Camaro Chief Engineer: Ford Has ‘A Lot To Catch Up On’

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The current, sixth-generation Ford Mustang represents what is perhaps the single greatest leap in modernity that the two-door pony car has ever undergone, transforming the ‘Stang into a real, bona fide sportscar with the fun and sophistication to back it up.

Yet Al Oppenheiser, General Motors’ Chief Engineer for the Chevrolet Camaro, says that Ford has some serious catching up to with regard to the Mustang’s high-performance variants.

“I think they’ve got a lot to catch up on,” Oppenheiser said in an interview with Hagerty. “They haven’t had anything for a while. I think our SS 1LE pretty much put the GT350R in second place, all around.”

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The comments came as the Camaro Chief Engineer was asked about the next Shelby GT500 Mustang, which was officially announced this month at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. With more than 700 horsepower, the new GT500 will be the most powerful road car Ford has ever built, the automaker says. Yet decidedly unlike the last Shelby GT500, which could be a bit ragged on the race track, this one aims to excel on your local road course with “innovative track technologies”, “performance hardware”, and “aggressive and functional track-tuned styling”.

Of course, Ford hasn’t been resting since bringing out the sixth-gen Mustang for 2015. In GT trim, the refreshed, 2018 model produces 460 horsepower using the latest evolution of the 5.0-liter, DOHC Coyote V8, and a new Level 2 Performance Pack has been introduced, gracing the GT with more downforce, more rubber, and performance-calibrated magneto dampers.

The Mustang also outsells the Camaro pretty consistently. But, you know, who’s counting?

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(Source: GMAuthority)

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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16 Comments

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  1. The funny part is, gm is right. The gt350 was a complete waste of effort. A Mach 1 with a cross plane crank v8 would have been a better choice. Ford needs to look at what Chevy and dodge are doing and get with the program

  2. The Chevy engineer is right. Camaro outsells Mustang. Chevy trucks outsell Fords, as they have for the last 40 years. Chevy is #1 in sales. Yeah, I want this guy engineering my next car. Nothing like selling cars with defective ignition switches and then claiming you’re not liable because you were bankrupt at the time. Oh, and GM, we might not bail you out next go-round. GM, America’s welfare queen.

  3. Although Mr. Oppenheiser seems to think that mass vehicle production is a pissing match of track times and lateral G’s, he’s not particularly wrong on the aspect of chassis engineering for mass market. Obviously, they can put a performance vehicle together a-la the Porsche 918 beating Ford GT, however, it has been widely noted that their mass market cars such as the Focus, Taurus, and Fiesta lack very dynamic driving characteristics.

    I’ve long wanted the Mustang platform to be redone and hopefully we’ll see a all new platform for the 2020 car that underpins more than just the pony car. GM has the advantage of cost saving from an engineering aspect as the same platform will underpin many of their performance vehicles. Ford needs to wisen up and diversify their RWD offerings to include one or more Lincoln models (even if they aren’t track oriented), and possibly a RWD sedan to replace the literally archaic Taurus.

    • So…the world’s automotive press doesn’t care for the dynamic driving characteristics of the Fiesta ST, Focus ST or Focus RS??? News to me.

      • If the article or argument were about sales, you’d have a footing…

        Just saying what we’re all thinking when comparisons come out of the mustang vs camaro. Eventually, Chevy will make it so you can see out of the Camaro. Then what will be our excuse?

  4. The engineer has a point and it is really great that this decade has proven to be a great one for muscle cars with so much competition and trying to outdo each other. There will always be room for improvements on all channels. For me, I think when the Mustang goes hybrid (and hoping all electric) that will really move the car forward in pleasing manners. Nothing wrong with keeping the legacy 5.0 around , but time for all of us to buy that gas guzzling mustang or camaro for our garage and weekend drive and go get us a hybrid or fully electric a year or two after the new production. Already, all the major super cars are either electric or hybrid.

  5. I am usually a GM guy but I must admit I like the looks and sound of the Mustang better than the Camaro. That being said I am an American and I want both of the only American Car company’s left to succeed. As a matter of fact I would love to see GM and Ford become number one and two in every category they compete in and it don’t matter who is in what postitio as long as the American company’s are beating the Foriengers.

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