An American Rivalry: Mustang vs. Camaro

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Over the past year or so, I have been blessed to be able to meet some great people while traveling and working at various industry events and auctions that have named Montway as the official auto transporter.

The Great Auto Rivalry

In my time getting to know some of the people that have attended these various events, it became very obvious to me that the folks that were the most fun to speak with were those who participated in one of the best rivalry’s in America.  Nope, not talking Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi, Yankees vs. Red Sox, or Hatfields vs. McCoys … I’m taking about pure American muscle and that means Mustang vs. Camaro.

Simply put, for over five decades the Mustang and Camaro have been trying to best each other in every way imaginable.  That is part of the lore, part of the undeniable “line in the sand” drawn between these two camps and part of the reason why these two iconic cars have remained wildly popular today.

Brief Summary of This Rivalry

In the early 60’s Ford had a problem.  It needed a way to attract younger buyers to the brand (sounds familiar).  This lead to the creation of the Mustang, which made its debut at the New York World’s fair on April 17, 1964.  Needless to say, the car was a huge success, becoming the fastest selling vehicle in history.

Of course, watching all of this unfold before their eyes, the good folks over at GM realized that they could not sit idly by and let this newly dubbed “Pony Car” class dominate the younger crowd, so in 1967 it launched the mother of all counter punches with the Camaro.  The rivalry was born and the golden age of American muscle cars had arrived.

In the early 70’s the US experienced the OPEC Oil Embargo, which had an obvious effect on American philosophy toward car design.  The Mustang and Camaro were steered towards dedicated platforms, which were more fuel efficient, but less fun.

American consumers were not impressed.  In fact most people argue that the 70’s almost killed both cars.  It was not until the Mustang was redesigned in 1979 and the Camaro in 1982 that the rivalry started to see signs of recovery.

The 90’s saw both cars steadily exchanging punches and counter punches as they both experienced steadily improved performance and design.   Then in 2002 Chevy surprised fans by retiring the Camaro before bringing back a retro-looking Camaro in 2010.

Today’s modern versions of the Mustang and Camaro offer peak performance along with natural good looks.  Both cars once again offer V8 engines with 500+ hp.

Needless to say, the rivalry still runs hot today.  In fact if you are looking for instant entertainment just get a Mustang owner and a Camaro owner in the same room.  Here are some of the best lines I have heard when talking with owners about which car is better:

  • “Mustang all the way. Especially because they don’t change into giant protector robots.”
  • “Camaro all the way!  I don’t want to be no pony boy!”
  • “Rivalry, what rivalry?  This class of car is called “Pony Car” meaning horse, meaning Mustang, case closed.”
  • “Mustang owners don’t realize what Ford really stands for …  Fix Or Repair Daily.”

Montway has transported our share of Mustangs and Camaros over the years.   In my opinion, it is evident that both camps have a certain level of respect for each other.  It is hard to argue the fact that competition has not benefitted both the Mustang and Camaro and helped to keep them both relevant and desirable.  Why else would GM make it a point to have Camaro wish its old friend Mustang a happy 50th birthday?

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