A high performance and potent car, usually American, sometimes Australian, British or South African. Distinctive characteristics include a large, heavy frame similar to a mid-size family sedan, a huge V8 engine with at least 4 liters (244 CID) of displacement, a gearbox with extremely tight ratios, an interior with enough room for 4 people, and a price that is much lower than an European simile. Due to their poor handling and their fabulous acceleration, they are best suited for straight-line drag racing.
Similar in concept is the pony car, which is basically a smaller, lighter muscle car, such as the Ford Mustang, the 1970 Dodge Challenger, or the Chevrolet Camaro. While not often considered muscle cars, many Japanese cars in the 70s (such as the Nissan Skyline C110, Toyota Celica A20, and Mitsubishi Galant GTO) featured styling that made them resemble compact muscle cars.