Ask baby boomers about ‘muscle cars’ and for sure they would refer you to various car models like the Ford Thunderbird, the Buick Skylark Gran Sport and the Chevrolet Malibu SS.
Muscle cars are called such because they basically have more than the regular and average features of normal and conventional cars. Of course, it is logically expected that these vehicles are speedier and are more powerful. Experts and car aficionados would simply assert that muscle automobiles are not called as such for nothing.
In the United States, muscle cars first enjoyed the height of their popularity from 1964 to 1972. The US car industry in the period was characterized by the emergence and rise of powerful middle-sized cars that truly amazed car buyers. Not only that. During the period, what Americans loved the most about muscle cars is the vehicles’ affordability. The short era of muscle automobiles prompted major US car manufacturers to come up with the most powerful cars Americans ever built and enjoyed.
To date, muscle cars can be classified and subdivided into four different types. Muscle automobiles are classified as American, British, South African and Australian. Of course, the concept was first popularized by US car makers.
After World War II, US car firms started designing and producing powerful middle-sized cars, a strategy that has been interpreted as a means the car industry made to bolster consumers’ spending for vehicle purchases, which weakened during the onset of the war. One of the earliest muscle cars then was the American Motors’ Rebel sedan. Ford was not left behind with its own muscle models, including Mopar and Thunderbolts.
In the United Kingdom, muscle cars did not have the same intensity of popularity, but certainly, the vehicles still managed to make their own niche in the British car market. UK car manufacturers came up with their own muscle models, which were very much under the influence of American muscle cars. Vauxhall Firenza and Ford Capri was directly identified with the US muscle car designs. But their popularity in the UK only kicked in the 1980s or more than a decade after the cars were initially made popular in the US.
It may sound odd at first but muscle cars also made its way to rise in South Africa. Chevrolet has been actively operating in the African country, that’s why. In the country, the car company introduced its Z28 302 Chevrolet, which was housed in a Vauxhall Viva coupe body. The car model was later on renamed as Firenza CanAm and was very much identified with South Africa.
The fame of muscle cars facilitated the rise from oblivion of the Australian car industry. Australian carmakers Holden, Chrysler Australia and Ford Australia had their own share of the pie amid the popularity of muscle automobiles.
At about the same time US car companies were producing muscle models, Australian counterparts had their own sets of such vehicles. As a matter of fact, some of those Australian muscle cars were even exported to other countries. Among the popular Australian muscle models ever built and marketed are the Holden Monaro GTS 350, Ford Australia’s XR Falcon and Chrysler Australia’s R/T Valiant Charger.
Indeed, going fast is really exciting. During its heydays, muscle cars really surfaced as the biggest and most interesting innovations in the global car industry. Compared to modern cars, muscle automobiles would fall ordinary.