Muscle Car Auto Insurance: What is it?
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UPDATED: May 20, 2019
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Yes, car insurance is available for your muscle car. In fact, insurance is available for any make or model of vehicle. Auto insurance is required for any car that is to be driven on public streets, roads, or highways.
Even classic automobiles and antiques are required to be insured if they are to be driven to shows or other collector events. Insurance rates will also vary depending on the individual state’s vehicle registration policy.
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There are certain givens in the insurance industry. First, the more expensive the vehicle, the more costly it will be to insure. Unique, one-of-a-kind, or rare vehicles will also generate significantly higher auto insurance premiums.
Sports cars will cost more to insure than family wagons and sedans. Muscle cars will usually fall into an auto insurance company’s specialty insurance category, along with other collector cars.
A vintage muscle car may be issued classic or antique vehicle plates. These categories place restrictions on the use of the registered vehicle, which would reduce the cost of car insurance.
Most muscle car owners garage their cars and only occasionally bring them out to drive or take to a show; and only in the best of weather.
Muscle cars refer to a group of high-performance production vehicles from the 1960s and early 1970s.
Webster’s dictionary defines muscle car as an American-made, two- door sport coupe with a powerful engine that was designed for high-performance driving.
These cars were outfitted with the largest possible V8 engines and featured rear-wheel drive.
Meant neither as a sports car nor a hot rod, muscle cars were intended for regular family use and could frequently be seen cruising America’s streets, roads, and highways. Because of their powerful engines, muscle cars appealed to young men.
Muscle car enthusiasts would brag about their vehicle’s speed and agility, and take their vehicles out to a stretch of deserted road and race against other muscle car owners on any given Saturday night.
Victors would gain both personal pride and the boasting rights that, at least for that moment, their car was the fastest.
History of the Muscle Car
Vintage 1960s muscle cars have long since become part of modern American folklore as they spawned a generation of hobbyists and backyard mechanics. Muscle car enthusiasts formed groups and clubs dedicated to improving the performance of their vehicles at every possible turn.
Manufacturers such as Mopar, representing the Plymouth, Dodge, and Chrysler lines of vehicles, battled head-to-head with vehicles from the Ford Motor Company for supremacy on the dirt and gravel drag strips of towns across America.
One of the first muscle cars was the 1962 Dodge Dart, featuring a 413 cubic inch engine. The Dart was capable of a 13-second quarter mile at more than 100 miles per hour.
Ford also entered the muscle car market in 1962, with its 406 cubic inch Galaxie 500 model. This engine was also available in the 500xl Sunliner convertible, arguably the most powerful ragtop of the era.
By 1964 the Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile lines of General Motors began producing muscle car models of their own.
Engine size kept increasing, with the introduction of the Ford 427 cubic inch Thunderbolt and the famous Hemi 426 cubic inch engine by Mopar.
The Pontiac GTO and John Delorean
The fabled Pontiac GTO was initially introduced as an option package that included the Pontiac 389 cubic inch engine, four-on-the-floor transmission with Hurst shifting, and a special trim package. In the 1966 model year, the GTO broke out on its own.
The name, GTO, was borrowed from the Italian Ferrari line and stands for Gran Turismo Omologato. The GTO was Pontiac’s most popular creation and one of the most popular and enduring sports cars ever built in America.
Ignoring the European origin of its initial name, the GTO became affectionately known by its many fans as the “Goat.”
The Pontiac surge to prominence in the mid-1960s was led by then-division president, John Delorean. Delorean, who would later become famous as the head of his own upstart auto manufacturing company, Delorean Motors, was the driving force behind the success of Pontiac in the 1960s.
Delorean Motors in its brief history produced just one model, the unique and futuristic Delorean two-seat sports car.
While only manufactured for a brief time in the mid-1970s, the Delorean, with its stainless steel, gull wing door, became an American pop icon when it was featured in the classic film “Back to the Future” in 1985.
The impressive GTO models were designed in response to the Dodge Polara 500 and Plymouth Sport Fury. American Motors, while a late entrant in the muscle car market, was not to be outdone as it introduced its Marlin, Rebel, and Javelin models in the late 1960s.
The Rebel and Javelin models became strong contenders in the “pony class” of muscle cars, which included the Ford Mustang and Plymouth Barracuda models. These were smaller, mid-size vehicles with engines in the 300 to 350 cubic inch class.
For car buyers in the 1960s, muscle cars had publicity value, yet sales figures were always modest in comparison to the manufacturers’ more popular family sedans and wagon models.
By 1970, competition in the muscle car market peaked, as some models boasted engines that could produce an incredible 450 horsepower!
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The Shelby Mustang
Another prominent figure in the muscle car industry was Carroll Shelby, who passed away on May 12, 2012, just a year shy of 90.
According to CNN Money, Shelby was the most famous advocate of the philosophy of the muscle car, which meant cramming the most horsepower into the smallest package possible.
Shelby’s best known work was showcased in the AC Cobra and later in the 1965 Mustang Cobra. He founded his own company in 1962, Shelby American, Inc., that specializes in modified Ford vehicles and performance auto parts.
The Beginning of the End
In 1973, the seminal film “American Graffiti” was released to American audiences. “Graffiti” was a nostalgic look at America in 1962, from the vantage point of several teenage friends about to finish high school in a small northern California town and begin their lives as adults.
Featured prominently in this film were a number of hot rods, street rods, and early muscle cars. Cruising the town’s main thoroughfare on a Saturday night was the height of enjoyment for the area’s young drivers.
Those fortunate enough to have cars would slowly promenade up and down the street, talking with friends and enjoying the scenery.
During the course of an average Saturday night, challenges would be made, races would be held, and the victors would bask in fleeting glory until the next challenge was issued.
“Graffiti” painted a rather idyllic view of this period of American history. Unfortunately, by the time of the film’s release, the muscle car era was quickly drawing to a close.
The Arab Oil Crisis and Embargo
The downside of muscle cars was that high-performance equals unusually high gas consumption.
Most muscle cars averaged fewer than ten miles per gallon, with the largest and most powerful averaging only four to six mpg. This wasn’t terribly important in the 1960s when the average price of gasoline was in the 30 cents to 40 cents per gallon range.
However, things were about to change.
In 1973, the Arab oil embargo caused most Americans to have second thoughts about driving large gas-guzzling vehicles. Middle Eastern oil-producing nations, members of OPEC, joined forces to protest America’s support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
According to reports chronicled online, from October 1973 to March of 1974 the United States was unable to access and purchase oil from these nations. As a direct result, gasoline prices rose dramatically and shortages were commonplace.
Long lines formed at gas stations across the country and many areas were forced to set up rationing plans. Many homes that depended on oil for heat during the winter saw huge price increases and had to bear the expense of converting to natural gas furnaces.
At the same time, foreign vehicle manufacturers gained a toe-hold in the American automobile marketplace.
Newcomers like Datsun (now Nissan Motors), Toyota, and Honda offered Americans new choices in passenger vehicles.
These cars were smaller, more fuel efficient, and more economical in general than American cars.
The Asian imports especially also came equipped with more standard features than their American counterparts and were less expensive to purchase and maintain.
Muscle Cars Today
The Muscle Car Club provides a forum for muscle car owners around the world. Every muscle car owner can register his or her vehicle through this organization.
The Muscle Car Club is a home base for vehicle owners to share information and talk about their vintage cars. The club is dedicated to enjoying, restoring, and preserving American muscle cars.
The club’s website features more than two dozen links where members and muscle car enthusiasts can find material about most any muscle car ever produced.
Members can swap more than stories, as there are listings for rare automobile parts, as well as detailed calendars of muscle car shows and other events across the globe.
If you need help repairing your classic car, the Muscle Car Club will put you in touch with other members as well as garages and shops that specialize in these vintage cars.
Powerblock TV is a widely viewed and popular television series involving the repair and restoration of muscle cars. Each week, a different vehicle is showcased.
Powerblock TV also publishes its own “MuscleCar” magazine and boasts more than 100,000 Facebook friends!
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