The Big 3 Of The Muscle Car Era
What particular muscle car do you have in mind when someone starts a conversation about classic muscle cars? Maybe you’ll come up with Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro too. These cars are amongst the popular and powerful cars of that era. However, I don’t disregard or forget the Chevy Corvette or Dodge Vipers, these cars are awesome and powerful too. But, Camaro, Charger and Mustang are mass- produced that’s why three of them were always compared by the critics. As a result, they always catch the attention of loyal customers as well as other car buyers who are open-minded to try something new.
Let’s talk about Ford Mustang first, back in April 1964, when America was still hooked to the space race. Ford used television to advertise their latest car. The 1964 ½ Ford Mustang was made up of borrowed parts from Ford Fairlane and Falcon. It was critically acclaimed as the first car to be successful during the launch of its first model. Incredibly, more than one million Mustangs were built for the first eighteen months of its release.
The initial release is packed by V-6 engine as standard and an optional V-8. Once again in 2005, Mustang broke another sales record when Ford released a Mustang with “retro” design.
GM nearly took three years to finally throw a counterpart for Ford’s Mustang. Pontiac responds with Firebird while Chevrolet answers with Camaro. Back in April 1965, Chevrolet was arranging a project that was code-named “Panther” and that was initially intended as a contender for the rising Ford Mustang.
If you ever noticed, most of Chevrolet’s cars start with letter “C”. During the unveiling of Camaro, a press asked what does Camaro mean and the Chevrolet product managers responded with “it was a small vicious animal that eat Mustangs.”
Finally, in September 1966, the first-generation Camaro was launched. It has the conventional rear-drive, front-engine configuration. Unlike the declining Corvair that has a rear-engine design, Camaro was designed to fit various set of engines.
After 35 years of continuous production, Camaro was stopped in 2002. Thanks to the 2005 version of Mustang that has a retro design, many people saw a brand new interest on muscle cars with the revival of Camaro in 2010.
Following the success of Dodge Charger and Plymouth ‘Cuda during the ‘60s, Dodge Challenger was released in 1970 to compete against Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. To get noticed, they offered every engine in Chrysler’s inventory. However, the muscle car era was already declining during its release and the Challenger production lasted for only five years.
It was a late response to Ford Mustang. Challenger’s exterior design was made by Carl Cameron. It was heavily based on ‘Cuda but the sheet metal was slightly modified and it has larger wheelbase.
After the lackluster second-generation run during 1978 up to 1983, Chrysler revived Dodge Challenger in 2007. The design for third generation Challengers was inspired by the original 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T.
With the revival of these famous muscle cars from the ‘60s, it exposes the younger generation of drivers to the roots of those famous cars that are roaming our streets today.