Here is a list of the Top Ten Muscle Cars written in the history books.
1968 Pontiac Firebird
This first generation Pontiac muscle car used “coke bottle styling” and an OHC inline-6 engine to achieve its unique look and performance.
1970 Dodge Challenger
The Challenger was designed and built to compete with the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro by offering comparable styling and power. It was featured in the 1971 motion picture Vanishing Point.
1969 Dodge Charger R/T
The ’69 Charger incorporated the midsize “B-body” design as well as rear-wheel drive. Later generations of the Charger saw less popular variations in body design and performance but the classic first generation design is one about which car aficionados continue to pontificate.
1968 Shelby Mustang GT500
Considered by many to be the “Godfather” of the American muscle car, the ’68 Shelby is a bolder and higher performance variation of the original Ford Mustang. The Shelby was reintroduced in 2007 in an updated version but with a style that stayed true to this first generation model. This car is the very definition of a top ten muscle car.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
Certain revisions in styling and materials gave this particular Chevelle a different look inside and out than its predecessors. The changes, however, did not compromise the performance which kept Chevelle enthusiasts happy.
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
This particular model year had styling very similar to the previous year but included front and rear fenders which became a federal mandate on all automobiles in 1968.
1971 Dodge Charger Super Bee
The name Super Bee is derived from the aforementioned B-body design that was used on most Chrysler midsize cars. The body was limited to a two-door design and offered both a 335hp Magnum as well as a 425hp Hemi engine.
1969 Pontiac GTO
One of the most renowned muscle cars ever built, the GTO is a classic among classics. It featured a sleek design and a 360hp V8 engine. Though some may overlook this car in their list of top ten muscle cars, it definitely deserves a spot.
1971 Plymouth Cuda
This high-performance edition of the earlier Barracuda models allowed them to rise from the ashes of the stigma of being an economy car and hence not as popular. This Cuda featured Chrysler’s larger E-body design and a 335hp V8 engine standard.
1970 Buick GSX Stage 1
What does this one make it in the top ten muscle cars? You probably wouldn’t know it to look at them now, but Buick was a force to be reckoned with during the apex of the muscle car era. Their GSX Stage 1 performance car featured a powerful 370hp engine but only 400 total cars were ever built.
In terms of manufacturing, clearly the American muscle car had its heyday in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the most popular models being released during that era. As the 70s waned, so did the manufacture of the muscle car in favor of more practical, luxurious, or fuel efficient models. But the popularity of the classic muscle car never died in America. In fact it only grew, arguably and ironically as a result of being removed from the American assembly line. The resurgence in recent years of certain models like the Dodge Challenger and Charger and the Pontiac GTO is proof positive that the American muscle car, as well as the love affair that car enthusiasts have with them, will never die.
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