Book Review: Classic Chevrolet Muscle Cars: 1955-1974

by | Jun 15, 2017

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Most people get their love of a particular car marque from their parents. My Dad was a Chevy man but I’ve always liked imports and for American cars, preferred Fords. I think it was because Dad was a strong union man and worked at Bethlehem Steel, which wasn’t far from Baltimore’s Fisher Body plant that produced Malibu’s and Chevelle‘s. While I’m not a bow-tie super fan, I still enjoyed Classic Chevrolet Muscle Cars: 1955-1974.

The book’s official title is Complete Book of Classic Chevrolet Muscle Cars: 1955-1974 and was written by Mike Mueller, who also wrote The Complete Book of Ford Mustang. Let me start by remarking on the book’s end-papers, which feature a clever photograph of a Nova nee Chevy II convertible, always one of my favorite GM cars. And it just gets better and better after that…

There are just five chapters: In “When Big was Best” looks at big block Impalas that’s illustrated with great-looking photographs along with some charts with enough technical specifications that will make even the most geeky reader happy.

In Chapter 2 we look at the Nova SS and legendary COPO cars. In addition to specifications for different models there are also informative sidebars which go into Nova variations, some of which, like the Rally Nova, I didn’t know existed. You also get to see how the Nova grew over the years and, to my taste, not always for the better. But while later models may lack style, they make up for it in performance, such as the 1968 COPO Novas. Yenko variants are here as well, such as the 1970 Deuce.

Chapter four takes a look at mid-sized cars, including Chevelle, El Camino and Monte Carlo, including the SS454 which I think is the best combination of style and performance for the money. Funny, this is considered a “mid-sized car” for the era but it probably wouldn’t even fit in my garage. How times change. This chapter also features the Camaro, which my wife totally loved especially the 1967 model. The chapter includes the COPO Camaros with theie impressive performance while the Z28 gets its own Chapter, deservedly so.

Classic Chevrolet Muscle Cars: 1955-1974 represents a love fest for these cars celebrating a time when cars were created for style and performance without government regulations turning them into identical jelly bean shaped blobs, slaves to aerodynamics, full economy and safety. These cars were probably unsafe at any speed but for pure visceral enjoyment, we will never see their likes again. Author Mueller has delivered a valentine to this era of Chevy performance cars. Bow tie fans will want to have this lushly produced coffee table book on their coffee table.

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Motorbooks (May 12, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 076035233X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760352335
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Price: $25.47