With the issuance of the Muscle Cars (Forever®) stamps, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates five iconic automobiles: the 1966 Pontiac GTO, the 1967 Shelby GT-500, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, the 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, and the 1970 Chevelle SS. Each of these cars represents the adventurous spirit of the muscle-car era. Fast, powerful, and eye-catching, muscle cars roared their way onto America’s roads in the 1960s. Typically equipped with big, powerful engines, the five high-performance vehicles depicted on the stamps represent the era’s adventurous spirit.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
Designed to dominate the racetrack, the outrageously styled 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was powered by a standard 440-cubic-inch, 375-horsepower Magnum engine. A limited number of Daytonas came equipped with a 426-cubic-inch Hemi, a race-inspired engine. The car also featured multiple additions designed to boost aerodynamics, including a nearly two-foot tall, rear-mounted wing. Other signature touches included thick body stripes containing the word “DAYTONA.” The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was distinctive and rare; only 503 were produced.
1966 Pontiac GTO
Available as a hardtop, coupe, or convertible, the GTO—which was propelled by a 335-horsepower, V8 engine—could really move. “The Goat,” as the GTO was known, ushered in the American muscle-car era in the mid-1960s. In tests, it went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds. The distinctive car featured curvy Coke-bottle styling and a split grille. Initially offered simply as an option on the Tempest LeMans, the GTO became its own model in 1966. That model year, sales of the GTO peaked.
1967 Shelby GT-500
Manufacturer and former racecar driver Carroll Shelby’s version of the Ford Mustang was powered by a 428-cubic-inch, 355-horsepower Police Interceptor engine. The car also featured a rear spoiler and dealer-installed LeMans stripes as an option. The Shelby GT-500 was both striking and rare; only 2,048 were built. A customized or original version of the 1967 Shelby GT-500 has appeared in contemporary movies and magazines, rekindling American pop culture’s fascination with the model.
1970 Chevelle SS
With features like optional twin racing stripes and a black grille, the Chevelle SS looked fierce. The car featured a 396-cubic-inch engine, but an optional 454-cubic-inch engine really gave the model credibility among muscle car enthusiasts. Two versions of the 454 engine were available: the 360-horsepower LS-5 and the 450-horsepower LS-6. For its power, the latter has become legendary among car buffs. Available as a coupe or a convertible, the Chevelle SS featured emblems on the grille and the rear bumper.
1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda
The Hemi ‘Cuda, the performance-oriented alter-ego of the standard 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, oozed power. The car’s 426-cubic-inch Hemi engine was a 425-horsepower beast. The Hemi ‘Cuda was “our angriest, slipperiest-looking body shell wrapped around ol’ King Kong hisself,” one Plymouth advertisement bellowed. The Hemi ‘Cuda’s styling was an extension of the car’s bold ethos. It was available in several eye-popping color choices, such as Lemon Twist, Lime Light, and Vitamin C. Fewer than 700 Hemi ‘Cudas were produced.
Artist Tom Fritz based his artwork on photographs of the cars. Fritz said he used bright-colored oil paints on hardboard to try to “capture the emotive quality of the vehicles.” Growing up in Southern California, Fritz became familiar with the power of muscle cars. The paintings, Fritz added, are “a projection of my memories of the vehicles.”
Muscle Cars is the third issuance in the America on the Move series. The stamps were designed by art director Carl T. Herrman. The first issuance in the series, 50s Sporty Cars (2005), was followed by 50s Fins and Chrome (2008). The Muscle Cars stamps are being issued as Forever® stamps in self-adhesive sheets of 20 (4 of each design). Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.
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