1960s: Muscle Cars Take Over

3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago #590 by JP
JP created the topic: 1960s: Muscle Cars Take Over

The 1964 Pontiac Tempest GTO ignited the muscle car boom by giving the small-car, big-engine make an identity of its own.

In the early 1960s, automotive writers decided they needed a term for a new kind of American car that was growing more popular with each new year. Most of these cars had huge V-8 engines that had astounding horsepower ratings. In addition, many had stiffer suspensions for better handling, four-on-the-floor manual transmissions for maximum acceleration, and bold paint jobs, big tires, and rumbling exhausts for instant identification. (Does this ring a bell with anyone reading this? It certainly does here!)

1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

These were youth-oriented cars that sold for surprisingly little money (still too much for the average student but not the high school graduate who landed that first “big job”). Most then spent their time cruising the street or making a big impression at the drive-in or visiting the high school parking lot. Most were owned by those ready to engage in a little impromptu speed test as soon as the traffic light turned green. (Always check the rearview mirror to ensure the car behind you was not a cop, right Fast Eddie?)

...in the early 1960's with their 421 SD program, and who was creditied with inventing the muscle car - the 64 GTO - that was pretty much all they had.

Supercar...SuperBird...MUSCLE CAR!

Owners who wanted more go than what the factory offered could find much more horsepower as close as the nearest dealer or auto parts store. There, a mind-boggling array of special parts was available, some thinly disguised racing hardware, to turn the young owners’ pride-and-joys into a race track terrors.

The very first muscle cars were small cars that had very big engines under the hood. Originally, they were designed to go very fast in a straight line.

At first, these high-performance models were dubbed “supercars.” But when someone called them “muscle cars,” the name stuck. It was an apt description for such potent machines. And as I remember them today, it’s hard to believe cars were ever this powerful, or that there were so many of them. The A&P supermarket parking lot in Denville, New Jersey was the main stop for all such cars. A desolate Route 80 was where everyone went to pound the guts out their car. Zero to 120 mph with your head banging against the back seat was a rush only a NASA flight takeoff could match.

The 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle SS was an early entry in the muscle car wars of the mid-to-late 1960s. In 1965, the model was available with a 396 cubic inch ...

Couldn't resist...1970, oh well

1960 Ford Thunderbird

Muscle Car 3- 1969 AMC SC/Rambler

Chevelle SS, who didn't know someone with this car?

1960 Corvette


While this 1967 Fairlane 390 GT has been done as more of a traditional 1960s hot rod, they too respond to the performance-handling modifications you can dream up.

Thanks for your patronage, check out the website, there is more to see and read.

Peace to you, JP
Last Edit: 3 years 7 months ago by JP.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 8.371 seconds

Logo for Sharing

What's In Your Garage?

Show off what you've done in your garage to restore your car or truck. We know you're proud of it.

 Show Us Your Ride