Earlier this week, Chevrolet sent out a heartfelt birthday card to its longstanding rival from across town, Ford, celebrating the 50th birthday of the iconic Mustang. Chevy owes a lot to the Mustang, mostly because they built the now segment-leading Camaro as a direct competitor to the original pony car. Now, in light of the Mustang turning the big 5-0, Chevy has decided to count down its top five highlights of Camaro and Mustang rivalry.
5. Hot Wheels’ Sweet Sixteen
When Mattel launched its first range of die-cast model cars in 1968, which it referred to as the “Sweet Sixteen”, both the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro and 1967 Ford Mustang wound up as part of the initial lineup. Both models are highly valued by Hot Wheels collectors today, often selling for over $1,000. However the Chevy is considered to be the first Hot Wheels car ever designed and made, and served as the inspiration for the full-size 2013 Camaro Hot Wheels Special Edition.
4. 1969 SCCA Trans-Am Series
Mustangs and Camaros began competing in SCCA’s Trans-American series in 1966 and ’67, but the rivalry between the two cars really began to heat up in 1969. Ford designed the Mustang Boss 302 to stick it to the successful Z/28, but Ford’s driver, Parnelli Jones, was no match for Chevrolet’s Mark Donahue. The two battled all season long, but Donahue ultimately walked away with six total wins and the 1969 manufactures’ championship.
3.NASCAR Nationwide Series
In 2010, NASCAR allowed its Nationwide series teams to restyle their stock car bodies to closely resemble those of the muscle cars sold in showrooms, resulting in two Mustang and Camaro stock cars. The Camaro and Mustang continue to battle it out in the series today, much like they did in the Trans-Am series in 1969.
2. Battle of the Factory Specials
A Car and Driver article in late 1999 pitted two legendary factory specials against each other. Jon Moss, then leader of General Motors’ special vehicles group, built stuffed a 572-cubic-inch version of the ZL1 aluminum-block V8 into a fourth-generation Camaro coupe to create his contender, while across town, John Coletti, who led Ford’s Special Vehicle Engineering group, had shoehorned the hemi-head 429-cubic-inch V8 from Ford’s NASCAR efforts in the ‘60s into a unique “Boss” Mustang. The two went head to head but only one winner could arise. Check out Car and Driver’s article to see who reigned supreme.
1. Big Screen Transformers
The most recent example of Mustang and Camaro rivalry was displayed on the big screen for the world to see. In the 2007 Transformers movie, Bumblebee, an Autobot, took the form of both a 1977 Camaro and the 2007 Camaro concept car. Meanwhile, his arch-nemesis Barricade, resembled a Saleen-modified Ford Mustang.