In the 1960s and early 1970s, an American muscle car is defined by a midsize American coupe with no less than a V8 engine with rear wheel drive to give emphasis on its roaring raw power. But later in the late 1970s, a lot of muscle breed started to decline and some ultimately was cancelled. Until the late 1980s that the Detroit performance started to revive the hype. A lot of carmakers started to expand the horizon for the muscle cars which become the new muscle cars.
1986–87 Buick Grand National
The Buick Grand National looked a lot different from the earlier muscle car but it has permanently made its mark as a classic muscle. On its debut, people were sceptics to call it a muscle car as it had a turbocharge V6 and Muscle purists called it a small engine compared to the traditional V8. They will not accept that a small V6 could replace the power of the huge V8.
The Grand National’s average of 14 seconds in the quarter mile track in its stock setup has proved that the turbocharged V6 can outperform the V8. The GN has a less flashy brother, the Regal T-Type offered for people who likes to keep things plain but hides a beast underneath.
The GN could produce a 245 horsepower and a torque of 355 lb-ft with its stock intercooled 3.8 L V6, the V8 engine from the 1986 Corvette could only produce 230 horsepower and a torque of 330 lb-ft. The Buick destroyed the idea that “computer cars” will never be made to become high performance cars.
The Buick Grand National line ended and the 1987 GNX was the last of the model. The GNX was at the height of the muscle car evolution with its McLaren/ASC-tuned turbo V6 that produced 300 horsepower and a torque of 420 lbs-ft. Only 547 Buick GNX were made and an original GNX was sold for $165,000 at the 2015 Palm Beach auction by Barrett-Jackson.
1988–92 Lincoln Mk VII LSC
Although called the “Hot Rod Lincoln”, it is also part muscle car that is favoured by mot high statured individuals. It is the perfect combination of the classy Euro look with American pride.
The Mk VII was purposely made to compete with the Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC coupe which was a lot more expensive than the Mk VII LSC price of $27,000, the 560 SEC would cost almost three times that. The Mk III LSC debuted in 1987 with a Mustang 5.0 L H.O. V8 that could produce 225 horsepower and a torque of 300 lb-ft which was a match for the Benz’s 238 horsepower and 287 lb-ft of torque.
The Mk VII LSC has a record of just a bit over 15 second on the quarter mile track similar to the Trans-AMs, IROC Camaros, and some classic muscles during the 1980s. The Mk VII LSC’s design was from the Thunderbird platform and is similar to the Ford Fairmont’s Fox chassis but with a longer 108 inch wheel base. It is spacious for a midsize car and is a bit similar to the classic muscles. The air suspension made it a bit wobbly but was very manoeuvrable.
1989–91 Ford Taurus SHO
The four door Ford Taurus SHO was a leap off from the traditional muscle car but was loved by motor heads who need a family spacious family car especially for the reasonable $20,000 price tag. SHO stands for Super High Output that was produced by Yamaha’s version of Ford’s 3L Vulcan V6. The high performance V6 produced 220 horsepower and a torque of 200 lb-ft. The SHO only had the 5-speed transmission available until 1992.
The SHO’s aluminium V6 was the most advance engine of its time with double overhead camshafts, four valves in each cylinder and a variable intake manifold. Aside from being a four door, the SHO was also a front wheel drive that seemed far from a muscle car but its performance was similar to the 5.0 L Mustang in the quarter mil track. It eventually reached the top speed of 143 mph which makes it the fastest car that was under $60,000.