Why I Don’t Like American Muscle Cars Anymore

1964.5 Value Mustang

The American muscle car craze started with the 1964.5 Ford Mustang. That’s the car that showed Americans that high power could fit into a small package, be inexpensive, and look good at the same time.

The Mustang gave way to a new era of loud-and-fast rear-wheel-drive two-door cars powered by V8 engines. They defined a generation of rebels and teenagers who wanted to live fast and drive hard. The cars were different from sports cars of the time, because they lacked the grace and sophistication of European cars. To put it simply, American cars overcame that lack of grace with pure, raw muscle.

Buyers ate them up for the better part of the next 50 years. But as buyers aged, muscle cars came to represent something different. Instead of symbolizing youth and rebellion, the cars started to represent lost youth and cheap power.

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The New Breed of Muscle Cars

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT

Just because it’s available doesn’t mean it’s controllable.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the three big automakers in the United States were engaged in an epic power struggle. Building the car with the most horsepower and the best ability to smoke tires was all part of the car culture back then.

It was a time of cheap gas and power that was fun, but manageable. Heck, even a car like the ’68 Barracuda produced 300 horsepower tops.

Today, the automakers are at it again, only this time their arsenal has gone nuclear.

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