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How do you define a muscle car? The segment was answered as Detroit’s answer to the “Grand Tourer” coupes of Europe. Muscle cars are powerful, affordable, and stylish sports cars that became synonymous with America in the 1960s, then made a comeback in the 2000s. As recently as 2023, you had a muscle car coupe from each Detroit automaker to choose from. But production has ended for the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro. The only muscle car left standing is the Ford Mustang.

In 2008, Dodge jumped on the retro muscle car bandwagon by reintroducing its Challenger coupe. The relatively big muscle car has angular, vintage good looks. Though it never prioritized handling with upgrades such as independent rear suspension, it offered the popular supercharged “Hellcat” V8. Dodge ended production of both the Challenger and its Charger sedan at the end of 2023. It is retooling its factory for electric and hybrid Chargers (both coupe and sedan styles). But it seems the Challenger is gone for good.

Chevrolet’s entrant in the muscle car renaissance was the 2010 Camaro. The Camaro offered independent rear suspension and a range of V8 options. It was a cultural icon, debuting as Bumblebee in the new Transformers film. While Chevrolet did design a “2024” Camaro, it only built a few cars for the model year, stopping production in December 2023.

A gray Mustang coupe and red Mustang convertible race along a track.
2024 Ford Mustangs | Ford Motor Company

So is there anything else out of Detroit that would count as a muscle car? Chrysler offered the 300 with some powerful V8 engines, but that was a sedan and ended production when the Challenger did. Cadillac offers the “Blackwing” trim of its CT4 with a turbocharged V6 and manual transmission. But that is also a luxury sedan. Ford actually has no other cars, even sedans. And Chevrolet offers the CT4’s Chevrolet cousin–the Malibu–but just with four cylinder engines.

It’s kind of poetic the Ford Mustang is the final muscle car standing. In 1965, the new Ford Mustang ignited a craze for lightweight affordable coupes with available V8 power. The “pony car” segment is named in its honor. Ford lit off a second muscle car craze when it unveiled the retro Mustang concept at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show. It has announced no plans to discontinue the Mustang.

Next read about the only Detroit automaker still building a sedan, or learn about the history of the Ford Mustang in the video below:

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