Jay-Z and Linkin Park. Chicken and Waffles. Each of these things are fine separately, but for some reason people feel the need to combine them. While some people swear they go better together, the rest of us wrinkle our brows in disgust at the idea.
Such is the case with superheros and muscle cars. I think they’re fine separately, but definitely not better together. My opinion is that the end result is not twice as good, but only half as good as it could be.
To give you a better idea of what I am talking about, let’s take a look at some examples. Exhibit A is a fifth-generation Ford Mustang that has been built by Roush Performance. The car exhibits the trademark Roush wheels, bumper, and supercharged V8 engine. This is a fine vehicle that any muscle car enthusiast would be proud to own.
For some reason, the owner felt the need to plaster Batman emblems on the front grille. I feel that the cartoon logos on this car distract from the seriously awesome nature of this high-performance vehicle.
Exhibit B is another fifth-gen Mustang. This one is a 2010 Shelby GT500 with additional customizations by AMP Performance. It features a Ford Racing supercharger with a smaller pulley, 100-shot ZEX Nitrous kit, a 2.5-inch Bassani exhaust and Eibach adjustable coil-over suspension.
It is by all measures a seriously fast car. A sign next to it read that it dynoed at 623 RWHP and 608 lb-ft of torque! So why did the owner feel the need to airbrush Superman imagery all over his car?! The car will impress people when it makes a very fast pass at the drag strip, not when they see the airbrushed Man of Steel punching his way through the nitrous bottle in the trunk.
Underneath the hood is perhaps one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen on a muscle car: a full-on airbrushed comic strip featuring Superman in his Grabber Blue GT500 racing Lex Luthor in a Camaro. Lex Luthor attempts to defeat Superman with a kryptonite-packed pistol, but Superman uses his heat vision to zap the gun out of Luthor’s hands, causing him and the Camaro to end up in a fiery wreck.
In our third superhero muscle car, we see a fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro SS that is adorned with imagery from the 2007 film Transformers. The film was loosely based on the 1980s childrens toys and TV shows, and was widely regarded by critics as a two-hour Chevrolet commercial in which everything blows up.
Now that everyone who was born in the 1980s is old enough to drive, they are encouraged by the movie franchise (not very subtly, I might add) to relive their childhood memories by buying a new Camaro SS. GM even offered a special Transformers package for the Camaro – a $995 upgrade on top of the regular price.
What amazes me is that this strategy is actually working for Chevrolet. By the time the 2010 model year Camaro went on sale to the public in 2009, GM had already booked 10,000 pre-orders and went on to sell a total of 61,648 cars in 2009. By 2011, that number had hit 88,249.
Finally we arrive at our last superhero muscle car, another fifth-gen Camaro. This one is over the top with Batman and Superman graphics, from the hood to the trunk and everywhere in between. The fact that someone went out of their way to do this boggles my mind. All the money spent on airbrushing and stickers could have gone to a new set of tires or something that would help the car perform better.
Customizing your muscle car used to mean adding a set of wheels you liked, changing the exhaust or rear end gears, and adding aftermarket bolt-on parts to make it go faster. Now, the current trend in muscle car customization is buying cars that are already fast from the factory and then covering them in a bunch of cheesy superhero stuff. Here’s a hint, guys: superhero stuff doesn’t make a cool car even more badass. It makes it look like a joke. To me, a muscle car that hauls ass is cool enough on its own.