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Muscle Car..What car is considered the first?

Old May 17th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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I know within the past week, I saw a classified ad from 1970 that used the term "musclecar" to describe a GTO.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 02:11 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by vistacruiser67
1949 olds rocket 88 303 cubic inch. The granddaddy of musclecars. Check their wins in nascar in the early 50s. Only the hudson hornet six cylinder gave them trouble.


Originally Posted by mmurphy77 View Post
x2!!
X3 - The Rocket was the first...only fools beg to differ.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 03:38 PM
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I turned 16 in 1966. Read as much as I could get my hands on about cars starting at about 14. The Goat was the first they ever called a Muscle Car. IMO that is true.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by wmachine View Post
That is so wrong. The term did not come out of the '60s to define the GTO catagory. You can post some 1960s examples of it being used in the '60s if you'd like to prove your point. More often than not, and certainly more than the virtually non-existent term "musclecar", the term used was Supercar. Case in point, you can even read what Oldsmobile's assessment of that market was in 1969.
http://wildaboutcarsonline.com/cgi-b...aldisplayed=50
I referred to the term 'muscle car' coming out of the 60's. It did, and it defined ALL high-perf cars, the same way as "supercar" did. It was matter of semantics, just depended on who was writing the article.

I'm not sure if I explained this properly, but to reiterate, the term "muscle car" was used in the 60's to define all high-perf cars.

Then the term "muscle car" was later redefined (in the mid-late 1970's) by writers talking about the entire era, then later REDEFINED again (1980's) by those wishing to keep their intermediate sized cars separate from ponycars and sports cars.

Here's a reference from a Feb 1969 Hot Rod, and it had already been used many times before, which is why they don't explain the meaning.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Feb 69 Hot Rod.jpg (227.9 KB, 16 views)
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Old May 18th, 2012, 04:40 AM
  #125  
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Thank you for that reference.

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Old May 18th, 2012, 05:10 AM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by 67 442 View Post
Originally Posted by vistacruiser67
1949 olds rocket 88 303 cubic inch. The granddaddy of musclecars. Check their wins in nascar in the early 50s. Only the hudson hornet six cylinder gave them trouble.




X3 - The Rocket was the first...only fools beg to differ.
The reason people cite the '64 GTO as the first muscle car is because of it being 'packaged' by the manufacturer as a performance car and not just a car that happened to have had a big engine ordered in it. I think the '49 Rocket 88 did this first as it was also specifically 'packaged' with fastback styling, a well-promoted 'high-compression' performance engine, heavy-duty rear axle, etc.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 05:13 AM
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There is nothing "muscle car" about the Rocket 88. Using the same criteria as the "believers" then we might as include the Buick Century as the first muscle car.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 05:33 AM
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Olds had the first muscle car? Just how arrogant are you people?
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Old May 18th, 2012, 05:36 AM
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About as arrogant when the Mopar people claim they had the first muscle car.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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I wonder where Dan Wirth is today.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 380 Racer View Post
Olds had the first muscle car? Just how arrogant are you people?
WTF? Isn't that Olds in your sig? Did you forget to use the blue font when posting?

It's easy enough to come up with some evidence to prove our point.


"Opinions on the origin of the muscle car vary, but the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, created in response to public interest in speed and power, is often cited as the first muscle car. It featured America's first high-compression overhead valve V8 in the smaller, lighter Oldsmobile 76/Chevy body for six-cylinder engines (as opposed to bigger Olds 98 luxury body).[9]
Musclecars magazine wrote: "[t]he idea of putting a full-size V8 under the hood of an intermediate body and making it run like Jesse Owens in Berlin belongs to none other than Oldsmobile... [The] all-new ohv V8...Rocket engine quickly found its way into the lighter 76 series body, and in February 1949, the new 88 series was born."

"Walt Woron of Motor Trend enjoyed the 'quick-flowing power...that pins you to your seat and keeps you there until you release your foot from the throttle [...] Olds dominated the performance landscape in 1950, including wins in the NASCAR Grand National division, Daytona Speed Weeks, and the 2100-plus-mile Carrera Panamericana. In (Belgium), an 88 won a production car race at Spa-Francorchamps [...] A husky V8 in a cleanly styled, lightweight coupe body, the original musclecar truly was the '49 Olds 88."[[10]" a b Musclecars magazine, 1994

Last edited by 67 442; May 19th, 2012 at 06:10 PM.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 67 442 View Post
"Opinions on the origin of the muscle car vary
Well that pretty much sums it up.

The 1949 Olds Rocket 88 was not a muscle car, it was just the next phase in engine design.

But the 1964 GTO is recognized around the world as the first muscle car, but I guess owners of other makes get tired of hearing that, so they want to rewrite history, change the criteria, and come up with their version of what was the first muscle car.

Ford guys like to quote the 1932 Ford V-8 as being the first. The 1932 Ford V8 was the first flathead, and was far more powerful than other cars of the day. Famous gangster Clyde Barrow loved to steal 1932 Ford V-8's because they could outrun any other make of car on the road. While on the run in 1934, he wrote a fan letter to Henry Ford, praising the Ford V-8.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 07:35 PM
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The Ford wasn't really more powerful in its day. Rather, Ford offered V-8 power in a class of 4-cylinders.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 05:45 AM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by WhatIf View Post
Well that pretty much sums it up.

The 1949 Olds Rocket 88 was not a muscle car, it was just the next phase in engine design.

But the 1964 GTO is recognized around the world as the first muscle car, but I guess owners of other makes get tired of hearing that, so they want to rewrite history, change the criteria, and come up with their version of what was the first muscle car.

Ford guys like to quote the 1932 Ford V-8 as being the first. The 1932 Ford V8 was the first flathead, and was far more powerful than other cars of the day. Famous gangster Clyde Barrow loved to steal 1932 Ford V-8's because they could outrun any other make of car on the road. While on the run in 1934, he wrote a fan letter to Henry Ford, praising the Ford V-8.
Who is rewriting history? Seems like you are the one trying to, I completed the sentence for you...
Opinions on the origin of the muscle car vary, but the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, created in response to public interest in speed and power, is often cited as the first muscle car.
Seems like the Poncho crowd and the Ford crowd have something in common...Flatheads!

Last edited by 67 442; May 20th, 2012 at 07:13 AM.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 08:12 AM
  #135  
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I have driven a 1950 Olds Rocket. It is no muscle car. I love Oldsmobiles and will probably own the 1950 Olds in a little over a year. I think it is the 64 GTO hands down. Why don't one of you computer savy guys put a ballot on here and let everybody cast votes for the 49 Olds, the Chrysler 300 and the 64 GTO. It will not change anybody's mind and will not prove what the first muscle car was (there is no proof) but it would be interesting.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by redoldsman View Post
will not prove what the first muscle car was (there is no proof)
Proof? You want proof? I've got proof right here that [insert your favorite car here] was the first muscle car!


In-4.jpg


Damn, but if this ain't proof, I don't know what is. It's right there in black and blue.

I hope this settles the matter once and for all!!!
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Old May 20th, 2012, 08:40 AM
  #137  
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The Stutz Bearcat was the first muscle car.

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Old May 20th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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Motor Trend identified the following models as "musclecars" in 1965:Road & Track identified the following models as "musclecars" in 1965:anyone have any old mags of these 2 to see if "muscle car" was mentioned by them back in 65 or whenever? or was it "super cars" and then changed to muscle later? also what about a first (earliest) print publication with the words "Muscle Car" IN THE TITLE by any car company, mag, book or newspaper that will define the words meanings in that publication. and if these cars were called "Super Cars" before the "muscle car" name came in. then what was the first mass publication for the words "Super Car" and the definition? the first muscle car? im stuck between choosing the 49 olds 88 and the 64 GTO but as for the first "Super Muscle Car" it was the 88

anyone know when this book was published?
Definition: 1

According to Muscle Cars, a book written by Peter Henshaw, a "muscle car" is "exactly what the name implies. It is a product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder's philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it. The Muscle Car is Charles Atlas kicking sand in the face of the 98 horsepower weakling."[7] Henshaw further asserts that the muscle car was designed for straight-line speed, and did not have the "sophisticated chassis", "engineering integrity", or "lithe appearance" of European high-performance cars.[7]
However, opinions vary as to whether high-performance full-size cars, compacts, and pony cars qualify as muscle cars.[8]
The following is a list of muscle cars and their manufacturers (along with each make's corresponding pony car, where applicable):

AMC -javelin SST, machine
Buick -grand sport
Chevrolet- camaro, chevelle S/S
Dodge - challanger, charger R/T
Ford- mustang, torino GT
Mercury- cougar, cyclone CJ
Olds- 442
Plymouth- barracuba, road runner
Pontiac- firebird, GTO

ManufacturerPony carMuscle carAMCJavelin SSTMachineBuicknoneGran SportChevroletCamaroChevelle SSDodgeChallengerCharger RTFordMustangTorino GTMercuryCougarCyclone CJOldsmobilenone442PlymouthBarracudaRoad RunnerPontiacFirebirdGTO


ManufacturerPony carMuscle carAMCJavelin SSTMachineBuicknoneGran SportChevroletCamaroChevelle SSDodgeChallengerCharger RTFordMustangTorino GTMercuryCougarCyclone CJOldsmobilenone442PlymouthBarracudaRoad RunnerPontiacFirebirdGTO
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Old May 20th, 2012, 12:14 PM
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According to Amazon.com, the first books published with the term "Muscle Car" in the title were:
Muscle Cars: A Colorful Review of Detroit's High-performance Cars, 1949-1980 by Louis Weber, published Jan. 1981,


Muscle Cars, an Exciting History of High-Performance American Cars From 1949 to 1980, published Jan. 1981 by Consumer Guide Magazine (future publishers of Collectible Automobile), and

Muscle Car Mania by Mitch Frumpkin, published April 1981.

i notice the year covered 1949 in the first book

Last edited by *ssholesGarage; May 20th, 2012 at 12:17 PM.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 12:16 PM
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What's surprising to me that this is an OLDSMOBILE site and we have members touting other brands.

Some sites would ban you for that type of blasphemy!

All you doubters drop and change your oil and be happy you have a rocket under your hood. Or is this a LS1 crowd?
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Old May 20th, 2012, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 67 442 View Post
What's surprising to me that this is an OLDSMOBILE site and we have members touting other brands.

Some sites would ban you for that type of blasphemy!

All you doubters drop and change your oil and be happy you have a rocket under your hood. Or is this a LS1 crowd?
Exactly! Well Don, I guess we know who the REAL Olds lovers are!
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Old May 20th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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380 Racer has it right. The GTO is recognised and always has been as the first Musclecar. This is a silly question.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 67 442 View Post
What's surprising to me that this is an OLDSMOBILE site and we have members touting other brands.

Some sites would ban you for that type of blasphemy!

All you doubters drop and change your oil and be happy you have a rocket under your hood. Or is this a LS1 crowd?
NO ONE is "touting" other brands. This is about history, not a personal like or dislike for other brands. And as the saying goes, you're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

The 1949 Olds is not a muscle car.

The 1964 GTO is the first muscle car.

Just deal with it, and move on.

I think the "arrogance" comment that someone posted above is starting to sound more feasible now. Sometimes Oldsmobile guys live in their own little world and have little (if any) knowledge of what was going on with other brands.

I love Oldsmobiles because that's what I grew up with. My dad had Oldsmobiles throughout the 50s and 60s, he rebuilt Oldsmobiles, they were always part of our family. Oldsmobiles had style and grace and always seemed to be better built than Chevys or Pontiacs.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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I'm just having fun with all this and love ALL musclecars regardless of who think they have the last word in naming which is and which isn't. I've restored 2 GTOs and they will always have a place in my heart so I'm certainly not taking anything away from the '64 GTO. Like I said before, the '64 GTO is recognized as the first "Musclecar" not because of it's looks or performance but because it was really the first car to be 'packaged' by the manufacturer as a performance car - meaning the GTO 'option' (which it still was in '64) PACKAGED the high-performance drivetrain in an intermediate body with stylish specific body parts and sporty name (that Pontiac lifted from Ferrari) so ordering the PACKAGE got you the goods without having to 'piece-meal' the car. There have been several cars dozens of years prior to '64 that were built exclusively for high-performance (the 1957 Chevy 150 'Black Widow' comes to mind or the '61 bubbletop 409 Impalas) but I believe Pontiac gets credit for packaging and, just as importantly, MARKETING the '64 GTO as a factory-built 'Supercar' (the term coined before 'Musclecar').
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Old May 20th, 2012, 04:26 PM
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The topic was which one came first, not which one is the best. Two different things IMO.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 05:25 PM
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i have a question. what was the last muscle car?

sorry, i just had to get the spoon and stir.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 05:28 PM
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That's not stirring the pot at all! That's an easy one. The last muscle car hasn't yet been built, and it never will be.

As long as cars are still being built, or whatever comes after cars (rocket ships?) are still being built, someone somewhere will be trying to make them go fast.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 06:40 PM
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Whatever the last muscle car was, it was built in 1970.

After compression ratios started to drop, the automakers coasted for a few years on muscle car names with no performance behind them, then dropped them entirely.

Anything made after the '70s or '80s can't be a muscle car, even if it is very powerful, because whatever those care may be, they are not "muscle cars," which were all high-cid, normally aspirated vehicles, with few, if any luxury features, and handling that would necessitate a change of underwear if you found yourself in a hairy situation. They don't make cars like that anymore, and they never will again.

I'm sorry, but a 2012 Mustang with fuel injection, turbo, computerized traction control, digital climate control, factory DVD player with surround sound, GPS, and airbags is not a muscle car, even if it makes 500 horsepower.

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Old May 20th, 2012, 06:49 PM
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i think the pontiac s.d. 455 trans am's where the last grasp of true hp in the oil crisis era. not sure on the year i think 73 74 i wanna say. then the grand national was imo the starter of moderm performance and being one of the fastes accelerating cars of its time. mdchanic so true these new cars have all these features but that takes the fun out of driving a 400 hp juke box on wheels .
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Old May 20th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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I agree. All the new cars are cookie cutter. 4000 pounds, 425 horse or so, great handling and brakes. Just pick what you want, as long as it is an SRT8 whatever or a Camaro ss, or a Mustang V8. Did I miss any? LOL! Oh yeah, my Taurus SHO. 4400 pounds. Twin turbo V6, Livernois tune. 470 horse. It's a sedan and a DD with 4 wheel drive. It can't even turn the tires over but it will run mid 12s all day long. We've come a long way baby. My Cutlass rattles the antenna when it's idling. I like that.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 08:45 PM
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I remember the look on my friends brothers face when i beat his shiney new srt8 300c with my cutlass. It was street race just for fun and in a street race a bigh head start is winning pretty much. The other thing too is it's so much fun picking on these guys with new muscle on the street becasue most if them dont know how to drive a car. They buy a stick shift and dont know how to drive it right etc. etc.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 08:33 AM
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They buy a stick shift and dont know how to drive it right etc. etc.

Ain't it the truth.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by MDchanic View Post
Whatever the last muscle car was, it was built in 1970.
What about a 1971 Mustang with the 429 CJ? Or a 1971 Hemi Charger R/T? They're not muscle cars?

After compression ratios started to drop, the automakers coasted for a few years on muscle car names with no performance behind them, then dropped them entirely.
There are plenty of solid-14-second cars built through 1972. Power was down, but it wasn't out. And, if you think about Pontiac's 455 HO, they managed to weather the storm quite well despite the lowered compression. Of course, it evolved into the Super Duty, and we know how good they were.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 09:51 AM
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They buy a stick shift and dont know how to drive it right etc. etc.
Ain't that the truth! A friends son's friend, (got that) is a F18 pilot, has had a SRT8 manual shift, and has difficulty quick shifting when under full throttle blasts, as witnessed by my buddy on a ride a long. I asked him if he "showed him how to do it". When I bought my '69 W31, I went out and starting practicing different ways to shift quickly, with the least amount of rpm drop, clutch pressure etc.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Diego View Post
What about a 1971 Mustang with the 429 CJ? Or a 1971 Hemi Charger R/T? They're not muscle cars?



There are plenty of solid-14-second cars built through 1972. Power was down, but it wasn't out. And, if you think about Pontiac's 455 HO, they managed to weather the storm quite well despite the lowered compression. Of course, it evolved into the Super Duty, and we know how good they were.
'73 Super Duty is a great example. Also the Mustang Boss 351 still had 11.3:1 compression in 1971 and flew under the radar as one of the fastest Mustangs ever built. Also remember the 426 Hemi was available THRU 1971 still advertising a very underrated 425 horsepower.
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