Hatfields and McCoys; Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali; Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees—these are some of the biggest rivalries of all time. When it comes to rivalries, the animosity runs deep. Engaged in an eternal tug of war, neither side is willing to back down or throw in the towel. It's not about grudges or even about winning, but about proving which side is superior over the other. When it comes to American cars, no two cars clash more than Mustangs and Camaros.
Fans find themselves squarely rooting for one side only, rarely situated somewhere in the middle between these two giants. Whether it comes from nostalgia, having grown up with one of these two cars in their family's garage—or because of a deep love and understanding of the car itself—people's love for these automobiles runs deep.
Car enthusiasts have strong opinions about what Mustangs and Camaros are the best to drive and own. Looking at the debate objectively, there are great things about both cars. Mustang has the benefit of being the first pony car, claiming the right of originality before the Camaro rolled onto the scene. On the other hand, many argue that the Camaro only perfected what the Mustang originally set out to do.
Something fans on both sides won't admit, however, is that there are cars on the other side that make them a little jealous inside. For Mustang fans, there are Camaros on this list they wish were Mustangs; in turn, Camaro fans must reconcile whether they can live without these Mustangs.
When it comes to Camaros, there's only a handful that can match the tail end of the first generation. With Chevy coming off some good sales years, they didn't let up with the '69 Camaro. According to Motor1, the facia got a more pronounced makeover, which only enhanced its beauty and charm. Early on in Camaro's history, they showed that they could make a car as good-looking as a Mustang. Instead of worrying Mustang fans, it only made them want one—though they'd never admit it openly. Still, to this day, the '69 Camaro not only stands as a groundbreaking car but set the bar, which all others are measured by.
Part of what makes the rivalry between Mustangs and Camaros so strong is the fact that they both offer the same thing. Every once in a while, there comes along a truly special car. This time, it happened to be Ford with its 2013 Shelby GT500.
According to Cheat Sheet, it can go from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.5 seconds and was capable of delivering an insane 662 horsepower.
Ford certainly asserted their standing with this wicked Mustang, making Camaro fans think twice about getting one. If Camaro diehards hate this car, they probably don't like what makes a great pony car in the first place.
Those lucky enough to live during the '60s and '70s in America got to witness an incredible stretch of muscle cars. As Mustang and Fords reports, the 1971 Boss 351 came towards the end of this golden period where "anything goes" applied to automobiles. It didn't matter whether cars defied what was practical, safe, or even good for the environment. What Ford strived for—and attained—was a beautiful piece of machinery in the Boss 351 model from this year, when production cars belonged just as much on a racetrack. Camaro fans are part of this rich muscle car history, except the Boss 351 made them wish they had shown less restraint while it was still possible.
Another model with a positive reputation for Camaro is the 1LE lineup. Yahoo reports that despite some bumps along the way, Chevy managed to deliver something special in 2013. For those feeling ambitious who were more well-off, there was an extra option for more than three grand that enhanced the front wheels and tires as part of the "Super Sport" package, along with much more.
Last but not least, Yahoo details the affordable and tempting price, which came in less than $40K.
It's hard for Mustang fans—yet to be owners—finally taking the plunge when there are still these 1LEs on the used car market today.
The Mustang Boss 302 is a classic car. It first debuted in the late '60s, attracting interest and garnering fame, in the meanwhile, for its evolution of the Mustang. It also arrived at a time when the Mustang competition with Camaros was well underway. It's the 2012 version, though, that has Camaro fans jealous. According to Cheat Sheet, the 5.0-liter V8 can impressively reach 60 mph in a mere 4 seconds. To find a new and improved version of the classic Mustang everyone loves made Camaro fans have to reconcile with their life choices. We suspect some Camaro fans converted as a result.
Mustang fans have to come to grips with the cold, hard reality that Camaro performs at or near the same level. When it comes to power, the Camaro 1LE showed that it could go toe to toe with most Mustangs. What made the 1988 version special, as Autotrader reports, is that it marked the Camaro's first christening of the 1LE name that would become synonymous with power. Also included in the 1LE were the same brakes used in Corvettes. As Autotrader notes, buyers had a choice between two engine options depending on whether they wanted the 5-speed manual or the 4-speed automatic.
What's the epitome of a pony car? When it comes down to it, a pony car is high-performing and sports attractive styling. The California Special—a lineup of Mustangs that first arrived in 1968, as Car Covers reports—is enough to make Camaro fans reconsider their allegiance.
The GT California Special is appealing for its familiar exterior that pays homage to other legendary Mustangs produced by Shelby American.
The same model can do 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds, notes Cheat Sheet, making this a car enthusiast's dream come true. When it comes to the pony car, the GT California Special is the real deal.
If Mustang fans are being honest, they have to admit it: the '68 Camaro Z28 is a good-looking car—if nothing else. Truth be told, though, there's a lot more behind it than merely its good looks. According to Motor1, Chevy made the car with racing in mind, which is where the stripes come from. The extra efforts Chevy put into the Z28 ultimately paid off. As Automobile Mag reports, the Z28 went on to compete in the SCCA Trans-Am events. Any trophies the Z28 earned for Chevy's legacy from the SCCA Trans-Am events—which further cemented its racing legacy—is a jab that hurts Mustang fans deep.
With a motor dubbed "Terminator," how could the car fail to perform? They only made a hair more than 2,000 of these SVT Mustang Cobras from this year, reports Mustang and Fords.
They go on to detail the car's specs, which include a 4.6-liter that could do 390 hp, which is enough to get Camaro fans nervous about Mustang's threat to the throne.
It's natural for even Mustang fans to compare the 2003 model to other cars in Ford's rich history; few other cars under Ford will have Camaro fans as covetous as this one, though.
Camaro fans will hold many of these cars in high esteem at the top of their all-time greatest lists. The Z28 was a different Camaro from everything else that had come before it, which according to Motor Authority, arrived in February 1970. The style and design were vastly different, sporting great length, width, and more. The body wasn't the only thing to get a change; it even drove steadier. That's something Camaro fans wouldn't be able to say about Z28 models seven years later, as Hemmings details, which lacked the 1970 Z28's quality. Mustang fans can't argue against the '70 Camaro Z28 being a worthy muscle car.
Not only Mustang followers but those with sworn fealty to Camaros, agree that the Shelby American versions are some of Ford's finest offerings. With that being the case, it's no wonder there are two of them on this list. The 1968 Shelby GT500KR, as Mustang and Fords points out, was shortened in name from "King of the Road." Mustang fans certainly agree that it lives up to the title; Camaro fans are finding it hard to find an argument otherwise. This came with the Cobra Jet engine that could do wonders in the realm of performance. Plus, the unique hood scoops nearly jumping over the edge of the front make for an attractive design decision.
Chevy had a notable figure involved in the creation of this spectacular Camaro. Don Yenko—who was part racer, part dealership owner—was pivotal in making the '69 Yenko/SC Camaro, as Top Speed reports. In order to do Yenko's name justice on the car itself, it had to be powerful, and powerful it was.
The V8 engine on these "Super Camaros"—as the "SC" signifies, according to Motor Authority—could output an enormous 425 hp.
In the thick of their war with Mustang, the Yenko arrived in a time where the two automakers were fighting for the hearts and minds of American drivers. It's a battle still being waged today, and Mustang fans have to come to terms with all the '69 Yenko/SC Camaro has to offer.
It's an early Mustang, the 1965 Hardtop, that helped kicked off a legacy for Ford that continues to this day. It's not merely placed here for novelty, however. It truly deserves a spot on this list for making Camaro fans wish they had claimed the pony car tradition first. According to Mustang and Fords, what the flagship car lacked in options, it made up for in its groundbreaking styling that was unlike anything yet seen by this time. Although there are plenty of Camaros that managed to get more speed—and dare we say, luxury?—than the ‘65 Mustang, it still represents a historical breakthrough that diehard Camaro enthusiasts envy.
Camaros aren't perfect. Due to the design of the car, the blind spots can be the worst, the back can feel cramped and doesn't offer passengers the highest level of comfort, and the price tag is sure to turn others off. Despite some of the downsides, there are much bigger pros for owning one, especially the 2017 Camaro SS 1LE. As Motor1 reports, it's one of the most powerful Camaros to come out in years, thanks to a 6.2-liter V8 that's also used in another Camaro, the ZL1. The end result is a fast Camaro that'll have Mustang diehards reconsidering their fandom.
The 2012 Mustang V6 Premium has the honor of being one of the lineup's fastest models ever. In order for it to stand out to Camaro fans, it needed something more than just speed, though. That thing, however, is hard to pin down. As Look4ward notes, it does manage to achieve a quieter ride without sacrificing power. That can't be said for Camaros or older Mustangs, for that matter. While the Mustang still struggles with handling—something Camaros excel at—one has to consider both performance and the ever-subjective driving experience. When one considers those, it's hard to resist the temptation as far as the V6 Premium goes.
The 2014 Camaro Z/28 shows that Chevy hasn't stopped perfecting one of America's most beloved lineups. The Z28 may not be the cheapest car around the block, but it's big, bad and on everyone's wish list.
Motor1 reports that it comes with a massive 7.0-liter V8 that really takes the brand to a new level.
As a result of packing such an engine, it can do 505 hp. Mustangs have never shied away when it comes to high performance. Still, the Z28 makes a tempting case that'll have Mustang fans jealous, except for its $75,000 price tag.
It's important with all the car on this list that they be judged according to the era they debuted in. For its time, the 1986 Mustang SVO was unlike any that had come before it. Here was a Mustang that handled well and could roam without sacrificing what made a Mustang great. According to Mustang and Fords, the SVO served as a fitting car for the everyday driver—which can't be said about every Mustang. As the outlet points out, the adjustable buckets seats also gave a welcome comfort to the high-performing car. The result was a Mustang even Camaro fans could get behind.
It's no secret that there are a lot of Z28 Camaros on this list. It's for a good reason: the Z28 models competed with Mustangs in so many ways, enough to make those fans consider buying one. The earliest Z28 model by chronological year to appear on this list is the '67 version. According to Motor Authority, it came with a V8 that could do a robust 290 hp. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350 and 500 also came out this year, pitting the '67 Z28 up against some tough competition. In retrospect, as Motor Authority details, the Z28 won three competitions at the 1967 Tran Am event, making this a capable racer.
Many argue that a defining characteristic about Camaros is the engines. They've been technically bigger than Mustang's for some time. The 2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R made Camaro fans think different.
Bearing a 5.4-liter V8, reports Cheat Sheet, Mustang upped their displacement game with this motor that could do 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
Making this car that much more attractive, there are only 300 of these in existence. Ford delivered a high-performing Mustang with a motor that made Camaro fans worried. It certainly takes away any arguments Camaro fans assert about Mustang's supposed lesser performance due to traditionally smaller displacements.
What do Mustang fans care about the most about their cars? At the heart of it, they want to have fun driving. The 2012 Camaro ZL1 offers a driving experience like no other, with a 6.2-liter V8 that can go 60 mph in four seconds, reports Yahoo. That certainly gets our attention, along with the attention of Mustang fans. Mustang fans, however, appreciate that their favorite cars tend to be more affordable; Yahoo details the original price for these Camaros at about $57K. On the used market, there's always a chance Mustang fans will be willing to buy one of these Chevy masterpieces on the used market.
Sources: Cheat Sheet, Automobile Mag, Autotrader, Hemmings, Top Speed