Man Over Board

Muscle Car Mania

The 1960’s are often credited as the heyday of American muscle cars. Big, throaty and powerful, the V8 was the undisputed champion of the highway. Enter the energy crisis of the ‘70s. Detroit automakers saw a sharp decline in sales and the muscle car market deteriorated in favor of more economical transportation.

For the first time since then, big American engines and bold, in-your-face aesthetics are on the rise. What’s more, companies like Dodge and Chevy are reintroducing their respective Challenger and Camaro with design aspects nostalgic of their original counterparts. Though their domineering physique resembles that of their brash ancestors, their engineering and technology is as modern as any other car on the road.

Though Ford’s Mustang never went out of production, it is following the muscle car curve with its 444 horsepower Boss 302 powered “Leguna Seca” package. Dodge’s Challenger is available with a 470 horsepower Hemi, and the Chevy Camaro’s supercharged 8 cylinder power plant puts out a whopping 550 horsepower.

Manufacturers realized that during the 60’s muscle car frenzy, most people in their teens and twenties couldn’t afford one, and settled on a cheaper foreign car. The baby boomers are now in charge of things and can afford to purchase their high school dream car. These companies also realize that the same age demographic is still pining over the pony cars today. American muscle cars are available today with optional six and even turbocharged four cylinder engines. In this way, they have made the market accessible to them by offering price reductions for the muscle car look without the muscle car engine.

Of further detriment to the big block revival movement is the looming energy crisis. Fossil fuels are, of course, not a sustainable fuel source and V8’s don’t exactly sip the stuff. There is also legislation to possibly make a mandated fuel economy of 56-60 mpg by 2025 for all new vehicles, making new cars produced with large V8’s a rarity. It is likely that engine size and cylinder count will decrease gradually in the near future, until Camaros and Mustangs are completely run by alternative fuel sources. This may not be all bad news though, just look at the Tesla Roadster and Porsche 918. Zero emissions, but so fast and so gorgeous.

For the moment though, modern muscle car mania is seeing the Detroit auto makers impressive sales on their regenerated 60’s monsters. These sales have also played a huge part in the companies’ revival from the recent market crash (along with fat government stipend). Whatever way you crack it, muscle cars have seen a comeback, and though their gas-guzzling V8 days may be short-lived, the appeal of a big powerful muscle car will undoubtedly persist through politico economic trifles and ever more stringent fuel efficiency standards.


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Posted by on Jul 12 2011 Filed under CARS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Muscle Car Mania”

  1. Madate for cars that get 50-60 MPG by 2025? I find that rather hard to accomplish with “family” type vehicle like a van or wagon. Give me a break.

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