How does it stack up?
In the world of muscle cars, manual transmissions are an homage to the purists, relying heavily on the skill of the driver. But it's not just the person behind the wheel that determines the outcome of a race; the vehicle's mechanics play a significant role. The S650 Ford Mustang Dark Horse, Dodge Challenger 392 Scat Pack, and Chevrolet Camaro LT1 recently took to the track to prove their mettle.
See horrifying vintage crash test videos here.
The Dodge Challenger 392 Scat Pack Widebody, weighing in at 4,373 pounds, is powered by a 392ci Hemi V8 engine, churning out 485 horsepower. Essential for a vehicle of its weight, it's equipped with Firestone P304/35YR20 BSW performance AS tires and boasts potent four-piston Brembo brake calipers, measuring 14.2-inch at the front and 13.8-inch at the rear.
On the other hand, the Ford Mustang Dark Horse, with its weight at 3,949 pounds, utilizes a DOHC dual throttle body system. This innovation empowers its fourth-generation 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine, allowing it to produce an impressive 500 horsepower at 7,250 RPM. With its power directed to the rear wheels via a 3.73 rear axle ratio, the Dark Horse is not just about raw power. It includes features like brake cooling NACA ducts, an auxiliary engine oil cooler, a rear axle cooler, and an advanced radiator for enhanced cooling. For braking, 19-inch Brembo front 6-piston brakes with 13.9-inch rotors are in place. Additional features include MagnaRide dampers, a Ford Performance-designed strut tower brace, and a K-brace to optimize handling. The back boasts a Torsen rear differential and standard Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires.
The Chevrolet Camaro LT1, the lightest of the trio at 3,619 pounds, is equipped with a 6.2L V8 engine that delivers 455 horsepower and an equal 455 lb-ft of torque. Even though its power is slightly less than the Scat Pack and the Dark Horse, its weight could be its advantage. However, its Goodyear Eagle F1 tires might not provide the same grip as its competitors. But for those eyeing better performance, Chevrolet offers the Camaro SS and Camaro SS 1LE, which might be a more suitable match against the Mustang Dark Horse, especially considering the affordability factor of the Camaro SS.
A recent video featuring driving impressions from Thomas and James showcased these cars but didn't reveal a quarter-mile time for them. Interestingly, they added a lap time for the S550 Ford Mustang Mach 1, the forerunner to the Dark Horse.
As the age-old debate of which muscle car reigns supreme continues, this latest showdown brings the thrill of manual transmissions front and center, reminding enthusiasts of the delicate dance between man and machine.