Muscle Car,” two distinctive cars come to mind, the Camaro and the Mustang. Throughout the era of the early 1950’s and 1960’s, there was a revolutionary movement that took place and paved the ground work for today’s “Muscle Cars” known as the “Ponycar Era.” Ask any avid Camaro or Mustang fan about the ponycar era, and watch their pain. They will describe cars that would light the tires on fire, floor it, and hang onto the wheel excitement. Back in the 1960’s a new idea was soon to hit the American market, the Ford Mustang. When the Mustang was introduced, General Motors soon to had to follow with their own type of sports car. The car they generated was know as the Chevrolet Camaro. The cars themselves were introduced within the matter of a few years of one another. From the day that General Motors and Ford realized that these cars were very similar in horsepower, torque, standards, and etc… they soon started to pit them against each other in an all out battle that has still last to present day. However, the Chevrolet Camaro has always had the slight advantage over the Ford’s Mustang.
When the word Mustang comes to play, most people think of a very well known car, not only for its stylish aspects, but for a variety of reasons: cost, features, speed (probably best know fact), and all around good appeal. The Ford Mustang was designed to be a people car. In 1960 Ford engineers sought out to build a car that the average motor head would be able to afford but yet still have the edgy feel about it. Back at the time of its release, in the early 1960’s, the Mustang did hold the advantage over General Motors. General Motors had no car out at the time of the Mustang’s release to compete with it. As the years progressed, Ford and Chevrolet managed to out do one another with there monster creations of each car. One such creation by Ford is their 590 HP “Super Stallion.” The car features a 590 HP engine which burns alcohol instead of regular pump gas. Jack Keebler noted from Motor Trend Magazine, “The way to a fast time is to launch this pony at no more than 1,600 RPM, gently feeding in the throttle as the big 265/40/ZR18 Goodyear’s churn at the edge of traction. Full throttle is impossible until you’re well into third gear, but its still one helluva hand full to drive” (40 – 45). That is the newest creation from the Mustang’s side of the track. The Ford team is fast on its own heels with a bigger and better development.
Next, came the Chevrolet Camaro. When the team of specialists and engineers at GM got there head together, they formed one of the best sports cars to date: The Chevrolet Camaro. When the Chevrolet Camaro was first introduced back in 1967, it was not thought very much of. The Ford Mustang had been out on the market now for quite some time and had made a very good impression on its buyers and the spectators. After General Motors pushed the sales campaign and got the first few buyers to commit they were hooked from day one. The word of mouth quickly spread of the sheer enjoyment of the Camaro vs. the Mustang. The Chevrolet Camaro provided a cheaper and better all around alternative to the Mustang. The Camaro came with loads more options and not to mention the stand features alone out did the Mustang’s. The biggest reason for sales increase was the power delivered by the Camaro. The Camaro was able to astonish the buyers with loads of power, given the time period, for a cheaper price of the Mustang. Chevrolet too competes with Ford in the bigger and better race to a super sports car. Once such creation is a 600 HP Big Block Camaro. The Camaro was developed as more of a show car to show people what can be accomplished with aftermarket products as well as the time and effort to put into a car. The horsepower that the Camaro develops is unbelievable. “Horsepower builds with straight-line progressivity from 2,000 RPM (187-HP) to 6,000 RPM (600 angry ponies)” (Karr 48 – 49).
The rivalry between these two can be documented from the day they rolled off the assembly line. Every year it seems like, the General Motors and Ford employees try to do each other in by advancing their cars, by adding more features, and of course more power. The Camaro has always held a slight advantage over Ford’s Mustang. The Mustang, however, has held the selling record over the Camaro for generations, but it simply can not match the performance of the Camaro. In a recent test of the two sports cars Jeff Karr, a well known reporter for Motor Trend magazine noted,
“For years now, particularly since its 5.7-liter/LT-1 driven make ver in 1993, the camaro has enjoyed a decisive power advantage over the Ford. Drive the Mustang the same way you would the Camaro and you simply won’t go as fast. When the Camaro hits its 2400 RPM torque peak, the Mustang lags by 53 pound-feet or 16%. The Camaro’s position of performance value Champion remains unchallenged” (102 – 106).
The tests between the two are almost endless. In almost every test, people have chosen the Camaro over the Mustang. Not simply for the fact that it may be faster, more reliable, and just all around better but for the fact of price. The Camaro is between $2,000 and $5,000 dollars cheaper than the Mustang. This price difference affects a huge number of car buyers every year. The American public is not going to pay for something of standard quality and performance when they can get a better and less expensive car that out performs the higher priced one. “The bottom line clearly reveals that from this group of long time nemesis, the Camaro once again emerges as offering the most bang for the buck” (Bartlett 30 – 38).
In conclusion, from the early 1950’s and 1960’s there has been two cars that have taken the American people by storm, the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang. Both rivals have tried from day one to out do and out perform each other to bet the first to develop an affordable sports car that handles and performs like a $90,000 dollar muscle car. Each in its own right have established itself on the car market place with such creations by Ford for its 590-HP Super Stallion and Chevrolet for its 600-HP Big Block Camaro. The Camaro and Mustang have been looked at as the “First true American sports cars.” They are arguably the two most rivaled sports cars of yesteryear and today. “The Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang are quintessential American pony cars and as such, continue to fight the good fight over which is best” (