Muscle Car History

Muscle Car History

In the late 1980s, there was resurgence in ponycar popularity with the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang. But until the early 1990s Fords SVT (Special Vehicle Team) program wanted to up the power and performance. Ford’s 1995 SVT Cobra R was the first to hit the 300 horsepower mark, classic musclecar territory, but was only limited to 250 models.

The GM and Ford market rivalry continued throughout the late 90’s where Mustang Cobra and Camaro SS were both rated at 300+ horsepower for standard production models. For larger cars available in the U.S., the full-size, 4-door Chevrolet Impala SS was available from 1994 to 1996, as a high-performance version of the Caprice equipped with a Corvette-derived 5.7 L V8 LT1 engine and other specific performance features and body styling using the options found on the Caprice 9C1 police package.

The Impala SS nameplate was resurrected in 2003 as a high-performance version of the standard Impala with larger and/or supercharged engines. General Motors discontinued its F-body pony-car models, the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird after 2002, but brought back the GTO in 2004 as a rebadged Holden Monaro imported from Australia. Sales were poor and the "new" GTO was discontinued after three years. The Pontiac brand was eliminated after the 2009 model year. Ford's Special Vehicle Team also released the 2003 SVT Cobra, now supercharged, but stopped production after 2004 to make way for the new generation Mustang.

2003-2004 Mercury Marauder For 2003 and 2004 Mercury revived its Marauder nameplate, as a high-performance version Mercury Grand Marquis based on the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. In 2005, a "retro-inspired" version of the pony car Ford Mustang drew its design cues from the original 1960s Mustangs.

In 2007 Ford and Shelby also re-released a new G.T. 500, with Super Snake and King of the Road editions added in 2008. Saleen introduced a special edition echoing the Boss 302 Mustang naming it the "S302 Parnelli Jones" after the Trans-Am series driver from the 1960s and 1970s, Parnelli Jones (a subsequent similar model followed with Dan Gurney's namesake).

In 2004 Chrysler introduced their LX platform that serves as the platform for a new line of rear-wheel drive, V8-powered cars (using the new Hemi engine), including a four-door version of the Dodge Charger. It was also available as a station wagon (the Dodge Magnum) and the performance of the new models equaled many of the vintage muscle cars. Dodge revived two "classic" model names with the Charger: Daytona in 2006 and the Dodge Charger Super Bee in 2007.. GM's Cadillac division introduced the XLR roadster in 2004 that was produced alongside the Chevrolet Corvette in GM's Bowling Green, Kentucky manufacturing plant. This led to the creation of the Cadillac V-series for the luxury CTS sedan, sold as the CTS-V.

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