Muscle Cars Are Back With A Vengeance
You may,or may not be old enough to recall the American "Muscle Car Era". I do! I'm a Baby Boomer. It was glorious! Detroit was turning out exciting machines with distinctive styling and lots of horsepower.
They weren't fuel-efficient and most of them didn't handle particularly well, but they had style and cool names. like Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, Roadrunner, Charger and Barracuda. When I was a kid, my next door neighbor had a '69 Camaro Z/28, now the most prized edition of the Camaro among collectors. By the mid-70's, the muscle car was extinct. It was killed off by stricter emission standards, skyrocketing insurance premiums and an OPEC oil embargo. The muscle car is back, and better than ever!
Less than 3 years ago, the "Big 3" U.S. automakers were seemingly on the verge of going out of business. Now they're making a remarkable comeback, fueled, ironically, by the resurgance of the muscle car. Despite high fuel prices consumers are snapping up the new generation of Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers. They boast styling reminiscent of the late 60's "Pony Cars", but handling and braking are dramatically improved. The engines are even more powerful than before, but surprisingly fuel-efficient. The V-6 version of the Mustang is rated in the 300 Hosepower range, and boast EPA mileage figures around 30 mpg. Similarly, the Camaro V-6 is 310 hp with comparable mileage figures. Who's buying them? Buyers are split into two age groups, 20-30, and 45-55. "It's the attitude of the customer," less than demographics, says Mustang brand manager Jim Owens. If you're looking for brute force, it's available. Mustang GT has a 400 HP V-8, Camaro SS, 420 HP, and Challenger is available with a 6.1 Litre "Hemi". In 2012, Ford will re-introduce the "Boss 302" Mustang, and Chevrolet has plans debut a new 550 HP edition of the ZL-1 Camaro. Cars are exciting again!