What is a Mopar Muscle Car?

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Arnold, NE

That answer to the question of "what is a Mopar muscle car?" isn't as simple as just pointing to a car like Eric Waters' 2014 Dodge Challenger (pictured above) and saying that's the answer, because you have to define both what a Mopar is and what is considered to be a "muscle car." We'll start with the (somewhat) easier definition of what a "Mopar" may or may not be. The Mopar name is generally associated with products from the Chrysler family, including Chryslers, Dodges, Plymouths, Ram trucks, Jeeps and so on, although some purists may debate the inclusion of some marques, based on the year Chrysler acquired various brands.

While that debate may never be fully-settled, now that we have a pretty good idea of what is considered to be a Mopar, let's look at the harder question of what is considered to be a muscle car. If you google "father of the muscle car," you might find mixed results, with names like Carroll Shelby and Jim Wangers being most-often attributed with that moniker. However, some have said the muscle car trend started well before both of them, with models like the 1939 Buick Century. Some question whether muscle cars are limited to American production cars, while others will question whether some trucks should be included.

A generally-accepted definition is that the "muscle car" designation is limited to American production cars and excludes four-door sedans and two-seat coupes. While some will debate the inclusion of 2+2 cars and others will argue for vehicles like Corvettes and Vipers to be included, most will settle on a backseat of some kind being mandatory to fit the definition. In terms of the drivetrain, the most widely-accepted definitions of muscle cars include V8 power up front and power to the rear tires.

As we circle back to modern Mopar offerings, these broad musclecar designations would exclude the two-seat Viper, four-door Challenger, Hemi-equipped RAM Trucks, but include the V8-powered Dodge Challengers and Demons. As we go back further in time, more cars fall into the Mopar muscle car mix, including older Dodge Chargers of a two-door variety, Barracudas (or 'Cudas), Road Runners, Coronets, Darts, Dusters and others, that all conform to the definition including two doors, backseats, V8s up front and rear-wheel drive. Check out the gallery of Mopar musclecars below