1949 Olds Rocket 88: The First Muscle Car?

People who are heavily into classic cars that were built in America love their muscle cars, and when you think about muscle cars certain names come to mind, such as the Olds 442.

Muscle cars are a very cool phenomenon because they were built for speed but traditionally the muscle car was not extraordinarily expensive, so participating in the muscle car scene was something that was not out of the reach of ordinary working people.

When motor heads get to discussing muscle cars they will sometimes talk about the origin of the genre as it were. Though there is some debate regarding the first muscle car depending on the exact definition that you want to use, a lot of people say that the first muscle car was the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88.

In addition to having a big and powerful engine a muscle car was relatively small so that the motor wouldn’t have to pull a lot of weight, and the Rocket 88 fit this description. 1949 was the year that Oldsmobile came out with the Olds OHV V-8 and the Rocket 88 was powered by an overhead valve version, a high compression 303 ci engine that produced 135 hp.

The Rocket 88 made a name for itself on the NASCAR circuit that first year and that helped propel the popularity of Oldsmobiles in general. In fact the car was given the honor of serving as the pace car for the 1949 Indianapolis 500.

This car has become the stuff of legends, and it helped to create one of the most exciting trends that the American automotive industry has ever seen.

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