As the war was coming to an end, many young soldiers returned to their homes and invested lots of cash into their vehicles. Much like today, automobiles represented the ‘ultimate symbol of freedom and independence’. This was considered to be the birth of Muscle Cars in America.
Though a short-lived era, the Muscle Car Era is actually responsible for defining an entire generation in America and has given the world some of the most collectible vehicles in history. This era featured both cars and trucks that were built from 1964 through 1972. A product of the Classic Car Era, Muscle Cars developed from the insane consumerism following WW II when the public craved bigger and faster vehicles. Detroit was attempting to halt the invasion of imported vehicles, and as the national highway system was growing, and gasoline was now plentiful, Americans craved more. Detroit finally began placing big blocks V8s on mid-sized chassis in 1963, and gave them names like Camero, Mustang, and Barracuda. All of these vehicles became very popular household names of the Muscle Car Era.
Some consider the Muscle Car Era to be the ‘greatest period in American automotive history’. At this time period, Detroit contributed to creating the greatest performance machines of all time by placing large engines into small vehicle and pricing them at an affordable price that even the average Joe could afford. Following the motto ‘There is no substitute for cubic inches,’ and There is no replacement for displacement’, true muscle cars were remarkable vehicles. The US market was craving more ‘original vehicles’, and they wanted those with more options and a sportier feel. Young baby boomers were passionate about vehicles that they could order specifically to their taste. This Era was a time when almost ever American Car manufacturer featured a Muscle Car or two for the public.
Unfortunately the Clean Air Act of 1970 required that pollution control devices be put in place, and these became an issue that road-blocked performance. Things continued to get worse as the oil embargo of 1973 began limiting the supply of gasoline. Unfortunately by the time that Congress passed CAFÉ, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy rule in 1978, the Muscle Car Era had passed.
Muscle Cars would more advanced, and a much quicker version of regular vehicles, a limited version of a street car, but with a particular type of performance suspension that would ensure achieving 0-100mph as quickly as possible. The Muscle Car also features some type of high output motor, or the largest motor that could possibly be placed under the hood. Unfortunately Ford lost money on nearly ever car that it produced. They basically marketed them to create a better performance image for Ford and to obtain NASCAR requirements for a ‘minimum number of motors to be produced’ in vehicles so it could quality to be raced on the track.