About Muscle Cars

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."

North American Muscle Cars

In the late-1980s, there was resurgence in ponycar popularity with the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang, and in the early 1990s Fords SVT (Special Vehicle Team) program wanted to increase the power and performance. Ford’s 1995 SVT Cobra R was the first 300-horsepower vehicle, but was limited to 250 models. The GM and Ford market rivalry continued throughout the late 1990s, where Mustang Cobra and Camaro SS were both rated at 300+ horsepower for standard production models.

For larger cars available in the U.S., the full-size, 4-door Chevrolet Impala SS was available from 1994 to 1996 as a high-performance version of the Caprice, equipped with a Corvette-derived 5.7 L V8 LT1 engine and other specific performance features and body styling using the options found on the Caprice 9C1 police package. The Impala SS nameplate was resurrected in 2003 as a high-performance version of the standard Impala with larger and/or supercharged engines. General Motors discontinued its F-body pony-car models, the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, after 2002, but brought back the GTO in 2004 as a rebadged Holden Monaro imported from Australia. Sales were poor and the "new" GTO was discontinued after three years. The Pontiac brand was eliminated after the 2010 model year. Ford's Special Vehicle Team also released the 2003 SVT Cobra, now supercharged, but stopped production after 2004 to make way for the new generation Mustang. For the 2012 model year, Ford brought back the Boss 302 with a 444 hp (331 kW) 5.0 V8.

For 2003 and 2004, Mercury revived its Marauder nameplate as a high-performance version Mercury Grand Marquis, based on the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. In 2005, a "retro-inspired" version of the pony car Ford Mustang drew its design cues from the original 1960s Mustangs. In 2007, Ford and Shelby also re-released a new G.T. 500, with Super Snake and King of the Road editions added in 2008. Saleen introduced a special edition echoing the Boss 302 Mustang, naming it the "S302 Parnelli Jones" after the Trans-Am series driver from the 1960s and 1970s, Parnelli Jones. A subsequent similar model followed with Dan Gurney's namesake.

In 2004, Chrysler introduced their LX platform that served as the platform for a new line of rear-wheel drive, V8-powered cars (using the new Hemi engine), including a four-door version of the Dodge Charger. It was also available as a station wagon (the Dodge Magnum) and the performance of the new models equaled many of the vintage muscle cars. Dodge revived two "classic" model names with the Charger: Daytona in 2006 and the Dodge Charger Super Bee in 2007.

GM's Cadillac division introduced the XLR roadster in 2004 that was produced alongside the Chevrolet Corvette in GM's manufacturing plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This led to the creation of the Cadillac V-series for the luxury CTS sedan, sold as the CTS-V.

Muscle car revival

In 2004, the Pontiac GTO was relaunched in the United States, a rebadged third generation Holden Monaro, and Chrysler debuted the 300C as a 2005 model. In 2005, Ford introduced the new Mustang designed to resemble the original 1964.5 model. In 2008, Chrysler re-introduced the Dodge Challenger, which features design links to the 1970 model. In 2009, Chevrolet released the new Camaro, which bears some resemblance to the 1969 model.