Climb inside these stunning muscle car drop-tops, straight from the classic era of American high-performance cars!
Today's rarest, priciest, and most highly sought-after muscle cars are also the least practical. These are the striking convertibles of the 1960s and 1970s that were optioned out for drag racing. Wide-Open Muscle showcases these rare cars and proves that sometimes it pays to throw practicality out the window in order to make something purely cool and fun to drive.
At the peak of drag racing popularity, it was common knowledge that racers needed the lightest, most rigid-framed cars available. Convertibles represent the exact opposite of that description, so it's amazing that these drop tops ever emerged amid the circle of full-throttle dragsters. While typical convertible drivers cruised around listening to the latest Lovin' Spoonful release in the eight-track tape deck, these muscle-car convertibles were equipped for rock 'n' roll speed. These topless muscle cars are so rare because few people had the dedication (or money) to buy a vehicle this impractical. They're valuable because they represent the absolute extreme of the entire muscle-car genre.
All the cars in Wide-Open Muscle are shot in similar fashion, studio-style with a black background using a process known as light painting. It is the ultimate portrayal of the ultimate muscle cars.
Randy Leffingwell wrote his first book, American Muscle, in 1989 while still on staff at the Los Angeles Times. Since then, he has authored more than 50 other titles, covering subjects from sports cars to motorcycles to farm tractors. Leffingwell is considered one of the top transportation photographers and historians working today. Some of his previous bestselling Motorbooks titles include Art of the Corvette, Porsche 911: Fifty Years, John Deere: A History of the Tractor, and The Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Archive Collection (with Darwin Holmstrom). He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
Tom Loeser has worked as a Firefighter for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (now known as CAL Fire), as a graphic designer and photographer, and as chief photographer for the Long Beach Grand Prix. Since 2012 he has worked full-time as a book photographer provided images for Motorbooks titles Art of the Corvette, Art of the Mustang, Wide-Open Muscle, and Classic Motorcycles: Art of the Speed. His next book, The Art of Mopar: Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth Muscle Cars, is in production.