“Just what is a Muscle Car?” Road Test magazine asked in June 1967. The answer: “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 BIG engine in it. . . . The Muscle Car is Charles Atlas kicking sand in the face of the 98 horsepower weakling.” Unconcerned with such trivial details as comfort and handling, the vintage American muscle car was built for straight-line speed and quickly became the ride of choice for power-hungry racers and serious gearheads. In a country where performance was measured in brute force, a quarter mile at a time, the muscle car was the perfect machine.
In the intervening years, these down-and-dirty, high-performing beauties have earned their place in the automotive pantheon. As prized by collectors and aficionados as they are by denizens of garages and drag strips, classic muscle cars now fetch upwards of a million dollars at auctions and feature in any story of America’s automotive glory days. The icons of muscle car art—including Camaro and Chevelle SS, the Hemi and 440-6 ’Cuda, Challenger, Roadrunner, Super Bee, GTX, Super Bird, Daytona Charger, Super Cobra Jet and Boss Mustang, Talladega Torino, Buick GSX and W30 Oldsmobile 442, and AMX Javelin—are all here, on full display in this lavishly illustrated volume, each described in a detailed essay followed by a gallery of portraits and special gatefold presentations that capture the art of the muscle car at its finest.