What images does the term muscle car bandy about? Separate from the two-seater sports car and infinitely more economical, muscle cars were the perfect foil for the auto-savvy, speed-seeking consumer with a limited budget. Four-seaters with high performance; muscle cars are what one got in a small-car body with a hot-rodder engine put in it.
The 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is often cited as the first muscle car produced on domestic shores. Then came the Hudson Hornet (yes, it’s a real car and not a figment of Disney’s imagination) and the Chrysler C-300. The Chrysler 300, Dodge Dart, Chevrolet Impala SS, Pontiac GTO, Ford Mustang, Plymouth Barracuda, and the Rambler Marlin are all popular examples from the history of muscle cars. And it’s a distinguished history, for sure.
Unfortunately, some car owners tarnish this history with a tarred brush—feather and all—by modifying their muscle cars into unrecognizable and horrific states. Beauty should not be tampered with and with muscle cars, there’s not much more needed to make them any more awesome. So here are 25 things that should never be done to muscle cars but sadly, have been done one too many a time. The idea of a muscle car is to be separate itself from a sports car or a dragster and yet some people will stop at nothing to turn their rides into their version of a dream ride. Even if they're more like a nightmare.
25 Cannot Recognize The Base Car
So, this Mad Max: Fury Road version of a car is actually a heavily modified muscle car. In case you don’t believe us, let us tell you that this unrecognizable monstrous creation is a modified Corvette. Now, we know that the Vette wasn’t a muscle car per se, but rather the ultimate Detroit sports car. But it did use a muscle car's power train and popular perception is that it is a muscle car. Turning this beauty into some sort of an odd, medieval dragon of sorts is almost criminal.
24 My Little Tripped-Out Mustang
To all those who watch the animated movie and series, My Little Pony, please stop doing this to your car. The Mustang is named after the free-roaming horses of the wild, wild West. These horses are descendants of domesticated horses to brought to the US by the Spanish but since they now roam wild, they are described as feral. Dressing up a Mustang, and we mean the car, to look like a pretty, pink unicorn is an insult to the car—and the horse, as well.
23 Come On Baby Light My…
This is the finest example of what should never be done to a Camaro SS. The car is a beauty; people who don’t get it in Asia practically salivate over its clean, beautiful lines and that muscular hunk of an engine. And since this is the SS—the SuperSport—it’s like the icing on top of the cake. So why on earth would you LED it up to a point that it looks more like a carnival attraction about to spit out prizes at you?
22 Can You Hear Me Now?
So, driving music is actually an awesome concept, especially for those who love tunes. But there is a clear-cut difference between the crisp and clear notes of top-notch car audio systems and sheer bone-vibrating speakers. We understand some drivers love to install audio kits as custom trunks. But honestly, people, having a muscle car does not mean that the sound system of your car also needs some added muscle! A good audio system gives you good sound and it doesn’t have to be piercingly loud.
21 All Eyes On Me…
For a car to look good, it doesn’t have to be ostentatiously or even obnoxiously painted. In fact, most muscle cars look great in stock paint. So having them wrapped is a bit of a turn-off. That said, there are people who manage to have their rides wrapped in sweet metallic wraps that enhance the look of the car. Some camo wraps or chrome ones also look great. But having a muscle car wrapped in blindingly bright wraps, or with all the hues of the rainbow isn’t a great idea. And it's a big no for this pink-mauve-white Mustang.
20 Taking It A Little Too High
There are some people who buy off-roaders with good ground clearance. Then there are those who buy muscle cars and then lift them sky high. Why? Well, that is the key question, isn’t it? Why would you do something like this to your otherwise beautiful car? Firstly, why wrap it in that ghastly shade of blue and then why mount it on tires high enough to need a step stool to get in and out of the car? Hopefully, the owner of this car did get a customized lift kit for his poor Camaro instead of ruining more than just the car’s good looks.
19 Stooping A Little Too Low
So, the Mustang is supposed to take you far and take you fast, right? What’s the use of a muscle car, otherwise? So then, why would anyone take down the suspension to the point that the car literally scrapes the pavement as it rides along? It’s bad enough to lower a car to this point; it would be absolutely awful to see a thing of beauty literally tear itself on the road instead of tearing up the road! This is a modification that simply should not be done to a muscle car.
18 Reducing A Concept To A Joke
The Shelby Cobra is a beautiful, beautiful car. Yes, it does have the word Cobra in it. And some owners can be big snake fans, we guess, or cobra-philes, or simply people who cannot believe that they finally landed their dream car, a Shelby Cobra. So they go overboard, at least with the Cobra bit. The bumper says Cobra, the license plate says it, too, and there are stickers of the cobras just about everywhere. Oh, and don’t miss the plush toy wrapped around the spoiler…Also a Cobra.
17 Swapping An Already Capable Engine
Muscle cars are not known to be “muscular” just because of roadworthy designs. They have strong and high horsepower engines, capable of tearing up the roads in no time whatsoever. Swapping out an engine in a muscle car is basically an exercise in futility. According to Engine Swap Depot, the owner of this 1992 Mustang claims this is the only Fox body with an SVT Raptor engine on Earth. Why on Earth would someone do this and put it on sale is a mystery.
16 Mashing One Too Many Muscle Cars Together
So, what do you do when you love two muscle cars with equal fervency and have too much money than is good for you? If you are a sheik, you meld the two cars into one. Presenting the Dodge Mustang; so built to tackle dunes in style. Apparently, the sheik got a Ford Mustang top fitted atop the chassis of a Dodge Ram. Why? Because YOLO and he has plenty of moolah to YOLO OTT. You did note the tire on the side a la Rolls Royce, right?
15 The Mustang With A Nose Job
So, if there was ever a car with a botched nose job so to speak, voila, we found it! This is one of the images that pop up if you do a Google search for the ugliest Ford Mustangs, and with good reason. To the untrained eye, it looks like someone dropped an AC system on the hood of a Mustang as a revenge prank gone wrong. But no, sadly, it isn’t so simple. This is an intercooler so fitted on a Ford Mustang by cutting the hood open and leaving passersby scarred for life.
14 The El Camino 4X4
Again, for people with a need for a 4X4 with off-roading abilities, getting a Ford or a Chevy truck will make far more sense. But nope, this dude here decided to lift his El Camino to meet his aspirations and expectations. And he literally and figuratively lifted the El Camino to monster truck size with Patriot tires and auxiliary rooftop lights, as well. The bright red paint makes it seem like one capable if the mean vehicle. We mean, come on, buy a Jeep if a Jeep is what you want…
13 That Poor, Poor Camaro
Now that Bumblebee has been released, the world’s collective love for the Camaro (and the Beetle) has risen to crazy high levels. So what has been done to this Camaro isn’t just an atrocity, it should be declared a felony. It honestly looks like someone took the backside of a small aircraft and decided to attach it to the Camaro as an elaborate air filter. And this is a Camaro SuperSport no less, in itself a superbly built car intended for speed and thrills. That scoop of a nose that surely creates a blind spot, or maybe two?
12 A Drift Car That May Be Sacrilege
One has to thoroughly know cars to be able to commit such sacrilege with such panache, right? According to The Drive, this Frankenstein car came with a 1967 Mustang body with no engine or transmission. The powertrain came from the Mustang's foe, a 1999 C5 Chevy Corvette with a 5.7-liter LS1 V-8. The builder of this hotrod that looks like nothing else alive is Canadian fabricator Kyle Scaife. And he isn’t sorry. In fact, neither are the people who have seen this car move.
11 Do Not Do This To A Mustang
A Reddit user requested all of Reddit to explain to his friend why she shouldn’t do this to her Mustang. Responses were varied and interesting, to say the least. Most were a resounding no. Some tried to explain why gullwings worked on Lambos and how all Lambos had built-in safety features like explosive bolts to pull the doors off in case of an accident. One dude nailed it though and said, “Because it would just be quicker to burn the money in a fire."
10 The Funny Car Mustang
This Mustang may seem like a stretch (pun intended) but a Mustang it is, albeit a dragster. Known as Mach IV, according to Speedhunters, it was built by Gary Weckesser back in 1969. He wanted to create not just a fun car but the most outrageous drag car ever. So he used a custom-built chassis (duh!) and that’s not all. For the engine, Weckesser put in not one, but four injected 5.7-liter V8s into that elongated front. The total horsepower? A crazy 3,000!
9 A Hood Ornament? Nah, That’s The Engine!
So, the Pontiac GTO is already a very slick machine on the road with the kinds of power that needs to be restrained more than let loose. Why in the name of all that is good, auto, and holy, would someone decide to take the engine out of the hood and stack it on the hood instead? No one needs that much boot space, right? And isn’t driving this thing in and out of weaving pedestrians an offense in almost every country in the world?
8 The Car That Makes People Sick
According to Motoring Research, this car makes internet users sick in the mouth. Why? Because someone thought it would be a good idea to mount a Dodge Charger on what looks like a Mercedes Benz chassis. Yes, it’s possible. And yes, it has been done. No, it did not need to be done and anyone in their right mind would have this beastly excuse of a car destroyed before it drives people insane. Note the pipes on the side? Yes, they spit fire.
7 The Spoiler That Spoiled A Camaro
The Camaro is a pretty straightforward car. It’s all muscle and heart and doesn’t pinch the pocket too much. However, when you a buy a Camaro, you get a Camaro. You don’t get a sports car or a race car. So anointing a Camaro with a strangely winged spoiler will not make it go faster. Look at the Hennessey Venom; it has a spoiler that sits just five inches above its rear. This spoiler will not make the Camaro turn into a Lambo when it comes to speed, though it may label the driver a loser.
6 The Bizarrely Blinged-Out Camaro
Two idioms we hearken back on when we look at this car. One is “all that glitters is not gold” so no matter how blinged-out this Camaro might be, we don’t see the value of it. And the second is “too much of a good thing is bad” which means no one minds a little bling and a little sparkle here and there. Touches of whimsy are pleasing, right? But make a muscle car this shiny and bedecked and it just becomes glaringly irritating. Poor you, Camaro. The things people do for attention.
5 Hey, Is That A Camaro Pickup?
So this is what a pickup truck owner does when all he wants is a Chevy Camaro. He gets a Camaro body kit (or a Camaro front end, we don’t know what) and replaces his truck’s front end with it. So he gets a Camaro mashup truck. Then he lowers the whole bag and bags it and turns the truck into a how-low-can-you-go donk. This is wrong on so many different counts. A muscle car that is not a truck and a truck that is too low to be truck anymore. Facepalm.
4 What In The World?
A Camaro is not a dragster; it’s a muscle car. That said, most of us long for the moon and so someone decided to drag a dragster out of a Camaro. But surely, a better effort could have gone into this? The air intake is more of a hazard than help because it just slew the aerodynamics of the car. Then the lowering minus a spoiler looks a bit off balance. And then, of course, it’s just that we cannot stand a dragster made out of a Camaro, period.
3 Muscled Beauties Rolling Coal
Emitting thick black smoke or even plumes of white or pink or any-color-under-the-sun kind of smoke is what the new trend of rolling coal is all about. Now, it may be silly and detrimental to the environment, but hey, hot-rodders have to show off, okay. But do they have to show off with muscle cars emitting smoke? Like this custom Chrysler 300 that was quite a boss car in its heyday? This is not what the Chrysler 300's makers ever envisaged their car like.
2 Taking The Exhausts To The Next Level
The car is a Mercury Grand Marquis and it narrowly manages to fit into the muscle car category, right? Ok, whatever, but this mod has to mentioned in the long list of what you should never do to muscle cars or even any good car, in general. These are not the kind of exhaust tips a car ever needs, no matter how muscled or lean it may be. We don’t want to know what this ride sounds like. Our sympathies are with the neighbors of this funny guy.
1 The “Next Movie” Impala
You have to thank carmakers in Japan for their completely awesome JDM products; what would we do without a Toyota Supra or a Nissan GT? What we do not want to thank the country for, though, is what someone did to a 1962 "Ichiban" Impala, and so dubbed it the “Next Movie”. The color is garish, the front grille just killed all that the Impala was, and Supernatural’s Baby must be rooting for revenge, seeing how low this Impala has been stooped to. Uncool, guys, uncool.
Sources: Engine Swap Depot, The Drive, Speed Hunters, and MotoringResearch.