Comparing Classic and Modern Muscle Cars

Comparing Classic and Modern Muscle Cars

Posted by Anderson Restoration Parts on 19th May 2023

There are a few varieties of vehicles out there that tend to be popular among classic car enthusiasts, and the muscle car is one of the top examples. Retro muscle cars are just a ton of fun to drive, restore and maintain, but it's important for their owners to note the major ways they differ from today's modern muscle cars during these forms of care.

At Andersen Restoration Parts, we're here to help with all your classic car restoration part needs, from polyurethane kits and other suspension kits to ball joint sets, control arm shaft kits and more. Here are some of the key areas where classic muscle cars tend to differ in important ways from modern versions, plus how to consider these as you maintain and care for any classic muscle car.


Naturally, as you may have already been aware, the engine of classic muscle cars is a key point of difference. Retro engines tend to be significantly larger in size and power than modern versions, with much higher compression ratios and less advanced fuel injection systems. This means that it's critical to pay careful attention to tuning, maintenance and any other kind of care for these engines in order to preserve them from having issues.

Now, one major engine difference that many classic muscle car owners actually find attractive is the noise factor. Classic engines tend to be much louder than their modern counterparts, creating a more dynamic driving experience for the true muscle enthusiast. If that roaring engine is something you're after, it might be worth considering investing in a classic over newer models.


Another key area of difference between retro and modern muscle cars is the transmission. Modern transmissions are generally more advanced and efficient than those found in classic muscle cars, which usually resort to using a three-speed manual or automatic transmission system. This can create a more difficult and slower shifting experience for drivers, but most classic car lovers don't seem to mind this as part of the old school driving charm.

It's also important to note that retro transmissions tend to be less reliable than modern versions, so it's essential to pay attention to any maintenance or repair needs that your classic muscle car might require in this area.

Style and Design

With many classic muscle cars, you can also expect to find a much different style and design than more modern versions. Retro muscle cars often feature a variety of unique and vibrant color options, as well as wheel designs that differ from many current models. This gives owners plenty of customization potential when it comes to making their car truly unique in terms of its look and design.

Once again, classic car stye is often something many owners prefer to modern versions, as it brings a certain level of personality and style that isn't always possible with the more uniform designs found in newer cars.

Weight and Construction

When it comes to classic cars, weight can also be a major factor to consider. Retro muscle cars tend to be significantly heavier than modern models, and their construction differs as well. Classic cars are often made from solid steel parts which provides them with a greater level of durability and strength but at the cost of added weight.

This means that drivers of classic muscle cars can expect a slower acceleration, as well as increased wear and tear on the engine due to their heavier weight. This makes it even more important for owners of retro muscle cars to pay attention to regular maintenance and tuning in order to get the most out of their vehicle.

Street Legality

While most classic cars can easily enough be driven on public roads, in certain cases they may not be up to street legal standards. This is why it's always important to check with your local DMV before driving or registering a classic car, as in some states certain modifications will need to be made in order to comply with current laws and regulations.

Overall, classic muscle cars are just a ton of fun to own, maintain and drive. However, it's important for owners to be aware of the major differences these cars have from modern versions in order to ensure they get the most out of their vehicle while keeping it safe on the streets. With a little bit of knowledge and care, you can make sure your classic car is always running at its best.

And at Andersen Restoration Parts, we've got all the parts and knowledge you need to make that happen. With our wide selection of retro-style parts, we can help you get your classic car back on the road. Check out our website today for more information.