Blocky, solid, and gas-guzzling, muscle cars aren't typically what comes to mind when you first think of being eco-friendly. Muscle cars are historically made for street racing and designed for high-performance in a straight line, rather than flexibly bending around a high-speed chicane. With connotations of both inefficiency and a working-class subculture, the category of cars has a reputation for loud engines and low fuel economy. But some of the oldest muscle car manufacturers have something to say about that stereotype.

As more muscle cars defy expectations, electric versions enter the EV market while keeping the culture of a beloved auto tradition alive. The market is growing and there seems to be a gateway for electrifying muscle cars of the past. Here are a handful of classic roadrunners that would shine with a renewable reinvention.

Sources include: Buick, Chrysler, Ford, Car and Driver, Volvo Cars, and other reliable sources.

Related: Electric Cars That Are Inspiring The Return Of Retro Design Cues

Muscle Cars Aren't Just Stocky, They Can Be Sustainable Too

The term "Muscle Car" first entered the auto enthusiast community in 1964 when Pontiac launched the GTO as such. However, before the subclass of cars had a name or were even mass-produced, modified vehicles took to the streets. The Volvo Cars Museum credits bootleggers during the prohibition as the first muscle car fanatics and engineers. In order to outrun police looking for outlawed alcohol, moonshine makers outfitted their cars to drive faster. Soon having a quick car wasn't just practical, but it was also fun. The once criminal subculture seeped into bigger circles and racing these cars took to the streets.

As the prohibition era ended, the popularity and widespread appeal of muscle cars were just beginning to catch on. The Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was released in 1949 with an airy body powerful engine. It wasn't until the 1960s and 1970s, however, that muscle cars had their moment in the mainstream with manufacturers popping up across the nation. The global oil crisis and limitations on manufacturing guidelines caused the industry to bow. Despite the golden age being long gone, muscle cars are still a staple of manufacturers and, more importantly, still hold cultural relevance. The muscle car is so quintessentially American that models are shipped worldwide, and it has become synonymous with 1960s Rock'n'Roll, "Grease", "Fast & Furious", and "The Blues Brothers."

That culture hasn't slowed down, but the rise of electric vehicles has threatened what many Americans see as a time machine in the past. Ford, one of the largest manufacturers of muscle cars, responded by making an electric version of one of the most popular muscle cars in history, the Mustang. The Ford Mustang Mach-E first shook up the EV market in 2021 with a $43,995 starting price. The debut won Ford Car and Driver's EV of the Year and Editor's Choice awards, along with a 9.5 out of 10 rating. While the Mach-E offered a quick and competitive drive, it left some purists missing the vroom of its predecessor.

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Specs


Dual-motor setup


266 horses


317 pound-feet

0-60 mph

3.7 seconds

Top Speed

114 mph


312 miles

Related: Why You Should Buy An EV Over Today's Muscle Cars

The Buick Gran Sport Would Be The Perfect Mix Of Grippy And Green

The Buick Gran Sport had a brief stint on the market like many muscle cars of its caliber. Selling from 1967 to 1972, the Buick had a classic muscle car shape that is rarely replicated today. The Ford Mustang is the closest modern car that replicates a similar low and rectangular stature. Unfortunately, the Ford Mustang Mach-E didn't offer that classic shape that autophiles loved.

The beloved Buick, however, could bring that back. Along with its architecture, the sporty spin-off of the Buick Skylark could be a refreshing addition to the electric sports car market. Made for a street track, the Buick was known for its performance. The grippy ride made for a driving experience unlike any other. Although a green version is the stuff of dreams, an electric version would need one key thing to appeal to a wide audience. The rev of the V8 engine will be missed, and the sound would be a much-appreciated addition for auto geeks. Although the reviews of the Ford Mach-E were overwhelmingly positive and continue to be, several customers miss the sound that accompanies the experience of driving a sports car. Bringing back that sound in an artificial way, like in the case of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, would be necessary to strike a balance between modern and classic.

Related: 10 Electric Cars That Will Make You Forget Your Love For Muscle Cars

How Chrysler Could Revive The AMC Javelin

Chrysler plans to pull the curtain off of a full fleet of electric vehicles in a short time. In just four years, the manufacturing company is set to prioritize clean energy in its cars. The company took the first step in 2023 by introducing the only plug-in hybrid electric minivan currently available in the EV-hybrid space. Chrysler, however, has a whole back list of stunners that made the brand a household name. Most notable? The AMC Javelin. Sporting that classic shape with a lineup of primary colors, the Javelin was larger than most muscle cars on the market in the 1970s which impacted its specs.

Although it existed over 50 years ago, the Javelin had a horsepower that rivals some of the best names on the market currently, including the all-electric Ford Mach-E. Hitting 330 ponies in its prime, an electric powertrain capable of similar performance would set the muscle car apart from the bunch. In fact, the Javelin was powerful enough to cause uncertainty and was thought to be scary for the everyday driver. In the right hands, a revised version could reinvent history.

Related: Why Electric Muscle Cars Will Exceed Our Need For Speed

The Plymouth Road Runner Could Be Rapid and Renewable

The Plymouth Road Runner wasn't just a muscle car, for many it was the muscle car. Now one of the most sought-after cars of that generation, the Road Runner represents the ultimate era of low-sitting speed. From Mariah Carey's "Loverboy" and Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" to Jay Leno's garage and the NASCAR pit lane, the Road Runner was a staple of American culture even after it went out of commission in 1975. Even its name stems from a "Looney Tunes" character — Sunday cartoons, Warner Bros, and muscle cars are just about as American as you can get.

Besides the impact on the pop culture zeitgeist, the Road Runner was adored — and respected — for its value of performance over profit. When it first hit the market, it was about the driving experience at its core. A reasonable price paired with amplified power made the car a hot commodity. Not only would a renaissance have performance benefits for the on-track EV community, but it would also address complaints about the vehicle's decline. As emissions became an issue and the mass-scale environmental movement of the 1970s and 1980s took to the streets of the nation's capital, the once mighty muscle car's power was clipped.

With today's tech, an environmentally friendly car doesn't have to come at the cost of power, performance, or speed. In an era where there are designated motorsports series for all-electric racing with top speeds hitting all-time highs each season, the engineering is surely there to balance muscle with electrification.

2023-09-26T00:31:11Z dg43tfdfdgfd