The American pony car war isn’t the sort of conflict that typically produces clear winners and losers: just tire smoke, thrown rods, and the occasional mother-themed insult shouted across multiple lanes at a traffic light. Look back to the 1990s, however, and it becomes immediately apparent how much we’ve all truly won as a result of the forces of competition.
The video above is a MotorWeek “Retro Review” that perfectly illustrates what we’re on about. In it, host John Davis compares the (then-current) 1994 Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 of the same year. The former, powered by a 5.0-liter pushrod V8, produces all of about 215 horsepower, while the latter is propelled by the same 275 horsepower 5.7-liter LT1 pushrod V8 as found in the Corvette of the time. These powerplants, relatively anaemic for their size, gave the 1994 Ford Mustang GT a quarter-mile time of 15.6 seconds at 90 mph, and the Camaro Z/28 a time of 14.9 seconds at 95 mph (according to MotorWeek‘s testing).
By comparison, even today’s Ford Mustang EcoBoost model makes around 310 horsepower with just 2.3 liters of displacement, and can manage a quarter-mile time in the low 14-second range. The story only grows sadder when one looks at 0 to 60 mph times.
Still, the 1994 Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 occupied one step in a long evolutionary road which brought us to our current age of pony car enlightenment, and we thank them for that. Be sure to watch this episode of MotorWeek Retro Review for the full scoop.