Readers Rides

What is the definition of a Classic Muscle car?

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By Mark Weisseg

Hmmm, good point, what is the true definition of a muscle car?
Like any term, it usually starts with a discussion/argument, but let us start with some dictionary definitions to keep it neutral….sort of….
Muscle car, noun phrase.
A powerful car, esp one admired by teenagers : Chrysler’s hot-selling Viper muscle car is $50,000/ the Sacramento Valley is ”car country,” where blue-collar kids drive ”muscle cars” (old Pontiacs, newish Corvettes if they’re making money) and are slurred as ”the Camaro crowd”/ The undercover cops had a sporty muscle car. It was mean. It was fast. It was cool (1980s+).

Collins Dictionary
An automobile, esp. in the 1960s, made to look and perform like a racing car, as in being able to accelerate quickly to high speeds, but designed for use on regular roads.

An American-made two-door sports car with a powerful engine. Any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.

Oxford Dictionaries
A high-performance car; specifically one of a class of sports cars having V-8 engines, produced in the United States mainly in the 1960s and 1970s. (Origin: 1960s; earliest use found in Chicago Tribune Magazine.)

All slighly different definitions, but the last one the most telling from the Chicago Tribune Magazine. If this was one or THE first quote using th term ‘muscle car’ then the definition was basically etched in stone by a news source.

What if someone drops a 396 engine in a Vega? It clearly is fast due to the engine, it’s a classic as it is a car not made anymore, and it would certainly be different.
I dread opening these debates because it could start an endless stream of arguments. But I think the majority have roughly the same roundabout definition of what is a Classic Muscle Car. Why do you think there are web sites and magazines that are devoted only these specific vehicles, such as Mustangs from 1964 to 1970 or second generation Corvettes?

We have an open door policy here and the definition is wide open to nearly everything. You know, one mans trash is another’s treasure. We all have seen a car on the web like a ’69 Nova on a truck frame lifted six feet in the air with monster tires, huge exhaust pipes on it, and spitting fire. You and I might think it is silly and a waste because we feel a classic muscle car is a 70 RoadRunner, or a 70 Ford Mustang Mach 1. But, like everything else in our world, we all have our own take on things.

The definition can be loose on what a classic fast muscle car is, so please keep an open mind when you see something you don’t think fits our hobby.
Think of it like your TV, that a show comes on like Keeping up with the…… You can look away and turn the channel. Or, you can embrace it as some have for some reason. It’s a matter of choices and decisions you will need to make. Just take a deep breath and keep an open mind.

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