Named & acclaimed: Top 25 US muscle cars
AMC presents an introductory guide to the 25 most desirable – in our opinion, at least – classic American muscle cars.
Any way you slice it, America is the home of the muscle car. Sure, Australia has its own rich heritage of homegrown high performance, yet all roads lead us back to the US of A, with ownership of the big three residing Stateside. The muscle car philosophy is taking a passenger vehicle and putting a large displacement engine in it. While cars fitting this description can be found back in the 1950s, it’s widely acknowledged that the muscle car’s heyday was from 1964 to 1974, spanning the Pontiac GTO and the SD-455 Firebird. So we’ve contained the classic era to this brief 10-year period.
This decade began with new-found freedom for the babyboomer generation. At the other end, the oil crisis of the early 1970s and new anti-pollution laws conspired to create a period of much more conservative cars, as the US shifted gears. And, just like in Australia, there were fears that these high horsepower thrill machines were becoming killers of the youth of America.
Still, the classic muscle car era was fun while it lasted. Not to mention colourful, spectacular and, in today’s terms, just so ‘out there’.
A list of classic American muscle cars is an appropriate way to kick off a new series of top 25s in AMC.
We’ve taken a look at 25 cars that could be purchased straight off the dealer showroom floor by anyone. They were not just for race teams, as anyone in the know could rock up at a dealer, specify the options and land themselves a high-performance vehicle. Many of these have becoming super rare and desirable today.
These were times when cars had over 300 options. Some were modified on the production line, others offline or were a small group of specially made cars finished by a close partner of the manufacturer, similar to an FPV or HSV operation. They mostly included a factory warranty and could be registered for the streets of America.
We’ve put together a mix of cars, from the big three and the independents. These cars were driven and designed for neighbourhood pride, the thrill of stop-light to stop-light racing, homologation for the quarter mile or NASCAR, or in later years Trans-Am racing. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday was the moniker of success.
Take a look at our selection and spot the influences on Australian muscle cars. And send us pics of examples of our 25 that have found their way to Australia, especially if you own one.