember exactly what they were.
 
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Interrobang

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it's a Super sedan.[...]
... be honest, how much did you have to out of your way not to write "sports sedan", knowing I?d pick the "sports" apart? :D I would agree that a M5 is a Sports-sedan ... or a (R)S6 ... but Mercedes and AMG have always gone down a different road. They?ve looked at american muscle-cars and then slapped a big engine into their Sedans without worrying too much how they go around corners ...
 

Merc63

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I disagree. I don`t think "nationality" has any say on the matter when it?s build in the spirt of a muscle car.

Just like sports and supercars don?t have to be "Italian".
Without being based on an inexpensive intermediate chassis American car designed for drag racing and occasionally circle track, it's not a muscle car. It could even be said that until the new Challenger, we haven't had a true musclecar in production for a couple decades.

"Muscle car" got part of it's definition FROM it's nationality. "Sports car" did NOT.
 

MattD1zzl3

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^^^ Best car commercial ever made, and dodge is my least favorite of the "Big 3".
 

Ryotsu

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I think you're mistaking muscle cars for modified Japanese cars with giant wings and bodykits.
Muscle cars, having lots of torque and live rear axles (mostly) are actually pretty good at going sideways. The reason most drift cars are Japanese tuners is because the sport is Japanese. It started there and is still way more popular over there than over here. In the Red Bull drifting competitions, which are not in Japan, a lot of people actually use Mustangs, and do quite well. A couple years ago, when I first got into the Red Bull drifting, I seem to recall a guy driving a Mustang beat Tanner.
 

YF19pilot

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I do want to address two things which I've seen propagated here:

A) Cheap/low cost. To challenge this idea I present, the Pontiac GTO "The Judge". The idea behind the project, originally, was to make an "affoardable" GTO (because apparently the 'Goat' was out of the reach of enough people they thought to do this). It turned out being one of the most expensive muscle car packages, with pretty much every option box checked. Pony cars, on the other hand, did go for the 'low cost' angle, but even then you could get carried away with the available options.

B) Poor handling. Certainly not the paragons of cornering prowess, Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros, and Pontiac Trans Ams ran road circuits, including the Trans Am and Grand Am series. iirc, the Camaro Z/28 was originally a homolagation special for the SCCA's Trans Am series. For the most part, the "super sedans" that make up most of the Muscle Car field were relegated to NASCAR or NHRA duties. However, Bill France, Sr, did seem to think they'd do well enough at Le Mans, that the IMSA let two stockers (a Ford Torino and a Dodge Charger) go in 1976. Unfortunately, they both DNF'd, the Ford due to transmission failure in the 11th hour, and the Dodge due to the poor fuel (they were running engines tuned for 90 octane, NASCAR at the time ran 101 or 102 octane, and in France they could only find 83).

Personally, I'd disagree about nationality and number of cylinders for determining 'muscle car-ness', but I do hold firm to powerful/torquey engine, RWD, 2-door sedan or "family-sedan" based car. But, I'm not going to waste my time going blue in the face arguing with people about it. Rather, I'll just enjoy the muscle car pornography, should someone be so kind to post some.
 

Ryotsu

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I do want to address two things which I've seen propagated here:

A) Cheap/low cost. To challenge this idea I present, the Pontiac GTO "The Judge". The idea behind the project, originally, was to make an "affoardable" GTO (because apparently the 'Goat' was out of the reach of enough people they thought to do this). It turned out being one of the most expensive muscle car packages, with pretty much every option box checked. Pony cars, on the other hand, did go for the 'low cost' angle, but even then you could get carried away with the available options.
I like what you're saying, and the fact that you aren't being a douche about people disagreeing with you. But if I may try your patience but once more, I would like to point out that any car can cost way more when spec'd up. I just went to Ford's website and found that the Fiesta (base price of 13200 USD) can be spec'd up to 23610 USD. That's over 10 grand of extras on a 13 grand car. The Mustang, by the way, has a base price of 22310 USD. This shows that a cheap car (and I think we can all agree that the Fiesta is very reasonably priced) can cost more than a car several tiers up if you go crazy on the options.

GTOs came with Hurst shifters, which were, up until that point, strictly an aftermarket performance upgrade. The GTO was very expensive for a Muscle car. The point I am trying laboriously to get to is that you have the option of buying these things cheaply. Muscle cars should give you the option to have lots of horsepower/torque for not a lot of money.

Here's some muscle car porn for you. It's a '69 GTO. Enjoy :)

EDIT: I was just reading up on "The Judge" (second best car name ever, best being the Eaglehead i Hammerthrust). It does 0 to 60 in... 6.2 seconds! A 1/4 mile time of about 14.4 seconds. You can expect to get around 9 to 11 miles per gallon. In every way, my V6 is a better car. Do I want that old, slow, inefficient rust barge any less? No.
 
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argatoga

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Well back in the '60s 6.2 seconds was quite fast.
 

MattD1zzl3

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I think 6.2 seconds and a 14 second quarter is pretty respectable to this day.
 

Ryotsu

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Well back in the '60s 6.2 seconds was quite fast.
If they had all that horsepower and all that torque, and weren't burdened by carrying around safety features, why were classic muscle cars so slow? Someone please help, I don't understand. :confused:
 
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TC

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If they had all that horsepower and all that torque, and weren't burdened by carrying around safety features, why were classic muscle cars so slow? Someone please help, I don't understand. :confused:
Most muscles cars are a lot heavier than people seem to think. Plus, they had shit tires back then. And most of the torque was wasted altering the earths rotation before it could launch the car properly.
 

_HighVoltage_

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I think 6.2 seconds and a 14 second quarter is pretty respectable to this day.
Not for a muscle car. Respectable for just a car - yes. Case in point: my car does it in 6.3 sec. I would have found it hilarious if it can be just as fast as a modern day muscle car.
 

stevanford1

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If they had all that horsepower and all that torque, and weren't burdened by carrying around safety features, why were classic muscle cars so slow? Someone please help, I don't understand. :confused:
Tyres were rubbish, suspension was rubbish back then, 3 and 4 speed gearboxes with tall gear ratios, tall diff ratios all play apart in why the pull the times they do.
 
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