Back in the Sixties, Ford launched a new car called the Mustang. That sporty little ride sold like hotcakes and a new category was born. Small when compared to the other barges on the road, Muscle Cars used lightweight bodies with big V-8 engines that gained in horsepower annually as North America fell in love with speed. That speed was displayed on all sorts of tracks and at stoplights all across the continent. The main players in the muscle car wars were 3 2 door coupes from Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge. The segment starting Mustang was joined by the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Over the years the Challenger vanished from the market with the Camaro doing the same some 25 years or so later. Through that time, the Mustang remained in production and Ford actually sold more than a few.
A few years back, a standard product cycle revamp saw the Mustang receive some seriously retro styling cues. Looking more like a 66 than an 86, the don’t call it retro Mustang stirred some passion in the bellies of more than a few enthusiasts. Not long after we saw a new Challenger come to town, with styling that was beyond retro. It was almost a copycat of the original, albeit a fair chunk bigger. Not to be outdone, the Chevy boys & girls busted out a brand new Camaro. This one was more modern than the other two, but there was no mistaking the influence of the original to the shape.
The Pony Car wars were on!
Seeing that we’ve driven the 2010 Mustang GT, 2010 Camaro RS and the 2009 Challenger recently, it makes some sense that we should draw a few comparisons. Obviously there are a few performance variables between our testers that don’t seem to jive so I should probably begin here. We have a pair of V-6 powered cars and one V-8. How can that possibly be fair? Well, beggars can’t be choosers and we’ve driven the cars that were available when we could get them.
I’ll get into engine specifics in a subsequent post, but judging powerplants by the number of cylinders is becoming somewhat difficult these days. The 2010 Mustang GT V-8 has 315 horsepower, while the 6 in the Camaro RS is pretty durned close at 304. The 250 horsepower produced by the Challenger’s V-6 out does the old 318 & 360 V-8’s from back in the day. These 3 cars are close enough in power to warrant comparison. For 2011 it sounds like Ford has some game changing engines waiting in the wings so we may have to have another go at this next spring.
What we have here are a trio of 2 door coupes that have some hard core lineage to live up to. As none of them are the track burner versions of their stable, I’m going to compare them on how they deal with life in the real world. Are they up to the task of being a family’s second car or are the strictly to be used by the gold chain set and their girlfriends? Which one turns the most heads? How much junk fits in that trunk? Is the flash on the inside equal to the flash on the outside? Are things going to fall off every other week? Oh yeah, we’ll even compare how they motivate down the road.
Which one would we most like to have here in The Garage?
We’ll try to bring you a new segment each of the next few days.