Muscle cars were first introduced to the American public right after World War II. These cars were often modeled after the heavily customized cars and very fast cars that were used by bootleggers during Prohibition. These cars represented speed and power, something that was highly valued by the American public.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that muscle cars officially came into their own, however. It was during this era that cars capable of flexing their power on the road and with a unique aesthetic design began to expand into the consumer market. Below are the top five cars of the 1950s that contributed significantly to America’s muscle car culture.
1. 1955 Chevy Classic V-8
The 1955 Chevy was not only one of the first true muscle cars, but it is also a car that would change the history of Chevrolet forever. This car featured a 265 cubic inch V-8 motor that would be the centerpiece of Chevy’s for over fifty years. It also included a 115 inch wheel base that was eighteen percent lighter than previous Chevy models. This would give this muscle car impressive power that puts it in a category all by itself.
2. 1956 Mercury Montclair
The 1956 Mercury Montclair was a car that not only had the new V-8 engines, but also had a style that was decidedly unique. While many cars during this era kicked up the flash with plenty of chrome, this car had just enough to make it a recognizable icon of the era. It was made both as a hardtop vehicle and a convertible, with the latter gaining quite a bit of popularity among collectors in recent years.
3. 1956 Chevy Corvette
The 1956 Chevy Corvette is considered to be a classic muscle car in modern automotive circles. While previous model Corvettes had lack luster sales, Chevy turned it all around with this car’s unique design. It is known for its sleek curves and it’s very unique scallop design around the wheel base. Contributing to its street credibility was the addition of a second four barrel carburetor which increased its total horsepower to 225 HP.
4. 1958 Packard Hawk
In 1958, Packard stepped away from the front grill design of its previous line of Studebakers and created a truly unique muscle car. It is known for the big bulge on its hood which was necessary to accommodate the impressive McCulloch supercharger. The addition of the McCulloch supercharger with the car’s 289 cubic inch engine gave this care 275 horses at its disposal.
5. 1959 Chrysler 300E
This beast of the road didn’t sell well when it was first introduced, but it has since become a hard to find muscle car classic. It is known for its incredible 380 horsepower engine and its resistance to rust. Though many consider the 1959 Chrysler 300E to be inferior to previous “D” models, its rarity in the muscle car market makes it more that worthy of making the list.