by Rex Roy
To our great delight,
But what triggers this universal visceral reaction to muscle cars? Some would argue the muscle. But the electricity grows in crowds ogling stationary muscle cars at an auto show. At auto shows, one can observe grandmothers and children reacting to cool designs without any notion of what 400+ horsepower will do to a fresh pair of radials. It ain't the power that excites them.
So what gives muscle cars this special power over people? Their design. At the recent
2001 Mercedes C-Class HatchbackEnlarge Photo
"When it comes to translating muscle car cues, one needs to be careful – tapping into the past must be done in the right way without going into it too much,” he says. “Our goal is to design something that references the past with certain cues but still looks right to somebody who wasn't around when the original inspiration was."
Pointing to the current Mustang, Horbury notes that Ford's design team got it right because old-timers recognize elements from past Mustangs, while kids just like Ford's new pony car it for what it is.
Pointing directly at the just introduced rear-wheel-drive Interceptor, Horbury continues, "It's really a classic muscle car layout with a large dash-to-axle ratio, a squashed greenhouse, and tall doors. Beyond that, we gave it broad shoulders over the rear fenders, and there's a beautiful unbroken character line sailing fore to aft holding the design together."
To his eyes, the Interceptor looks tough, but not cartoonish. The Interceptor brings the muscle car look to a sedan, Horbury adds. It's a design that looks forward because of the modern design touches, contemporary lighting elements, and 21st-century wheel and tire combination.
A Challenge to tradition
2006 Dodge Challenger conceptEnlarge Photo