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The top five battles – Mustang vs Camaro

Ford may have been first with the Mustang, but Chevrolet’s release of the Camaro three years later laid the foundations for one of the world’s most iconic motoring rivalries.

Yes, these two models are from American manufacturers targeting the muscle car market, but is recognised across the world and will re-enter Australian motorsport through the introduction of Gen3 for this year’s Repco Supercars Championship.

To celebrate this renewed Australian rivalry, Repco The Garage will reflect on the past history of these two makes competing together.

  • Bob Jane vs Allan Moffat

It was an often fiery rivalry during the early-1970s, but kept the bumper crowds at Australia’s touring car events glued to the fences. Allan Moffat in his famous Coca-Cola Ford Mustang Trans Am and the orange Chevrolet Camaro of Bob Jane thrilled spectators, with the rivalry culminating in fisticuffs during the 1972 season at Warwick Farm.

  • Golden age Trans Am battles

American Trans Am racing reached a ‘golden age’ in the late-1960s in alignment with the birth of the muscle car wars. With the might of Roger Penske and star driver Mark Donahue behind it, Chevrolet won the title in 1968 to end the Ford Mustang’s monopoly during the first two seasons. Penske, Donahue and Chevrolet backed this up in 1969 to beat the Ford-backed Shelby America in addition to Bud Moore Engineering. With Penske moving to the American Motors Javelin, Chevrolet dropped away and soon Trans Am’s golden period was over.

  • Aussies transfer American rivalry to the colony

Australians racing American muscle cars in the British Saloon Car Championship? You better believe it! Frank Gardner won multiple BSCC titles during the late-1960s and early-1970s for both manufacturers, two with Ford, but the last in 1973 in a Chevrolet Camaro Z28. Brian Muir was Gardner’s chief rival for much of these years, but 1970 proved an especially close season. Gardner still driving for Ford and Muir in the Chevrolet, were defeated in the end as Bill McGovern in his Hillman Imp secured it, however class standings were heavily weighted in the latter’s favour. Gardner and Muir dominated Class D, winning all rounds between them bar one.

  • Camaro and Mustang go to NASCAR

As part of NASCAR’s Next Gen regulations introduced for the 2022 season featured body styles of Ford and Chevrolet’s two muscle car models. The new generations of NASCAR led by the Camaro and Mustang (alongside Toyota’s Camry) revolutionised this type of racing by featuring standardised parts and it has since been proven a challenging package to drive. Penske, this time a Ford factory squad won the title with Joey Logano.

  • The showroom wars

And to finish, still to this day the Camaro and Mustang are battling it out in the showroom although this has disappeared in Australia. The Camaro has a limited life in America as next year will be its last before it’s said an SUV will take over the nameplate from 2025. The latest Mustang was launched last year and an electric SUV version has joined the line-up recently. Ford can lay claim to winning the sales battle as Mustangs remain far popular than the Camaro, nearly double in fact.

But will this translate to Gen3 domination, it’s to be decided starting at Newcastle on November 10-12.