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Is the Mustang Still a Muscle Car?


ilmor

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So when my daughter and I went to a car show recently, we got into one of the new Mustangs. Her comment, which surprised me a bit, was "its nice and all ... but its not a Mustang". I said " What do you mean? It's a Mustang! Says so right here on the dashboard!!" ... to which she replied ...."Well ... I know it says Mustang .... but a Mustang is a muscle car, and this is no longer a muscle car. It doesn't look as muscular as past Mustangs. It's too "Euro"."

 

So that got me to thinking. What really defines a muscle car? Is the new Mustang a muscle car like the "old" Mustang was?

 

The I remember I get these two emails from fordmuscle.com. It used to be one email, but now its two. The FordMuscle Newsletter now covers S197 and older Mustangs. The S550 new Mustang is covered by a separate publication called the FordNXT Newsletter. I guess "NXT" is short for "next".

 

So what's going on here? Is the new Mustang not a muscle car? Or is it? If not what would it be called?

 

I have to admit, when I see the new Mustang next to, say, the S197 GT500, the new Mustang does not look as muscular. Even the new Super Snake does not look as muscular as the S197 Super Snake. I know this is subjective though and just my opinion.

 

To me the definition of a muscle car is a mid-size or nearly mid-size American car which is not a sports car (i.e. small convertible two door like Miata), seats at least 4 and which has a powerful V8 engine up front. Using this definition the new Mustang is a muscle car unless powered by the EcoBoost motor.

 

edit - typo

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So when my daughter and I went to a car show recently, we got into one of the new Mustangs. Her comment, which surprised me a bit, was "its nice and all ... but its not a Mustang". I said " What do you mean? It's a Mustang! Says so right here on the dashboard!!" ... to which she replied ...."Well ... I know it says Mustang .... but a Mustang is a muscle car, and this is no longer a muscle car. It doesn't look as muscular as past Mustangs. It's too "Euro"."

 

So that got me to thinking. What really defines a muscle car? Is the new Mustang a muscle car like the "old" Mustang was?

 

The I remember I get these two emails from fordmuscle.com. It used to be one email, but now its two. The FordMuscle Newsletter now covers S197 and older Mustangs. The S550 new Mustang is covered by a separate publication called the FordNXT Newsletter. I guess "NXT" is short for "next".

 

So what's going on here? Is the new Mustang not a muscle car? Or is it? If not what would it be called?

 

I have to admit, when I see the new Mustang next to, say, the S197 GT500, the new Mustang does not look as muscular. Even the new Super Snake does not look as muscular as the S197 Super Snake. I know this is subjective though and just my opinion.

 

To me the definition of a muscle car is a mid-size or nearly mid-size American car which is not a sports car (i.e. small convertible two door like Miata), seats at least 4 and which has a powerful V8 engine up front. Using this definition the new Mustang is a muscle car unless powered by the EcoBoost motor.

 

edit - typo

 

 

 

I agree with your daughter totally.

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Hard to call anything Ford has marketed since the 2015 MY a muscle car.

435 hp was a news item in 1969, not to mention that other makes show up with 650 / 707 hp !

The newer Mustangs have to look like the " world " thinks cars should look like, in order to sell.

But to answer your question.

.

The below definition is from www.musclecarclub.com

.

Strict Definition of a Muscle Car:

A muscle car, by the strictest definition, is an intermediate sized, performance oriented model, powered by a large V8 engine, at an affordable price. Most of these models were based on “regular” production vehicles. These vehicles are generally not considered muscle cars, even when equipped with large V8s. If there was a high performance version available, it gets the credit, and not the vehicle that it was based on.

Examples: Buick GS, Chevrolete Chevelle SS, Dodge Charger R/T, Ford Torino/Cobra, Plymouth GTX, Plymouth Road Runner, Oldsmobile 442, Pontiac GTO

.

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Strict Definition of a Muscle Car:

A muscle car, by the strictest definition, is an intermediate sized, performance oriented model, powered by a large V8 engine, at an affordable price. Most of these models were based on “regular” production vehicles. These vehicles are generally not considered muscle cars, even when equipped with large V8s. If there was a high performance version available, it gets the credit, and not the vehicle that it was based on.

Examples: Buick GS, Chevrolete Chevelle SS, Dodge Charger R/T, Ford Torino/Cobra, Plymouth GTX, Plymouth Road Runner, Oldsmobile 442, Pontiac GTO

.

 

That list of cars you mention there is what I historically thought of when I thought of "muscle car". After I got my Shelby GT and saw that it was referred to as a muscle car, I wasn't sure if that was truly the correct terminology or not. Think of websites like American Muscle which is primarily dedicated to Mustangs. I had always thought of the Mustang as being a "Grand Touring" car, so the GT acronym fit it well.

 

Edit - Also, there were the aforementioned "muscle cars" and then there were the "pony cars" ....

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For me, I look at the horsepower available today vs. what we thought was a lot of HP back then. Muscle cars were originally designed to do one thing well: go fast in a straight line. Today, people want more so the manufacturers have designed the cars so they will turn and stop. Personally, I like turning and stopping and do not think that makes a car "Euro". It makes it better.

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The Mustang and its image have shifted ... it is no longer a muscle car but a world car that is drifting away from 20-55 year olds and trying to be more in the 20-35 year olds .... more in the STI, GTI, and S4 market but with that is has become more of a well balanced and better all around car

 

 

IMO it stopped being a muscle car when the live axle died..... your daughter is spot on.

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I agree as well. Having two "muscle cars" of my own, and then driving the new Mustang, they are different cars. My 07 GT has more of a "raw" feel to it like the older Mustangs, my 13 GT500 has a more refined "raw" feel to it, but the new stang has a more modern feel to it (as it should), not that real old school feel to it. It doesn't make it bad, its just different. Having driven a GT350 R at Pocono this past summer, the new Mustang has an incredible "track "feel to it, amazing track car, but again, not raw feel that my 13 500 has. I think its more of a preference than anything.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think my 07 Shelby SGT looks and feels like a muscle. I also think the 2014's were the last Mustangs that had the muscle car look. That is not to say I don't like the new ones. The 74 thru 78 mustangs were not muscle cars. I know I had one. I have owned other cars that I considered a true muscle car, such as a 1965 Galaxie 427, 1967 Mustang 390(S code), and a 1987 Buick Grand National. That being said non of those will handle and hook up with the new 5.0's or the Shelby Hot rods.

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THE MUSTANG WAS ORIGINALLY A SPORTS CAR THAT EARNED A NEW OFFICIAL NAME OF ITS OWN, THE PONY CAR. I WOULD SAY IN 67 WHEN THE BODY GOT A LITTLE BIGGER AND CARRIED THE BIG BLOCKS OVER 351 CI, THEY BECAME MUSCLE CARS UNTIL 74. NOW I FEEL THE TERM FOR MUSCLE CAR DEPENDS ON ITS USE AND HP THAT DETERMINES WHICH CATAGORY THE MUSTANG FALLS UNDER, I THINK OF THE 69-73, RECENT 13-14 AS MUSCLE CARS AND ALL OTHERS AS WHERE THE OWNER SEES FIT. THE 5.0'S OF THE 80'S AND EARLY 90'S AT THE DRAG STRIP WERE MUCLE STREET FIGHTERS. ALL STREET FOX BODY CARS I CONSIDER AS GRAND TOURING. I FEEL WHEN THE IRS WAS INTRODUCED WITH THE 03-04 TERMINATORS, AS WELL AS THE 15 AND NEWER STANGS HAVING IRS, THE STANG IS NOW A HYBRID OF A SPORTS CAR FLEXING ITS MUSCLE. JUST MY $.02

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Kind of depends on your age and era cars started to mean something to you. I turned 16 years old and started driving legally in 1968. That was in the heyday of Muscle Cars and it meant GTO, GTX, Road Runner, Torino GT's with 390/428/429's, anything Chevrolet SS396, Olds 442, Buick GS 400/455's and etc. I know I missed a few like AMC's and such but they all had cars that ran 14-second quarter-miles which made them "Muscle Cars". Mustangs, Camaro, Firebirds, and Javelin's were "Pony Cars" only because they weren't full-size cars like the intermediate size models, even though they had Muscle Car performance numbers.

 

In the years since, the intermediate-size performance cars have mostly disappeared (but not all), the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger's have become the "Muscle Cars". Heck, nowadays even the 6-cylinder versions can run faster than most of the Muscle Cars of the late 60's/early 70's.

 

I have a 1970 Mach 1 with 351 CID/300 hp V-8 with stick and Shaker Hood which is mostly stock. I dyno'ed a few years back and it did 250 rwhp which is better than a stock one in 1970. However, my wife's Pony Package 2014 V-6 Mustang will out perform my dearly beloved 1970 Mach 1 and run circles around it in handling and braking while turning 14.0 @102 through the quarter according to Motor Trend Mag.

 

This year with the Eco-Boost 4-clyinders, Mustangs are even faster and perform better.

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so call it what you want. :cool:

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Kind of depends on your age and era cars started to mean something to you. I turned 16 cars in 1968. That was in the heyday of Muscle Cars and it meant GTO, GTX, Road Runner, Torino GT's with 390/428/429's, anything Chevrolet SS396, Olds 442, Buick GS 400/455's and etc. I know I missed a few like AMC's and such but they all had cars that ran 14-second quarter-miles which made them "Muscle Cars". Mustangs, Camaro, Firebirds, and Javelin's were "Pony Cars" only because they weren't full-size cars like the intermediate size models, even though they had Muscle Car performance numbers.

 

In the years since, the intermediate-size performance cars have mostly disappeared (but not all), the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger's have become the "Muscle Cars". Heck, nowadays even the 6-cylinder versions can run faster than most of the Muscle Cars of the late 60's/early 70's.

 

I have a 1970 Mach 1 with 351 CID/300 hp V-8 with stick and Shaker Hood which is mostly stock. I dyno'ed a few years back and it did 250 rwhp which is better than a stock one in 1970. However, my wife's Pony Package 2014 V-6 Mustang will out perform my dearly beloved 1970 Mach 1 and run circles around it in handling and braking while turning 14.0 @102 through the quarter according to Motor Trend Mag.

 

This year with the Eco-Boost 4-clyinders, Mustangs are even faster and perform better.

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so call it what you want. :cool:

 

This ^^^ :thumbsup:

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