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The Modern Muscle Car Wars and How They Have Changed

One of my favorite moments in the history of cars is the muscle car wars in the mid 60's and early 70's. Detroit's assembly lines were pumping out high horsepower cars that were marketed towards the youth of America (Baby Boomers). The race was on to see who could be the fastest.

However, times are different. Cars have more constraints with emissions, safety, and many other areas. Not to mention the common platform cars use today. But if you take notice, we are on the verge of another muscle car wars.

It starts back to the birth of the Dodge Hellcat Charger / Challenger. This car took America by storm with its 700+ horsepower, and everyone soon heard of the Dodge Hellcat.

Soon on the Hellcat's heels, came the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 for 2015. The 2015 Z06 uses a 6.2L supercharged V8, making 650HP and 0-60 in 3.0 seconds, according to Chevrolet.

Plus, a dealership in Lebanon, OH is giving its customers high performance Mustang GT's for $40,000. Equipped with a Roush Phase 2 supercharger kit, these Mustangs crank out 727 horses.

Some other contenders include, surprisingly, Jeep and Cadillac. I personally don't see Jeep as much of a performance brand, but that's what makes it interesting.

Jeep recently announced that it will be starting production of its Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Hellcat in July of 2017. Performance numbers are expected to be similar to the Hellcat Charger/Challenger. Cadillac also has produced a 640 HP CTS-V, capable of 0-60 times of 4.6 seconds. Certainly, a quick Cadillac.

In my opinion, this feels like the onset of another muscle car war. As a young car enthusiast, this excites me. I'm also interested to see how the cars would be marketed, and price. Sorry, a new car costs more than $3,500.

The way these cars will have to go about making muscle in a much different way. In the 60's, you threw dual carburetors, dual low-restriction exhaust, or you bore out an existing motor to more displacement. "There is no replacement for displacement."

Now a days, car manufacturers use forced induction, fuel injection, and computer tuning. Plus manufacturers have to deal with emissions, something that you didn't have to deal with back in the 60's. So the car must be tuned in a way to produce low emissions, and high horsepower. Clearly, we're already seeing how it's being done; forced induction.

In the sales department, I wouldn't be surprised to see the youth market of today being the majority buyer. The Mustang already has a big following by the youth market, as well as the Chargers/Challengers.

Interestingly enough, it would be a great marketing strategy to market these cars to Generation X, who would've grown up with the 60's muscle cars as their first car, or perhaps grew up with their parents owning one of those fast muscle cars.

This also leads me to speculate if any other manufacturers get on board with this. From what I believe Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge will be the biggest contenders. Only time will tell how the sales of Jeep are when they release its Hellcat to the public It would be interesting to see if Buick were to jump in with a high-performance Regal, or LaCrosse. I can't see this happening anytime soon.

In my opinion, we are in the midst of another muscle car war. I would just like to see some more performance in these muscle cars. Plus if you appreciate these modern muscle cars, you should check out your local car show and admire the history these great cars have.


Auto Motive (not verified)    September 15, 2016 - 9:39AM

Can you imagine a 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo with 274 hp and 269 torque at 1750/4500 rpms with 0-60 at 6.1 seconds and the quarter in 14 seconds. The muscle cars of the past would be eaten by this 2 liter brute. I am amazed at the 0-60 and quarter mile speeds coming out of todays coupes and sedans that are daily drivers.

jamie (not verified)    September 15, 2016 - 11:44AM

actually the modern muscle car movement started in 1982 with the announcement by ford of the new boss 302, a mustang gt with a 5.0 engine, which was about the quickest thing out there. from then things just kept escalating.

Mark Day (not verified)    September 15, 2016 - 11:52PM

A 2007 V6 Camry will outperform most older “muscle cars”. Zero to 60 mph: 5.8 sec, Standing ¼-mile: 14.3 sec @ 99 mph, Top speed (governor limited): 145 mph. The top speed of 145 mph required "V" rated tires from the factory.

Zac (not verified)    September 23, 2016 - 12:51PM

I had to laugh when I saw him say the new muscle car wars started with the hellcat. Maybe you just noticed it at that point, but it's been going on for a while sparky. The 2013-14 Sheby had 662hp, which is far above the 1970 peak of 450hp LS 6 chevy.

fmc (not verified)    September 26, 2016 - 3:55PM

A lot of the acceleration gains in today's cars are due to better tires. It would be interesting to see what an old muscle car with a 427 Hemi, 427 Chevy or 427 Ford could do with modern rubber. (One thing it couldn't do is pass a gas station.)