Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Muscle Cars: Should They Be "Driven" To Extinction?

2008 Dodge Challenger

Earlier this week, an article in the Detroit News broached the question, "Are the days of the muscle car numbered?" It was an interesting piece that has sparked a debate among people I know in the auto industry.

As Chrysler brings back the Dodge Challenger, and Chevy prepares to revive the Camaro, there are some wondering if this is the last hurrah for muscle cars. Sure they will always be around in some fashion, but there is a sense that they are becoming even more of niche models.

I have to say I have mixed emotions on this topic. On one hand, I can't blame automakers with being more selective about how many of these cars it builds, especially with gas prices expected to stay high and the overall market moving toward more fuel efficient vehicles. Listen, it's not smart business to build something that may not sell as well as it once did.

Still, a friend of mine in Michigan said something yesterday that I think many of us can identify with. He told me: "I hope we aren't going to lose that classic American Muscle car feeling in the industry for good." The Mustang, Camaro, Challenger are reminders of the days when the emotion and feeling behind the wheel was an important part of why we chose what we were driving.

That's not say you can't get those emotions from the "performance" models other automakers are rolling out these days, like the Mercedes Black Series. But muscle cars are different. Always have been, always will be.

I'm curious what you think. Are the days of new and revived muscle cars numbered? Will the Camaro be the last of these models to be revived when it comes out early next year? As a car fan, I hope not. Write to me at

Questions?  Comments?

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