Sales of muscle cars have varied over the years, and it is sometimes seen that they are great polluters and a danger on the road - but this is not necessarily true, and there are several reasons why you may want a muscle car in preference to a regular car.

But what is a muscle car?

Muscle cars are cars with big powerful engines that sit inside a normal sized car body. Engines of that size normally drive a much heavier vehicle.

They were created in 1949 with the introduction of the Oldsmobile Rocket 88, which won 8 out of 10 races in the 1950 NASCAR season.

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Sales of these cars exploded in the 1960s with vehicles like the Plymouth GTX and the Ford Mustang, but by the mid 1970s, the cost of fuel was increasing and a tax was levied on such vehicles due to their power. It was perceived that the power of the vehicle was increased at the sacrifice of handling and braking - which is just not true. Driving at high speed requires a certain skill, but when driving at a sensible speed in a muscle car there is no detraction in handling or braking - in many case the vehicles are upgraded versions of standard models, so the handling and braking are SUPERIOR to standard models. The tax affected sales of muscle cars, as the target market of young males found it hard to afford them.

These cars are, of course, still built these days - examples include the Ford Mustang, Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Evo. The expense factor is still there however, making it difficult to afford these vehicles. However, new or old, a well looked after muscle car will maintain its value for many years - and muscle cars come from the factory with a finely tuned engine, so their reliability is also very good.

Many are four wheel drive, ensuring they can drive well in conditions that standard 2 wheel drive cars would do best to avoid. With this improved grip and their powerful engines, how easy it is to tow a 2 wheel drive car that has become stuck in a snow drift!

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And there is no concern (as there is around so-called 'sports cars') of not fitting in. Most have 4 or 5 seats compared to the 2 of a sports car, and they are seats of standard size. This of course does not make a muscle car better than a standard car - but at least in this instance they are of equal standing.

So what's not to like? Better handling than standard models, improved brakes, perfectly tuned engines, high retention of value, four wheel drive, big enough to get you (and the kids!) in comfortably, and best of all - knowing you are in an exclusive club due to the cost of buying one!