Today most people consider the Ford Mustang to be the original muscle car. After all, it did start a revolution of sorts with companies building smaller cars with bigger engines to satisfy the appetite of the American consumer. Its seems to us that one legendary automaker, now more known for building your grandfather’s car, was poised to begin the horsepower arms race in the early 1950s. Oldsmobile was part of the larger General Motors conglomerate that had strict marketing and production plans for its various monikers.
The cars that utilized a big V8 were strictly Cadillac and LaSalle models. The main reason they needed a V8 was to move their behemoth bodies around, but GM also felt it helped distinguish those cars as the top of the line models. Oldsmobile was about to shake things up in more than one way. For starters, if they were going to make a more powerful production car that was also exhilarating to drive then they were going to need a completely new car body to work with.
At that time, the company had the compact 76 series cars and the very large 98 series. The company decided to use the underlying chassis of the 76 series, put a brand new V8 under the hood, and design a body to mimic the space race era. This would all come together to be the Rocket 88 car that is now legendary and truly began the muscle car era way back when it was introduced in 1949.
We are going to start betting on the fact that Top Gear USA is going to be a household name by the time it wraps up its third season. The show is gaining fans all over and the naysayers of the show are starting to come around.
And why shouldn’t they? With the funny challenges, the decent reviews, and the big stars, Top Gear USA is building itself up rather nicely. Let’s just hope that the balloon doesn’t deflate before we can win our little bet.
In this week’s episode, the guys from Top Gear USA run a few old GM models through a series of challenges to see which one should reenter production, Tony Hawk takes the Subaru around the Top Gear USA test track, and the news segment comes around again.
UPDATE 12/21/2010: Check out Top Gear USA’s rendering of their 2011 Buick Roadmaster in the gallery!
Hit the jump to see all of the details for this week’s episode of Top Gear USA.
OK. You’ve had a week or so, now. It was on the World Series. They’ve got the bank robbers driving that old Oldsmobile, the one that the chick crossing the street runs into. (Actually, it’s a 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass, the one cloned from an earlier version of the Malibu. Isn’t that ironic?). And exactly what has Chevrolet communicated about the new Malibu? Nothing. $150 million dollars has been committee by General Motors to a multi-media advertising campaign to introduce the new (...) More
Along with the special edition Hurst Olds of 1968 and 1969, the 1970 W-30 was the most powerful production Oldsmobile ever created. While the 370 hp from its 455 is impressive, if not as high as some other contemporary muscle car engines, what is really amazing for those who have experienced it is the 500 lb-ft of torque.