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History of the Marques - Muscle Cars



MUSCLE CARS and CLASSIC CARS

appeared first on the “Classic” models and then trickled down to those vehicles sold to the masses. It took Ford quite a while to adopt hydraulic brakes as an example. This was when cost was no option to the very rich who demanded the best.


After W.W.II most of the major automotive inventions had occurred and with the growing mass of Americans finding themselves better educated and becoming urbanized a new direction in marketing took place. Luxury car manufacturers disappeared and in their place remained the big three and a diminishing number of smaller companies such as American Motors and Studebaker. They in turn manufactured a range of automobiles from low cost autos to luxury cars. GM had its Cadillac and Ford its Lincoln.


Because cars post war now shared most of the engineering advances with each other what sold the more expensive cars to the well heeled was luxury appointments, larger body and engine size and often a prestigious name. The Chevrolet was considered the poor man’s Cadillac because of similar styling cues. No longer was there a power advantage or unique engineering accomplishment to mark a difference between models. David Buick invented the overhead valve engine for his cars. It was later put into the Cadillac V16 in 1931 and by the mid fifties all GM cars had this technology in the engines which greatly increase performance parameters. So as for performance, ride quality etc. there was really not much of an advantage that luxury cars had over their cheaper stable mates. The age of the Grand Touring Duesenbergs, Packards and Cadillacs dominating the roads were long gone.


It now became increasingly important to be hip and youthful or to appear so in the post war generation and this was not lost on many in Detroit and especially the car lovers who dominated the design and increasingly the marketing departments of the major car companies. Now that engine development had reached a universal plateau, Classic cars in their time were like the exotic cars of today only being challenged later in the thirties by the capabilities of the Ford overhead valve V8 and the rise of the hot rod culture. In the sixties the muscle car stood out because of its high performance engine, graphics, paint scheme, limited edition, and sporty appointments. It often was a lighter car than the standard Chevy or ford. But on the flip side one could order a full size Chevy or Ford with a police interceptor package, and different rear end setups and suspensions. So there was really not much difference in engine option for

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