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Classic Chevrolet muscle cars

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

The classic cars from the glory days of Chevrolet

The classic cars from the glory days of Chevrolet

Chevrolet has a long and storied history of producing cars that looked good, sounded better, and made heads turn. Let?s take a trip down memory lane and remember some of the classic Chevrolet muscle cars that have cruised the streets with style and class.


To many car fans, the 1953 white and red Corvette was the first true American sports car.  While the stock Blue Flame six-cylinder engine may not qualify this as a muscle car, the 300 produced that year were only the prelude of what was to come. In 1955, a V-8 was offered and the following year the car underwent the first of several significant design changes. The Sting Ray was introduced in 1963, and to this day the ‘Vette remains one of the most popular and enduring Chevrolet muscle cars.

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The 2009 ZR1 is the first to cost more than $100 grand and to exceed 200 MPH.  It develops 630 HP from its 6.2 L supercharged LS9 engine.  This pushes the Corvette into the realm of high performance super cars with capabilities rivaling exotic European cars at two or three times the price.


The 1967 Camaro was Chevrolet?s belated response to the Ford Mustang.  The Super Sport (SS) and Z/28 were also available with the Rally Sport option package.  The stock engine for the SS model was a 350 in3 V-8 producing almost 300 HP.  It featured an upgraded suspension, wide tires, simulated air intakes, and a front bumblebee stripe.  The Z/28 was designed for racing enthusiasts and competed in the Trans-Am racing series.

A very small number of Camaros were upgraded by select dealerships with the same 427 in3 engine used in the Corvette.  It could do the quarter mile in 13 seconds.  The 1971 SS350 was selected by Road&Track as one of the ten best cars in the world.  The car has evolved through five generations of major design changes.  Although production was stopped in 2002 due to declining sales, the car was reintroduced in 2010 and was awarded the World Car Design of the Year.


When the Chevelle was first introduced in 1964, it was not part of the stable of Chevrolet muscle cars. It was intended to be basic transportation as a midsized alternative to the larger Impala. That all changed when Pontiac plunked a 389 in3 engine into its GTO, starting a race to produce even higher performance by these General Motors cousins.


It wasn?t long before Chevelle added the Malibu Super Sport to cash in on the performance craze.  While the car could be ordered with a six-cylinder engine, buyers opted for the 327 in3 small block engine, center consoles, and bucket seats.  It still wasn?t competitive with the GTO, so a year later it offered the Z16 option, commonly known as the SS396.  Only 200 of these Chevrolet muscle cars were produced, and they came equipped with a special suspension and shock absorbers, chrome engine components, custom manifolds, and a speedometer that topped out at 160 MPH.

El Camino

The El Camino was originally conceived as a utility vehicle without emphasis on performance.  Never intended to join the list of Chevrolet muscle cars, it evolved through generations of redesign that incorporated many of the high performance features of other Chevrolets. In 1966, one engine option was a 396 in3 that was being used in the Chevelle.

Two years later, the Super Sport edition launched the El Camino into the high performance stratosphere. Equipped with a 350 HP V-8 and Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, it could do the quarter-mile in 14 seconds, good enough to qualify as a supercar or supertruck.

Muscle Car Facts
The Corvette Story


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