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  1. #1
    Hall of Fame Member Green Grabber's Avatar
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    Default Ok I need clarification!!

    Define "Muscle Car"....is there really a definition for one, let's hear your thoughts.
    Don't touch the trim!
    Green Grabber,2010 Hot Wheels K-Mart Street Beasts Maverick, 408 Stroker, Scat crank, Keith Black (icon) Forged Pistons, icon Forged I beam rods, Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, Comp Cams XE282HR cam, Crane Energizer Rockers, 2.02 Intake 1.60 Exhaust, Edelbrock Performer Intake, Quick Fuel 750 DP, TREMEC TKO 5 speed, Steeda shifter, 4:11 Trac Lok

  2. #2
    Senior Moderator cor66vette's Avatar
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    Default

    When I think of a "Muscle Car" I think of a '60s SS 396, or a 60s GTO, 60s Plymouth Road Runner, 60s Dodge Charger, '60s Camaro, 60s ~ early 70s Corvette ,,,
    Who here thinks I'm lost in the 60s?
    Last edited by cor66vette; 10-04-2013 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Can't believe I originally left out Corvettes ???
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  3. #3
    Hall of Fame Member 23t-bucket's Avatar
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    Question lost in the sixties?

    no I think you are right sixties is where it grew from,,, but the American muscle cars that started it being the corvette 55-59 in the fifties and lets not forget the 55-57 t-bird it really became the start for the muscle car to spring from,and there were many other fifties that helped it to and I am sure there will many more to chime in with there views all in all it is now and has always been a love of many of us over the years and wish you could go back and save all the ones we had,

  4. #4
    CRO Founder Marcel's Avatar
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    Default We wrote about it

    Our new writer wrote a blog about that. You guys might find it interesting (He started with a 1949 model)

    The Models That Defined the Muscle Car

    Posted on September 12, 2013 by Big Nate
    The vehicles that defined the muscle car era vary considerably when it pertains to individual tastes, perceptions and definitions. Generally, the trend began in roughly 1964 and lasted until 1972. These years mark the fiercest competition among the manufactures to see who could produce the most powerful, high-performance vehicles in the marketplace.

    - See more at: http://coolridesonline.net/news-blog....EinNr3zb.dpuf

    You Will Respect My Authoritah!!

  5. #5
    Senior Moderator cor66vette's Avatar
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    In my mind, the 50s Vettes and T Birds were more "Sports Car" than "Muscle Car"- but that's me. I even though twice about commenting on the 60s Vettes in my first post here. What we DID to the Vettes in my day MADE them Muscle Cars ,,, maybe that's why I eventually added them to my list.
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  6. #6
    Hall of Fame Member Green Grabber's Avatar
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    I understand about certain cars being classified as "Muscle Cars" but I still would like to know what quality's define a "Muscle Car", what does it have to posess that would make it such?
    If you say big a** engine that won't work, I now of some six bangers that would run circles around a big block, what else? rear wheel drive most certainly, long flowing hood and short rear deck? what?
    Don't touch the trim!
    Green Grabber,2010 Hot Wheels K-Mart Street Beasts Maverick, 408 Stroker, Scat crank, Keith Black (icon) Forged Pistons, icon Forged I beam rods, Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, Comp Cams XE282HR cam, Crane Energizer Rockers, 2.02 Intake 1.60 Exhaust, Edelbrock Performer Intake, Quick Fuel 750 DP, TREMEC TKO 5 speed, Steeda shifter, 4:11 Trac Lok

  7. #7
    Rookie Member kcfan58's Avatar
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    Default here is the best I hsve seen for what was considered one in the start of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Grabber View Post
    I understand about certain cars being classified as "Muscle Cars" but I still would like to know what quality's define a "Muscle Car", what does it have to posess that would make it such?
    If you say big a** engine that won't work, I now of some six bangers that would run circles around a big block, what else? rear wheel drive most certainly, long flowing hood and short rear deck? what?

    According to Muscle Cars, a book written by Peter Henshaw, a "muscle car" is "exactly what the name implies. It is a product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder's philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  8. #8
    Hall of Fame Member 23t-bucket's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kcfan58 View Post
    According to Muscle Cars, a book written by Peter Henshaw, a "muscle car" is "exactly what the name implies. It is a product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder's philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it.

    Thanks,

    Mike
    then does it mean a factory build? if so would not the 55 corvette and 55 t-bird be the beginning''

  9. #9
    Legendary Member Frosty's Avatar
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    Default

    One can argue that any number of cars from the 40s thru the 60s are muscle cars and you could make a convincing argument for them on a case by case basis. The best generic definition I have most closely accepted is this one:

    An original factory-built, full framed, mid-size coupe (or smaller) with an engine whose displacement exceeds the ratio of 1 cubic inch per 10 pounds of vehicle weight.

    I will explain this definition in a moment. A pony car on the other hand is essentially a unibody or sub-framed car, not fully framed. Hence the distinction in my definition for fully framed. I believe that a muscle car is essentially a purpose-built factory hot rod. Putting a large displacement engine in a lighter weight body has been the hallmark of hot rodding since the G.I.s came home from WWII. So first the muscle car and then later the pony cars were factory built hot rods.

    Now, back to the definition. Back in the late 1950s and even into the 1960s, all the major US car manufacturers had an unwritten but generally accepted rule that maximum engine displacement in a car was )on average) about 1 cubic inch of displacement for ever 10 pounds of vehicle curb weight. So a 3400 pound car got a 327 or 326 inch engine (330 max). A 4500-pound station wagon land yacht got a 389, 421, 427 or 428 V8. Big engines for the big cars, smaller engines for the smaller cars. Kind of made sense - both to corporate executives and the car buying public at large.

    What changed the status quo was Pontiac's engine program. Pontiac never had a small block and big block program. All of Pontiac's engines were externally the same physical size. So a 326, 350, 389, 400, 421, 428, and 455 were all the same size externally, they just varied by bore and stroke combinations. So you could swap the engines easily with no re-engineering effort or need for different parts. The same motor mounts would fit either engine for the car and the transmission would bolt up to the engine.

    So one day, John Delorean was in the vehicle garage at the GM Milford Proving Grounds. He was talking to a mechanic who was working on an early 326-powered Lemans. John said he wished the car had more power. The mechanic said that he could easily put a 389 in the engine bay in about 20-30 minutes because the 326 and 389 engines were the same size and it would not require any special parts. A surprised Delorean didn't know that and told him to do it. The '64 Lemans/Tempest/GTO is about 3400 pounds and a 389 will certainly get the car to move. Delorean was very pleased with this car after the 389 was installed. So this, in part, led to the GTO.

    Now, by GM corporate definition, the '64 Lemans Tempest should have no more than about a 330 cubic inch engine (hence the 326 being offered). So when the GTO option came out on the Lemans Tempest, Pontiac sort of slipped by corporate brass the fact that there was a 389 cubic inch engine as part of the option package. Once the GM brass caught on, Delorean justified it by saying that it was a specialty option only and that Pontiac only expected to sell about 5000 GTOs total. Boy was he wrong!!! Pontiac ended up selling for well over 32,000 that year alone!!! Eventually the GTO became its own model and created a whole new vehicle genre.

    So the definition essentially comes down to cubic inches to weight on a full-frame mid-size or smaller car. So if the corporate standard was 10 or more pounds to 1 cubic inch of displacement, the muscle car will have a ratio less than 10 to 1. The '64 GTO had an 8.74 pound to cubic inch ratio. A 3700 pound, 455 c.i. '70 GTO convertible has a ratio of 8.13 to 1. A '63 Corvette weighs almost 3200 pounds and had a maximum displacement of a 327. Very close to the 10:1 ratio. It is still a sports car, but it doesn't fit the muscle car definition. A '68 Corvette convertible weighing 3400 pounds with a 427 is a muscle car because its ratio is almost 8:1 and it is still a full framed car.

    The '64 GTO with a 389 engine was the first car to intentionally break the unwritten 10:1 rule - by a lot! This is why the GTO is considered the first muscle car. Is it also why the muscle car era is generally considered '64-72 - because of the full framed / larger displacement engined cars were available in this time period. After that, rising insurance rates, the introduction of unleaded fuel, emissions controls and an oil embargo all helped eliminate the large displacement and horsepower engines first and then most full frame cars disappeared as a whole by the late-80s. Today, virtually all cars are based on unibody construction, only trucks retain a body on frame construction.
    Last edited by Frosty; 10-23-2013 at 10:01 PM.
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  10. #10
    CRO Senior Moderator Justa6's Avatar
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    PONTIAC for the win!
    Always keep em smokin,,,,then let er drift!


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