End of an Era? Are we looking at the Last Muscle Cars?

With Chrysler in default and Chevy right behind them the future looks bleak for fans of performance cars. Hell, even Toyota lost billions so far this year. What do we have to look forward to in 2009?

Future development of the Camaro and the Challenger look unlikely.  Chevy already has announced there won’t be a Z-28 version of the bow-tie muscle car (sob).  And the chances of a convertible Challenger look slim.  V8 performance cars may be breathing their last gasp of unburnt gasoline.

With the high prices of fuel last summer the writing was on the wall.  $4 a gallon for a vehicle that gets 12 miles to the gallon average is a sobering thought.  Raw horsepower is no longer sufficient to get the attention of the average sporty car buyer.

Ford is holding on with a death grip to the Mustang.  It’s their halo car, that and it’s Shelby variations.  They are the only manufacturer holding on to this style of car.

The Japanese are putting out quality sports cars in the Nissan 370Z and GTR.  Smaller, more fuel efficient cars like the Civic and Scion are winning the hearts and minds of the latest generation of car buyers.  This shift to smaller vehicles is inevitable in the market today.

But I think we’ll see the big horsepower beasts again in the future.  The automotive industry is cyclical.  What goes out of favor will eventually return.  And in five to eight years when the interest returns we’ll have high-output V6s and electric motors to throw into the mix.

While the V8 Muscle Car may be seeing its sunset performance vehicles are just changing tack.  So hang on to that 2010 Camaro, it is almost assured to be a collector’s item in the years to come.

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