What Is A Pony Car?

A pony car is a classification of American cars. They are typically compact, sporty, and economical. The pony car’s typical characteristics are a long hood, short trunk lid (decklid), and rear-wheel drive. They are also highly customizable and initially used mass-produced parts. Most people associate the Ford Mustang with generating the popularity of the pony car. The Mustang was first produced in 1964.

In the early 1960s, American motor companies began to recognize the importance of younger consumers. They also noticed a trend toward smaller and sportier cars than the ones that were being produced at the time. Plymouth, Ford, and American Motor Company were all running to get on top of production that cornered the market and catered to the trends. Plymouth released the first pony car in 1964 when they launched the Barracuda.

Two weeks later, the iconic Ford Mustang was released. The Mustang received more critical acclaim than the Barracuda. To say the Mustang was a success is an understatement. Ford had a sales forecast of 100,000 cars in the first year, but they received 22,000 orders on day one. The Ford Mustang’s enormous success solidified its place on the automotive map and helped the pony car market explode.

Later competition would create more automotive iconography. The Pontiac Firebird and Chevrolet Camaro are great examples. The Mustang’s success inspired a long line of inspiration in the global automotive landscape. Automakers like GM Europe and Toyota all created automotive lines inspired by the Ford Mustang’s success and design.

What Is The Difference Between A Muscle Car And A Pony Car?

The main difference between a pony car and a muscle car comes down to the chassis’ size and the engine’s size. Most people agree that a muscle car is a large car with a large engine and a pony car has a smaller frame and engine block. You will likely find enthusiasts debating the details.

Muscle cars are not known for their handling. Generally, they are two-door, small bodied cars with massive engines. They are rear-wheel drive and are basically known for one thing and one thing only – they are really, really fast. The enormous engine in a small, lightweight car makes them ideal for drag racing.

The first muscle car was the Oldsmobile Rocket 88. Released in 1949, the Rocket 88 was designed for power. It had a V-8 engine that fits into a small, lightweight body. It could not go faster than 97 mph, but it reached that speed in 13 seconds. That is respectable power. It was not a pretty car, but it enjoyed some success because there was no real competition until the mid-1950s.

Examples Of Pony Cars

Current pony cars in production are the Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro, and the Dodge Challenger. There are plenty of iconic pony cars, but these are the ones in production now, so let’s focus on them. The first on our list will be the undisputed king of the pony cars, the Ford Mustang.

Mustang is the longest-running Ford production model. It first came off the production line in 1964 and is now in it's sixth generation. An interesting tidbit is that when the Mustang went on sale, it became the most successful launch since the 1927 Model A. The Mustang’s success led to a wave of competition and innovation. Two of the Mustang’s competitors are still on the market today, while the AMC Javelin and the Pontiac Firebird went the way of the dodo.

The Mustang has been the best-selling sports car, globally, since 2015. It comes in a variety of types, the most powerful of which is the GT500. It comes with a V-8 and has so much power you might want to make sure you check your responsibility gauge before you get behind the wheel. The Mustang’s shape looks how you’d expect a modern power car to look while still retaining the iconic style that has made it famous.

The marketing around the release of the Camaro was mysterious and fun. Chevrolet public relations sent invitations to 200 automotive reporters about the “first and last meeting of SEPAW” SEPAW stood for the Society for the Elimination of Panthers in the Automotive World. The invitations were for the first (and last) meeting of SEPAW. Curiosity piqued, reporters participated in the meeting in person and by telephone. And that’s when Chevrolet released the Camaro. When automotive journalists asked what the name Camaro meant, executives said it was “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.”

The 2020 Camaro features a 6.2 liter V-8 (LT4) and boasts speeds of 0-60 in a little over 3 seconds. It has got a beautiful, muscular design and looks just as powerful as it is. This iconic car has been through multiple changes in its lifetime and continues to stun. It is a beautiful car with a lot of power. There are various models to choose from, some with less power, and even a convertible model.

There are three different generations of cars that held the name Dodge Challenger. Two of those generations have been pony cars. The first use of the name was for a less expensive, 1959 option to the Dodge Cornet Silver. The first-generation Dodge Challenger was built from 1970 – 1974. They were considered a late entry competition to the Ford Mustang. The ’78 – ’83 year models were cosmetic redesigns of a Mitsubishi compact coupe.

The third generation of Dodge Challenger is a pony car. It was released as a direct competitor to fifth-generation Mustangs and Camaros. The latest release is spearheaded with a powerful V-8 model and boasts up to 807 horsepower. The noticeable difference in the Challenger vs. Mustang and Camaro is in handling. The Mustang and Camaro are known for razor-tight handling, whereas the Challenger is designed for a more leisurely ride.