The pony car wars began in 1964 with the introduction of the Plymouth Barracuda and the Ford Mustang.


Yes we know, the 1964 Mustang is a ½ year short of accurate, but you get the point.


There were five pony soldiers by the early 70s, but the number has shrunk to three by 2011.


The death of the Plymouth and Pontiac brands has eliminated a fish-pony (Barracuda) and bird-pony (Firebird).



The three remaining names are familiar and legendary in the pony car world.



The Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro are left to renew hostilities, and they have reappeared in tribute models that capture the look of the first generation models.


The million- dollar question is simple: which one of the Big Three ponies looks most like the original?


The first past the post in this game was the Ford Mustang. Mustang never really left the market, although some would argue that the Mustang II abandoned the original flavor in a New Coke way- big mistake.



The Mustang blazed its own style path until 2005 when Ford introduced a tribute look to the original first –gen model of the mid-60s. It was an instant sensation and it provided a striking 21st century nostalgia car designed to combine new tech with a classic 60s look.



The 2005 Mustang created a lot of excitement on the road. The car was easy to spot in traffic because it was a uniquely 60s style with a 21st century birth certificate. It was easy to link the past and present with the fifth generation Mustang.



The second revival of a classic pony car was the Dodge Challenger in 2008. The original child-of–the 70s Challenger was a little brother to the Plymouth Barracuda and was produced from 1970-74.



Most MOPAR devotees will choose to ignore the 1978-83 Challenger as nothing more than a bad dream that was a disgrace to the legacy of the name. Challengers were always meant to be from the mean streets of Detroit- Japan was not even on the radar.



But Chrysler had buried its Mitsubishi past by 2008. The re-introduction of the Dodge Challenger had Motor City and muscle behind it. It was the perfect time to bring a Hemi-powered monster back into the street wars.


The new Challenger is a larger muscular version of the original 1970. There is no mistaking the striking family resemblance between the 1970 and 2008 models. It’s just that the 21st century Hemi Challenger has a very bad attitude when it comes to a street fight.



The General got back into the pony wars in 2009 with the hugely anticipated re-introduced Camaro. The new Camaro was resurrected (after it died in 2002) with a promise to pay tribute to the original first-generation Camaro.



The latest Camaro is a very tough-looking pony car. It carries style hints of its 60s origins, but this car has 21st century written all over it. Mad Max would feel comfortable behind the wheel of a new Camaro because it is a macho car.



But our question is simple: which pony car looks most like its original model? We have to go with the Dodge Challenger in this contest.



There is no mistaking the genetic link between the two models, but the new Challey is the twin on steroids-if you want to tell them apart.


Jim Sutherland

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