Despite being developed on top of the Ford Falcon, Ford created with the launch of the first Mustang in 1964 a new category of vehicle in the United States that was called ‘Pony-Car’ and was defined as a “sports car-like coupes with long hoods and short rear decks” .
The genius idea behind the concept of the Mustang was to offer a coupe stylish model with a low entry price for the basic version. As the client desire, the car could receive many optional items, which increased the price considerable. Soon the idea called the attention to the competition and in 1966 Chevrolet reveled the Camaro, model that became the natural rival to the Mustang. Later, convertible and fastback body were developed for both
With time the pony-cars became more muscle car with the offer of additional packs that increased the power below the bonnet, notably the Mach 1, Boss 302, Boss 429 and Cobra for the Mustang and the RS, SS, Z28 and COPO 427 for the Camaro. The most powerful Mustang from the first generation offered 375BHP and the Camaro 430HP, both in a shape of a V8 7.0 liter engines.
A 1967 Camaro SS convertible and a 1970 Mustang Boss 302 fastback.
Mustang and Camaro evolved in their second generation in different ways. With the first oil crises reaching the world in 1973, the Mustang II was concept to be smaller and more efficient in fuel consumption although the Camaro became more sport, despite initially had been launched without the Z28 variant.
In the second generation, both Mustand and Camaro were smaller and less muscle than the old generation. In the left a Mustang II Guia and in the right a Camaro Z28.
At the 80 decade the consumers were more interesting in luxury and comfort and the Mustang and Camaros were offered with automatic transmission an air-conditioner in most versions. These was the ‘beginning of the end’ of the big sales.
In the third generation both became more larger, bigger and less muscle. They started to lose the original concept – the Mustang at this generations was just a little smaller than the Ford Thunderbird at the same year. The Camaro although maintained the fastback look and was available only in this body.
Mustang GT 1982 and Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 1985.
Despite the low sales through the 80 decade to the 90, Ford developed a fourth generation with a concept between the first and the third and the Chevrolet maintained the formula of the third generation for the Camaro 4th gen.
Ford Mustang GT 1994 and Chevrolet Camaro Z28 1998.
In the beginning of the 21 century the world saw the end of the Camaro line in 2002 and its return in 2009 in a retro-style look that tried to revive the first generation. The Mustang in the fifth generation became more muscle and looked to the past too and got some inspirations in the first fastback generation. Both are more powerful than ever, the Mustang in the Shelby GT500 2013 version carrying a 5.4 liter V8 with 662HP and the Camaro in the latest ZL1 from 2011 powered by a 6.2 liter V8 with 580HP.
The latest generation of Mustand and Camaro, now more in line with the muscle versions of the first generation.
Such as all race cars, the race had ups and downs, but the ponies still in the race.
1 - Mueller, Mike (1997). Ford Mustang. MotorBooks/MBI. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-87938-990-1.