I remember the heyday of Detroit, when cruising Woodward Avenue was the thing to do, and the Big 3 were producing muscle cars that every male in the country wanted. Special editions were built for NASCAR and NHRA. The motto was "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday."
Performance was king. And when the era ended, it seemed there never would be another like it. Well, the naysayers were wrong.
Detroit got hit with a double whammy that pushed its resources to the limits. There were brand new safety rules and the first of ever-increasing pollution standards. Then came corporate average fuel economy standards. It all happened within a short period of time three decades ago. Detroit couldn't cope with everything at once. "Performance" became a dirty word.
But, I'm happy to say, performance cars are back with a vengeance.
Only this time, "performance" is a kinder, gentler word, and the cars are far superior to those of the old days.
Some of those muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s were real monsters to drive, turn or stop. And you never wanted to be in a crash in one of them. They went fast in the quarter mile, but that was about it.
Today's performance cars are a delight. They go, they stop and they handle while keeping their emissions low and their safety level high. Remarkably, they probably deliver three times the fuel economy of their muscle car ancestors.
It is amazing to experience the balanced performance of today's muscle cars. Some of them still can take advantage of cubic inches or cc's. Others deliver massive amounts of horsepower from small-displacement four- and six-cylinder engines.
It's not just a Detroit party anymore. Muscle cars come from Asia, Europe and elsewhere in North America. Everyone seems to be involved.
And it's not just cars, either. As America's tastes have gone to SUVs and other trucks, so have performance vehicles. Some trucks that will never see a construction site can outrun just about any car.
It may not be "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" anymore. But for consumers who want performance, there are loads of choices.
Performance cars and trucks are back, and they are better than ever.