Great Rivalries: Chevrolet Camaro vs Ford Mustang

John Roe

The Mustang eats the Camaro alive in midcorner but never threatens to get by. "The only way I could pass him," Jones acknowledges, "is if he makes a mistake--or I don't mind bruising a door." (Sounds like Parnelli's son, all right.) But vastly superior torque (420 to 325 lb-ft) allows the Camaro to pull clear on acceleration. And on the fast corners in the last segment of the circuit and honking down the front straight, the Camaro runs away and hides.

"I was shocked by how quickly you could pull up to me," Jones says afterward.

Donohue grins. "There's no replacement for displacement." Not for nothing did his father title his memoir The Unfair Advantage.

More power and better brakes mean the Camaro is consistently faster than the Mustang, while nearly 300 pounds less weight, higher grip, and more tossable handling make the Mustang more rewarding to drive. Sounds like a photo finish to us. The big news is how robust the cars prove to be despite clicking off lap after lap at seriously impressive speeds. "We took production cars and beat the crap out of them on a racetrack," Donohue says, "and they're still good to go."

In fact, the cars made it back to Michigan, driving--and looking--no worse for the wear. That surely wouldn't have been the case if we'd been testing the first-gen Mustang and Camaro back in 1969. Especially if Mark and Parnelli had been behind the wheel.

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