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What Makes a Car a Muscle Car?

What Makes a Car a Muscle Car? - Lift King - Auto Lifts in Calgary - Featured Image

The world of collector cars is pretty vast and diverse, covering a broad range of categories and classifications. By far one of the most iconic and popular is the muscle car. These have certainly stood the test of time, but what exactly does the term “muscle car” mean anyway? Let’s find out.


Common Definitions


Unsurprisingly, the idea behind the muscle car emerged from a need for speed among American drivers in the 50s and 60s. Consumers were souping up their vehicles with aftermarket engines for increased power, creating a growing demand that manufacturers quickly responded to. As a result, they built mid or full-size 2-door four-seaters with big V8 engines, RWD, and a focus on fast straight-line acceleration rather than handling. These traits are essential to the definition of a muscle car. Oh, and as many aficionados will say, it also needs to be American. If you want a car that meets the strictest qualifications, think Impala SS, Torino Talladega, or Road Runner.


Muscle Car, Pony Car, Sports Car


By that definition, there are quite a few vehicles that the layperson might assume are muscle cars but don’t actually qualify. The Mustang is probably the ultimate example, especially its 1964 debut model. This was the classic that kickstarted the popularity of the pony car. Unlike muscle cars, pony cars have generally been defined as compact. They also tend to express a more stylized, sporty image. These are your early Barracudas, Camaros, and Firebirds. It’s also important to separate muscle and pony cars from classic sports cars like the early Corvette, which were often designed as lightweight roadsters with strong handling and braking.


An Exception to Every Rule


Of course, when you get into semantics, there’s an exception to every rule. Strictly defining a muscle car isn’t always a straightforward matter, and differences in opinion can make things even more complicated. Plenty of cars, like the Chevelle SS, were offered with both big block and small block options, making some iterations of the same car more muscle than another. On top of this and other variations in the classics, things have changed over time. New cars that don’t meet a purist’s definition, such as the modern-day Dodge Charger, are often referred to as muscle cars in the loosest sense. At the end of the day, it all depends on who you ask!


No matter what you call your car, it needs to be taken care of. Whether you’re restoring an original muscle car or performing maintenance on your daily driver, an industry-grade car lift is one of the most powerful tools for the job. Call Lift King at (403) 283-1020 to learn more today!

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4216 12 Street NE
Calgary, Alberta
Canada, T2E 6K9


Toll Free 1-866-610-5464
Phone (403) 283-1020

Ross 403-667-2133
Fax 403-451-1710


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