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.

Australian Muscle Car - - Front Page -

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.

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