Being born in 1981, I missed the definitive and quintessential muscle car era. Today my work in the automotive industry covers a wide range of vehicles, from family haulers and trucks to small hatchbacks and sports cars. I’m lucky enough that during a certain portion of the year, I get to teach consumers about the new versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger.
And man are those cars it on a stick . . .
Modern Day Muscle
The Challenger/Charger of today is as contemporary as any other vehicle. Both have top safety ratings, full on-board stability control systems, navigation, Bluetooth capability, and even heated and air conditioned seats. The Hemi engines under the hood have the latest fuel-saving tech and the TorqueFlite transmission has highly optimized ratios. These cars, like all others on the market, benefit from advancements in engineering and design.
But when you accelerate with a 6.4 Hemi under the hood . . . it’s like being in a time machine.
At that moment, I am no different than the 75 million baby boomers in the 1960s who wanted the rawness of an advanced V8. While I understand from a business sense the popularity and demand of small SUVs, my Detroit roots want to see defiant, powerful, and even outrageous cars have their place: Challenger, Charger, Camaro, Mustang and the like.
Top Muscle: The Rarest Cars from America’s Fastest Decade chronicles the golden days of factory muscle cars, including the ones built in secret – the ones never officially approved by senior management. In a “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll” generation, even car enthusiasts got in on the action, and this book is their story.
The pages examine the definitive collection of these incredibly rare beasts. The machines in this book represent the pinnacle of the muscle car movement. Top Muscle gives us tremendous perspective on where and how the performance cars we love today originated.
Darwin Holmstrom has written, co-written, or contributed to over thirty books on subjects ranging from motorcycles and muscle cars to Gibson Les Paul guitars. He is the Senior Editor for Motorbooks, who we partner with for this Book Garage series. Holmstrom is joined by photographer Randy Leffingwell, an established author as well. He wrote his first book, American Muscle, in 1989 while still on staff at the Los Angeles Times. Since then, Leffingwell has authored another 47 titles for Motorbooks and is a respected automotive historian.