The Mustang and Camaro have been compared since the Camaro first came out in the late 1960’s. The Mustang was pretty much the only sports car that was also a muscle car. Well, of course Chevrolet had to compete with Ford so they came out with the Camaro. The release of the Mustang was followed closely by the release of the Camaro a few years later. There is no doubt about it that the team from Chevrolet had stolen a magnificent idea and plan.
These two muscle cars began the path for a revolution in pony cars and racing. America fell in love with the Mustang and Camaro, which allowed Ford and Chevrolet to sell millions of them in just a few years. Ford has continuously been selling a large number of Mustangs ever since the beginning.
Chevrolet had to stop their production of the Camaro. In 1961, the vice president and general manager of Ford, Lee Iacocca had a dream. He envisioned the Ford Mustang.
It took several months to get approval for funding to go towards the Mustang through multiple discussions, meetings and market surveys. The funding was granted in 1962. The Mustang’s parts were mainly borrowed from the Falcon to help keep the costs of production low. The car offered a variety of options for the exterior, interior, etc. Buyers were able to choose if they wanted their mustang to be fast, fancy, economical or plain. Ford wanted the Mustang’s design to appeal to everyone and anyone. It was advertised as “the car to be designed by you”.
The Camaro was based off of another Chevrolet car, the Nova. The Camaro had been designed to compete with Ford’s Mustang. Its code name was the Panther, before any information about the Camaro was ever leaked into the public. Chevrolet had wanted to keep their cars name’s beginning with the letter C. A few options for the Camaro had been Chevy II, Chevelle, Corvette, etc. Somehow they decided on Camaro, which a product manager of Chevrolet answered when asked what a Camaro is, he said “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs”. It was reported that General Motor researchers found in the French dictionary that Camaro was slang for friend or companion.
Though is was rumored that the Ford Company had researched and discovered some other definitions to the word Camaro, such as “a shrimp-like creature” and an arcane for loose bowels. On March 9 of 1964, the first Mustang which was a white convertible with a v-8 engine came out of Dearborn Michigan. Then a month later the Ford Mustang came out in the world with its debut at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The first Mustang that came out of the assembly line was in April of 1964.
This first model of the Ford Mustang, which was the early 1965 or also known as the 1964 ½, was available as a convertible or coupe. It had a 170-cubic inch six cylinder engine with a three-speed floor shift transmission. A V8 engine was optional with a four-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic with a cruise transmission. The day of the grand opening for the Mustang over twenty two thousand were sold. Within its first twelve months, Ford sold close to four hundred seventeen thousand Mustangs. In eighteen months, roughly a million Mustangs had been sold. It was a huge hit with America. The first Camaro came out in September of 1966 but was the 1967 model, as it is referred to as.
When it was first available there were hardly any extra or special options for the car. That changed within the next following years and so forth. The Camaro offered a V6 or V8 engine in convertible or coupe. When the 1969 Camaro models were introduced, the car had improved greatly. A new power option was a Z28 package which had formally been known as the RPO Z28 Camaro Special Performance Package. The Z28 was one of the first special options and it was originally designed to compete in the Sports Car Club of America, which is a racing club. There are four generations to the Chevrolet Camaro. The first generation was from 1967 to 1969. That model was offered in a coupe or convertible with the option of a 4.1 L, 4.9 L, 5.0L, 5.4L and a 5.7L in a V8 engine.
The second generation was from 1970 to 1981. Chevrolet changed the styling to a wider and larger vehicle which produced a heavier Camaro. The third generation was from 1982 to 1992. They were the first model of Camaros that offered fuel injection. The fourth generation was from 1993 to 2002. It held onto the same basic characteristics as the original; a couple or convertible, rear-wheel drive and the choice of a V6 or V8 engine. For thirty five years Chevrolet had been producing the popular Camaro. Chevrolet claimed that they stopped production of the Camaro due to plant overcapacity, slowing sales, and fading market for sports coupes. Just recently in 2009, Chevrolet released the 2010 Camaro.
We will see how they do this time around. The Ford Mustang currently has five generations. With each generation Ford made sure to improve the horse power. The first generation was from 1964 ½ to 1973. The second generation was from 1974 to 1978. It was originally based off of the Ford Maverick but instead they used the Ford Pinto in the end. Because of the way the economy was going at the time, Ford needed to build a smaller and more fuel-efficient Mustang. Not only did they need to do this to appeal to customers still but to also to capture people’s eye as the Energy Crisis erupted.
The third generation was from 1979 to 1993. This generation model was based off of the ‘Fox’ platform. It had originally been created for the 1978 Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr. The interior of the third generation was meant to be more comfortable even though the back seats were smaller. The trunk was larger though, as well as the engine bay. This allowed the car to be easier to work on and service. The body styles were coupes, at the time was also referred to as a notchback, and a hatchback. A convertible was not available until 1983. The fourth generation is from 1994 to 2004. This generation underwent the most drastic redesign in over fifteen years. It had been code named SS-95 by Ford. It was also a more recent and updated version of the Fox platform. This new styled generation took several styles from the earlier Mustangs.
A new twist was that it was the first time since 1973 that a hatchback coupe was not available. The V6 was a 3.8 engine for the models of 1994 and 1995. Unfortunately, Ford stopped using the 5.0L V8 for the GTs. The 5.0L had been used for around 40 years, it was a drastic change. But the 5.0L was used last on the 1994 and 1995 models. The new GT engine would be a 4.6L. For the 1999 to 2004 models the Mustang had a new edge styling theme for the body. It included sharper contours, creases in the bodywork and even larger wheel arches. The chassis and interior design remained the same was the previous model. And last but most definitely not least is the fifth generation which is the current generation from 2005 to present.
At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, a new Mustang was introduced. It had been codenamed S-197. This new generation closely resembled the fastback Mustangs from the late 1960s. This new model was called as “retro-futurism” by Ford’s senior vice president of design. The V6 now had a 4.0L engine instead of a 3.8L engine. A brand new option that was first available for the 2009 Mustangs was a glass sun roof. The 2010 Mustang was unveiled by Ford before the Los Angeles International Auto Show. The 2010 Mustang mainly held the same look as the previous year’s model but with a modified exterior. Ford was looking for a leaner and muscular appearance for their 2010 Mustang. For the first time ever the Mustang had a reverse camera system to help drivers while backing up.
Though, this feature is not available on basic V6’s. The 2011 Mustang should be out around the spring of 2010 and it is a very anticipated model. It will closely resemble the 2010 model, with perhaps some slight changes to the rear. It is hard to find information on the upcoming 2011 Mustang. One thing is for sure though, Ford is bringing back the 5.0L engine for it which excites many. Still to this day the Ford Mustang is running strong. The Mustang has even more varieties, variations and options. There is no other vehicle out there that has as many options as the Mustang does. So many different types branch off of the “Mustang”. Several examples are: Cobra, Shelby, Super Snake, Saleen, Mach 1, Fastback, California Special, Bullit, High Country Special, Boss, etc.
They are never ending. There are so many differences and similarities between these two famous and popular pony cars. There is even so much more that a person can compare and contrast about Mustangs and Camaros. Not only because of the years, numerous changes, and that it is – after all – a car, but also because they have had a heated and natural rivalry since the very beginning. Oddly enough, it was rather difficult to find a lot of information and details on the Camaro, especially compared to the Mustang. The Mustang had numerous of information that was able to be found. And, remember the Mustang started it all in 1964, and has not stopped since!