U.S. Muscle Car Madness

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U.S. Muscle Car MadnessWould it surprise you to learn that muscle cars are purchased more often by men than by women?

It is true; by a margin of nearly 20 percent. Does it make sense that more muscle cars are sold in states with sunny climates than states known for harsh winter conditions? Sure it does and – let’s face it – this all takes place for some pretty obvious reasons. Testosterone and common sense, included. However, there are some underlying factors in the recent surge of muscle car sales in the U.S.

Where new muscle cars are concerned, horsepower and style are king. Today’s influx of retrospective muscle cars seems to indicate that Americans want to purchase vehicles that remind them of the past but are equipped with more powerful engines and all of the latest technological amenities.

A recent study done by Experian Automotive found that muscle car registration was up by a margin of 35 percent (over the last 9 years). They classified the Dodge Viper and the Dodge Challenger sedan as muscle cars. Besides these two entries, the term muscle car is pretty accurate. The Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang are all cars that have been around since the 1950s and 60s. Some have been in constant production since the 1950s and 60s and others have disappeared and then reappeared following a redesign. While the Dodge Charger was also considered by some to be a muscle car (and for good reason), earlier models were not sedans but coupes. The Dodge Viper didn’t enter production until 1992, so some muscle car purists will cringe at this entry but the current version certainly has plenty of “muscle.” Before considering these statistics make note that this study began 3 years before the retro (ffith-generation) Camaro was released in 2009, thus giving the other models quite an advantage. Here is the new vehicle registration numbers breakdown on a per-model basis:

While the Dodge SRT Hellcat package (offered on the Charger and Challenger, and other FCA models) is a hot property right now, Experian also noted some rather disturbing facts about recent Charger and Challenger sales. “Nearly 52.4 percent of consumers who purchased a Charger and 49.6 percent of consumers who purchased a Challenger had loan terms between 73 and 84 months. Furthermore, both models had the highest rates of borrowers in the subprime risk category, with 22.8 percent of consumers who purchased a Charger and 18.3 percent of those who purchased a Challenger having credit scores 600 or below.”

I am loving the way muscle cars have evolved over the last 9 years. Most are faster, prettier, more fuel efficient, and more durable than their predecessors. They also offer superior handling, have better climate control systems, and more comfortable cabins. I am anxious to see where the next decade of muscle car development takes us as a car-loving subculture and a nation.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.