It’s no secret that Americans love muscle. Throw a Rocky marathon on the TV and we’ll probably watch it. Not only muscle, but we value strength. How else does an ex bodybuilding world champion get elected governor in a landslide vote. Our strongest affinity with muscle, though, undoubtedly rests in our proud automotive history.
What makes an American muscle car? Accepted definitions suggest an authentic muscle car must be an American-made, lightweight 2-door coupe design with Herculean engine capacity for performance-focused driving.
You might have heard that modified cars first emerged during the 1920s after prohibition laws were enforced. In a bid to outrun authorities and make a buck running hooch, the altered vehicles gained such notoriety that even after prohibition laws were overturned, something significant had been born of necessity. From then on, America’s taste for speed only matured.
Though origins have been contested, experts generally agree the Oldsmobile 88 started the muscle craze in 1949 and foreshadowed a golden era of brawn that would capture the imaginations of motoring enthusiasts across all 52 states in the 1960s.
Since then, muscle cars have earned a reputation as affordable options (particularly compared to European high performance counterparts) that look fierce and perform savagely. The customization element of muscle cars also adds an element of self expression and team identity through both the style and performance of muscle cars. While the American market may have been first, smaller muscle car markets have even emerged in Australia, South Africa and the UK.
Uniquely American and beautifully boisterous, the top 11 muscle cars of all time are coming your way:
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