Inspired by the late 20th century’s tumultuous Middle East situation, “The mother of all wars” was a popular expression in the early 1990s, and the catchy “mother-of-all …” phrase was used to describe everything from pitching toilet bowl cleaners to Camaro-versus-Mustang shootouts.
Ford got the jump on Chevrolet big time when it invented the pony car category. From its mid-1964 introduction Ford sold over one million Mustangs before Chevrolet got the Camaro into the game in the fall of 1966, introducing the Camaro as a 1967 model. Right out of the gate the competition between the two makes was fierce in every arena, from price point to which car was the fastest.
The fortunes of war shifted back and forth from Mustang to Camaro depending on how badly either manufacturer had misjudged offering what the market demanded.
By 1994—after 30 years of evolution—the year found the Camaro and the Mustang each in its fourth generation, and both racing into the same direction.
The vintage video footage of the red 1994 Mustang GT and black 1994 Camaro Z28 was captured by MotorWeek at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1994. It’s interesting to note the same two red and black pony cars met on numerous occasions where magazine editors from various publications compared the virtues of each car, from creature comforts to-down-and-dirty quarter-mile times.
The staff at Car & Driver reported while the 350 in the Z28 sounded healthier than the Mustang’s 302 both were flexible, strong, smooth-running with lively throttle response and delivered good gas mileage.
In summation Car & Driver wrote, “As performance values, the modern pony cars are tough to beat. Prices in the $18,000-to-$20,000 range place these cars among such front-drive coupes as Toyota’s Celica, Honda’s Prelude, and Ford’s own Probe. In that crowd, the speed and power of the V-8s look fabulous. There isn’t a great difference in cost: the base price of the Camaro is $17,269 and the Mustang is $17,750. As we drove them, the Z28 cost $20,590 and the Mustang $19,150.
“It’s sad that the 1994 Mustang GT runs so far behind the Camaro Z28, and it’s obvious that Ford has undergone a change in philosophy with its mythic pony car. All the same, Ford engineers and designers didn’t put in this painstaking job of refinement to have the result spoken of as a loser. They deserve better. But so do the Mustang faithful. Sure, their beloved steed has taken huge strides in styling and sophistication, but at Waterford Hills, it got its haunches hammered by the archrival Camaro. Ring up the dyno room! Call in the horsepower! And count on another battle in the War of the Ponies.”
The black 1994 Camaro Z28 in the still photos are of the car my dad bought new in late 1993 and sold to me in the year 2000. I can speak from personal experience in the 8 years that I owned the ’94 Z28, I never found a Mustang GT that could catch it.