Muscle Wars Continue: Camaro vs. Mustang, Price vs. Power

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Chevrolet announces that the 580-hp Camaro ZL1 will cost $54,995 MSRP. Ford announces its new Ford Shelby GT500 will have 650 hp, no price yet.

Ford wins, of course, on marketing strategy (and maybe on specs), but in a one-on-one, the Camaro may prove to have better handling. Finally, who cares?

Why would any sane person shell out this kind of bread (I’ll bet the Ford comes in at way over $60K) for a car that’s less of an all-round performer than a recent-model M3, for instance? DealFinder will give you the answers.

Aren’t we all getting a little tired of this madness? Two cars—one with 200-mph capability (the Shelby), and the ZL1 can do 184 mph. Each is supposedly tuned for the track, but guess how many of them will end up there. Both look like relics from the past, which they are.

1969 Plymouth Road RunnerI liked the old budget muscle cars, like the ‘69 Plymouth Road Runner (right). The new ones are simply way too fast and expensive to serve any purpose other than impressing one’s cohorts. Where are you going to even drag in these things—without being arrested?

Chevy’s idea for marketing the Camaro ZL1, for instance, is to compare it to a number of high-priced exotics like the Audi R8 GT, at nearly $200K, which is an apples-and-oranges comparison if I ever heard one, totally ridiculous. See the press release here (link below thumbnails).

So, in a world of contracting economies, obviously finite resources, downsizing of everything, we have America’s two major car companies producing vehicles like this. And, of course, they will find buyers.

One wonders why GM got bailed out to produce cars like the Camaro ZL1. One of Ford’s people, whose title is too long to recite, said in a press release, “We encapsulated every aspect of performance in this car—whether it’s 0-60, top speed, racetrack or quarter-mile times. Beyond that, the daily driver also will find this car perfectly fits his or her needs.”

Wow! 650 hp, and still something for everybody!

Somebody please tell me why cars like this still appeal, I guess primarily in the youth market, and would you buy one if you had the bread? Thanks.


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  1. Jgoods, you seem to have missed the point. Those budget muscle and pony cars (Camaro and Mustang are pony cars, not muscle cars) were aimed at young people of my generation, and are now aimed at the same people, which now have a lot more money but want loads of options and luxury and need more horsepower to haul that junk around. (along with the expanded bellies of the owners.)
    The fact that GM got bailed out and ended up with the same (OWG) management, so why is anyone surprised that they go back to the same stuff that got them bankrupt in the first place? Nice thing is that next time, there will be no bailout.

  2. jgoods, the answer is simple. Cars are an emotional purchase. Cars make buyers feel good. A car with 200+ mph capabilities, even if never used, will make its owner feel good. Would I buy one? If it’s $60K plus, you’re right about looking to an M3 or something. But can an M3 go 200? Nope.

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