Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Rumblings of the new muscle car war: More power, more options

To quote Samuel L. Jackson, “Hold on to your butts,” we could be looking at the beginning of a new era for Detroit muscle. Both Ford and Chevrolet are expected to shove even more power between the front rubbers of their iconic ground-pounders. This week, Motor Authority reported that a twin-turbocharged version of Ford’s 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 could see action in the 2012 Mustang GT500. The new “Road Runner” V-8 is expected to churn out 600hp or more, depending on how far Ford wants to tweak it. (1)

Across the street, after waffling with plans to resurrect the Camaro Z28, GM’s Vice President for global design, Ed Welburn, said the Z28 performance badge is now back in the product plan and set for production in at least a year. It’s likely the next-generation mullet-burner will come equipped with the supercharged 6.2-liter, 556hp LSA V-8 found in the Cadillac CTS-V, and will be mated to a six-speed manual or optional automatic. From Motor Authority: 

“In the 4,300lb CTS-V, this combination is good for a 0-60 mph sprint of just 4.1 seconds and a 12.3 second quarter mile time. Factor in the Camaro’s 200 to 300lb lighter kerb weight and the Z28 would likely be completing the 0-60 mph benchmark in less than four seconds and passing the quarter in the very low 12 second bracket.” (2) 

Sounds like a stab at the 2012 GT500, but Ford has more than just the Road Runner up their sleeve. Engines that are also rumored to be on the way for the Mustang beginning in 2011 are the standard 400hp 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 and a new 3.7-liter Duratec V-6 producing 315hp. It’s hard to say how Chevy will respond to these new blue oval ponies, but if the funding is there, I’d bet my saddle there'll be new contenders set loose from the bowtie corral before much longer. Cowboy analogies. 

Cool beans, but where’s Chrysler in all this madness? Shouldn’t we be hearing of a beefed up Hemi option for the Challenger SRT8? Unfortunately kids, Chrysler is up Fiat creek and probably more inclined to invest in a boatload of snorkels than dump money into a muscle car war. Word on the corner and most other places is that Chrysler is dead on its feet. From MSN Money: 

“Chrysler sales are now running at the rate of 750,000 a year. It probably does not have the capital to wait through another year of low US car sales with a market share that is almost certainly to stay below 8%. It does not have models tailored to the current market tastes. Chrysler is going out of business. The company just hasn’t made official.” (3) 

Yikes! For all the Mopar guys out there, it might be time to make a donation to your favorite car company; it would be a sad battle if only two-thirds of the big three were around to duke it out in the next chapter of the muscle car saga. On the bright side, cheers to ridiculous American horsepower and tiny back seats – there should still be plenty more on the way.  




The latest news, reviews and commentary about cars, trucks, and more, automotive technology and car culture