American muscle car sales have been experiencing a decline in recent years.
Car buyers are shifting to roomier SUVs or cars with more toys and technology. Traditional muscle car buyers are baby boomers, and they’re not getting any younger. According to Kelly Blue Book, the combined sales of the Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, Challenger, and Charger fell 7% in 2016, 11% in 2017 and 10% in 2018. However, if you are a millennial and dream about owning a muscle car before you buy one you should dig into its VIN history by searching for the owner of the car by a VIN number search.
Do Self-driving Cars threaten Muscle Cars?
Many muscle car enthusiasts don’t think so.
There are still a lot of drivers who enjoy driving around in a menacing performance vehicle with 700 horsepower under the hood. Once you experience the thrill and exhilaration of being behind the wheel of a speed demon, there’s no going back. And these collectors are willing to pay top dollar for a slice of Detroit muscle.
Plus, there are too many variables at play. For starters, the world is a long way away from robots sharing the road with human drivers. Millions of lives are at stake, which is why manufacturers need to do more research and testing on their AVs before these hit the road.
There is also legislation to consider, such as who is responsible during an accident – the manufacturer or the passenger? How will insurance companies cover self-driving cars? Cities also need to upgrade their road network to accommodate self-driving cars. AVs should not only communicate with one another but also to a central computer that will tell them where to go.
Future Technology in Muscle Cars
In the past, the definition of a muscle car was simple: an American-made lump of steel with two doors, and a humongous, big-block V-8 engine. Your typical muscle car was fast, simple, big, heavy, loud, and had poor handling. Muscle cars today are still big and fast but have good driving manners and plenty of advanced tech.
While not viewed as your traditional muscle car, the Tesla S can go from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds! Manufacturers such as Chevrolet and Dodge have been experimenting with electric motors for some time now. It won’t be too much of a stretch to see a hybrid or fully electronic version of the iconic Mustang or Camaro soon.
Chevy has been testing two hybrid powertrains for the Camaro for future iterations of the car. The company surveyed current Camaro owners about two future engine options:
- A 2.0-liter, 365-HP, hybrid inline-4 turbocharged engine that goes 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds (30 mpg combined).
- A 6.2-liter, 545-HP, hybrid V-8 engine that goes 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds (24 mpg combined).
The price premium for these high-performance hybrid engines would be $4,000 and $8,000 respectively. Both engines have more power and phenomenal fuel economy than previous and current powertrains.
Muscle Cars and Self-Driving Cars Can Co-Exist
There’s room for nostalgia and technology now and in the years to come. As long as there’s demand for high-performance vehicles, car companies will continue to make them. Ford and Chevrolet are even testing SUV versions of classics such as the Mustang and Camaro, to cater to muscle car lovers who want more space.
On the AV front, car manufacturers are pouring billions of dollars so that self-driving cars can finally become a reality. Many experts think that autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be part of our future. Cars will be mere transportation appliances, much like TVs and dishwashers. Will passion and attachment to the automobile will be a thing of the past?
Not if you ask anyone who relishes the sound of big-block V-8 rumbling and roaring with every rev of the accelerator.
Author’s bio: Patrick Peterson is a writer/editor at AutoDetective. Born and raised in the automotive world. He’s a passionate writer who crafts exquisite content pieces about everything related to cars and bikes.