Before talking or writing about great muscle cars, one should first define a muscle car. Of course, anyone reading this already knows what a muscle car is, right? Yes and no. Muscle cars are like beauty: ask ten aficionados and you’ll probably end up with 14 different definitions. However, all performance car enthusiasts agree that the golden age was the 60’s and 70’s when gas was cheap and steel even cheaper.
What makes a muscle car great?
Since the 1949 release of the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, there has always been a segment of the population whose judgment of an auto is based on speed and power. Most of the cars manufactured during the golden age are not street-legal today due to emission limits. In response to the continuing interest in some of the iconic brands created then, some manufacturers have revived brands that were unveiled during the 60’s and 70’s.
A few of the revived brands are actually true to the spirit of the original designers and age: to produce the loudest, biggest and most powerful rubber-burning machine on the road. On the other hand, most of them are just a gimmick to part the unsuspecting buyer with his money. Some new entrants also deserve serious consideration and, in some cases, accolades. If most commonly required performance auto parts such as gaskets, spark plugs or filters are not easily available at reasonable prices then it is not a great car. You can acquire these from one of the leading online retailers of performance auto parts for muscle cars, such as Lightning Force Performance. Ladies and gentlemen the winners are:
1. 2003-04 SVT Cobra
The original Hellcat, Ford SVT Mustang Cobra, or SVT Cobra as has been called by some, takes first place in our honors list. The SVT Cobra was dubbed “The Terminator” by the Special Vehicle Team (SVT) of Ford Motors who built it. “The Inception” might have been a more fitting name. While the auto’s builders thought it would ‘terminate’ competition in the muscle car niche, its innovations began a new generation of performance cars. Produced between 1993 and 2004, its announcement in 1992 as the first offering from the newly created SVT group at Ford, was a long list of firsts. Other than being the first supercharged muscle car, it boasted an independent rear suspension that allows the engine to be pushed to the limit. The icing on the cake is that unlike performance auto parts that are always out of stock, SVT Cobra parts are readily available and dirt cheap.
2. 2007-14 Shelby Cobra GT500
This was the official successor to the SVT Cobra after it was discontinued. It continued the innovations initiated by its predecessor. Apart from boasting a supercharged V8 engine with up to 500 hp, the design by Shelby Carrol in collaboration with the SVT team was timeless.
3. 1999-04 Ford Lightning
Ever since Ford built the world’s first auto assembly line, it has always been a pioneer. The 99-04 Ford Lightning is a second generation offering of Lightning series, which notched a long list of firsts. Built by the SVT team, this truck variant of a muscle car was the fastest production truck of its generation and the 390 horses under the hood make it a power ride. The icing on the cake is that unlike most muscle cars, original performance parts are available to date.