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Top Ten Fastest Muscle Cars
Not all Muscle Cars were judged fastest at the drag races. Many gained fame at the NASCAR races where the tracks were more grueling with other muscles racing at the same time. For both races they removed many of the non-essential equipment including panels, bumpers and traction bars allowing the Muscle Cars to run faster.
When one of the cars built strictly for racing had a larger engine installed, the public wanted that same engine in their Muscle Car, and they didn’t seem to care if the cars were stripped for the races. During that time as the Muscle Cars gained in popularity the younger crowd gained bragging rights as their own cars had the best scores at both types of races.
In many early articles that gave the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 credit for the beginning of the ‘Musclecar era’ and the 1950 NASCAR race proved its success as it won eight out of 10 races. The 49 had the first high-compression V-8 engine in the coupe built for a V-6. The Hudson Hornet was the only car that came close to the Rocket’s potential, but muscle car restoration race was definitely on and it was years before their competitors caught up.
Chrysler came out with their own 1955 C-300 with two 4-barrel carburetors and 355 h.p. engine. However this was a limited option and never intended it to be driven on the streets, still they proved themselves at NASCAR. It accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds.
The Muscle Car popularity appeared to jump way ahead into 1963 when Chevrolet’s only car built completely for drag racing with a h.p. between 480-520 depending mainly on the fuel that was available at that time, and the tuning factor. The car was discontinued in 1964 as General Motors discontinued any involvement in the racing programs. Politics may have figured in that decision as well.
It’s hard to believe that none of their cars were built for the race tract as several cars were listed as the fastest in the 60’s drag racing contests. The Impala, Chevelle and Camaro Z28 still had good results and evidently they built them strictly for the street, so who are we to believe?
American Motors developed their mid-size 1970 Rebel with its 340 h.p. engine and it ran a close 2nd to Pontiac’s GTO. One magazine article writer claimed that the “70 Rebel was among the greatest cars of all time.”
One of the last ‘greats’ was 1973-74 Pontiac Firebird who fought long and hard for the Muscle Car era to continue in popularity; but by 1975 its power was diminished greatly. Other finals were Plymouth’s Road Runner and the 426 Hemi lost its power as well. It was as though they didn’t want the era to die, but didn’t have enough power to sustain it.
Never again were The Top Ten Fastest Muscle Cars available to the buying public. Never again would they rule at the races, yes they came back, but not in the same way. The only thing left was to revive those left on the scene and their popularity became the deciding factor, but victory was only in their minds, not on the track.