Posted Juerg Weidmann on October 15, 2010
The early muscle car era was a glorious time in American history. The best muscle cars were produced in the 1960s, when engines were big, gas was cheap, and emissions controls were nonexistent. These cars have captured the hearts of modern collectors, and inspired generations of Ford and Dodge apparel. What happened in later decades?
It's hard to say, but in the 1970s some of the car companies started making some bad decisions, and the fate of the muscle cars era suffered for it. Even today, the cars from the 1960s are much more popular and collectible than some of the ones that followed. But what really did the muscle cars in was probably the fuel crises of the 1970s.
The first one came in 1973, when OPEC severely limited how much fuel they exported to the United States. Although it didn't last very long, the fuel crisis set in motion a trend toward smaller cars and better fuel economy -- and muscle cars were the exact opposite. Muscle cars did continue to be made during the 1970s, but perhaps it was the manufacturer's attempts to make more fuel-efficient vehicles that resulted in some of the catastrophes we will explore below.
But in 1979, another fuel crisis compounded the damage. Cars during the 1980s were much smaller, and a lot of them were imports. Although some of the more popular muscle cars -- such as the Mustang, the Camaro, and the Trans Am -- were still being made, these years are hardly the ones we look back on fondly when we think of the era of the muscle cars! But without any further to do, here are some of the worst muscle cars of all time:
As much as American culture has romanticized the muscle car era, it wasn't ALL good, as you can see. For the most part, these mistakes came about through the fuel crises and the manufacturers attempts to satisfy new concerns regarding fuel economy, while still continuing to make the muscle cars of the previous decade. Unfortunately, as they discovered, fuel economy and classic muscle cars just don't go together!
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