Will muscle cars survive the electric frenzy?
Is this the end of the road for muscle cars?
The (5th gen) Ford Mustang was the first American car I ever experienced and the first rental car I ever drove. It was amazingly underpowered, delivering only 210 hp from its 4.0-litre engine, tremendously under-engineered and surprisingly cheap to run. Possibly just because it was 2009 and petrol was a lot cheaper than it is right now. And I instantly fell in love with it. Three years later, back on US soil, I rented another Mustang, the upgraded M.Y. 2012 version, and while it was a bit better, putting out 305 hp from a 3.7-litre V6, it was still unnecessarily wasteful. And I loved that one, too.
Mustangs, like most pony/muscle* cars, have always been simple and analogue. The interior of the one(s) I drove looked like it was carved from a solid block of plastic - like a cheap business hotel room - it didn't handle very well and its V6 managed to turn air and petrol into noise and nothing much. But it felt wonderful.
Over the years, I've had the opportunity to drive a few pony cars, including the insane Challenger SRT Demon which happened to be the fastest-accelerating car in the world when it first came out around four years ago.
The Demon is actually another great example of what muscle cars are all about. Powered by a supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI V8, putting out 840 hp and 770 lb-ft of torque. First production car to run on 100+ high-octane fuel and it uses a supercharger that's actually larger than most European engines (2.7 litres).
I've driven several electric cars, and I liked most of them, and as global car makers pledge to ditch ICEs as soon as possible, certain types of cars will no longer exist. I don't think it's gonna happen tomorrow but it's probably going to happen at some point.
I think it was Dodge boss who recently said muscle cars are all about performance but I don't think that's true, muscle cars are all about unnecessary noise and V8s. You can have an electric sedan, an electric supercar or even an electric sportscar, but I don't think you can ever call an electric car a "muscle" car. I hope I'm wrong, but unfortunately I don't think I am.
*the term pony car usually refers to compact sports powered by a small-block V8 or a V6, muscle cars are usually slightly larger and with more powerful engines