Evolution of the Automobile Industry

(Please note that there is no single definition of these terms but we are just giving some basic info to get an idea)

  • Antique Cars: Manufactured between Year 1893 – 1919
  • Vintage Cars: Manufactured between Year 1919 – 1945
  • Classic Cars: Manufactured between Year 1946 – 1960

The classic cars were not only termed for their period of manufacturing but the cars which were expensive, having high-performance engines, having luxury accessories were also known to be classic.

  • American Muscle & Pony Cars: Manufactured between Year 1949 – 1975

A muscle car is any vehicle having high horsepower to weight ratio. These were high performance cars with light body weight.

The 1st Muscle car is believed to be the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 stuffed with V8 Engine. The body was based on the platform of Oldsmobile 76 but was lightweight, and this combination created the definition of a muscle car; a car with a light body but powerful engine.

Then came the 1955 Chrysler C 300 and was known as America’s most powerful car. In 1964 the companies like Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac & Plymouth introduced cars named Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird & Plymouth Barracuda with sharp looks but deficient power and thus it created a new market termed as Pony Cars.

Pony Cars are often confused with Muscle Cars as they look similar but have less power. But these cars were later upgraded with powerful engines in and around 1967. There were no pollution restrictions and no fuel economy standards by American govt. during this time. But this could not continue very long as in 1970, the Clean Air Act practically killed the use of high-performance engines. The manufacturers detuned the powerful engines of the 1960s to meet the govt. standards. In 1978, another act named Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) was passed in America and after this, the race for fuel-efficient engines began.

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