Muscle cars were intended to be used for racing, but also has a lot of use for the roads and highways of America and elsewhere. It is a general consensus that muscle cars originated in the late 1960's to the early 1970's. While the original muscle car can be described as a true American car, the philosophy behind it being that you basically just take a small car and then put a huge, big engine inside of it. It can also be said that muscle cars were built mainly for high speed, straight line racing, while not necessarily carrying the sleek appearance or engineering agility and integrity of European cars.
It is not entirely understood, or put in stone exactly which type of cars constitute a modern day muscle car: full sized cars, pony cars or compacts. The term "muscle car" had not really entered into commonality or common terminology until after production of the same vehicle had ended, unfortunately. American print media of the first heyday of the muscle cars had referred to them as "supercars" at that time.
So you might be wondering how ever did the trend of muscle cars become so developed as to what it stands for and is today? Manufacturers would often showcase their performance vehicles in highly publicized limited edition versions of the cars. This was a brave move and might very well be considered what really paved the way for the growing of the muscle car trend!
In the early 60's we can see the rise of all sorts of muscle cars being developed by pretty much all car manufacturers! Now as far as modern muscle cars go, we can see the conception of the Chevy Impala back in 1994-1996. This was simply a very high performance limited edition version of the Caprice. What made this car different was that it had the engine of a corvette! So as you can see from this model, the conception of putting a bigger car's engine worked in its favor, since it now would have a 5.7 liter V8 engine.
In the world of today's super famous modern muscle cars, we can see that the Chevy Camaro ,the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Corvette are by far the most popular, especially with college students and muscle car aficionados alike!
Now only if they can make the modern muscle cars more fuel efficient!