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Characteristics of Muscle Cars

Edward Marsi

Edward “Ed” Marsi, a senior financial consultant in New Hampshire, has worked in the finance industry since 2011. A licensed investment advisor and registered broker, he analyzes clients’ retirement and investment plans. Outside of work, Edward Marsi maintains an interest in muscle cars.

According to the strictest definition, a muscle car is an affordable, performance-oriented vehicle, of medium size and weight with a large, front V8 engine. Most muscle cars have two doors. They also feature large tires, a rear-wheel drive, and are capable of accelerating quickly.
Over time, this definition has expanded. Full-size vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Impala, are muscle cars when their performance is above that of normal models. Further, small vehicles, known as pony or compact cars, are also labeled as muscle cars when they have top-of-the-line performance engines. The term “muscle car” isn’t even reserved for specific engine sizes. Several muscle cars exist that have only a V6 engine or turbo four-cylinder engine.
With all this variation, determining what is a muscle car and what isn’t has become challenging. But, muscle cars do have a couple stable characteristics. Most notably, they are made in the United States. There are plenty of European and Japanese vehicles that share some traits of traditional muscle cars, such as a V8 engine or rear-wheel drive, but the priority of these cars is not the same as comparably priced U.S. muscle cars. Although they can technically be called muscle cars based on certain characteristics, they are rarely labeled as such.

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