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The Muscle Car Era

History Index
Last Reviewed: September 24, 2016

A Muscle Car is any vehicle with a high horsepower to weight ratio, typical of high performance cars built in the 1970s such as the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camero. They came about when car lovers figured out that the lightest vehicle with the biggest engine would go the fastest. Consumerism hit a feverous pitch following World War II and veterans led the charge for new vehicles. Meanwhile the American automobile manufacturers were facing an invasion of new Japanese imports with the promise of better gas mileage so they responded with relatively light weight cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Plymouth Fury. And then speed freaks figured out that the big V8s used in the gas hogs like the Lincoln, Cadillac and Imperial would make the lighter cars fun to drive!

1965 Buick Special

1965 Buick Special *

As the national highway system grew and gasoline became plentiful, Americans wanted more power and more speed. In 1964 Detroit bowed to consumer pressure by putting big block V-8s in mid-sized chassis and giving them names like Pontiac Firebird, Plymouth Barracuda and the famous Pontic GTO. Now many classic muscle cars are common household names. Since muscle cars come from the 1970s there are many companies that specialize in their restoration and backyard mechanics are likely to have had a muscle car project at one time or another.

There is not always a visual difference between stock production cars and true muscle cars but there are a few distinct models that can be considered classic muscle cars including the Buick Gran Sport, the Ford Mustang, the Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet Camero and the Dodge Charger. These relatively lightweight cars were given powerful V-8 engines that caught the attention of many young American males who used them for drag and street racing. Other muscle cars include the 1955 Chrysler C-300, the Plymouth Sport Fury and the 1970 AMC Rebel. Today, muscle cars are highly sought after vehicles that car collectors and enthusiasts seek out at car shows. Because production on muscle cars came to a halt in the mid-1970s these powerful cars have become high demand collector cars for many auto enthusiasts. Finding a mint condition Chevy Chevelle or Ford Torino GT in muscle car classifieds is a rare find and these classic cars are often bought by collectors who know their potential value. Once used primarily for drag racing on American highways in the 1950s, many muscle cars are now preserved for car shows and often kept safe in garages to keep them in pristine condition. There are many companies that offer special discounted rates for vehicles that are garaged or for show, so make sure to shop around for the best balance of coverage and cost for your vehicle.

1966 Ford Mustang

1966 Ford Mustang *

Unfortunately, due to the oil embargo and the Clean Air Act Act of the early 1970s it wasn't profitable for car manufacturers to continue building classic muscle cars and production soon stopped. The era that defined raw American power came to an end but car enthusiasts never lost their passion for true muscle cars and many kept their original models in great condition. Now, as car manufacturers look for ways to market environmentally safe 'green' cars many classic car collectors are seeking out classic muscle cars that are fun, fast and furious.

Muscle cars are for sale everywhere. Some people buy and sell muscle cars and some people collect the related paraphernalia such as pictures, accessories and custom artwork. Collecting muscle car memorabilia has become very popular and profitable. People buy and sell them via newspaper ads, magazines, used car dealerships and of course online. It is also a good idea to put the word out at local car clubs and to watch the classified ad section of this website and related muscle car businesses in our Business Directory

Put a powerful V-8 engine in a 2-door sport coupe and you have the makings of a classic American muscle car. Though opinions vary about when the first muscle car appeared many car enthusiasts agree that the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is the first genuine muscle car and the excitement it caused launched an entire class of powerful, high performance cars. Manufactured mostly between the early 1960s and 1970s. The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) defines the Muscle Car Era as between 1961 and 1974.

1967 Pontiac GTO

1967 Pontiac GTO *

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At we are constantly adding classic muscle cars to our classified inventory. Featuring popular muscle cars from every decade since the late 1940s our car classified ads showcase some of the most popular muscle cars ever made including the Ford Falcon, Chevy Nova and Dodge Challenger. If you're in the market to buy or sell a classic muscle car then be sure to bookmark Antique Car today. With a wide selection of muscle cars for sale we make it easy for collectors and enthusiasts to find the exact make and model they are looking for.

The American muscle car is a product of the Classic Car Era. For pictures of some of the best muscle cars and trucks advertised on, visit our Muscle Car Photo Gallery.

* Pictures are from ads on and may not be used without the vehicle owner's permission.