The period of muscle cars may be long gone, but there are a few that just refuse to die.

Let’s face it, muscle cars aren’t what they used to be. From the straight-line road rockets that America’s finest manufacturers created, their perception has changed over the years to being gas-guzzling resource-depleting machines that ecologists believe deserve to die a horrible death. However, while that may be true to quite an extent, there is not a single automotive enthusiast on the planet who would want to see the demise of the big muscle cars that dominated the streets and were the kings of stop light drag races.

But in truth, no one really needs an 8.0L engine making 400 horsepower when there are technologically advanced ways today that can create the same amount of power in less than half that engine capacity. While that could lead to a massive argument, there are two sides to the large displacement V8 story –

A large displacement, naturally aspirated V8 engine creates considerable power and torque figures, while having a steady flow of acceleration right up to the redline.

A turbocharged smaller displacement engine, V8 or otherwise, creates equal or more power and torque, but sometimes is victim to the much-despised turbo lag that creeps up in forced induction engines. However, there are ways to take care of that aspect and they can lead to an unrelenting surge of acceleration with absolutely no signs of letup.

If the latter is what you desire, there is no shortage of options even today. Here’s what the muscle car market has on offer.

Ford Mustang

The Mustang is the name that comes to mind for most people when they hear the words ‘muscle car’. And why shouldn’t it? Its timeless design, aggressive styling and dominating numbers will always lend it pride of place wherever it may stand. From the basic more affordable V6 models to the big V8, Ford offers a good choice of models, trims and accessories. Furthermore, there’s the even more astonishing Shelby GT500 version which uses a supercharged 5.4L V8 that develops all of 550 horsepower! Of course, the big news is that the new 2013 Mustang will use a larger 5.8L motor with a more efficient supercharger to develop over 600 horsepower! This will endow it with some breathtaking performance and also propel it to over 200 mph, making it the first muscle car to breach that barrier. The Mustang has come a long way and is destined for even more accomplishments.

Chevrolet Camaro

The Camaro may not be the first choice when it comes to muscle cars but while the late 60s model was aimed at the Mustang, the new Camaro simply aims to be as intimidating as possible; not something too difficult considering the styling is spot on!

For a car that gained a reputation as Bumblebee the Autobot from Transformers, the Camaro has a newer, younger fan following for an altogether different reason. GM has wisely offered a rather sensible 300 horsepower 3.6L direct injection V6 engine in the basic LS and LT models, while muscle cars enthusiasts can opt for the SS model which is loaded with a 6.2L V8 engine with 426 horsepower and a hefty torque output. You can also choose an automatic version which offers 400 horsepower. If those numbers don’t astound you, there’s also the Camaro ZL1 which hosts a supercharged 6.2L V8 under the bonnet that unleashes all of 556 horsepower and a wave of torque!

Dodge Challenger

What would a muscle car feature be without a HEMI? One of the most iconic names in muscle car history, HEMI together with Mopar, add up to some unadulterated performance machines that never fail to astonish and put large smiles on every face in attendance. The Dodge Challenger retains much of its classic styling features and the SRT8 392 Edition even offers the largest motor of the present lot – a 6.4L HEMI V8 that dishes out all of 470 naturally aspirated horsepower and acceleration that sound more like building rage than anything else in the world. The joy that lies ready to be experienced behind the wheel of this monster is something to be celebrated, or rather, something to enjoy while it lasts. With present day emission legislations coming down hard on car makers, it’s only a matter of time before the large displacement V8 will finally bid adieu.

The three muscle cars here are mere recreated highlights of an era gone by which was like a movie where the cars were the stars and different models, each with their own unique style, played their roles to perfection, delivering one memorable journey for any muscle car lover. Those were the days when fuel was plentiful, gas was cheap and the Earth still rotated unperturbed by the screeching tires laying down rubber and the bellowing engines and screaming exhaust pipes shouting their authority to the crowds. Today, some of the cars are still here, reborn, living a conditional life contained by butterfly valves, catalytic converters and electronic limiters. There are more names like the Cadillac CTS-V, Dodge Charger and even some Germans popping big naturally aspirated and twin-turbocharged V8s into their bonnets – the Mercedes E63 AMG and BMW M5 for instance. The fun is there to be had and those who wish to enjoy it should make the most the present.