Mustang, Camaro & Challenger

Posted by  //  August 2, 2016  //  Articles

Did you leave your youth behind?  Did you “grow” up and put the toys away? Perhaps did you sell them because you and your family started to grow up and somewhere along the way you did too?

What did you have? What memories do you have about the cars of your youth? Did you have a muscle car? The assortment was fantastic and now they are the dreams we hold dear.

Is that cherished old friend gone forever or did you replace it, perhaps you may have tracked it down welcomed it home!

Today you can purchase a “reproduction” body and using the modern engines (or vintage should you choose) you can build a modern day muscle car that looks old but of course is not. Would you paint it to look like your old memories or update the looks to rival the production cars that the factories are creating today?

Ford – Chevrolet – Dodge… when it comes to Modern Muscle cars that we can relate to our youth…these are the players that have stayed the test of time and are taking the lunch money from those who never lived in that glorious time of no limit horsepower and speed.

Years past we had competitors such as Pontiac, AMC, and Plymouth. There were backyard brawls over who had the best or baddest.  Sometimes the battle was on the street or highway where the winner was determined by first to finish. Sure, the street was the wrong place for that kind of test but try and tell that to a bunch of teenagers with no fear and a need for excitement who have access to some of the baddest and most bold machines to come out of Detroit.

We still have Challenges, Chargers, Mustangs and Camaro’s to drive off the dealer lot and create the feel and fun like we had “back in the day,” but you have to ask…does it feel the same? Or would you prefer to find your old ride and live those memories in today’s times!

How fast can fast go? Well, the Mopar Boys (Aka the Dodge Brothers) are banging at the gate with 707 hp called Hellcat. Subtle design changes help keep the package fresh and hot for 2015. Videos abound the internet and rolling smoke from the burnouts are filling the minds of young men and woman who just can not wait to shred a set of tires for themselves. The Name Charger has returned and now Dart is on the loose. As the “old” names are dusted off and used again you have to ask…will the excitement still be there?

The Chevrolet Camaro has been manufactured by General Motors under the Chevrolet brand, classified as a pony car and as a muscle car. Originally, the Camaro went on sale on September 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year and was designed as a competing model to the Ford Mustang.  Four distinct generations of the Camaro were developed before production ended in 2002. As the Pony wars “re-ignited” the Camaro nameplate was revived again on a concept car that evolved into the fifth-generation Camaro. The “new” Camaro was built on March 16, 2009.

Some new design changes were introduced along the way keeping the body fresh, but the new ZL1 introduced for 2014 was the killer of the day producing 580 hp and keeping the “old school” dream alive. For 2016 Chevrolet has “tweaked” the Camaro and a new slimmer, sleeker Camaro will meet the public and grace the streets around us and yes… horsepower will be lifted again so that battle can continue. Of the “Big Three” Ford was able to keep their Pony car nameplate alive through the good and bad times….the Ford Mustang.

Initially based on the platform of the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car (that can be seen in Conklin chevrolet newton show room) and was introduced early on April 17, 1964. Because of that introduction date, the early 1964 cars have been dubbed as a “1964½” model by Mustang fans, which made the 2014 model a 50th Anniversary Edition!

The 1965 Mustang was the automaker’s most successful launch since the Model A. The Mustang has undergone several transformations… but what could only be described as a major redesign, the sixth generation, could be the one put the Mustang over the top for the current generation of Americans.

The Mustang created the “pony car” class of American automobiles-sports car-like coupes with long hoods and short rear decks, and gave rise to competitors we have listed here and a host of others. The AMC Javelin and the revamped Plymouth Barracuda just to name two. The Mustang is also credited for inspiring the designs of many import coupes that still try to chip away at the success of America’s favorite Pony Car!

For 2016 the new Ford Mustang will leave the barn and roam free and run side by side generations of Mustangs. There are some who decry the change… just as they did with the Mustang II… and there are those who welcome the change with open arms. The new, yet familiar lines are crisp and fresh. The chassis and suspension are all new. One thing is certain. The Pony Wars are far from over and a victor is yet to be decided even after all these years.

There have been a few people that have asked me why the Chevrolet Corvette was not part of the battle and to answer that we must remember that the Corvette was a two seat sport sedan for the early years and in later years grew into a world class super car that is better suited to a battle between the likes of the Dodge Viper, Ferrari, and Maserati.

Mustang, Camaro and Challenger…all three have been historic pace cars and continue to this day to be affordable for the young and old alike.   These three Pony Cars are truly the basis of what most people think of when they are discussing American Muscle Cars then…and now. Back in the day, each manufacturer regardless of brand had created some amazing vehicles and a few less than loved cars. Today they are classics. They are Muscle Cars. They are… our history and our legacy of what the world would come to think of as “American know how!”

You can chase down the leads and find your old ride once again. You can have one built from original or reproduction parts or you can get today’s version of your old ride and enjoy the comfort and handling that we now find were lacking in the “old ride.”

Regardless of what the future may hold for these veterans of the street and strip… we already know the past, and we embrace it. We protect the past with a passion that only those who have “been there, and done that” can.

Hopefully, this is a legacy and value that we will pass that passion on to our children.  Perhaps giving a niece or nephew a “wild” ride that will inspire them to not only remember that ‘crazy” uncle years from now but will serve to spark an interest in our car shows, restorations and desire to go cruising on the way to get ice cream.

Take your “time machine” old or new out to the Cort-lanes Bowling Center on Tompkins Street for the Tuesday Nite Cruise in…or head over to the 7 Valley Street Rods Car Show at the Cortlandville Citizens Park.

Please (see websites for a schedule of events). Get in your cars and drive them…all years, all brands and of course all models…just drive and create a memory and fun times that will last for the entire family!

For more information see the following websites by local clubs: and  or find them on Facebook!

This article was written and contributed by guest writer, Bill OGorman, Cortland, NY

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