Although this book was published in 2001 it is a great history of the Muscle Car. Maximum Muscle was authored by Steve Statham and published by Motorbooks. The fact that the book is nearly 8 years old at the time of this writing has some impact on its relevance but still provides and excellent overview of the muscle car history.
The Table of Contents provides a descriptive overview of the contents, as it should.
Introduction: The Nastier Musclecars
Chapter 1: Drag Racing Specials
Chapter 2: Stock Car Specials
Chapter 3: Trans-Am, A Place for Ponycars
Chapter 4: Pace Cars
Chapter 5: Dealer and Manufacturer Specials
Chapter 6: Super Cars of the 1980s and 1990s
Appendix A: Production Figures, Factory Special Musclecars
Appendix B: Indy Pace Cars, 1960-2000
If you are expecting to pick this book up and learn everything you ever wanted to know about muscle cars you will be disappointed. I don’t know of any such book. This hobby is much too complicated for that. Heck I don’t think there is one book that could tell you everything you want to know about anyone muscle car. There have been too many twist and turns in the history of these cars.
What this book does do is provide the reader with a great overview of some of the more unique vehicles and how they came to be. There is less in depth coverage of what makes each car technically special but more coverage of why the car was ever produced in the first place. However, there is enough technical information about each car to understand why it is a muscle car and what made it special.
This book is not about the everyday Z28 or Boss 302, although they are covered, for me its real stars are the cars that were the pinnacle of muscle cars. These were the cars you didn’t see every Saturday night in every town across America. These are the “Specials”. The cars in this book are the Super Stars, the Legends, the ones you heard about but didn’t see everyday.
The author also adds enough behind the scene info and personal stroies from the likes of Richard Petty to help explain the muscle car years.
My opinion? This is a great read for anyone interested in muscle cars and wants an overview of those times. If you lived through that period Maximum Muscle will bring back fond memories and fill in some gaps you didn’t know. If you are the off spring of someone who lived through the period you need to read Maximum Muscle for the historical content. You can’t really appreciate your muscle car or pony car unless you know where it came from.
Read the book, you will be glad you did.