Origin of the American Muscle Car

Peter Bouchard - PontiacCars for the most part of been one of the world’s greatest inventions to date. It allows us to transport multiple people far faster than we ever would have been able to on foot. With the invention of cars came the innovation. In 1949, we were introduced to the American muscle car. It was at this time that people wanted faster cars and the muscle car delivered on that.

The first muscle car was brought to us by Oldsmobile, the Rocket 88. The car had a lightweight Oldsmobile body with a high compression overhead valve V8. The body is similar to the body of the Oldsmobile 76 which originally had a six cylinder engine. It was this combo that ultimately created the category of a muscle car.

A muscle car has a light body with heavy engine. At the height of the Rocket 88, it took NASCAR by storm in 1950. This ultimately had people thinking speed, speed, speed. This type of car was a long time coming, starting back in the 1920s. With prohibition taking place, moonshiners and bootleggers wanted a vehicle that could speed away from police vehicles. Moonshiners began modifying their cars and eventually racing to make money. It was these cars that gave inspiration for the Rocket 88.

Racing eventually slowed down and actually came to a stop when the Automobile Manufacturers Association banned factory sponsored racing in 1957. Eventually, Pontiac released the Gran Turismo Omologato (GTO). Initially priced at $3,200, the Pontiac GTO was for the young. Due to its inexpensive price, many young people were purchasing this car that was approved for racing. In its first year of production, Pontiac sold well over their projections. Pontiac ended up selling over six times as many as originally predicted proving to other automobile manufacturers that they should begin making muscle cars, and thats exactly what Ford did.

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