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MagicMan
01-24-2017, 09:20 PM
The 58-60 was the BiG 3 that decided to embark into the MuscleCar era...

Yadkin
01-25-2017, 12:00 AM
Interesting question.

I've recenty enjoyed this article: https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/muscle-cars-explained-history/

I always thought of the 1964 Pontiac Tempest as the first muscle car. But in fact the '49 Olds was. That era ended because of deadly race accidents.

So the early 60's was really the second wave of muscle cars. That ended due to insurance concerns plus environmental regulations.

I believe that we are currently witnessing the 3rd.

DKheld
01-25-2017, 10:07 AM
First printed use of the term "Muscle Car" (Jan '64) was describing one of my favorites - the 1964 Land Rover.

:eek:

https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.Maf041f9664c457f71e3414da6f1dbfbco0&pid=15.1&P=0&w=258&h=172

Now doesn't that look muscular?

Next printing was in Oct '65 describing the Dodge Coronet.
https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.M599e058634691261d0de17b4a9878302o0&pid=15.1&P=0&w=230&h=173

DODGE CORONET becomes "muscle car" with Hemi-426 engine, but relies on drum brakes only. Rally suspension makes car remarkably well-balanced and good-handling. *

My opinion has always been that 40's - 50's factory performance cars are "Super Cars". That was the term used for the cars at the time.

Not to be confused with other cars in the 40's and 50's known as "Sports Cars". I consider the baby birds to fall in the Sports Car category. The Corvette of that time was considered a Sports Car and comparing it to what was on the market I'd agree.

The 60's and maybe through to a few in the late 80's is what I consider the "Muscle Car" era and as Steve mentions - it appears the Muscle Car is back. There were a few thrown in on occasion between the 80's and now.

I consider the Retro Birds and the baby birds a sports car - the Battle Bird included. All other Tbirds are - to me - "Personal Luxury" cars as Ford promoted. I've never considered any Thunderbird a Muscle Car - even the Super Coupes although they seem to come the closest to the criteria of a muscle car.

And we can modify any year car from the teens up - I consider that a "Hot Rod" or "Rod".

Of course - you can turn a Squarebird into a Muscle Car - Greg Deburg's car is an example I would consider as a Muscle Car or possibly a Rod.

Greg - what do you consider you car to be?

But then the exceptions creap in - like the factory built MGB with an aluminum block 215 V8. Is that a factory muscle car or still a sports car on steroids?

Don't think there was a particular year that represents the turning point though......


My 2 cents.

Eric



*(ref - http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/301305/why-are-muscle-cars-called-so)

Dakota Boy
01-25-2017, 01:26 PM
I suppose my car would be classified as a Franken-mobile

bird 60
01-25-2017, 06:56 PM
Bonny & Clyde's 1934 Ford would have been classed as a Muscle Car for its time.:D In my opinion there's two categories in Muscle Cars. The ones that have been worked on after leaving the Factory, & the Factory ones starting in the Mid to Late 60s.

Chris......From OZ.

MagicMan
01-25-2017, 10:34 PM
Thanks for the reply's fellas, I was just thinking about a old muscle car history book I had as a teenager. The book talked about how people would modify their cars for drag races in the 50's and how the BiG 3 started to cater to the market in the 60's.

When I think about the 58-60 Tbird the concept has Muscle Car all over it IMO, of course I know it is not officially considered a Muscle Car.

Yadkin
01-26-2017, 11:02 AM
I think that the most accepted definition of "factory muscle car" is stuffing their most powerful engine into one of their smaller vehicle models. Since the TBirds of this era are big cars, they don't meet this definition. But the engines that powered them were definitely used in the factory muscle cars of the same era.

In fact, although I don't know when the practice started and ended, but the "Thunderbird" engine was an available option for several other models.

Joe Johnston
01-26-2017, 11:13 AM
In fact, although I don't know when the practice started and ended, but the "Thunderbird" engine was an available option for several other models.


Without doing any research my opinion would be it started with the Y-Block engines as "Thunderbird Special" Y-Blocks were in the passenger cars. Have to do a bit of reading to narrow it down to 55 or 56.

Edit: A quick look in the Standard Catalog of American cars mentions the Thunderbird engine as a 292 available for 55 as well as 56, and also Thunderbird Special as a 312 beginning in 56.

Deanj
01-26-2017, 01:42 PM
There are a lot of cars with muscle starting with the '49 Olds to the '62 Catalina Super Duty. I was a kid, but it seems no one referred to these as Muscle Cars at the time. I would agree the 1964 GTO would be the first officially since it was an intermediate with a "big block" 389.

Dean

sidewalkman
01-26-2017, 03:05 PM
I always think of a purpose built car, simply for going fast most often in a straight line.

Old school big block Catalinas and Chevs make the cut, you could order them with no power options and they had giant 421 and 409s all with six packs and 4 speeds, they to me at least better fit the mold.

Even the tri 5 Chevy's don't fit into the Muscle Car category, but putting a T-Bird in is like saying a Caddy or Lincoln is a Muscle Card because they shoe horned a big block in. But the weren't built for speed, that defines it to me!

simplyconnected
01-26-2017, 04:23 PM
The term, "Muscle Car" sure has a lot of elbow room...

I think of the Shelby Cobra, a little aluminum body with a 427 Ford engine... NOT a muscle car. It's a sports car on mega-steroids.

I think of muscle cars of the '60's and I think of the bias ply tires they wore. Many had drum brakes. Rarely, were they supercharged from the factory. And, just because they didn't have a huge engine meant little because the 340 Dart (Duster, Demon, etc.) ran rings around the Road Runner.

427 Corvette was the one to catch but they had independent suspension with 'dog bone' shafts that wasn't made for 1/4-mile.

Royal Pontiac (Royal Oak, MI) started it in the Detroit area. They had a '61 Catalina that someone drilled huge holes all over called, "Swiss Cheese," with a 421. The 421 Super Duty engine came out later. As soon as Chevrolet realized what Pontiac was 'getting away with' they went right to the 396 and 427. Chrysler asked no permission and offered two monsters, the 426 Hemi and 440 wedge. Street racers bought them like hotcakes. Not to be outdone, Ford had a Cyclone and Caliente that was a monster. Full-size Fords wore 390 as standard fare with 427 as an option. I don't consider the 460 as a race engine because Ford de-tuned it, holding back untold HP. - Dave

Dan Leavens
01-26-2017, 10:59 PM
Scott I would agree with you on our Thunderbirds and Dave pretty much summed it up. The 340 Duster owner won more than he lost when challenged to a drag. My favorite was the GTX now that could dance:eek:

Penelope
01-30-2017, 11:46 PM
Down here in OZ, in my humble opinion the true "full size" muscle cars were kicked off by Ford in 1967 with their XR Falcon GT and again in my opinion, the book closed with the legendary 1971 XY Falcon GTHO Phase 3. There will be arguments about others, but the XY Phase 3 GTHO is the epitome of a muscle car, and very very collectable now. In the mid 2000's some of them reached a staggering $600K in value, but they have come back to earth now, albeit still very expensive.

GM Holden produced Monaro's in the same era, followed up by the smaller Torana's but nothing compared to the Ford. Let the arguments begin!:D

sidewalkman
01-31-2017, 01:45 AM
Down here in OZ, in my humble opinion the true "full size" muscle cars were kicked off by Ford in 1967 with their XR Falcon GT and again in my opinion, the book closed with the legendary 1971 XY Falcon GTHO Phase 3. There will be arguments about others, but the XY Phase 3 GTHO is the epitome of a muscle car, and very very collectable now. In the mid 2000's some of them reached a staggering $600K in value, but they have come back to earth now, albeit still very expensive.

GM Holden produced Monaro's in the same era, followed up by the smaller Torana's but nothing compared to the Ford. Let the arguments begin!:D

Lol. You people had your own brand of cars down under, personally, and I've owned a ton of Ford, non of those names sound even a little bit familiar!!! We had Falcons, never knew there was a GT, just the Sprint!

simplyconnected
01-31-2017, 03:51 AM
Lol. You people had your own brand of cars down under, personally, and I've owned a ton of Ford, non of those names sound even a little bit familiar!!!...That's because you are sheltered from Ford products worldwide. What do you think this popular car is? (Hint: The star in the grille is significant)...
http://brakehorsepower.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ford-customline-1.jpg

http://brakehorsepower.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ford-customline-2.jpg

What engine do you think it came with? - Dave

OX1
01-31-2017, 10:34 AM
Lol. You people had your own brand of cars down under, personally, and I've owned a ton of Ford, non of those names sound even a little bit familiar!!! We had Falcons, never knew there was a GT, just the Sprint!

No doubt , they got a lot of cool V8 sedans we never got. Like this thing..........

http://www.automobile-catalog.com/car/1992/1001165/ford_falcon_gt.html

Yellowbird
01-31-2017, 11:43 AM
Is it a Meteor with a flathead?

Dan Leavens
01-31-2017, 12:20 PM
Is it an early Starliner also with a flathead?

KENN
01-31-2017, 12:34 PM
1955 Meteor, 292 Y Block Star Model.. Kenn

sidewalkman
01-31-2017, 02:58 PM
1955 Meteor, 292 Y Block Star Model.. Kenn

My thoughts exactly

simplyconnected
01-31-2017, 04:28 PM
OMG, all you poor North Americans...
Where's the steering wheel?
This is a 1958 Ford (which to me looks like the '59). Notice that the engine is a 272 Y-Block and you get two choices in trans. It's either a column 3-speed manual or a 2-speed Ford-O-Matic.
The body is a Fordor (same as the station wagon) and it is a sedan.

Now you know what happened to all the dies for just about everything except the firewall and dashboard, after Dearborn was done with our 1956 model. The Y-Block went too, straight over to Australia AND South America, where it was used forever...

Dan Leavens
01-31-2017, 05:55 PM
Dave I was close,as I had a star in my naming of this car Starliner, I have never seen and probably never will:D

KENN
01-31-2017, 05:55 PM
http://www.customlineclub.org.au/html/meteors___stars.html THE TURN SIGNALS AND GRILL ETC. ARE 55 FORD . THEY MUST HAVE USED OUR OLD DIES?

Penelope
01-31-2017, 07:43 PM
OMG, all you poor North Americans...
Where's the steering wheel?


Dave, that car is over here in Western Australia and I confess I saw it at a car show a while ago but never paid it the attention it deserved. I will be on the look out for it now, and if I can get some insight into it, I will post about it.

simplyconnected
01-31-2017, 09:14 PM
Yes Bill, Jeff Toll took these pictures in Perth and posted them. He gives that credit in his comments at the bottom:
http://brakehorsepower.com.au/3363/1958-ford-customline-star-model/

I was looking for a typical example of an Aussie Ford but I didn't want to scare our members off by showing a UTE. (We don't understand the Ford UTE.) - Dave

simplyconnected
01-31-2017, 09:57 PM
http://www.customlineclub.org.au/html/meteors___stars.html THE TURN SIGNALS AND GRILL ETC. ARE 55 FORD . THEY MUST HAVE USED OUR OLD DIES?You would be surprised with similar but genuine parts that show up around the world. Not all tooling is thrown away at the end of a production run. I have seen times when service parts were in high demand. If Ford still has the dies in a bone yard, they refurbish them for a short, non-automated run. Service parts pay handsomely.

The write-up is pretty good but it shows the Aussies weren't clear on the American Fords. Not a mention of my 1959 Galaxie, probably because it wasn't available over there (and '59 was the first year for Galaxie).

Producing cars from the same dies for four years is a HUGE money saver for Ford. It cheaply brings full-size Ford cars to places that would otherwise use smaller models. Stateside, it calls the dogs off of production pressures to supply the world with the current model.

So, production numbers are misleading. Ford produced 67,456 1959 Ford cars in the USA. TOTAL production would include Australian numbers but they were a different body style, much like my '55 Customline. My point is, Ford simultaneously produced two different models instead of putting total demands on N. American assembly plants. Smart move and a money saver both ways.

Engine production follows the same history. T-birds started out with Y-Blocks but quickly switched to FEs in '58. Meanwhile in Australia, they made their own engines with Y-Block tooling sent from North America. Brilliant. South America designed and built heads for their Y-Blocks that resemble SBF heads, where the center ports were not back-to-back exhaust. THAT was an innovation Ford embraced for the FE and all subsequent engines. - Dave