The pony car market has evolved a lot over the last 50 years and with every passing generation, there are more advanced and fun to drive cars, pushing the envelope of design and power that a production vehicle can have.
Although the Camaro and Mustang have been the main two rivals in the race for muscle car supremacy, recently there are new entries into the race by the modern incarnation of the Pontiac GTO and the Dodge Challenger, both of which offered a fair amount of performance power in a similar package. The Camaro actually ended production in 2002 for a brief period of time due to a declining market for sports cars but has since been reincarnated and more popular than ever.
Both iconic pony cars have always had their own loyal followers, and this has transcended from generational gaps. The Ford Mustang has long been the perennial sales leader in the pony car race according to Fox News, and the most recent year has been stronger than ever for the legendary Ford brand which shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
The Chevrolet Camaro, on the other hand, has also become a legendary classic in its own right, which values on the original model skyrocketing to astronomical amounts in recent years. There is no doubt that the pony car market will continue to heat up as more models are introduced.
The Camaro and the Mustang remain the two prominent competitors that have carried on a 50 year legacy with each other.
24 It Could Have Been Named The Ford Cougar
One of the interesting things about the Ford Mustang was the story that it could have potentially been named the Cougar instead, and this story is one of the most interesting aspects of the history of the Ford Mustang model.
The Mustang was a huge gamble for the Ford Motor Company, where millions of dollars were at stake if the car didn’t become a sales hit. According to Driving Enthusiast.net, there were talks at the Michigan headquarters to name the muscle car the Cougar instead, but the Mercury brand ended up getting the Cougar name.
23 Before It Became The Camaro, It Was The Panther
Similar to how the Ford Mustang was almost named the Cougar, the Camaro was almost named the Panther by GM executives. After research, the Camaro name was chosen based on the success of the Ford Mustang, and GM also chose the Firebird name for the Pontiac variant of the model.
The reason for the Firebird model was because the Pontiac division was known as the excitement division in the GM product portfolio, and that remained true until the end of the brand's demise.
22 The 1964 Ford Mustang Was The Very First Pony Car
What does the term pony car mean? Well, it doesn’t mean the Mustang logo although that inspired the notable niche market. The pony car is an often highly stylish, compact and affordable car with a lot of horsepower.
The Ford Mustang ignited a revolution with a car that was much more lightweight than anything else that was on the market at the time, and it should be noted that the Ford Mustang also introduced the world to a fun to drive and affordable convertible model as well.
21 The 1967 Camaro Was Developed To Compete With The Mustang
When it comes to the pony car race, there is perhaps not a more iconic vehicle than the Chevrolet Camaro, which was designed to compete with the Ford Mustang after the GM executives decided that the Chevrolet Corvair was not going to be an adequate competitor for the Mustang.
Although the original Camaro was only sold for three years when it was redesigned, the model managed to snatch a significant portion of the market share from the Mustang by offering a number of significant engine choices.
20 It Was The First Pony Car
The current landscape of muscle cars that we see today are all here because of the work of one piece of automotive history, and that was the Ford Mustang. Without a doubt, if the Ford Mustang had never hit the market, we would not see the pony car races that we see today, and this has created some of the most fun to drive cars that we have ever seen.
There is no doubt that if the Ford Mustang had never hit the market we would have missed out on a really good section of the automotive world.
19 The First Mustang Was Sold By Accident
The first Ford Mustang was actually sold by accident, where Ford had planned on keeping the car for a historical piece similar to many other first production models.
The Ford Mustang, in general, has been a hot seller for Ford, and with 22,000 sold in the first day, there is no doubt that the car did not have trouble selling. The Ford Mustang goes down in history as one of the most influential Ford models to date, and this is evident with this story as well.
18 The 1974 Ford Mustang Was A Flop
When the fuel crisis of the 70s hit the automotive industry and no one was expecting, for the most part, the cars at the time were gas hogging dinosaurs and this created a problem for the economy when consumers were not able to afford to fill their gas tanks.
The Mustang II as it is called completely defied what a muscle car should be and introduced a mere shell of the former car which was based on the tiny Ford Pinto. This is known as one of the least popular Mustang models to have ever been released, and one that many enthusiasts choose to just forget about.
17 The 1970 Camaro Lost Most Of Its Muscle Due To The Fuel Crisis
Although the Ford Mustang II was a flop with its Pinto-based design, the 1970 Camaro was also hit hard by the fuel crisis. Removing a good deal of the power that the previous cars had featured, the 1970 Camaro was known as a lightweight car in many aspects, including horsepower.
The 1970 Chevrolet was essentially a V8 powered shadow of its former self, and this continued on into the third generation Camaro models as well. The new emissions standard in California negatively affected the power of the Camaro models out on the west coast as well.
16 The 1979 Ford Mustang Introduced The SVO Supercharged I-4
The Fox-body Mustang cured a lot of the frustration that consumers had with the Mustang after the notorious Pinto flop, combining a new lightweight design with a more fuel efficient and modern V8 engine that was known as the 5.0 Mustang.
The fox body Mustang also added another innovation to the mix which was a supercharged four-cylinder engine, straying away from the traditional usage of more powerful V8 engines during the mix - creating a car that gained quite the cult following.
15 1982 Was The Birth Of The IROC-Z Camaro
If there is one muscle car that is synonymous with the eighties it would have to be the Camaro IROC-Z, which was a car that was known for its powerful engine and unique skirt design which gave the Camaro an even more notable style.
The third generation Camaro is responsible for igniting a new breed of V8 powered coupes during the eighties, which also helped to set in motion a series of new television shows which centered around the legendary new IROC-Z as well. It forever cemented the muscle car in history.
14 The 1994 Ford Mustang Introduced The First Modern Design
When the 1994 model year rolled around the Mustang had been running on the fox body for over a decade, and the car was ready for a full redesign and the new Camaro had already hit the market and introduced a radical new design.
The 1994 Ford Mustang blew onto the scene with a new modern design that introduced a luxurious new interior and a one of a kind exterior that radiated fun and performance, while also utilizing a new V8 powerplant which made the Mustang incredibly fun to drive.
13 2002 Was The Last Year Of Camaro Production For Almost Ten Years
The late nineties were not a good time for the Camaro, as the consumer tastes were shifting toward trucks and sport utility vehicles - the Camaro failed to find a home in many consumers driveways.
Thus, in 2002 the model was discontinued along with the Pontiac Firebird which left the Ford Mustang as the only choice in a muscle car until the Pontiac GTO hit the market. Sadly, the Camaro free market created a stir among enthusiasts and GM reintroduced the Camaro in the 2010 model year.
12 The Firebird Was Also Competition For The Mustang
GM is well documented for cross-branding their vehicles across multiple brand names, and their F-Body vehicles are no different. The Pontiac Firebird took the level of performance to a whole new level and made a notable muscle car that managed to blaze its own trail in history, even appearing in the memorable movie Smokey And The Bandit which was largely focused around the Firebird.
Now, although the Firebird was competition for the Mustang, it was never meant to be a direct competition such as the Camaro.
11 The 2005 Ford Mustang Introduced The Retro Themed Styling
During the nineties being retro wasn’t cool by any means, and the sports car market had tanked but then the 2005 Ford Mustang burst onto the scene and set the retro-themed muscle car race that we see today.
The 2005 Ford Mustang had a one of a kind exterior style, pushing the boundaries far further than other retro-themed cars such as the PT Cruiser had. Critics praised the Ford Mustang for its modern twist on a classic, and the car managed to reignite the muscle car market which had been dull up to this point.
10 The 2010 Camaro Was First Introduced In The Transformers Movie
The fifth generation Camaro is perhaps most notable for being featured in the live action Transformers movie as Bumblebee, and this made the car intensely popular and caused an influx of sales from consumers who wanted their own bumblebee model.
The new Camaro was retro themed similar to how the Ford Mustang was, and this helped to create the current muscle car battle that we see today with the various models that are on the market from the Mustang to the Dodge Challenger.
9 The Fourth Gen Camaro Introduced The Corvette Engine
While the Camaro has always been a performance powerhouse, the V8 engine that was featured in the car was generally one of the GM small block models that were found in many of their two-door vehicles such as the Monte Carlo SS.
The Camaro fourth generation introduced the world to the aluminum LT1 and later the LS1 engine that we found in the C4 and the C5 Corvette models. This created a one of a kind muscle car that added Corvette power for half the price. Unfortunately, this didn’t stop the Camaro from ending production in 2002.
8 The Fox Body Mustang Was Among The Most Popular
To this day, the fox body Mustang is been one of the best selling Ford Mustang models, and this created a legendary car that enthusiasts are still after to this day.
In fact, the Ford Mustang fox body model was known as one of the more versatile models on the market, with plenty of room for improvement that made the fox body one of the most popular Mustang models on the used car market as well as in terms of modification and collecting.
7 The Mustang Never Featured T-Tops
One of the things that has always been a cool and unique feature of the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird is the T-Tops which allow the vehicles to have an open-top driving experience.
Although the current generation Camaro hasn’t featured the use of T-Tops, it still remains a popular addition on all of the previous Camaro models and unfortunately, the Mustang never featured the use of T-Tops. Instead, the Mustang had always opted for a traditional convertible top, but the T-Top still remains a pretty cool option.
6 The Mustang Has Many Special Editions
We think that the main reason for the Camaro exiting production in the 2002 model year was the fact that the car would routinely get stale, whereas the Ford Mustang has always introduced new models such as the Saleen and the Cobra.
During the 2000s, there was also the Bullet and the Mach 1, which created a new niche and spoken interest whereas the Camaro always relied on the ZZ8 or the SS models to heighten interest. The addition of new packages to keep the Mustang fresh is a trend that the Dodge Challenger seems to be following as well.
5 The Camaro Clone: The Firebird Was Made Famous In Smokey And The Bandit
There is no doubt that the Pontiac Firebird was made famous by the movie Smokey And The Bandit, as well as being featured as KITT in the TV show Knight Rider. This created a winning combination of interest that the Mustang had not been able to garner, and this is why the Firebird has continually been competition for the Ford Mustang in many aspects.
Combining a more exciting personality than the Camaro, the Firebird is also one of the rarer models on the resale market.
4 22,000 Mustangs Were Sold On The First Day
The Ford Mustang was a huge gamble for the Detroit automaker, and the gamble paid off and the car ended up selling a massive 22,000 models in the first day on the market.
The Ford Mustang introduced a whole new type of car to the market, and this created a frenzy with consumers who were vastly interested in what the new Ford model had to offer them and the market in general. Combining a lightweight design and a powerful V8 engine made the car a massive hit with consumers.
3 The Mustang Is A Popular Movie Car
During the last 50 years, thousands of movies have featured the Ford Mustang, and it has remained a popular movie car to this day.
The popular Nicholas Cage movie Gone In Sixty Seconds featured a Ford Mustang as the main movie car, and this is just one of the many movies that featured the notable pony car for its fun to drive demeanor and one of a kind spirit, one that has influenced generations of buyers who adore the one of a kind car.
2 The Most Expensive Mustang At Auction Was Sold For Over $1 Million
The resale market for muscle cars has grown exponentially over the last 50 years, and during the past two decades, the Ford Mustang has been one of the most well-performing cars on the auction block.
The Ford Mustang is routinely sold at the Barrett Jackson auction, oftentimes going up against the Chevrolet Camaro for the highest bidder. The one million dollar Mustang was known as The Vicious, and it featured a striking silver paint job with black stripes, creating a one of a kind vehicle.
1 The Official Camaro Announcement Was Also The World's First Mass Teleconference
When the Ford Mustang burst onto the scene, it was one of the most popular Ford models to ever launch, and this is what prompted GM to launch their own pony car that is known as the Camaro.
When the Chevrolet Camaro was launched, it was such big news for the company that GM utilized the first mass teleconference across all of their entire dealer networks to launch the car. This became the first mass teleconference to ever be used in a dealer network.
Sources: Hot Rod, Motor Trend, Road, And Track & CNN Money