Now considered a necessity, cars have become a part of our daily lives. But there was once a time when it was considered a status symbol, a statement, and a way of life. This was in the mid 1960’s up to the late 70’s, what’s known as the Golden Age of car manufacturing. This was when automobile manufacturer’s tried to get a leg up on one another by coming up with cars that were faster, bigger, and more powerful than the last. This was the era of muscle cars.
This era has given us probably the most sought after cars ever in American history. Even now the demand for muscle cars are still very high. Maybe it’s their distinctive look, their wide bodies, sharp lines, and ridiculous amounts of chrome. A car has to pass a certain criteria for it to be called a true muscle car; first it must be manufactured between the 60’s and 70’s, it had to be in the mid-sized range, and last but certainly not the least, it should have a V8 engine under the hood. Examples of these are Pontiac GTO and the Plymouth GTX, even the Chevy El Camino, which is technically a truck because it has a flatbed in the rear is considered a muscle car.
Baby-boomers are the ones that were most attracted to these cars, since they give off a feel of rebellion, and of freedom. Bigger was always better at those times, whoever can squeeze out more horsepower from the engine and can give a faster time at the quarter mile, was king. Owners customized their rides to be beefier and faster than the other cars, slapping on engine modifications like it’s no one’s business. But the tide was beginning to turn against these gas-guzzling behemoths.
By the beginning of the 70’s the US Congress had begun to take action against deadly vehicle emissions. High-octane leaded gasoline that was used to fuel muscle cars was banned in 1973, so car manufacturers had to comply and design cars that were more fuel-efficient and produced fewer emissions. This need was further hastened by the fuel shortage brought about by the OPEC embargo in 1973; fuel-economy wasn’t really the muscle car’s strong suit so their production was ceased.
Even though they are no longer in production, the fans of these cars never seem to stop growing in number. This just proves that muscle cars aren’t just vehicles, they’re a way of life.