The Return of the Muscle Car

When was the last time real muscle cars were within the middle class's reach? When could you afford an American beast with more horsepower than you'd ever need? Twenty years ago, the Ford Mustang maxed out at 320 horsepower. While that's not a small number (it's about 100 more than the first generation Mustang could have), it wasn't overkill. It wasn't enough to generate the tire screeching today's muscle fans want. But now it's the late teen years of the current millenium. Today, while some categories of automobile are getting lighter and more efficient (and often, weaker), other categories are pushing the limits in the other direction again. Just look at the specs of these iconic cars.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Horsepower: 808

0-60: 2.3 seconds

MSRP: $86,090

Top Speed: 168 mph

Transmission: 8-speed auto

What can we say about this one? It's really nothing more than an extremely tweaked Challenger SRT. They've removed the back seat, adjusted the suspension and transmission, and reduced weight here and there, ending up with the quickest road-legal car on the market. It's so quick, you'll have to resist the urge to put your foot down unless you've got plenty of room ahead. The Challenger SRT Demon has one purpose: to be QUICK.

Ford Mustang GT

Horsepower: 460

0-60: 4.4

MSRP: $39,995

Transmission: 6-speed manual or 10-speed auto

Weight: 3,705 lb

Ford hasn't made an attempt to legitimately compete with the devilish Dodge creation above. Although, you could say the Mustang GT is almost a competitor. It reaches 60 mph in four and a half seconds and costs less than half of what the Challenger costs. It's also a little more suited to driving on curvy roads than the Demon. Automobile Mag says its MagneRide, which costs an extra $1,695, keeps it planted no matter what kind of path you're navigating (assuming it's a road, of course). This sports car competes with vehicles like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and maybe even the BMW M4.

Corvette ZR1

Horsepower: 755

0-60: 2.7 sec

MSRP: $130,000

Top Speed: 211 mph

Transmission: 7-speed manual or eight-speed auto

"The Fastest and Most Powerful Corvette Ever," say the headlines. And it's true. The Corvette has never been this muscly. The ZR1 comes with an intercooled 2.65 liter supercharger by Eaton, plus a dual fuel direct injection system and port injection. Even though it's less powerful than the Challenger Demon, it can almost match the Demon's 0-60 time. Further, Corvette is a luxury brand, which means the ZR1's interior is refined. There's nothing quite like this bold, American luxury sports car. All the imports just aren't mean enough to really compete with it. Yet, it's also sexy and suave. Weird, but good. Very good.

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