The Detroit muscle cars have been around for years and many observers and detractors said today’s international climate – geared towards lowering fuel consumption and emissions to protect nature – would sign off the death penalty on the segment.
Yet all the classic performance cars from the 1960s and ’70s have no upper hand on today’s Detroit Three performance vehicles – which are better than ever before. Even with the toughening emissions limits, the rising concerns about climate change and unpredictable gasoline prices, the modern muscle cars are here to stay. “Back in the 1960s and ’70s, we were looking at 300-, 325-horsepower engines. Now you’ve got 500-, 600-, even 700-horsepower,” comments en Gross, an automotive historian, museum consultant and journalist. “Never in my lifetime did I think I’d see the day when I could drive a 700-horsepower street car.” Even the most affordable sporty cars today – for example a V6 Chevy Camaro, Mustang or Charger – could probably leave behind most 1960s muscle cars if they race on a cornered circuit.
Affordability has been one of the driving points in terms of sales both for classic and modern muscle cars – you can have a Shelby GT 350 Mustang at less than 50k or a Challenger Hellcat or Charger Hellcat for $58,295 or $62,295, respectively. And the killer Corvette ZO6 goes for $79,400. Not your average economy car, but mostly miles ahead of the prices from similarly fast and powerful performance cars from other automakers, especially the ones coming from the Old Continent. And the performance segment is among the few that has not been affected by the industry switch to pickups and sport utility vehicles.