The Rise And Fall Of The Muscle Car Era
Power, speed and performance – those are the three major traits of a muscle car. When first produced, muscle cars were just pretty darn amazing because they combined the efficiency of a lightweight, mid-sized body with the performance of a high-power V8 engine and special design features that further increased the cars’ acceleration capabilities. Because muscle cars topped all other vehicles in terms of power, speed and performance, they were ideal for racing. Muscle cars were produced from the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, but the production of such beasts fell drastically due to a number of factors. First was the controversy over whether it was wise and responsible to make such powerful vehicles available to the general public, primarily due to road racing. Because muscle cars were often used irresponsibly, liability relating to them was pretty high which forced insurance companies to increase rates for insuring muscle cars.
Emission control requirements intended to curb pollution also played into the picture making it near impossible for automakers to produce muscle cars that met the standards they had to adhere to. Needless to say, the muscle car industry changed quickly due to these influences. Demand decreased because many “would-be” buyers of muscle cars couldn’t fathom paying the enormous insurance rates for a high-power vehicle and automakers had to meet the challenges presented by pollution control standards. Since muscle cars were produced for a limited number of years, they are valuable items for collectors and are still highly desirable to those who enjoy racing or desire a quick, powerful, mid-sized car. Since the decline in the production of muscle cars, some automakers have attempted to bring the muscle car era back to life by producing powerful vehicles that resemble the legendary muscle cars, but in my opinion, they don’t hold a candle to classic muscle cars like the GTO, the Road Runner or the Chevelle SS.
It will be interesting to see how the history of muscle cars plays out. Will present day automakers renew production of true muscle cars that are fast and powerful? Will there be enough demand to make muscle car production worth it to them? Or, will muscle cars continue to be limited to those classic models that were produced in the 60s and 70s? Classic muscle cars are pretty amazing pieces of machinery. One that is restored and in cherry condition is really worth a lot of money. As time goes on, there are fewer muscle cars available which makes them even more valuable to classic car collectors and muscle car enthusiasts.