DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- The focus today may be on small cars and green cars and saving energy, but the muscle car niche has found new life.
Moreover, the muscle car segment had a dramatic development during 2010, when the Chevrolet Camaro passed Ford's Mustang (above) in sales for the first time since 1986. During 2010, Chevy sold 81,299 Camaros while Ford ( F) sold 73,716 Mustangs. GM ( GM) took Camaro off the market in 2002, then brought it back in 2009. Another classic muscle car, the Dodge Challenger, returned to the market in 2008. It sold 36,791 units in 2010. Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Edmunds.com, said both classic muscle cars seem to have benefitted from their absence. "The average muscle car buyer out there is a passionate guy," Brauer said. "It's an absence makes the heart grow fonder kind of thing. Without the option to buy a Camaro for seven years, a lot of people came streaming back into the market." Read on for photos, updates and history on the three best-known, U.S.-made muscle cars.