When we narrow in on a definition of “muscle car,” the first-ever muscle car becomes indisputable: the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. While we’ve seen international car manufacturers throw their hats into the ring, muscle cars are a distinctly American thing. Designed for power, high performance, and affordability, American muscle cars are instantly recognizable and loved by all. So, what are the top American muscle cars of all time? To answer that question, we’ll have to look back over the history of the automotive industry.
Read on to learn more about the top five American muscle cars that you can add to your collection.
1. 1964 Pontiac GTO
The 1964 Pontiac GTO may have hit the scene a good 15 years after the Oldsmobile, but many people credit this car with bringing American muscle cars into the spotlight. In fact, the GTO had a lot of copycats when other American manufacturers realized how popular it was going to be. The year it was launched, you could buy this baby as a coupe, convertible, or hardtop.
2. 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454
The original Chevrolet Chevelle hit the market around the same time as the Pontiac GTO. However, this car didn’t hit its stride until 1970, when the third generation came out with coke bottle styling, new interiors, and the option to go with an even stronger engine. You can recognize this model by its two vertical stripes going down the hood.
3. 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird
By 1970, a lot of manufacturers started upping the price of their once-affordable muscle cars. Plymouth decided it was about time to take American muscle cars back to their roots with the Road Runner Superbird, an affordable counterpart to the upscale Plymouth GTX. Once again, we’re looking at a car that came out in the 1960s but didn’t hit its stride until the third generation in 1970.
4. 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
We’ve seen so many generations of the Chevrolet Camaro appearing in popular films over the years. For example, you’ll find a 1978 Camaro in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and a 1979 Camaro in 2 Fast 2 Furious. We have to give this one to the original 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 for inspiring one of America’s most timeless and beloved lines of muscle cars.
5. 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88
This list wouldn’t be complete without the one that started it all: the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. While it’s not always easy to find this original American muscle car in mint condition, you’ll find that you can fix one up with a little help. If you’re looking for the right types of tires and more, buy here.
Which American Muscle Cars Got You Into Collecting?
Some things are quintessential to American history and culture: the classic glass bottle of Coke, impeccable fireworks displays, great barbeque, and American muscle cars. Which American muscle car first sparked your interest?
Looking for more information about the history of muscle cars or where to buy them? Take a look around as we provide you with tons of updated content on muscle cars around the world.