What a shame that the EPA bureaucrats and insurance corporation thieves destroyed the muscle car industry during the late 60's/early 70's, just prior to GM fitting their A Body cars with monsters like the GTO Ram Air 5, Buick GSX Stage II and Chevelle SS LS7. And just when the General was getting a clue and fitting their cars with variable Ratio PS, as well as standard power disc brakes and F41 suspensions. Who knows what they would have come up with during the 1970's if the government/insurance industry conspiracy hadn't killed the muscle car off.
It does make one wonder - what could have been...
12.5:1, leaded-fuel burning, solid cam, 4-speed, big block monsters, ripping off 11-12 second ¼ mi. times with ease.
If you could then see into the future, to today, would you believe what you are seeing? Doubtful.
If you could see the 0-60 times, ¼ mi. times, would you believe what you are seeing? Doubtful.
If you could also see those same cars getting to the end of a ¼ mile long straightaway, turning left with 1.2g and accelerating with eyeball flattening speed to the next turn, braking, as if an anchor was weighed, and doing it again and again, in record time, around a road course that is regarded as the standard bearer of test courses throughout the world, (Nurburgring) and do it all while also being able to achieve 20+ MPG on the highway (using 91/93 octane unleaded fuel) without changing: jets, points, rear gears, etc.would you believe what you are seeing?
The heyday of the muscle car era is awesome, certainly and without dispute, but without those "bureaucratic conspiracies" the automakers would not have been forced (yes, forced) to adapt to the changing times, would not have been forced to evolve their thinking and engineering to come up with the amazing cars they have in the last 20 years.
Would we have the LS3/7/9/X, LT4/5/2, (or the Coyote or HEMI)? Possibly, but doubtful.
Would we have the ZL1 Camaros or Corvettes? Or the C8? Possibly, but doubtful.
It's easy to look back, longingly at the sheer power those cars had available, the styling they had (and will never be able to achieve again IMO) - But to dismiss the efforts of the EPA (and others) to bring the emissions under control as "bureaucratic conspiracies" that killed the muscle car is denying the fact that they brought about the new muscle car era that we can enjoy now.
I am, as much as (or more than) anyone I know, an advocate for big blocks and lopey cams - my dad and I didn't even hesitate to put a BB into his car - but it is impossible to deny the amount of power (and MPG) that the LS/LT engines are able to produce.
Nevermind the amount of innovation in suspension and braking systems, that most of us will drool over, that we can now easily adapt into our "old" cars, that will turn them into machines that will rival, if not exceed the performance of those new cars, if we so choose.
We can now have the very best of BOTH worlds.
The looks and styling of the 60's and 70's (and 30's, 40's and 50's) and the handling, braking, transmissions and engines of today.
I say, the new muscle car era makes the old muscle car era look like going back to the horse and buggy...