On May 23, 2021, the 26th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be featuring a special class of 1970 Muscle Cars in celebration of the best era of Detroit’s fast and loud Muscle Cars.
Baby Boomers were just about to graduate college and high-octane gas was dirt cheap when the Pontiac GTO was introduced, and it showed America’s automakers that creating high-performance cars was highly profitable.
The Big Three immediately realized that beneath their regular model lineup were enthusiast cars. It was very simple to do as well as all they had to do was get a mid-size two-door coupe, or even a sedan, and equip it with the huge V8 engine. To finish the package, they just need to put in new paint codes, eye-catching wild graphics, and brute force: things that Motown had in abundance.
Restraint wasn’t necessary. GM took the lead and had all four GM lines, except Cadillac, making this new breed of cars called the muscle cars. Ford and Mercury joined in, while Chrysler tasked both Dodge and Plymouth divisions to compete in the horsepower battle with the Hemi.
In 1970, one of the high wing “homologation specials” from Chrysler Corp came out victorious in the Daytona 500 for the initial time and gave birth to what is called NASCAR’s “modern era.”
One of the main appeals of the muscle car was its simple practicality. Without the need for any exotic materials or special engineering, it could fit as many as six passengers in the car. Even the steady and traditional American Motors joined in on the fray.
The insurance companies in America also got wind of the boom of muscle cars and they took aim to collect their share of the profits.
With some assistance from the federal government regarding air pollution control, as well as pressure from some Middle East oil states, the dominance of muscle cars effectively ended.
Tim and Pam Wellborn and the team at the Wellborn Musclecar Museum based in Alexander City, Alabama assisted The Amelia to create the special class.
The Wellborn Musclecar Museum focuses on the great American automobiles from the 1960s and 1970s. They feature classics like the Charger, the Road Runner, and the SuperBee, along with having the largest collection of high-performance Dodge automobiles.
“By 1972 air pollution controls hobbled all American cars with air pumps, etc. muscle cars suffered more than most. That’s why 1970 is considered the apogee of the muscle car era,”
Concours d’Elegance founder and Chairman, Bill Warner
More information regarding the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance can be found on their website.