Muscle Cars: Old Generation or New?

 by Scott Bianchi

Fifth Generation Mustang

Fifth Generation Mustang

Ford was the first of the Big Three American car makers to introduce a car that would bring them back to a time when they were one of the leaders in the automotive world. Chrysler has announced that they plan to be the next and GM has unveiled plans for a retro vehicle as well. Ford had initially done this retro thing via the Ford Thunderbird but that was not considered a muscle car back in the muscle car era. Chrysler has brought back the Charger name but it looks nothing like the Dodge Charger of the late 60's and early 70's. GM brought back the GTO name but once again, it looked nothing like the previous GTO's.

Ford was the first to bring a car back that actually looks like a past model in the Mustang. The new Mustangs resemble a pervious Mustang from the muscle car era. Chrysler followed suit with their announcement of bringing back the Challenger, which in my opinion looks more like the Challenger than the Mustang does. Not wanting to be left out, GM has announced they plan to bring back the Camaro. Their Camaro very much resembles the 69 Camaro which was and still is a very popular body style amongst Camaro enthusiasts. I still think the Challenger most resembles its intended target.

Ford has done a decent job pricing their Mustang. You can get a nicely equipped Mustang GT hardtop for right around $30,000. This is reasonably priced in today's market. The other two have not gotten theirs to the showroom yet so there is no way to know about pricing but they face a challenge that Ford does not have. Chrysler has the Viper and the Ram SRT-10 that also qualify in the performance market. They cannot price the Challenger too closely to those models because people would probably spend the extra money for the higher performance of the ten cylinder vehicles. GM is faced with a similar dilemma because of the Corvette. The Corvette was just restyled and is even higher performing compared to the previous model. Their Z06 model now boasts an impressive 505 HP. All the reviews I have read on the new model rave about this car. Clearly GM needs to price the new Camaro properly when and if they actually do produce it. The name will not be enough to sell it for a long period of time. Once the initial excitement dies down it will be a flop if not priced directly.

What is interesting to me is now that the Big Three are losing market share and business is clearly not what it once was they are not only changing many of their vehicles but they are attempting to get back into their glory days. For example, Ford did away with their very popular Taurus model and replaced it with the Ford 500. Chrysler introduced a whole new styling within the last couple of years. GM is now coming out with cars that more resemble the Toyota models. I have some friends that are big into muscle cars and the new Mustang, Challenger, and Camaros have come up in some conversations. None of them have said they would even consider the $30,000 or more price tag that these cars will have once they hit the showroom floors. For $30,000 someone could buy a Camry, or the Maxima. The Maxima is a very high performing vehicle that also comes with the added reliability.

I do not know what it will take for the Big Three to really turn things around but I really like the looks of the newer generation muscle cars. I think they were sharp cars back when they first came out and they are still very sharp. Hopefully they perform as well as they look and they make their ancestors proud.

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This article was posted on March 01, 2006, sourced from

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