There were muscle cars that were hot, and muscle cars that were not. How to judge whether a muscle car has stood the test of time, though? Clearly, if the car is still popular today -- either as the original OR the redesigned "retro" version of the original (or both) -- then it has stood the test of time quite well. Here are some of the models that have remained popular over the years, throughout many changes in car design and technology:
- Ford Mustang - Who can forget the Mustang? Ever since it first hit the market in 1964, the Mustang has been a bestseller. True, there were some not-so-good years, but when all is said and done, the 'Stang has been made continuously for nearly four decades, and has inspired all kinds of Mustang apparel -- pretty high praise in the auto industry, if you think about it.
- Chevrolet Camaro - The 1967 Camaro was Chevy's answer to the Mustang, and like the Mustang, it didn't stop there -- Chevy continued making their version of the muscle car until 2002. Although the Camaro actually seemed to lose its reputation as a tough muscle car in the last decade or so of its life, the power and flashy exterior of the original model has been resurrected in a 2010 version, which was released in 2009.
- Chevrolet Corvette - Ahh, who can forget the Corvette? This car is almost in a class by itself -- it started out in the 1950s as a cute little coup, and only in the 1960s did it acquire the aggressive styling that most of us associate with the Corvette. The 'Vette is, of course, still made today, more than half a century after the first one rolled off the line.
- Dodge Challenger - Just about anyone you pass on the street will know the names of the first three muscle cars listed, even if they aren't particularly knowledgeable about cars. The Challenger isn't as well known, except to the fans of muscle cars. This car has had a rather fitful production history. After it first debuted in 1970, production on it was stopped in 1974; the car was made again from 1978 to 1983. In 2008, Dodge decided to try again with a "retro" model, which is still made today. Despite its on-again, off-again production history, though, the Challenger remains a classic that is loved by many muscle car fans.
- Dodge Charger - The Charger is the Challenger's faster, cooler older brother. Unlike the Challenger, which was bigger and more luxurious to appeal more to wealthier Americans, the Charger was intended to compete with the fastback craze of the 1960s. The Charger also suffered a few setbacks in production, however. It was made continuously until 1977, but Dodge's attempt to bring it back in 1982 was a disaster that only lasted five years. Dodge seems to have learned a few things in the interim, however, and when the Charger came back a final time in 2006, this time it stuck.
There have been other popular muscle cars, of course, but these are some of the models that come to mind as having the most lasting impact!