blank 01/31/14 10:23AM 1949 OLds Rocket 88, Buick GNX, Classic Cars, Muscle Cars, pontiac gto, Pontiac Trans Am, Shelby GT500

The Five Most Powerful American Classic Muscle Cars

The 5 Most Powerful American Classics

Everyone has their own opinion about which was the first truly powerful car released in the United States. Some suggest it was the 1919 Porter Model 45, others say it was the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, and still others believe it was the 1965 Pontiac GTO.  Wherever you fall in line with the debate, one thing that can’t be argued is the fact that America has turned out some incredibly powerful vehicles in its 120 year automotive history. The debate over which vehicles are the most powerful has been ongoing for nearly as long, and there can be no clear cut answer. However, everyone has their favorites. Here is our list of five of the most powerful American classics ever to come of the assembly line.

 The First of the Muscle Cars

1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88

For its era, the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the power car. Available as a hardtop or convertible, the car was built with a 304-cubic-inch, 135-horsepower V8 engine, and it could go from zero to 60 MPH in 12 seconds. A legend for its time and beyond, many believe that this Oldsmobile was the original muscle car.

 Pontiac GTO, Muscle Car

1964 Pontiac GTO

General Motors tucked a 389-cubic inch V8 engine into its midsize Tempest, and singlehandedly spawned the era of the 1960’s muscle car. They called it the GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato), and to get around corporate rules, GM execs made the GTO an options package. It’s relatively light weight of about 3,000 pounds helped with dynamics, too. Cutting the Rocket’s speed record by more than half, this GTO could reach 60 MPH in 5.7 seconds. It helped, too, that the GTO boasted a 349-horsepower engine.

 1987 Buick GNX, Muscle Car

1987 Buick GNX

Engineered in an age when insurance costs were at an all-time high, and concerns about vehicle emissions were gaining traction, the 1987 Buick GNX had all the makings of a vehicle powerhouse, but in a less robust body design. Built with a V6 3.8-litre turbocharged engine, the GNX could get from 0 to 60 in 4.7 seconds. It also helped that the turbocharger was a bit larger, and the car had 376-horsepowers under the hood. Interestingly, only 547 of these powerful coupes were ever built, so if you find one, hang on to it!

 1998 Pontiac Trans Am, Muscle Car

1998 Pontiac Trans Am WS-6

Keeping with the powerful engine in a smaller package design of the Buick GNX, the 1998 Pontiac Trans Am WS-6 had a 5.7-litre V8 that could get up to 60 MPH in under 5 seconds. Aided by its 320 horsepower engine, this little powerhouse finished the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds. How could it not be fast? This Pontiac held the engine of the 1997 Corvette, but in a smaller, lighter weight package.

 2013 Mustang Shelby GT 500, Muscle Car

2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

No powerful American car list is complete without there being at least one Mustang on the list, and this is the one. The 662-horsepower engine is powered by a V8 that is touted as the most powerful in the world, and it shows in the numbers. The Shelby GT500 can reach 60 MPH from a standstill in a record-breaking 3.8 seconds and it won’t stop there either. It can make the quarter mile in 12.2 seconds at 121.1 MPH (top speed 202).

 

Obviously, these cars aren’t meant to be driven at full speed on public roads. Speeding is a key cause of serious injury and fatalities in car accidents, and the faster you drive the more reaction time you’ll need to avoid situations, such as pedestrian or bike accidents. Additionally, the top speeds and power of some of these vehicles means that they should be off limits for novice drivers. Sometimes, it’s good enough just knowing what’s under the hood.

 

 

 

 

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