The specs are in the Mustang’s favor, but there’s a reason people actually race as opposed to bench race.
The Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro have been performance fixtures for so long, it’s tough to remember how much the energy crisis of the 1970s impacted these venerable machines. By the end of that decade, regulations had kneecapped them enough that many felt the late 1960s might have been American hot rodding’s high-water mark. Fortunately, machines like Shelby GT500 prove that the true golden era was decades away.
That meant the 1982 model year, with the introduction of the Mustang GT and the Camaro Z/28, proved to be an exciting one for enthusiasts, and our friends at MotorWeek were there to document it. The Motor City was on a mission to prove it hadn’t forgotten how to burn rubber, and that these coupes were the rowdiest tributes. So it was only natural to see how they fared in a faceoff, and Virginia’s Summit Point Raceway made for an ideal setting.
As I noted in a recent post about the 1982 GT, the performance numbers here are laughable by modern standards. At the beginning of the clip, host John Davis reports that the Mustang is packing a 5.0-liter V8 good for 157 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, while the Camaro delivers 145 horsepower and a similar 240 lb-ft from its 305 cubic-inch V8 mill. In the Mustang’s case, that means the quarter mile is run at a leisurely 15.93 seconds at 85 mph, and an even more glacial 16.22 seconds and 79 mph for the Bowtie.
It’s worth nothing that the Mustang is not only more powerful than the Camaro, but at 3,225 pounds, it’s 150 pounds lighter than the Chevy.
That said, there’s a reason why people actually race cars as opposed to compare specs. All kinds of things in the real world — from the course layout to tire selection — can make a profound difference in the outcome. And without spoiling the video, I’ll just say that comes into play here. For the record? I think it’s cool how evenly matched these cars were, and it’s a little sad that when the last gas-powered Mustang rolls off the line, there will be no comparable Camaro for it to line up against.