Collector Car Insurance: Defining an American Muscle Car
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as “any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.” In social circles, the term muscle car is typically used to refer to a variety of high performance automobiles which have emerged from a number of manufactures in many different countries. All the while, collectors, traders, and enthusiasts still debate what exactly the defining features of a muscle car are. To understand what a muscle car is we must first look at their origins to determine what is it not.
The origin of the muscle car itself is highly debated, but many enthusiasts and experts credit the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 as the first ever American muscle car and the spark for this new classification of vehicles. The Rockett 88 was created in response to public interest in speed and power, featuring a heavier body than most racers and America’s first ever high-compression overhead valve V8. During the 1950’s various automakers began to showcase high-powered engines and other heavy performance hardware in flashy limited-edition models of their vehicles. The 1955 Chevy C-300 was released to huge success on the NASCAR scene. Sporting a flashy blend of Hemi power and luxury-car trappings the C-300 boasted a 300 horsepower engine. As interest grew in stock car racing, automakers and enthusiasts became infatuated with the potential of muscle cars.
However, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that interest in these high-powered street racers finally peaked. Experts suggest that the original intent of the muscle car was to put the most powerful motor that would fit, into the lightest car possible. During the 1960’s Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler, Ford and others battled it out to create the most powerful drag racer. Some experts refer to this period as the golden age of American muscle cars, as some of the most sought after muscle vehicles were produced over the following two decades. The muscle car horsepower war peaked in 1970, with some models advertising as much as 450 horsepower drawing in young auto enthusiasts into show rooms who demanded standard editions of these racers. Although the sales of true muscle cars were relatively modest, they became invaluable for American automakers in terms of prestige and publicity. High competition among manufacturers meant that buyers had the choice of ever-more powerful engines in varying body styles and performance capacities.
Traditionally, muscle cars differed from other racers in two main ways. They had higher powered engines, which in turn made them heavier and ultimately lead to the adoption of the larger body styling. Unlike their sports car cousins, a muscle car bodies were based primarily on those of a mid-sized sedan, converted to a two door style. Designed to be as high-powered and cheap as possible, American muscle cars were originally lacked many of the bells, whistles and flash that sports and luxury models featured. Over time they began to incorporate many additional add-on features based on popular demand and to improve market appeal, however the raw power of American muscle engines remain the largest draw for enthusiasts, collectors and consumers today.
At Condon Skelly, we know how exciting collecting classic muscle and sports cars can be. That’s why we specialize in offering complete collector auto insurance. We’re a group of collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals who specialize in insuring all types of collector vehicles. Our team is as passionate about protecting your vehicles as you are about collecting them. We can help you secure affordable, industry-leading classic car insurance coverage to protect your classic, antique, or exotic vehicles. For more information, contact our collector auto insurance specialists today at (866) 291-5694.