QOTD: Which Car Comes to Mind When You Think Muscle?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Over the long holiday weekend I had a conversation about muscle cars from the late '60s/early '70s -- and also saw a bunch of them being posted on the Twitter/X account of a famous performance-car builder.

I enjoyed seeing the Camaros and Chevelle SSs and whatever else. It helped put a smile on my face after the weird year that was 2023. When gazing at a particularly lovely restored Chevelle SS, I thought to myself "man that's what a '60s/'70s muscle car looks like."

Then I realized there were several models that could be the primary representative of that era.

The Mustang Mach 1 or Boss 302. The first-gen Camaro. A Pontiac GTO. The list goes on.

The question is this -- if you were to think "muscle car" from that era, which one would you conjure up?

I suppose for some of the you the answer would be "none" -- you might think of something more modern. That's fine and you're free to share in the comments, but I am thinking mostly of the years when the Baby Boomers were young.

For if you're a Baby Boomer yourself, you likely remember those cars well, and if you're Gen X or an older Millennial like myself, you grew up hearing and reading about those cars.

So, if you were asked by someone who was just learning about cars what the perfect example of a muscle car would be, what would you pick?

Sound off below.

[Image: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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6 of 60 comments
  • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Jan 03, 2024

    How far back do you want to go? 1932 Ford V8? 1949 Olds Rocket? 1951 Hemi Dodge C-Series? For me, the first one to pop into my mind is the '69-70 Cougar Eliminator 428 Super Cobra Jet Ram-Air with a Top-Loader and Traction-Lok LSD. All meat, in a lean package.


    • See 1 previous
    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Jan 04, 2024

      The Gentleman's Muscle Car. I always preferred Cougars to Mustangs. Generally a nicer interior and most importantly 'hideaway headlights'. Unfortunately others have re-discovered these vehicles and their prices are now out of reach (of my very shallow pockets).

  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Jan 04, 2024

    As one on the cusp of boomer/X generation I missed the muscle car era. That said, an LS6 Chevelle would be my choice.

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Jan 05, 2024

    To me, it's the first car I really lusted over, a '68 Charger R/T, in bright red, no vinyl top 440 auto, with only the butt stripe on it. It was a neighbor's car that he bought about the first day a '68 Charger was available. His best friend lived across the street, and he soon bought a blue Roadrunner, same engine and drivetrain as the Charger had. They would race them on the road nearby, which had both a starting line and a 1/4 mile finish line on it, painted as if it was done by the guys who painted the stripes on for a living. My dad was looking to buy a new car in '68, and he (IMHO) insanely picked a 2 door Imperial, in a sad bronze color with a black vinyl top. At least the interior was black. He had a cam put into the 440, and it pulled like a train, once you hooked up those skinny back tires.

    I came close to getting one of the other cars I lusted after. My cousin Ronnie was supposed to give me first crack at his '70 Roadrunner, which in 1973 still looked showroom new, but instead, he sold it to a guy I went to school with. I saw it one Sunday afternoon, when he pulled up in it with his future ex-wife riding shotgun. I still have some resentment towards Ronnie 50 years later. I wanted that car bad.

  • Paul Paul on Feb 21, 2024

    1971 Hemi Cuda followed by a 1969 Charger.

    Predictable, I know.