Anyone attempting a review of muscle cars immediately faces three problems which in combination make the job seem hardly worth the effort. First, manufacturers did not at any point say to themselves, “Hey, let’s start building muscle cars!” They simply emerged gradually in response to customer demand, and in some cases to motorsport requirements which would lead to valuable publicity.

Second, they were not generally known as muscle cars in their heyday. The more common term was supercars, which now means something completely different. The term ‘muscle cars’ was not widely used until the classic models had gone out of production.

Third, there is not much agreement about what counts as a muscle car and what doesn’t. A reasonable definition is that they were American, they were medium-sized, they had four seats, they were fitted with large V8 engines and nobody has built one since the 1970s, but some models which do not meet all these criteria have been referred to as muscle cars.

Muscle cars were also partly defined by North American road conditions. There are a lot of very straight roads over there, so cornering was not considered a priority, whereas the ability to accelerate hard was. The situation was almost exactly the opposite in the UK, and indeed most of Europe, so muscle cars were never popular here, but their speed and the fabulous sounds they made mean they are still objects of fascination on this side of the Atlantic.