Is the Camaro a muscle car?

The article below was written my Gerry Malloy of the Toronto Star. I promptly sent a message to Mr. Malloy, informing him his definition of a 'Muscle Car' needs some research.

While the Mustang and the Camaro of the 1960s are considered Pony Cars, it was the high performance powertrains that were available that made the Muscle Cars. The press has gone crazy since Camaro production was announced on August 10th, could they actually be running out of things to write about?

-- Joe

Here is the article --

Since when is Camaro a muscle car?

The mainstream media, print and electronic, have been overwrought this week with news of the Camaro's resurrection at Oshawa.

But almost without exception, they have been hailing it as the rebirth of the "muscle car." Since when is a Camaro a muscle car?

I was there for the birth of both genres and there was no confusion back then as to what was what.

The muscle car was born in 1964 in the form of the original Pontiac GTO. Almost concurrently the Mustang was born, and with it the "pony car" genre.

The Camaro is a charter member of that latter club, which also came to include such vehicles as the Plymouth Barracuda, Pontiac Firebird, Mercury Cougar, Dodge Challenger and AMC Javelin.

They were all "compact" cars by that era's standards, with a sporting bent that tilted more toward all-round performance, including handling, than to sheer brute force.

They all offered V8 engines, but they were primarily small-blocks, and they earned their performance creds on the road-racing tracks of the day.

Muscle cars were bigger — mid-size cars — with big-block engines, typically in the range of 400 cubic inches (6.6 litres) and up. In addition to the GTO, they included such examples as the Chevelle SS, Dodge Super Bee, Plymouth Roadrunner and many more.

Their raison d'ĂȘtre was the drag strip, not the road course, or even the winding sideroad. They were torque-rich, straight-line missiles, waiting to be launched.

I will admit that there was some muddying of those crystal-clear waters of distinction. By the end of the 1960s, more than a few big-blocks found their way into pony cars, and they too were more at home at the drag strip than anywhere else. But they were aberrations of their pony car personas. Not muscle cars. And so it remains.

So says the curmudgeon. —Gerry Malloy

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