The American automotive landscape has changed drastically since the 1960s. Several notable cars disappeared. Nameplates that were once made for the drag strip became family-oriented vehicles. For a while there were even rumors that the American muscle car was dead and buried. The fact that vehicles from Japan and Europe became America’s favorites didn’t help one bit.
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Even if cars like the Honda Accord and BMW 3 Series are more present than domestic vehicles, muscle cars are among the greatest sports cars ever built. Some of the best muscle cars of all time are still considered the holy grail by domestic piston heads. Nevertheless, muscle cars are not necessarily the most practical and fuel-efficient vehicles. Owning a muscle car can be a real headache for a number of reasons.
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There comes a point in life when children grow old enough to get behind the wheel. Dads out there know that this can be one of the most stressful and worrying milestones. A new driver’s lack of skill and awareness can lead to disastrous situations. The best example is the teenager who was killed after the car crashed into a parked UPS truck in Queens, New York.
The cheapest cars for first-time buyers are usually Camrys and Civics. No muscle cars. In the age of social media and the never-ending quest for influence, parents may be tempted to give in and buy Junior a Challenger R/T Scat Pack. Giving a 16-year-old driver 485 hp is just idiotic. Strong muscle cars should only be driven by experienced drivers.
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Muscle heads battle it out on the drag strip. Massive burnouts, wheelies and loud whistles are the order of the day. Getting into 9s and 8s on the quarter mile is every driven person’s dream. Despite all of this, there’s a reason the stripe is a straight line. Muscle cars, unlike Japanese and European cars, are not made to drive aggressively on winding roads.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a classic or a modern muscle car, the handling is usually miserable compared to sports cars. If there’s one thing American automakers struggle with, it’s the handling of their muscle cars. These outstanding muscle cars appear to have been made to be wrapped around a light pole.
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Muscle cars are at the top of the domestic automotive industry’s food chain. There is nothing more attractive than a car with a supercharged V8 that produces over 600 hp. The whine of the supercharger is an intriguing sound that would tempt most drivers to put more pressure on the gas pedal. However, a compressor is expensive. If there’s one thing muscle car lovers immediately swap out, it’s the exhaust system.
Brands like Borla, Flowmasters and MagnaFlow are well known among muscle car fans. They produce some of the finest aftermarket exhaust systems for American vehicles. While they add more power and a more serious sound to a muscle car, they don’t please people looking for peace and quiet. As a result, muscle cars and their owners are frowned upon in some communities.
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Life has become increasingly expensive since the 2008 recession. Wages stagnated while rent, utilities and just about everything else went through the roof. It has become harder for people across the country to make ends meet. The situation got so bad that people took on a third or fourth job, either to put food on the table or to afford a lifestyle that is unattainable for most people today.
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Cars like the Corvette ZR1 are among the greatest GM muscle cars of all time. Any car enthusiast would love to drive a clean, top-of-the-line Corvette to a car meet. The tear-jerking car payments are one thing. Insurance is different. Even if the driving record is spotless, the insurance companies charge a cent to insure a muscle car. If you look at the countless videos of abused and wrecked muscle cars on YouTube, it’s easy to understand why.
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Most people have a 9-to-5 job. In states like California, where a car is essential, spending 40 minutes to an hour stuck in traffic is not uncommon. The usual stop-and-go can have a detrimental effect on a person’s psyche, but also on a car. Commuter cars like the Camry are made for commuting to and from work. Sportier cars can become a real nightmare on a daily basis.
Muscle cars like the Dodge Charger R/T from the 70’s are equipped with the best classic American car engines of all time. These engines are picky and anything but economical. While a classic, top-of-the-line muscle car might turn heads in normal morning traffic, it can end up costing its owner a lot of money for maintenance and repairs. Looking cool is great, being broke isn’t.
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The best selling cars in America are not what most people outside of America would assume. Because life is more expensive, Americans tend to choose cheaper options. While no one would worry about a Prius, most people don’t necessarily want to spend the rest of their paycheck on gas.
Since gas is around $5 a gallon, most muscle cars are becoming increasingly difficult to fill up. To put it simply, a Dodge Challenger Hellcat uses 13 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. The last Camaro Z28 is equipped with a huge 7.0-liter LS7 V8 that revs like no other. In comparison, a 6-cylinder Toyota Camry from the same year achieves 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
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The global automotive industry has undergone a major transformation over the past two decades. In the mid-2000s, BMW launched a V10-powered M5. Audi offered the R8 with a V8 drive. Domestically, things went just as crazy. Dodge had a V10-powered truck that was as fast as some of the most respected sports cars on the market at the time. These days 500hp seems to be the minimum for a homebuilt muscle car.
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The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody is the fastest sedan in the world. Additionally, the average sedan has an MSRP of around $85,000. While it’s fair to say that it’s impossible to get 797 horsepower for less than $100,000, the Hellcat Redeye Widebody isn’t a high-end BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Lamborghini. Most muscle cars, no matter what they are, don’t have the publicity to garner widespread acceptance at the next Cars & Coffee.
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The very first muscle car was the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. Since then, local car enthusiasts have had the opportunity to see countless muscle cars cruising the streets. Today, some classic muscle cars are worth as much as the high-end muscle cars currently on the market. A handful of these are worth millions of dollars, which is the price of a nice beachfront home in California.
Speaking of California, that’s where some of the union’s worst drivers come from. While it must be sheer luck cruising the Pacific Coast Highway in a ’67 Shelby GT500 Super Snake, an underinsured dope in a rust bucket can easily crash into this valuable and rare collector’s item. As if this weren’t already a huge problem, finding genuine parts to repair or restore such a vehicle can be a daunting task.
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The automotive landscape has changed in recent decades. Logically, after the EPA regulations that rocked the industry in the mid-’70s and the wars centered around control of oil supplies, people began to get on the green bandwagon. Hybrid cars came with the Prius in the mid-2000s. Around the same time, Tesla began offering electric cars that were both fast and visually appealing. Personalities like Greta Thunberg led a crusade against sports cars with polluting engines.
States like California have had strict guidelines in place for decades. As a result, several muscle cars with interesting engines were unavailable in the Golden State. As if that weren’t enough, the gas guzzler tax is also undermining the spread of muscle cars across the country. To top it off, muscle car owners are likely to run into a Karen who just plain hates muscle cars.
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Street racing is as old as time. Street races played a role in blockbusters as early as the 1960s and 1970s. It was as much a part of folklore then as it is now. Even though these movies are fiction, it’s no secret that the fiction is based on real life. In most cases, law enforcement will do whatever it takes to stop illegal activity.
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A muscle car with tinted windows is more likely to be pulled over by highway patrol than a Lexus GS350 with tinted windows. If there is a high concentration of muscle cars in an area, those present can even expect to see the infamous Ghetto Bird. Even if the owner of a particular muscle car has no intention of engaging in any illegal activity, they will want to test drive the car and become the main reason for a traffic ticket or even a driver’s license suspension.