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Why The Rest Of The World Don’t ‘Get’ Muscle Cars.

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Why The Rest Of The World Don’t ‘Get’ Muscle Cars.

Excluding a few other countries and pockets of enthusiasts round the world, the main love of muscle cars is obviously in America, but why is this?


I think I am in a lucky situation where I’ve spent time in the US and Europe over the years and see the attitudes towards cars in general on both sides of the fence.
Europe’s mindset for car manufacture is simply ‘compacts’ in general. Why? It’s simply smaller roads, land mass and gas prices are astronomical. Smaller roads = cars with smaller engines. That’s the mindset. Squeeze the most out of the smaller engine.
Racing heritage like rallying and Formula One rule. Cornering is almost their mindset. why the Nürburgring is now the standard for setting times.

America prefers straight-line speed – much generalizing. Which quite honestly, is what motivates the majority of petrol heads. This is why land speed records will always be popular. We all want to go faster and faster!
Drag racing, street racing, has its fans in Europe, but it’s not part of the whole culture.
The muscle cars mantra of ‘no replacement for displacement’ is true, it’s just a shame we have finite oil in the ground!
Large displacement engines in Europe are reserved for the ‘high’ end vehicles and sports cars in general.

So this is arguing just the differences of automotive culture and preferences, but the negative views against muscle cars do go on from across the pond.

One of the negatives that is always thrown out is that of build quality from the muscle car era and suspension.
But really, you have to look at what the rest of the world was producing at that time. Yes, we have the classics from Italy and the UK, but they are usually one-off vehicles, not an era of vehicles.
Look into the engines and build quality from the rest of the world during the muscle car era. The engineering and technology was of its time also, leaf springs, heavy chassis, etc. They too had misaligned panels and could dissolve in rain if not cared for regularly!
Sorry for picking on Morris Minor owners out there, but using them as an example, leaf springs with bouncy suspension, prone to be unreliable, but they still became a cherished car of the people.

Muscle cars to me promote an ethos as well as an era of cars.
A time when there was free range to be creative with the design, styling and engines, with potentially no limit. A platform designed to be built upon, with looks that still hold up today.
Any car can be potentially customized, but the ‘options’ were more added expensive extras –  generalizing in Europe, than building on the platform and making the car more unique.

Muscle cars will always be seen by the rest of the world as very individual to America, but era defining, culturally and artistically ( just think of all the TV shows and films which starred muscle cars) standout in automotive history and most importantly, still carry on today under the same moniker.

It’s an argument that will rage on forever, but personally, I don’t care what the rest think, listen to the engine tone of an old Mustang or Challenger and get behind the wheel. I really haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t come away with a smile and is exhilarated.

As a last note, an everyday phone call to my utility company, got me chatting to the lady on the other end of the call. I brought up the topic of muscle cars.
She responded with enthusiasm, ‘my dad used to drive Mustangs and work on them. I love them! You just know the sound of a Mustang engine when you hear one.’
…….those are strong emotional memories, only made from a decade of a unique way to try and build the best cars out there.


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