Are American muscle cars better than import sports cars? It is a question as old as the muscle car category itself. As soon as American manufacturers started building cars that could compete with European sports cars, people started dividing into groups. Then in the 90s, Japanese manufacturers had a sports car renaissance and made the question even more complicated.
Today, every manufacturer has evolved and offers more refined vehicles than ever. Nonetheless, the question of whether American muscle can outdo imports still looms.
Muscle cars first began in the late 1940s and 50s with American manufacturers putting big, powerful V8s into their coupes. A lot of activity also happened outside of the factory with enthusiasts working on their own hot rods. The segment really started to define itself with the release of the Pontiac GTO in 1964. Since then, Americans and many others have loved muscle cars.
The formula for American muscle is simple: take a rear wheel drive car, typically a coupe, and put a big V8 under the hood. These cars are affordable and, until recently, were primarily designed for speed in a straight line. The roar of an American V8 is unparalleled in the car world, especially on cars that have been upgraded with the highest quality exhaust mufflers.
Generally, muscle cars offer more performance for less money compared to imports. For a long time, this meant sacrificing some luxuries and performance on any track other than the drag strip. However, since the 2000s, American manufacturers have been created increasingly refined sports cars built on top of their muscle car origins. So, you can get a Mustang or Camaro that can handle a turn.
Import Sports Cars
Typically, European manufacturers are credited with developing the sports car. Mercedes, Porsche, Bugatti and others built touring cars and roadsters that emphasized the thrill of driving. Since then many European brands have continued to offer luxurious, beautiful and high-performing sports cars.
In the 80s and 90s, Japanese brands started exporting their sports cars to the United States. Work with all-wheel-drive and turbocharging let small Japanese sports cars offer exciting driving experiences and serious performance.
Import cars can be more expensive than American muscle. However, they often offer more refinement. European brands are known for their more luxurious approach and beautiful designs. Japanese brands have often been on the cutting edge of technology. Today, imports can offer a lot even at reasonable price points, making the competition with American muscle tighter than ever.
Which To Choose
Ultimately, the choice between an American muscle car or an import should come down to your personal preference. However, it is hard to argue that American brands don’t offer all the amenities and cornering performance of imports now.
Cars like the Mustang GT350R, Camaro ZL1 and Dodge Charger Hellcat are truly impressive on the drag strip and around the track. Plus, there is nothing quite like listening to a powerful, naturally aspirated V8 roar with a perfectly chosen cat back exhaust.
Enjoy The Car Life
No matter whether you choose an American muscle car or an import, take time to enjoy the drive. It is a rewarding hobby! Take it out on the track or show it off at cars and coffee.