What was the first muscle car? Well that depends on who you ask. The 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is the most widely cited as being the first muscle car. The Rocket 88 was first designed as a response to consumer request for a car with more power and speed than other cars available at the time. The Rocket 88 was also the first car to feature a O.H.V. (Over Head Valve) V8 engine in a mid sized body.