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Eric
Hagerty Employee

25 Greatest Mustangs: The Camaro

A Camaro, amidst this holy consecration? I can picture the Blue Oval bros clutching their Carroll Shelby-signed glove-box doors. “But, but, the Mustang was first!”

 

Read the full article at Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/magazine-features/25-greatest-mustangs-camaro/

32 REPLIES 32
Pepperalls
Detailer

GM has done a good job "copying" and selling well (i.e., Blazer beats Bronco that beats Scout).

 

How many years does Mustang outsell the combined Firebird/Camaro? After all, there's only a few early years of Cougar where FoMoCo is pulling the same split the audience tactic.

 

Sure, Camaro is a response to the Mustang... and a Gen I Camaro is a radically rebodied Nova so it shares that Falcon-like roots aspect.

 

Mopar people will of course post that Barracuda was first "pony" car. I don't find that debate particularly interesting (considering most under 40 just call them all muscle cars but lets not digress into that).

 

Not sure it is fair to characterize Camaro as GMs late response to the party... GM thought they had "copied" the Rambler + VW concept well with the Corvair. Performance Corvairs were a part of the recipe before Camaro existed after all  --so GM saw that they had missed the mark with just "small and affordable for youth". Iaccoca deserves a lot of credit for many things, but not sure Ford does a Mustang program at all if the independents hadn't sold a bunch of Larks and Ramblers in the late 50s-early 60s.

Manymutangs
New Driver

Good pony car, but still a GM wannabe.

CJinSD
Instructor

The worst thing about the Mustang was that it sent the American car on a road to oblivion. Before the Mustang, American cars evolved from model to model. The flaccid-1960-Falcon-based-Mustang showed that a new generation of buyers took the mechanicals for granted and cared only for being stylish. The Mark III drove the point home, followed by the Seville. Now American cars are just about extinct. 

Pepperalls
Detailer

I don't know CJinSD... You take all the domestic 1935 4 door sedans and you have a lot of similarity in style (eerily similar to modern crossover actually, just turn the bump-back into a hatch). Skip ahead to 1953 and everything is the same shoebox look aside from step-down Hudsons (that still have the rest of the look) and the Studebaker Starliner. Then look at 1963 full size cars... all pretty much the same boxy look thing as the oddness of 59-61 was mostly gone. The modern American car is a 4-door pickup for better or worse.
Olduglycarl
Pit Crew

Back in the 90's, I met my present wife. At the time she had an IROC Z28...the ground effects were great, but the car rattled like an old truck. To make a long story shorter; We went on a long trip from the shore line of Ct to just inside Vermont to get to New Hampshire, I was driving, (a key point here, I win with what ever I drive), (Know that I am a Ford fan); We come up on a Mustang of the same year and we start passing each other, upwards of 100mph on a desolate, twisty, up and down part of the highway. Every time I got into the corners at top speed...I'd pass the Mustang but every time we were in the straights, the Mustang pass us and I couldn't keep up until we got to the curves on the inside.

 

Again, I was driving, didn't matter What I was driving but I just couldn't beat that Mustang, even though my foot was Threw the floor boards the whole time.

Olduglycarl
Pit Crew

The Key point?...Competition!: Two entities totally dependent upon each other to be the best that they can be.   ...the Mustang and the Camaro were worthy competitors for each other.

I still prefer the Mustang. But, as has been said, The Mustang stood the test of time...because it had a worthy competitor...the Camaro.

 

You couldn't have one, without the other.

Vermillion06
Navigator

That's what Camaro guys say,but when the Camaro ceased production for 2002, an all new Mustang rolled out in 2005, with no Camaro for "competition" for three years. That 2005 Mustang was so sucessful that GM brought back the Camaro in 2010 and even Mopar got back in to ring with the Challenger. Face it, the Camaro is the imitation, the Mustang is the original. Why do you think they call this type of car "pony cars"?
ccrvtt
Pit Crew

The Mustang is one of two American cars that I always wanted to own.  I bought a 1998 convertible and kept it for 10 years.  It was not a great car but I loved driving it.  I never raced a Camaro with it.  I never pined for a Camaro though there are many Camaros that I have admired over the years.

 

The other American car that I had to own?  A Corvette.  I'm on my second one now.

 

It's a bit disingenuous to go through a list of great Mustangs and then say the Camaro is the best.  While there are many less than impressive Mustangs there are many Camaros in the same boat.  And nearly every enthusiast owned pony car was heavily modified making head to head comparisons a matter of dollars spent and tuning skills.

JohnZiraldo
Intermediate Driver

Sure there have been some very good Camaros over the years, but dumping on a Mustang article by calling any Camaro the best Mustang is....is......well the word 'rude' comes to mind.

 

I have been fortunate to have enjoyed the company of many thousands of Mustang fans over the years while travelling in Mustang caravans to Mustang Club of America (MCA) and other car shows and events all over the US and Canada. During our travels, we have seen a few large caravans of Corvettes and other popular cars, but I have never ever seen a Camaro caravan. What I have seen a lot of is Camaros parked at the side of someone's driveway all covered in dust and junk and waiting for the day it can be fixed up and put back on the road. The word 'abandoned' comes to mind. I seldom see a nice older Camaro being used as a daily driver, although I often see many very concourse looking Camaros on Sundays.

 

I was very curious about my observations about Camaros and one day I had the opportunity to have a long talk with a Camaro Club president about the Camaro hobby. We talked about the number of Camaro clubs, number of members, road trips and Camaro caravans, Camaro only events, and the Camaro equivalent of the MCA. What this Camaro Club president told me was shocking, but consistent with my observations.

 

He told me there is no Camaro equivalent of the MCA. There was a Camaro Club International I think he called it, that was formed many years ago, but there was so much friction all the time that the organizing committee just walked out one day and the club folded. Yeah some local Camaro clubs do caravans to car shows periodically, but not much more than a couple hundred miles from home. No wonder I never see them.

 

I told the president about the Mustang 50th Anniversary Celebrations in Charlotte NC and Las Vegas when there were seven major caravans from all over the US and Canada that converged in Oklahoma (near Mustang OK), then split into two major caravans going to the two target destinations. The Celebration also included Mustangs owners from all over Europe, Central and South America, New Zealand, and Australia. There were many thousands of all generations of Mustangs in attendance at both locations. Camaros don't do that, no matter how how much horsepower or sticky tires they have. The president seemed amazed.

 

Mustangs are Mustangs and are loved by their fans for more than just a few mechanical parts or trap times. Unlike the Camaro fans, the Mustang fans have never abandoned their pony car nor its history. Camaros are Camaros and they are a different thing with their own fans with their own reasons to love their car. I hope both of these cars remain available and retain their following, but I would bet that the Mustang will always have something extra special about them that will make them the first to arrive and the last to leave.

 

 

 

Truthworldwide
Intermediate Driver

My favorite generation of the Camaro was the '03 to '08. 

jbuffstang
Passenger

Wow, great article until the end, when the writer ventured into science fiction. So, the only reason that Batman got awesome toys was because of the Joker, right? Not mentioned is that the Mustang has been in constant production without a break since 1965. GM can't say that about the Camaro, and the Firebird is dead. I think that speaks volumes about Ford and Mustang loyalty. BTW, just not cool, dude.

Dj64
Navigator

Spot on... Mustangs and Camaros are just different. I respect both. That being said - I have always loved the Mustang. I was born with it (literally).
Bullet
Passenger

Enjoyed the Mustang article, until I noticed the *

I don't know David Zenlea, and after reading his 'opinion' he may not want to meet me. 

I was 10 when the Mustang came out, 65 A code 4 speed was my first car, owned 67 Shelby 350, and still own a 65 GT fastback. I do respect the GM crowd, and have met many collectors with respectful opinion of many different brands. This is today's mindset within the auto sport, collectors anyway. 

After reading the top 25, this zenlea 'chap' added his unnecessary opinion with his #26 summary. I have enjoyed Hagerty up to now, so I am left with this dark cloud in an otherwise sunny sport. 

 

Moris63
New Driver

As a Mustang enthusiast since 15, owning my 1st one a 66 FB 289 4 speed in the early 80’s I can tell you unequivocally that most cars of that era, Camaros especially were junk. There wasn’t enough plastic and graphics to even make them appealing to the eye. Whatever David was trying to accomplish with his Camaro upmanship, he picked one of the worst eras of GM Camaro to prove a point. It’s hard to believe he works for a car magazine. Maybe he had a coming of age in the backseat of an IROC in his youth, probably after it broke down, but his snark might be a better fit at MAD magazine.
RedRyder_SFZ
Intermediate Driver

“Mustangs are awful” “Camaros are superior”....I’m laughing.

Baseless, unsubstantiated and childish. 
Mustang made the cover of the magazine the author works for and paid the author’s bills this month. He can email Ford and thank them later. 
 

The author is the typical Chevy kid...SMH. The spiteful outcast with the “oh yeah!, well...” childish attitude. There’s one at every party. The author is the lone camaro parading by an ocean of Mustangs at a show on a Saturday in June. With arguments that don’t hold water, harkening back to a day 35 years ago when the Camaro(Whatever that word means) was performing better and a Phoenix that never rose from the ashes. Go for it, hang your hat on that tiny hook, Bumblebee and a dead bird if you like. 

 
Comparing Don Yenko to the likes of Carroll Shelby, Steve McQueen, Steve Saleen, Jack Roush, Chip Foose....again, laughable. McKeel approved this?...really?
 
As far as “externalities”...one cannot “evolve” without external forces. The author’s words. Being a scientist and gear head, the correct terminology for Chevy’s (caught with their pants down) car, would be “clone”.
 
The author snidely quips “pricey one-offs”. The name of the article is “25 Best Mustangs”, right? What was the expectation here?
 
Hey Ol’ Dave, you’re going to have to come up with better arguments than those...good luck. Until then, I’ll hang my hat on the aforementioned automotive titans, millions and millions of production numbers, heritage, legacy, mustang club numbers, racing pedigree, countless tv and movie appearances, staggering auction prices, race car drivers, a 50th ann’y badge that means something, Eleanor, Wick, Sean Kiernan and yes, Bond. 
 
In the meantime, try slamming your other thumb in the door of a Yugo(see if it feels as “democratic” as a Camaro) and get to that ‘thank you’ email to the late Lee Iacocca.
 
Taillights, indeed...Tri-bar taillights. 
RedRyder_SFZ
Intermediate Driver

“Mustangs are awful” “Camaros are superior”....I’m laughing.
Baseless, unsubstantiated and childish. 
Mustang made the cover of the magazine the author works for and paid the author’s bills this month. He can email Ford and thank them later. 
 

The author is the typical Chevy kid...SMH. The spiteful outcast with the “oh yeah!, well...” childish attitude. There’s one at every party. The author is the lone camaro parading by an ocean of Mustangs at a show on a Saturday in June. With arguments that don’t hold water, harkening back to a day 35 years ago when the Camaro(Whatever that word means) was performing better and a Phoenix that never rose from the ashes. Go for it, hang your hat on that tiny hook, Bumblebee and a dead bird if you like. 

 
Comparing Don Yenko to the likes of Carroll Shelby, Steve McQueen, Steve Saleen, Jack Roush, Chip Foose....again, laughable. McKeel approved this?...really?
 
As far as “externalities”...one cannot “evolve” without external forces. The author’s words. Being a scientist and gear head, the correct terminology for Chevy’s (caught with their pants down) car, would be “clone”.
 
The author snidely quips “pricey one-offs”. The name of the article is “25 Best Mustangs”, right? What was the expectation here?
 
Hey Ol’ Dave, you’re going to have to come up with better arguments than those...good luck. Until then, I’ll hang my hat on the aforementioned automotive titans, millions and millions of production numbers, heritage, legacy, mustang club numbers, racing pedigree, countless tv and movie appearances, staggering auction prices, race car drivers, a 50th ann’y badge that means something, Eleanor, Wick, Sean Kiernan and yes, Bond. 
 
In the meantime, try slamming your other thumb in the door of a Yugo(see if it feels as “democratic” as a Camaro) and get to that ‘thank you’ email to the late Lee Iacocca.
 
Taillights, indeed...Tri-bar taillights. 
Rennat
Passenger

I'm very upset this man ,this magazine, spit in my face. I would not dare to take someone's money then insult them. So this man will take my money and my 69 Mach 1 mustang to a nother insurance company. And if enough of us mustang lovers  would do the same. I'm not giving my money to people who trash my car. Your $ pad for this magazine. Mustang got 5 pages to talk about 25 cars, then they gave him one whole page to insult them. (US)

JohnZiraldo
Intermediate Driver

I'm sorry Rennat, but you took your opposition to the Camaro piece way too far. I agree with you that the Camaro article was in bad taste and a mistake, but Hagerty does not deserve your level of criticism and rejection. They are doing a lot of amazing stuff for all automotive enthusiasts that no one else is even coming close to. Their magazine and podcasts have shown very little bias, and what little I have noticed has been in favour of the Mustang and other Fords. Their Drivers Club staff are doing great work to help entertain us enthusiasts during the COVID thing. Show me another insurance company that is doing anything like what Hagerty is doing.

 

Mustang fans have always had to deal with crap from fans of other brands, but that is just how the game is played. We can't take every insult or every single defeat so seriously, especially when we know that the car we love is so important to the history of performance automobiles. But so too is the history of many other vehicles, including the Camaro. Let this one slide and try a little harder to enjoy the game in the way in which it has always been played. Take the hit, stay in the game, and punch back with your best shot.

Moris63
New Driver

David Zenlea, your Managing Editor and writer of the article takes a dump on ALL mustang owners trying to be clever saying a Camaro is the best Mustang (page 80). With all of the divisiveness going on at the moment I don’t need it from my Insurance company too. Please cancel my subscription to Hagerty magazine. You’ve also finally given me enough motivation to shop around for classic insurance on my 3 rides. I’m sure you will get by w/o my premiums. It must be great that Hagerty can survive even when carving out an entire customer base of Mustang owners/insurers as foley for its editorial staff. Maybe the writers, with the help of David, make up for those lost premiums with POS late 80’s Camaro owners.

Moris63
New Driver

I’m not a big fan of cancel culture, but feel this article was designed to purposely insult Mustang owners.  Any managing editor should have known this and understood what a liability to their brand this would have been.

 

DavidZ
Hagerty Employee

Hi all. I’m the writer of this article. Our intention was for it to be lighthearted and completely tongue-in-cheek. An impression of the sort of over-the-top, deeply opinionated arguments you have with car-loving friends, and a celebration of the great rivalry between the Mustang and Camaro. If anything, the joke is supposed to be on me, the hyper-biased, obnoxious f-body fan. Please believe me when I say we never intended my article to be a personal insult. 

 

To clear the air: I do love Camaros—that’s no joke—but I don’t seriously think Mustangs are bad. I actually think many of them are awesome! I’m also aware our favorite cars have a whole lot in common, and that they’re each better because of the competition with the other. My love of Camaros is based on mostly subjective things, like rides with my father and late-grandfather, who both owned multiple F-bodies when I was young. I’m guessing your love for Mustangs comes from a similar place, and I know many share your love for that car. Our goal with the 25 Greatest Mustangs package was to honor your passion, while also having a bit of fun. 

 

-David

JohnZiraldo
Intermediate Driver

David, I like that you came here and tried to explain the purpose of your article. I hope you were sincere and not just saving your butt.

 

I also hope that you agree that your article kind of missed your objective of tongue in cheek fun. I don't think any of us saw your intentions. You failed man, but as far as I'm concerned, no harm done.

 

At least I hope there was no harm done to your career. Camaro fans seem to be slipping away and I hope we can preserve enough of them to keep our game going for a few more decades.

Saleen414
Navigator

The one thing I agree about in your camaro rant is that the camaro has made the Mustang better. Competition does that. The massive downside to the camaro is "better" argument is that Chevrolet discontinued the camaro for 6 years (03-08) and is going to discontinue it again around 2023. A "better" car would not have to discontinued. Sales numbers alone refute the premise of the camaro being "better", because if it was it would not be in the position that it is. The other downside to the camaro is that it's performance has always been limited by the presence of the Corvette.  The Mustang has no such limitations. One can always argue that Ford took advantage of loyal buyers and produced "Meh" cars from time to time instead of continually moving the bar higher, but that is a discussion for another day. 

Chrisn58
Passenger

Neil, it’s time to take your meds. 

Ponyprez
Passenger

I though Davids article was interesting and would have been better without the competitive digs. I have always been a Mustang fan since I was 5 after seeing that really cool car spinning on the turntable at the New York Worlds Fair in 1964. I have also owned a 67 Camaro as well as a 73 and liked them both but my favorite GM is a 72 Chevelle Malibu, all great cars in their own rights. I am a Ford lover but enjoy cars of all Marque's and would just like to say to David "show love and loyalty to your favorite vehicle(s) without the animus to what others own and love so the hobby will be better appreciated by all"

FrankM
Passenger

When I saw the cover of the magazine, I was excited about reading the article. However, I made the mistake of thumbing through it until I reached number 26 - the best Mustang is a camaro. Among the plethora of needless slurs, I read "camaro is sports car, Mustang is a cute joke, Mustangs are awful".

This immediately soured my view of the article, the magazine and the company. This ridiculous biased childish nonsense was totally unnecessary and a disappointment.

I've watched interviews with McKeel Hagerty at Barrett Jackson and he seems like a man that loves the hobby of enjoying all types of classic vehicles. When the writer admitted that he submits articles to McKeel, I was flabbergasted and disappointed that this mean spirited drivel made it to print. There was nothing humorous about it, as the writer now claims as his intention. 

I insure 2 vehicles with Hagerty, a 68 Mustang and a 78 F150 for now but we'll see next year.

 

DavidZ
Hagerty Employee

Hi Frank. Yes, as you referenced, I truly did intend this piece to be 100% humorous. We thought if I made it sufficiently over the top and silly, it'd be clear I wasn't being serious. I obviously missed the mark with you and others. I definitely cannot speak for McKeel (among the many dumb jokes in this article was the notion that I personally submit articles to him), but Hagerty does appreciate all classic vehicles. In a typical Hagerty parking lot you'll see everything from banged-up Miatas and Beetles to prewar. And many, many Mustangs. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I will learn from this.
ESNB
Passenger

Not cool.  Has a long time member/insured & supporter of Hagerty, that has advised many classic car owners to insure with them because I really felt they "GOT' our hobby - I feel this was just plain AWFUL.  I have really enjoyed this magazine as I feel it really is about our hobby (Great articles).  I like all cool cars.  First car -  '77 Firebird, Second car - a '74 Camaro and have also owned other Chevy's, a couple Mopars and several Mustangs, including my current '65 Mustang. I also started and help run one of the oldest Cars and Coffee events in the US (13 years).  This article (#26) was insult to our hobby and just plan NOT COOL!  Unless I see a retraction article from McKeel himself I will be looking at other insurers policies to see how they stack up.  I've never given it much thought before as I have always trusted Hagerty (even had a claim that went very smooth).  Not saying I will leave, but I am going to look at spending my money with an Insurer that does insult a car I own (not to mention - the most popular collector car in the US, if not the world).  I read in one of these posts where David Z said: "I don’t seriously think Mustangs are bad. I actually think many of them are awesome!"  Then why the F did you write it?  So were you lying then or now to cover your butt?  As the old saying goes, "There is an ass for every seat" and in a world like we live in now - I feel it is more important to stick together as a hobby to protect it and get rid of this divisive crap for the sake of eyeballs and conversation. 

-Duane B.

DavidZ
Hagerty Employee

Hi Duane,

 

You ask fair questions. The reason we did this piece is that we think part of the fun of our hobby, particularly with Camaros and Mustangs, is the debate. It’s the whole Yankees/Red Sox thing. We wanted to celebrate that rivalry in a humorous way. We hoped that since, as you note, Hagerty has a long reputation for supporting all classic car owners, it would be clear that we were having lighthearted fun. Of course, as happens with jokes sometimes, this one missed the mark. 

To your point about needing to unite in this time: We plan these big print stories months in advance—this one started in fall 2019. I think the general mood has shifted in ways we didn’t anticipate. I agree that right now, we should all be focusing on what unites us. 

-David

Stanger8413
New Driver

Currently I own a 1984 Mustang GT HiPo (4 bbl). Your article listed the '82 GT, which was very similar. The article ended with a story about the Camaro. In 1971, just months before my discharge from the US Air Force, I learned about a military discount program, In which I could buy a new car at $25.00 over invoice. In comparing the Camaro, with a 350 small block (and great styling) to the bloated Mustang Sportroof - the choice was easy. I loved that Camaro until three years later, when the wife persuaded me to sell the car. With our first child on the way, she wanted a larger auto with lots of trunk and interior space. Sad day when the Camaro left after only three years.......Louis Cooker, DeLand, Fl.
1stgenbird
Passenger

Great read and I especially love David Zenlea's last sentence in this article. "If the best Mustang is a Camaro, the best Camaro is actually the Firebird. How true!
MarkSS
New Driver

The comments from Horsey lovers are proof that this is among the greatest literary works ever.