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Muscle Car Wars Heat Up as Chevy Reveals New 2017 Camaro ZL1

Gen-6 model adds another 200 hp to the equation.

by on Mar.16, 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 bumps the pony count up to 640 with its LT4 V-8.

If you think the battle for the White House has gotten nasty, just check out the fight for supremacy in the pony car market. Ford and General Motors are lobbing everything but hand grenades at one another, and GM is firing the latest shot with the announcement that it will bring out an all-new version of the Camaro ZL1 next year.

Chevy gave a handful of automotive journalists a look at the new model – and a brief ride — during a sneak preview at the Spring Mountain race track an hour outside Las Vegas. And, if seeing is believing, it only takes a lap inside the 640-horsepower monster to know that the bowtie brand is playing for keeps.

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“We’re delivering world-beating levels of performance, on the track and off,” proclaimed GM President Dan Ammann, before strapping on his element and heading out onto the track.


Chevy 1LE Gives Performance Boost to Camaro

Package available for both V-6, V-8 models.

by on Feb.10, 2016

For the first time, the Camaro 1LE package will be available on V-6 and V-8 models.

For those hoping to squeeze even more performance out of the Chevrolet Camaro, the bowtie brand is bringing back its 1LE package.

Set to make a debut at the Chicago Auto Show this week, the Camaro 1LE option will be offered on both V-6 and V-8 versions of the muscle coupe. The package provides a combination of increased handling, extra performance and a more sporty appearance with a signature matte satin black hood.

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The 1LE is meant for “an owner who wants a daily driver and a weekend track car,” suggests Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president in charge of Chevrolet marketing.


Pumped Up Mustangs Roaring into SEMA

Ford stand featuring a dozen tweaked pony cars.

by on Oct.22, 2014

Galpin Auto Sports is celebrating 50 years of the Mustang by putting a 5.0-liter V8 developing 725 horsepower into its SEMA show car.

The 50th anniversary of the debut of the Ford Mustang is in full swing and perhaps no where will be more evident at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas as the maker will have a dozen pony cars on display.

While the show is home to best and sometimes most insane custom cars, an event like this is a license to thrill and Ford is certainly trying to give visitors something, or things, to gawk over. Among the 12 ‘Stangs, two custom builders are going all out: Pettys Garage and Galpin Auto Sports.

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Petty’s Garage races into the show with a Roush supercharged V8 model wearing Richard Petty’s famous blue paint and a discrete No. 43, Petty’s car number in his NASCAR days. Not only will evoke some NASCAR memories, it’ll also do some good as the car will be auctioned by Barrett-Jackson with proceeds benefiting Victory Junction, which is dedicated to helping chronically ill children attend summer camp. (more…)

First Drive: 2015 Ford Mustang

Re-imagining an icon.

by on Sep.18, 2014

The new 2015 Ford Mustang GT maintains its basic design cues without looking retro.

“When you’re redoing an icon,” says Ford’s new CEO Mark Fields, you find yourself gripped by “a combination of a great honor and a great fear.” Just ask Dave Pericak, who was given the daunting job of redesigning one of those icons as the chief engineer for the 2015 Ford Mustang program.

It wasn’t just a new version of the classic pony car Pericak had to shepherd into production, but the creation of a vehicle worthy of being the 50th anniversary Mustang.  It had to be, as he is fond of saying, “the best Mustang ever.” No idle boast, but, after spending a few days watching a procession of automotive journalists get their first rides in the pony car, Pericak looked more than a bit relieved. As well he should.


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There are a few nits to pick, but they’re largely cosmetic, a few places Ford might have stretched a little further. But there’s little doubt that the coupe and convertible muscle cars Ford will be shipping to dealers around the world in the months ahead can far and away lay claim to being the best Mustang ever.


On Track and Under the Hood of the 2015 Ford Mustang

Ford offers hot laps – and some secrets about the ’15 pony car.

by on Jul.18, 2014

The 2015 Ford Mustang celebrates 50 years of the legendary pony car with improvements in almost every aspect of the car.

“We’re still tweaking,” concedes Tom Barnes, the head of the vehicle dynamics team bringing the new 2015 Ford Mustang to life.

But with the all-new pony car set to roll into showrooms in just a matter of months, most of the work is completed, giving Ford the chance to show off the new Mustang by taking a handful of journalists under the hood – and for some hot laps around its Dearborn, Michigan, proving grounds.

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While far from a hands-on driving experience, the event revealed that the 50th anniversary Mustang is likely to live up to the promise laid out by Ford’s global product development chief Raj Nair, who boasted to the media group that “This is the greatest, best-performing Mustang we have ever had.”


New Book Honors the Pony Car that Almost Wasn’t

Remembrances on the unlikely launch of the 1964-1/2 Mustang

by on Apr.15, 2014

Author Mike Davis provides readers of his new book, Mustang and the Pony Car Revolution, a look at how the Mustang came to be from inside Ford headquarters.

A full 50 years ago this week, a new car burst onto the scene that revolutionized the automotive business. But the original 1964-1/2 Mustang was almost an after-thought, a design that was rushed to market when then-Ford President Lee Iacocca pulled the plug on a far more stodgy small car he decided wouldn’t sell.

Not so the Mustang. The flood of headlines helped Ford sell so many it had to add two extra assembly plants to keep up with demand.

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Ford will be staging a series of events this week to mark the Mustang’s Golden Anniversary. That includes a major event at the NY Auto Show where the all-new 2015 Mustang will be on display. The make is even cutting a new model into three pieces to haul it up to the observation deck at the Empire State Building. (more…)

Ford Offering Free Track Day, Special TracKey With Mustang Boss

Don’t try this at home, maker warns.

by on Nov.11, 2010

Ford's TracKey transforms the Mustang Boss 302 into a serious race-capable pony car.

Looking for a little more excitement out of your new Ford Mustang Boss 302?  It’s as simple as switching keys, the automaker has revealed.

Owners of the 440-horsepower pony car will get two sets of keys, it turns out, the second being a special TracKey that does a few things you normally wouldn’t expect – resetting about 200 different parameters by activating a second engine control module.


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It’s a quick way to turn the Boss into a track-ready bruiser, says Jeff Seaman, Mustang’s powertrain engineer.  “From an engine management standpoint, we’ve done just about everything possible to give TracKey users a full race car experience.”


Dodge Brings Back 392 Hemi in Challenger SRT8

New engine adds 65 horsepower, 90 ft.-lb. of torque

by on Nov.04, 2010

For 2011, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 features a bigger, more power engine, revised interior and exterior styling and an upgraded suspension.

The news coming out of Chrysler HQ in Auburn Hills is almost relentless these days. There are new engines, completely new SUVs and crossovers and revamped sedans.

Add to the mix a new Dodge Challenger SRT8 with a huge power infusion.

While Dodge has already announced that the base 250-horsepower V-6 will be replaced by a 305-horsepower version of the new Pentastar V-6, it hadn’t said anything about the Challenger’s other engines. Dodge still hasn’t announced numbers for the R/T, but it is expected to maintain its 5.7-liter Hemi, but it will likely make slightly more power.

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Just as Ford has done by bringing back the hallowed 5.0, the Challenger is bringing back a reverred name of its own. The new SRT8 now adds the numbers 392 to its name, as in 392 cubic inches.

Now 6.4 liters, the top dog in the Challenger lineup is rated at 470 horsepower, 65 more than before. Torque rises to 470 as well, 90 more than before, compared to the old 6.1-liter Hemi.

First drive: Ford Mustang GT

The 5.0 is back and the original pony car has never been more fun.

by on Oct.29, 2010

The 2011 Ford Mustang GT in Grabber Blue turns a lot of heads.

The number 5.0 holds a hallowed place in Ford lore. For more 25 years, Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8 powered everything from Thunderbirds to F-150 pickups to Broncos. But most notably, they powered Mustangs.

Now, after 16 years in exile, the 5.0 is back. Ford retired the old 5.0, also known as the 302 for its displacement in cubic inches, in 1995, replacing its venerable V-8 with the decent 4.6-liter. But while the 4.6 did a decent job, it didn’t have that beloved number attached to its valvecovers.


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Don’t think for a moment that Ford’s decision to bring back the 5.0 isn’t partly driven by nostalgia. Automakers decide how big a new engine design will be based on a lot of factors such as the power characteristics it needs, fuel economy and smoothness. But they also make decisions based on what the marketers say will help sell cars.

With this new engine, there was one other important consideration: It had to produce horsepower comparable to the 6.2-liter V-8 in the Chevrolet Camaro SS.

First Look: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Maker promising the fastest pony car it has ever produced.

by on Aug.13, 2010

Ford has pulled the wraps off a track-ready version of the 2012 Mustang Boss 302.

The Boss is back…almost.

Ford lifted the covers on an all-new version of the Mustang Boss 302 during a preview at tony Pebble Beach, this morning, and promises to not only bring it to market for 2012, but to deliver, “the quickest, best-handling straight-production Mustang ever offered by Ford.”

As one would expect, the 2012 Boss 302 starts out with the solid underpinnings of the updated 2011 Ford Mustang.  But the maker has made moves to optimize the pony car in a variety of ways, among other things increasing horsepower, while reducing weight and aerodynamic drag.


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Meanwhile, the maker plans to offer a track-ready version, dubbed the Boss 302 Laguna Seca – for the challenging track on the Monterey Peninsula – which will delete the back seat for even more weight savings and get a new, race-ready suspension.