No doubt opinions are in the eye of the beholder. I had a Gremlin X 390 4 speed back in the70's it did everything terribly a muscle car was supposed to do & did everything well a muscle car was supposed to do. The real truth not an opinion is tell the cars it outran they just got drug by a non muscle car.
AMC didn't have a Muscle car?? I guess you had to be there. The Gremlin X had the quintessential Muscle car requisite. Horsepower to weight ratio. With a little bit of performance parts it was the fastest AMC on the street at the time. They were as much a part of the street stock drag strip car as anything else. Not as many out they were but they always there. Not quite the cool factor but they were fast enough. They had the sleeper factor tied up though. Nothing more fun that seeing a big three muscle car guys face being drug by one. In the world where muscle cars survived they were an entity.
My opinion is that they did make a muscle car.
But then I classify a Z28 & Boss 302 as a muscle car. I didn't get the memo on it was a Big block only club. Seeing the dodge dart swinger 4 speed busting the big blocks was more of a muscle car to me than the big blocks.
1980 Honcho 258 4 speed mostly stock with 4 " lift.
You know the rude dude from IFSJA
1980 Cherokee wrangled & mangled
MSD complete system
Comp cam 270H
Ramsey 12K winch
Built to drive not sit in the garage.
No longer strangled. I didn't build it for anyone else.
If you can't improve it why waste your time?