Muscle Cars. Ben Adams

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1 Muscle Cars Ben Adams

2 Characteristics of a Muscle car American made Mid-sized car with a powerful engine (at least V-8) lightweight body Usually 2 doors Performance oriented

3 Pony Cars Pony cars are like Muscle cars but are more affordable and less focused on performance. The name came from the 1964 Ford Mustang. Although the two types of cars are similar they are often confused.

4 History

5 Prohibition The first demand for faster cars was the 1920s because bootleggers wanted to outrun the law. Many automobile companies did not sell high performance cars because it was expensive so a lot of people would modify their cars. By the end of Prohibition however, the need for speed was briefly stopped because bootlegging was not profitable and fast cars were too expensive in the Great Depression.

6 1940s The Early 1940s was mostly dedicated to World War II ( ). By the 1940s people started using cars for racing. In 1949, the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the introduction to muscle cars. The Rocket 88 had a high compression V8 engine with the lightweight body of a Oldsmobile 76, which was designed for a six cylinder engine. This sparked the American muscle movement. The 88 was the fastest car on the NASCAR circuit.

7 1950s THe Milestone It wasn t until the 1950s when the muscle car industry took off and gave the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 competition. The two biggest muscle car companies in the 1950s were Chrysler and Chevrolet. The 1950s was a time of new innovation.

8 Chrysler Chrysler came out with the hemi, a series of V8 engines with hemispherical combustion chambers. The engine has a higher engine output because the air valves face each other in the cylinder allowing for more air flow. In 1955 Chrysler came out with the C-300 (300 horsepower) and became known as America's most powerful car.

9 Chevrolet The Chevrolet small block V-8 came out in 1955 to help develop lightweight cars. Other companies followed Chevrolet and started using small block V-8 engines. Chevrolet also developed a fuel injection engine. Fuel Injection is a combustion engine where the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder rather than the use of a carburetor. Fuel injection engines are better because they are more fuel efficient, better at accelerating, and run and idle smoother. They also allow for more power. Powerful engines with lightweight bodies allowed for high speeds and fast acceleration, but the handling was poor. Because of these reasons drag racing became popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

10 1950s Race Ban In 1955 there was an accident at 24 Hours of Le Mans (an endurance race that last 24 hours). The crash caused an explosion and resulted in 84 deaths. It is known as the most catastrophic crash in motorsports history. In 1957 there was a ban on factory sponsored racing set by the Automobile Manufactures Association. Companies did not advertise or associate themselves with race vehicles.

11 1960s Drag racing became more and more popular in the 1960s. The engines continued to develop and grow, while the cars remained the same size. The 1962 Dodge Dart was notorious for the 13 second ¼ mile. The 1963 Pontiac Super Duty had a swiss cheese frame, or a frame with holes, to make the car lighter.

12 The Golden Age The Golden Age started in 1964 when Pontiac released the Tempest GTO. GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato). The GTO meant the cars were approved for racing. The 1964 Pontiac GTO ($3,200)was 427 CID (7.0 liters) instead of the 330 CID (5.4 Liters) (Measures volume of the engine) but the car was later deemed unsafe to drive.

13 GTO

14 1960s continued In 1964 Ford Mustang released a car at an affordable price, but lacked power. As mentioned earlier it was a new type of car: the pony car. They look like muscle cars but they have smaller engines, and are more affordable. In 1967 Ford upgraded the Mustang engine from a 390 CID to 428 CID. Other Companies started making cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, the Plymouth Road Runner, the Dodge Charger, and the Pontiac Firebird. In the late 1960s automotive companies started losing money on muscle cars because the market was filled with them.

15 1970s Muscle cars were downgraded in the 1970s due to government regulations. There was an emission limit that caused engines to run on low lead fuel. This restricted the engine power output. The government also forced manufacturers to have heavier and stronger bumpers which added weight to the body of the car slowing it down. The 1973 oil crisis almost destroyed the market for muscle cars because people wanted smaller more efficient cars due to rising gas prices. The price for owning a muscle car was too high and those that could afford them did not want them because they did not have the performance that earlier models had. Because of the low demand most models were discontinued by 1975.

16 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s There was another oil crisis in 1983 but into the mid 1980s muscle cars became more popular again. New technology in computer integration (spark plug timing), air intakes, and fuel injections made cars faster. Cars also became safer. The most popular cars of the 1980s were the Mustang, Camaro, and Firebird. The cars got more powerful and faster into the 90s and 2000s.

17 Muscle cars in popular culture Muscle cars play a big role in movies: The Dukes of Hazzard Bullitt Gone in 60 seconds Fast Five Artists that included muscle cars in their music: Bruce Springsteen Beach Boys The Beatles Chuck Berry

18 What was the appeal of muscle cars and who was driving them?

19 American culture and values Muscle cars did not change American popular culture, but instead were part of it. The cars represented freedom and power: the ability to go where you wanted when you wanted. With a muscle car you had control and this appealed to youth especially because of generation gaps in the mid to late 20th century.

20 Bibliography Benz, Robert. "Muscle Cars Explained: History, Evolution & Buyer's Guide." Gentleman's Gazette. 24 July Web. 10 June "How Muscle Cars Changed American Culture." Performance Plus. WordPress, 30 June Web. 10 June "Muscle Car History." Muscle Car Facts. Web. 10 June <

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