What is a Muscle Car?

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What is a muscle car? Being muscle car fanatics, we find it hard to believe people even ask that question. Oddly enough, we hear it often. The answer isn't easy either.

Here are a couple of definitions from two popular dictionaries, featured on dictionary.com:

Based on the Random House Dictionary (© Random House, Inc. 2009) a muscle car is a noun defined as

  • a flashy sports car with a large, powerful engine; a hot rod.

From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, the muscle car is

  • a high-performance automobile, often with flashy, sporty styling.

(Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.All rights reserved.)

Did you wonder why we didn't include the words "muscle car" on our Useful Definitions page? What do we say when someone asks "what is a muscle car?"

To be absolutely technical, our definition would be the late 60s through early 70s rear-wheel drive, monster engine American cars. BUT, take a look at some of muscle cars owned by our friends.

Dan's 1989 Corvette

find-your-muscle-car: Dan's 1989 Corvette

This smoking 'Vette, also featured doing the burnout in the photo above, runs the quarter mile in 13.2 at 104.15mph. And some people say a Corvette isn't a muscle car.

The factory L98/245 hp engine and the 704R trans have been assisted with some fun mods such as the Accel Super Ram Manifold, SLP High Flow Runners, ported plenum, BBK 52 mm throttle body, 24 lb injectors, Edelbrock 255 fuel pump, Vortex Ram Air intake, DUI distributor, Magnecor 10 mm wires, LT Hot Cam, Crane Vale springs, 1.6 roller rocker arms, Proform grey valve covers, March Power & Amp pulleys, air pump replacement pulley, Hooker Headers & Y-pipe, 3" straight pipe (no Cats), Flowmaster mufflers, Hughes Pro 3000 converter and transmission cooler.

Jason's GTI 337 (South Carolina)

find-your-muscle-car: VW GTI337

Only 1500 of the limited edition VW GTI 337 were sold in the United States. Standard were the 180hp 1.8L 20-valve intercooled and turbocharged 4-cylinder, an MQ350 six-speed with upgraded clutch and pressure plate, oversized vented front and rear brakes with red powder coated calipers and 4-wheel ABS.

find-your-muscle-car: Jason's VW GTI

Lowered 1" from the factory and dressed up with a Votex body kit, it also features an improved suspension. Jason's GTI is a multi-show winner, due in no small part to the handcrafted wheel, engine bay and interior fabrications he spent hours creating.

Jason's 1982 Chevy S10 (North Carolina)

find-your-muscle-car: 1982 S10

This awesome short bed was purchased on eBay. Lowered 2 inches with Bell-Tech components, and beautified with the custom paint job, Swift-10 hides a fuel-injected, balanced and blueprinted small block 355 Chevy under the hood. A quick list of engine specs includes Corvette L98 ported and polished aluminum heads,an Accel Pro-Ram Gen 7 DFI (Digital Fuel Injection), MSD Distributor, Coil and 6AL ignition box.

find-your-muscle-car: 1982 Chevy S10 Engine

Add the built 200R-4 automatic overdrive transmission, Hooker coated headers, ZQ8 steering gear boxZQ8 wway bars front and rear and Weld Drag Lite wheels and you've got muscle car power in one beautiful ride.

Hal's 2005 Cadillac CTS-V

find-your-muscle-car: 2005 CTS-V Black

Delivered from the factory with muscle car performance, the CTS-V came standard with the LS6 5.7l powerhouse rated at 400 hp and a Tremec six-speed. The list of handling and braking features is robust and includes four-wheel ABS,brake assist systemfour disc brakes including four ventilated discs, electronic brake distribution, electronic traction control via ABS and engine management, immobilizer, rear limited slip differential, stability control, Wishbone independent front and multi-link rear suspensions with stabilizer bars and coil springs.

find-your-muscle-car: 2005 CTS-V

This one has been modified with the Wait4Me performance pcm upgrade, an LS7 Z06 clutch kit including an ultra light flywheel, UUC drilled and slotted rotors with Hawk HPS pads, and a Katech short shifter.The V runs the quarter in 13 seconds at 110 mph and did you notice it's a Cadillac? Luxurious leather, Bose, nav, power everything, any luxury amenity you can imagine.

So...what is a muscle car?

Speed. Power. Styling. Who's going to say any of these don't qualify as a muscle car?

Bottom line on the "what is a muscle car?" question. Your muscle car is your muscle car and what anyone else thinks simply doesn't matter. And that's why you won't ever see the definition of the phrase "muscle car" on this website!

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