What fits as a muscle car? There is no consensus on the definition, but most experts agree that it’s a smaller, two-door car powered by a high displacement engine typically found in a larger, full-size sedan. Some enthusiasts trace the history of muscle cars to the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. But the peak of establishment of this class ran from 1965 to the early 70s before collapsing for varied reasons. These included higher gas prices, sterner regulations on exhaust emissions, and the soaring insurance costs. Some argue that cars such as Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang do not fit in this category, but for this list, we have the muscle cars in American history.
The Mustang Boss 429
Highly reputed, the Boss 429 did not register instant success in the market. However, its 429-cubic-inch V-8 engine, that delivered 375hp, though not mean, is beaten by others considered here. Indeed, profound modifications had to be made at Ford’s Michigan-based Kar Kraft assembly for the engine to fit onto the body of this car.
Pontiac GTO marked its beginning with the 1964 GTO. Skirting a General Motors ban against putting big engines larger than 330 cubic inches into small cars, Pontiac sneaked a 389 cubic inch V-8 into its Tempest as an option called the GTO in 1964, according to MotorTrend.com.
The Bugatti Type 41
Well known as the Royale, it is a large luxury car with a 4.3 m (169.3 inch) wheelbase and 6.4 m (21 ft) overall length. It weighs approximately 3175 kg (7000 lb) and uses a 12.7 L (12763 cc/778 in³) straight 8 engine. Comparing it against the modern Rolls-Royce Phantom (2003 onward), the Royale is about 0.2 longer, and more than 0.25 heavier, making the Royale one of the largest muscle car in American history.
Buick GSX Stage 1
The car first appeared as an option on the 1965 Skylark. Grand Sport was made a separate nameplate in 1967. By 1970, a 455-cubic-inch and V-8 engine powered the Gran Sport. It produced a hefty 510 pounds-foot of torque. Its engine delivered 360 horsepower to the rear wheels. This made GSX truly a muscle car in American history.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 had the most powerful engine offered to the public for decades, it’s the rarest production ever made, bumping the price to $7,200 .Based on Chevrolet’s iconic 427 V-8 engines, the ZL power plant had an aluminum block in place of the regular 427′s iron the first such Chevy production engine. Although it was officially rated at the regular 427′s 430 horsepower, most independent testers pegged the output as being much higher.