Richard Petty dedicates Muscle Cars Forever stamps

Limited-edition stamps celebrate high-performance cars from the '60s and '70s.


The 1967 Shelby GT-500 was more than just a racer. The improved suspension softened the ride, resulting in a vehicle that was comfortable to drive on the highway as well as on the track. The car 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. In 2007, Ford reintroduced the Shelby GT-500 into the Mustang model lineup. 

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

The outrageously styled 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was designed to dominate on the racetrack. The car, which underwent wind-tunnel testing before its release, took the checkered flag at its NASCAR debut in September 1969 at Alabama International Motor Speedway in Talladega. The production version of the car was powered by a standard 440-cubic-inch, 375-horsepower Magnum engine. A limited number of Daytonas also were available with a 426-cubic-inch Hemi, a race-inspired engine Chrysler introduced earlier that decade. Chrysler first used a version of the Hemi — a high-performance engine with hemispherical combustion chambers — in automobiles in the 1950s.

Concealed headlights, fender-mounted scoops, a nearly 2-foot tall, rear-mounted wing and an 18-inch nose piece helped boost aerodynamics. Other signature touches were thick body stripes containing the word "DAYTONA." The distinctive vehicles were not easy to come by. In order to qualify for NASCAR racing, at least 500 Daytonas had to be made available for purchase. Only 503 were produced. 

1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda

The 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda, a 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 car was part of what Plymouth called "The Rapid Transit System." The 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda was "our angriest, slipperiest-looking body shell wrapped around ol' King Kong hisself," one advertisement bellowed.

One of the 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda's more audacious features was a Shaker hood scoop, which vibrated as air flowed through to the engine's two four-barrel carburetors. The car's styling was an extension of its bold ethos. It was available in a variety of eye-popping color choices, such as Lemon Twist, Lime Light and Vitamin C. Hockey-stick shaped stripes denoting engine size, a shifter handle shaped like a pistol grip and bucket seats also were offered. The model also is a rare specimen, as fewer than 700 were produced. 

1970 Chevelle SS

With features like optional twin racing stripes, the 1970 Chevelle SS looked fierce. SS stood for Super Sport, a fitting designation for this power car. A 396-cubic-inch engine was available, but a 454-cubic-inch engine option gave the 1970 Chevelle SS 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 sheer power, the latter has become legendary among car buffs.

The LS-6-propelled 1970 Chevelle SS was enough to finish in the 13-second range in quarter-mile tests. Optional Cowl Induction, a flap on the bulged hood that allowed cold air to flow into the engine, added even more kick. In addition to its impressive road performance, the 1970 Chevelle SS also was known for its unique style. Available as a coupe or a convertible, it featured a black grille and SS emblems on both the grille and the rear bumper.

Customers may view the America on the Move: Muscle Cars Forever stamps, as well as many of this year's other stamps, on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps, on Twitter @USPSstamps or on the website Beyond the Perf at beyondtheperf.com/2013-preview. Beyond the Perf is the Postal Service's online site for information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks

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