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Vintage Video Shootout: 1994 Camaro Z28 vs. 1994 Mustang GT
Pony Wars 1994
“The mother of all wars” was a popular expression in the early 1990s and the catchy phrase was used to describe everything from pitching the mother of all toilet bowl cleaners to the mother of all Camaro-versus-Mustang shootouts.
Ford got the jump on Chevrolet big time when it invented the pony car category. From its mid-1964 introduction, Ford sold over one million Mustangs before Chevrolet got the Camaro into the game in fall 1966, introducing the Camaro as a 1967 model. Right out of the gate the competition between the two makes was fierce in every arena, from price point to which was fastest.
The fortunes of war shifted back and forth from Mustang to Camaro depending on how badly either manufacturer had misjudged offering what the market demanded. By 1994, after 30 years of evolution, the Camaro and the Mustang were both in their fourth generation, and both racing in the same direction.
The vintage video footage of the red 1994 Mustang GT and black 1994 Z28 Camaro was captured by MotorWeek at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1994. It is interesting to note that the same two red and black pony cars met on numerous occasions, where magazine editors from various publications compared the virtues of each car from creature comfort to down-and-dirty quarter-mile times.
The guys at Car&Driver reported that although the 350 in the Z28 sounded healthier than the Mustang’s 302, both were flexible, strong, and smooth-running with lively throttle response, and both delivered good gas mileage.
In summation Car&Driver wrote: “As performance values, the modern pony cars are tough to beat. Prices in the $18,000-to-$20,000 range place these cars among such front-drive coupes as Toyota's Celica, Honda's Prelude, and Ford's own Probe. In that crowd, the speed and power of the V-8s look fabulous. There isn't a great difference in cost: the base price of the Camaro is $17,269, and the Mustang is $17,750. As we drove them, the Z28 cost $20,590 and the Mustang $19,150.
It's sad that the 1994 Mustang GT runs so far behind the Camaro Z28, and it's obvious that Ford has undergone a change in philosophy with its mythic pony car. All the same, Ford engineers and designers didn't put in this painstaking job of refinement to have the result spoken of as a loser. They deserve better. But so do the Mustang faithful. Sure, their beloved steed has taken huge strides in styling and sophistication, but at Waterford Hills, it got its haunches hammered by the archrival Camaro. Ring up the dyno room! Call in the horsepower! And count on another battle in the War of the Ponies.”
Please keep in mind that was 20 years ago. Could anyone remember at which point in time the hottest Mustang beat the hottest Camaro in a decisive battle that was published?