Muscle cars are as American as apple pie. They have been in the fabric of our culture since the 1960s. Over the last couple of years, muscle cars have been experiencing a resurgence among the car buying public and American automotive manufacturers.
The term muscle car is used to refer to a group of American-made 2-door sports cars with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving. Most muscle cars had large V8 motors fitted into a two door, rear wheel drive passenger vehicle. Most of the early muscle cars were mass produced and moderately priced, considering the performance that the buyer received. Muscle cars at the time were built for street use and occasional drag racing.
Muscle cars were largely a product of the 1960s and 70s when gasoline was plentiful and prices were low. Several years ago, prices for muscle cars from the 1960s and 70s skyrocketed. Around that time, American automobile manufacturers began bringing back the muscle cars of years past. The Dodge Challenger and Charger reemerged using the same design DNA from the muscle car era. Design cues started to show up in new versions of the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro and became available with high-performance V8 engine options.
Since that time, the benchmark of performance for muscle cars has been increasing at an ever faster rate. Modern muscle car engines put out double or more power than their predecessors are more efficient and dependable overall. Every system making up the modern muscle cars has been improving every year.
While there is more than one way to define power, we are going to use raw horsepower for the purposes of this list. The focus of this list fits the definition of a classic muscle car in that the vehicle will need to be mass produced. While there are several specialty muscle car manufacturers putting out amazing vehicles that are amazingly fast, their vehicles are available to only a select few with very deep pockets. As a result, their vehicles are not included in this list.