Performance Sedans VS. Muscle Cars

louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
edited March 2014 in Acura
By looking at today's HP war between the manufactures with their performance sedans reminds me of the Muscle car era. The ideas for both the muscle car and performance sedan are very similar: put a high power output engine onto a small car to make it go real fast. I think it should be really interesting to compare them on terms of their performance, technology, style, and etc...

So what are we waiting for...let's get it on guys!!!


  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    Woohoo, this discussion's got a new home...
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,993
    I wonder what differentiates the two...price?
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    True, but one can't compare 70's dollar to today's dollar straight up. That'll be comparing apples to oranges.

    1 dollar in 68' = 5.83 dollars in 06'
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,993
    Well yeah, but even in adjusted dollars.

    Like my C43. It has a V8 crammed into a platform that usually held a 4cyl and was meant to be an economy model. So it sounds like a muscle car...but it cost 58K back in 1998. So what would it be called? A freakshow?
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    Freakshow sound's about just right...

    I think the muscle cars were considered a freakshow as well when them were first introduced. That's why a comparison should be interesting.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,993
    It is an interesting idea to try to classify cars into each group. I don't think I can do it without some real qualifiers. Price or performance?
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    Performance Sedans are better for a family guy. I guess for someone single the opposite can apply. ;) I however have always liked performance sedans over coupes. I do like 2-door convertibles though w/ 4-seats. The Chrysler 300 4-door convertible doesn't look right and IMHO is butt ugly. ;)

  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    Okay, let's see...

    Performance sedans:

    BMW 3's
    Infiniti G35
    Lexus IS
    Acura TL
    MB C-class
    Chrysler 300

    Muscle Cars:

    68' GTO
    68' Mustang
    69' Road Runner
    1970-1971 Dodge Challenger
    1966-1974 Dodge Charger
    1965-1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442

    (I am pretty sure I left out quite a few here but you got the idea)

    As you can see I left out the luxury performance sedans like the 5s, E and GS because those are too large and too expensive for the comparison purpose.
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    I agree with you that performance sedan is more practical. The best scenario for me is to have a performance sedan as my daily drive and a restored muscle car as my weekend fun car.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    That sounds like a good idea. ;)

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,885
    were mainly built to go in a straight line, a quarter mile at a time, as quickly as possible. The designers usually didn't care that much about cornering, handling, braking, top speed, fuel economy, etc.

    I'd be kinda curious though, if you took an old musclecar and made some modern upgrades to it, how it would fare by today's standards. For example...

    1) Change out the old bias-ply tires with modern, fairly low-profile radials. IMO those old bias-ply tires were the worst handicap to those old cars.

    2) Put in a transmission with an extra gear or two. Those old musclecars usually just had a 4-speed stick or a 3-speed automatic. They could either gear them for a fast 0-60/quarter mile time or high top speed, but could rarely do both. Nowadays though, with overdrive transmissions they can give the thing an aggressive axle ratio for quick takeoff, but the overdrive gear(s) of the transmission would knock the highway revs down to something a bit more civilized and economical

    3) Beef up the brakes, with at least whatever was the top option at the time. GM had a bad habit of putting 9.5" drums all around on many of its musclecars in the 60's and even early 70's. A 4000 pound '73 GTO or Grand Am with a 400 or 455 V-8 and drums off a Corvair is not an encouraging thought! However, you could get a set of decent-sized disks up front and 11" drums in the rear. At least, in the early 70's you could.

    Now you could go into other things, like swapping in a modern independent rear suspension, fuel injection, disc brakes all the way around, et al, but eventually you get to the point that it's not an old car anymore, but a new car posing as an old one.

    A modern sports sedan would still outhandle one of those old musclecars even with said improvements, but they'd at least close the gap and make the things more easy to live with on a daily basis.
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    I loved the show, has anybody else watched it? All the muscle cars restored in that show were using modern technologies. The owner of the shop, Barry White, calls them "Super Muscle Cars" or SMC. It'll be interesting to see how those come up against the modern stock performance sedans.

    I would love to get my hands on one of those one day.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,993
    Oh OK, I thought we were talking about modern day muscle vs modern day performance sedans, and trying to group cars into either category. I know all about old muscle cars, but it's really not apples to apples to look at cars with a 40 year gap.
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    modern day muscle

    Modern day muscle cars are jokes to me...

    it's really not apples to apples to look at cars with a 40 year gap.

    True. However, it should be fun to talk about it.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,993
    What qualifies as a modern day muscle car? Something powerful and bland looking like a GTO, or a hyper econobox like an Evo?

    How about performance sedans of 40 years ago? Maybe an injected Mercedes or BMW? They performed admirably for their time and often had high tech features for the day, but are blown away by generic cars today.
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    Well, IMO I guess in order to be a modern day muscle car first the car has to be domestic (including Chrysler though). So that pretty much eliminated most of the performance sedans and econobox freakshow like an Evo and Impressa.

    I think 'performance' and 'sedan' were mutually exclusive back then. It wasn't until recently that the performance sedans becomes a segment by itself. However, I could be wrong.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,993
    I guess a country of origin factor makes it very easy, as much as a timeframe factor.

    Would a Mercedes 6.3 be a performance sedan or a German muscle car?
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    I would incline to call it a performance sedan but I guess back then it was called a luxury sedan with a very big engine.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,993
    But it was also as fast off the line as just about any muscle car from Detroit, and had a faster cruising speed.

    Can muscle cars be qualified by country ie: a German muscle car?

    Or do muscle cars really exist anymore? What's a GTO? Isn't a 300 hemi more of a performance sedan too?
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    I don't consider the current GTO a muscle car. Looks more like a beefed up Civic to me. I would consider the 300 hemi and Charger as performance sedans. I think the true modern muscle car is something like the current Mustang and the upcoming Challenger and Camero.
  • john_324john_324 Member Posts: 974
    Mustangs, Camaros et. al are really more pony cars than muscle cars (and proudly so). Though that's not to say some versions don't cross the line. Thinking recently, the '03-'04 Mustang Mach 1 could be considered a muscle car...basically standard Mustang GT handling (live axle and all), but with the 4v DOHC V8 engine from a previous Mustang Cobra. Yowweee! Despite gas prices, I still covet them... :)
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    What about the new Shelby GT500? That's definitely a modern day muscle car right?

    I would love to see that car takes on the upcoming BMW 335i coupe on a race track. We know that the GT500 will smoke the Bimmer on straight line and the Bimmer will kick butt in the corners. However, it'll be interesting to see the overall head to head competition.
  • john_324john_324 Member Posts: 974
    I'd personally class the Shelby as a sports car, or maybe more properly on the low end of the supercar category (since it does weighs a little too much to be put in the same class as a Porsche 911 or a Lotus Elise).

    To me, to term it a muscle car isn't fair, since it handles so well. But then that begs the real question of this thread: Is the definition of a muscle car today derived from reference to the reality of the classic era, or to the theory of the classic era.

    Reality = Big car with big power produced by big engines, delivered to the rear wheels, with everything else secondary.

    Theory = a high performing car created by adding factory upgrades to an intermediate-sized, normally run-of-the-mill vehicle.
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    To me, to term it a muscle car isn't fair, since it handles so well

    Do you mean it handles well by today's sports car's standard or muscle car era's standard? I think when C&D did a comparison between the Shelby and Corvette back in July they weren't so impressed with it's handling.
  • kronykrony Member Posts: 110
    Up front I'll say RWD is the only way to go but I'm curious if any manufacturers making a 250-300hp FWD sedan have fixed the torque steer. A while back I drove a Maxima that had goobs of power but you had to really hold onto it because of the torque steer.

    Anyone know if they have they addressed this in the 5.3L small block in the Impala SS or Grand Prix GXP?
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    I don't think you can eliminate all the torque steer in a FWD car completely. However there are ways to reduce it to minimum so it won't become an issue. Here are 2 examples:

    Acura's TL: I think Acura use some eletronic assist technique to reduce the torque steer in their manual tranny TL.

    Nissan Maximum/Altima: Nissan is using CVT on the new Maximum and Altima so the torque steer is almost eliminated.

    Even though with today's technology, the torque steer can be reduce to minimum on FWD cars I would still only consider RWD performance sedans.
  • john_324john_324 Member Posts: 974
    I think the FWD GM cars still have pretty hefty torque steer...I think GM saw dumping V8s in its existing FWD V6 models as a quick and cheap way to capture its part of the retro muscle trend. GM probably figures its targeted buyer is really most interested in having a V8, regardless if its power is being efficiently utilized or not.

    In terms of modern performance and muscle, I was thinking not of FWD, but AWD.
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    I agree that AWD might be the future of performance sedans and muscle cars. However, I think RWD will still have its place. For those people not living in the snowbelt (like me) a AWD performance sedan is literally useless. First it adds weight to the car and second the AWD variant is always more expensive.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 17,476
    awd is not necessarily fixed ratio. you can get benefit in wet conditions.
    my explorer has auto 4x4 which defaults to rwd. it will shift some torque to the front when the rear wheels slip.
    a good way to test this out is to nail the gas from a stop when facing up hill on a wet road. i estimate about 1/2 a turn of the rear wheels. :)
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT
  • john_324john_324 Member Posts: 974
    I wonder if the muscle car of the future (say the 2010 Chevelle SS? :shades:) will feature an AWD system, coupled to a displacement-on-demand engine.

    Be kinda cool to have a car that transforms from a FWD, 4cyl commuter around town to a V8-power-to-all-4-wheels monster at the strip... ;)
  • kronykrony Member Posts: 110
    Is it a muscle car if you can't smoke the tires? But if you could smoke all four...hmmm...

    Do like the idea of a muscle car with displacement-on-demand, maybe add a turbo and nitrous to make 700hp with 30mpg to boot.
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    Wow, muscle car with turbo and nitrous?

    Sounds like a riced-out muscle car to me. :P
  • john_324john_324 Member Posts: 974
    Yeah, like that huge ricer-mobile, the 1980s Buick Grand National GNX... ;)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    Let's be aware that some people consider the term "ricer" to be offensive. If possible, let's steer away from that term. Thanguverrrymuch.


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  • kronykrony Member Posts: 110
    Had a high school buddy with an '83 Regal T-type was pretty impressive power for a 3.8 V6 turbo, now the suspension was another story.

    I've seen twin turbo kits for Z06 vettes...nitrous kits for the new Mustang combine both...
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    Should the new Shelby GT (not GT500) be catogoried in muscle car or sports car?

    Also, since the Shelby GT will be priced around the entry level luxury performance sedans' territory (~$35K), what do you think it'll fare going against those? I know the car magazines would never do a comparison like this but I would definitely want to see...

    Shelby GT vs. IS350/G35/330i
    Shelby GT500 vs. M3/S4

  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    I've seen twin turbo kits for Z06 vettes...nitrous kits for the new Mustang combine both...

    Houston, We have lift-off...
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    LOL. :D

  • allargonallargon Member Posts: 75
    I can't believe you guys put the C class and Audi A4 up there and left off the Cadillac CTS.

    I believe that M3 will truly lap the GT500 in the corners. However, the current M3 may be eating dust in a straight line. I'm not so sure about the next gen.

    A better test would probably be the Shelby GT500 vs. the Cadillac CTS-V. (The Cadillac is outclassed by about 100 horses.)

    That GT vs. the G35 would be an interesting comparo, though, IMHO. Ythey could even do it coupe to coupe in addition to muscle vs. ELPS.
  • louisweilouiswei Member Posts: 3,715
    I don't see the C-class and A4 mentioned anywhere in the previous post. S4 is a totally different breed than A4.
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