America’s 7 Best Muscle Cars Ever
For those wanting to put together a list for 7 of the greatest muscle cars ever, one is destined to generate a bit of criticism from genre enthusiasts. It was Bankrate that would make the effort to do this very thing, too. There are a few that trace muscle car history back to the old 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. But the greatest peak of this genre took place between 1965 – 1970 before it folded under the weight of heftier gas prices, stricter exhaust emissions legislations and skyrocketing insurance costs.
Just what is a muscle car exactly? There isn’t exclusively an established classification for one, but many experts can agree that it must be smaller, have two-doors and a high-displacement motor that is commonly found in a bigger, full-sized sedan. A few have contended that pony cars, like a Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang are not muscle cars at all, but Bankrate has decided not to make that distinction on this list.
Muscle cars were engineered by manufacturers to be for straight-line acceleration, which were responsible for motivating more than just infrequent Saturday night drag races in between traffic lights. They were neither constructed nor sold in large quantities, but were bait to lure consumers into showrooms where the more routine car models were being sold. But the mystique of the muscle car lives on today, so here is our list in order by model-year.
1967 Pontiac GTO
For those purists who are not tracing the muscle car era back to the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 from 1949, they customarily tag its earliest stages with the 1964 GTO.
According to MotorTrend.com, although General Motors had put a ban towards placing bigger engines (anything bigger than 330 cubic inches) within smaller cars, Pontiac was able to slip a 389-cubic inch V-8 inside their Tempest as an alternative and named it the GTO during 1964.
The response was so enormous that GM execs were won over, making the road clear and stable for Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Chevrolet muscle cars. The GTO’s 1965 version is on this list due to its historic worth, but it was 1967 that would mark the initial full model of accessibility of ram air put through a practical hood scoop onto the GTO. It delivered 360 horsepower and was a 400 cubic inch V-8.
1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi
Plymouth had no niceties in mind here because they desired a bare-knuckled fighter of a muscle car. The Plymouth Road Runner Hemi had the complete refinement of container of nitroglycerin, but possessed sheer mind-blowing brawn. Overall this is one of the greatest car names for performance of all time. It had a 426 cubic inch Hemi V-8 motor with 425 horsepower and the Road Runner was able to strike fear into the minds of the Saturday night crowd and their country road drag races. In 1968 before the Road Runner was revealed, Plymouth licensed the name from Warner Brothers as well as the likeness. It took things a level further when they capitalized on the speedy image of the cartoon character through building a horn sound that simulated the cartoon bird’s ‘beep-beep.” This was in accordance with HowStuffWorks.com.
Ford Mustang Boss 429
An image of the Mustang Boss 429 would be when NASCAR regulations must meet a carmaker’s needs. There were less than 1,400 of them created from 1969 to 1970, which made the Boss 429 unique and undoubtedly rare. Right from the get-go the Boss 429 was not a giant killer, despite it delighting in a large-dog notoriety. It could deliver 375 horsepower from its 429 cubic inch V-8 motor, which was not too shoddy despite it being overshadowed by others on the list here. One characteristic about it that made it so significant was that it was essentially hand-built. Due to the fact that the motor was unable to fit into a standard Mustang without needing intensive alterations, Ford had to farm out the construction for it to Kar Kraft, which was based in Michigan. There wasn’t very much distinguishable in the appearance of the Boss 429 other than its trunk-mounted spoiler and hood scoop.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
There is a great purpose behind the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of today being named for the renowned 1969 Camaro. There were less than 70 that were ever made, and the 1969 ZL1 had the mightiest Chevrolet motor provided to the public market for decades and it is the rarest manufacturing car that Chevrolet had ever made. According to HowStuffWorks.com this is what knocked the cost of the vehicle to $7,200. The ZL was based upon Chevrolet’s legendary 427 V8 motor, and the power plant for it had an aluminum block put in place of the iron one for the standard 427 – the initial Chevy production motor. Most of the independent testers for this vehicle said the output was quite higher than the officially rated ordinary 427’s 430 horsepower.
1970 Buick GSX Stage 1
Buick’s entering the market for muscle cars brought with it the mightiest and most luxurious brands available. First obtainable for the 1970 Gran Sport 455, the GSX appearance package had left behind Buick’s conventional, more self-respected branding with body striping and rear spoiler. According to HowStuffWorks.com, out of the 687 GSXs that were created, roughly 488 of them had been ordered with the Stage 1 upgrade. Including the Wildcat and Rivier lines, Gran Sport initially appeared as a selection on the 1965 Skylark and became a distinct nameplate during 1967. By 1970 the Gran Sport was being powered by a V-8 motor that was 455 cubic inches. It also generated a significant 510 pounds-foot of torque. Those that had State 1 motor tweaks and tuning were able to deliver 360 horsepower over to the wheels at the rear. Although quicker competitors were present, the GSX was truly unique.
1970 Plymouth Hemicuda
An assortment of 6 to 8-cylinder motors had operated the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, however the top dog of the litter was equipped with 425 horsepower that came from the dual carburetor and 426 cubic inch Hemi. The Hemi ‘Cuda was undeniably capable of going head-to-head with the top-tier muscle cars of the era. In accordance with HowStuffWorks.com, the carmaker presented its cars with a suspension that was customized to heavy-metal speed. The Valiant was the bases for the Barracuda in the first place. But with the redesigning of the 1970, the Barracuda was at last repositioned away from the design of the Valiant. Today the Hemi ‘Cudas is extremely prized as Plymouth had only produced limited quantities of them. The buying cost was boosted by the Hemi V-8 motor opting. It had a shaker hood that featured an air intake that was mounted on top of the motor’s air cleaner which protruded through the hood from a hole that was traditionally on the Hemi ‘Cuda.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454
A heavy piece of proof toward the argument that 1970 was the pinnacle for the muscle-car period would have to be the Chevelle SS 454. There were two versions offered by Chevrolet for the 454 cubic in V-8. The LS6 was able to dish out 450 horsepower while the LS5 produced a not too shabby 360 ponies. The SS 454 was put on the list by the LS6 version, consisting of its Holly 4-barrel carburetor. According to HowThingsWork.com, there were no other muscle cars that could match the 1970 SS 454′s horsepower. The last puff of the muscle car period was this vehicle, and the SS 454 looked great and could blow away the doors of its competitors. Even when it was idle, the Chevelle supplied the impression of speed with its swept-back roof line. Passers-by were able to see something miraculous happening under the bulged hood of the design. These are definitely old cars, but these more classic vehicles from a popular movie are aged.