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Consequences of a new Pony Car war

2

Comments

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Will we see a Asian pony car entry anytime soon?

    Depends on what counts as a "pony car". Stuff like the nonturbo Supras, 300ZXs, and SC300s of the '90s were the Japanese equivalent of V6 Camaros and Mustangs, and the G35 has no problem hanging with V8 Mustangs (and there is the oft-rumored RWD Tiburon waiting in the wings).

    Now, if a "pony car" has to have a crunky high-displacement, low output V6 or V8 in a massively-decontented live-axle rattletrap, then no. The V8 is a luxury/high-dollar engine in the rest of the world (even Australia; buying a V8 Holden is like buying a Corvette here) and they are designed for luxury/high-dollar cars. Jamming big cubes into a crapmobile is a uniquely American innovation.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,395
    There was a big market for four-place coupes during the heyday of the Pony car in the late 60s and early 70s but they weren't popular enough to
    keep three competing Pony cars in the market place.

    My bet is that history will repeat itself and rising gas prices, insurance costs and other factors will reduce the demand so that the GM and Chrysler entries will be withdrawn and the Mustang alone will survive.

    I freely admit to bias on that last point, I owned a Mustang 5-liter convertible for 12 years.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    "Stuff like the nonturbo Supras, 300ZXs, and SC300s of the '90s were the Japanese equivalent of V6 Camaros and Mustangs, and the G35 has no problem hanging with V8 Mustangs (and there is the oft-rumored RWD Tiburon waiting in the wings)."

    The big difference between those cars and pony cars is price. Pony cars have to offer decent performance at a bargain price...those cars offer good peformance, but not at pony car prices.

    But I take your point about V8s in the rest of the world...it's very true that they're in large part a North American specialty.

    But could that be solved by my fictional Toyota Kirin having a V8 option here in the U.S., but sold in the rest of the world with a 6 cyl as the big engine (the "Kirin ActiveSport"). Kinda like how the Ford Capri was Europe's Mustang, but with a V6 instead of a V8.

    An attendant question seems to be: is RWD really making a comeback, or is it just a U.S.-centric nostalgia thing?

    "My bet is that history will repeat itself and rising gas prices, insurance costs and other factors will reduce the demand so that the GM and Chrysler entries will be withdrawn and the Mustang alone will survive."

    I've wondered for a few years now if we're about to see a "Mustang III" appear in the not-too-distant future...little, somewhat fuel efficient, and destined to be popular at the time, but hated years later. ;)
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    on it's own "pony car" version. I read this in a car mag a few months back and I believe they referred to it as a Supra but do check me on that. Larger body than most sporty Japanese models and large engine to boot. It is coming next year if memory serves me, which, unfortunately it doesn't often enough.

    I would encourage those that are interested to research this one some more because Toyota is hard at work on a "pony car" of it's own to compete with the Mustang and Camaro.

    As far as the Camaro is concerned it's not a matter of if they're going to build it it's a matter of when. That car, whether you like it or not, is what GM and Chevy need right now to stay afloat. Granted it's not everything they need but it's a portion, a hefty one at that, of what GM needs to keep going right now. Watch and you will read thousands of references to the new world order Camaro as the savior of GM or the one that brought GM back. That is if it can help save GM in the real world. That makes it sort of a suspense story, then, eh?

    As far as it's design goes I think Chevy has come up with a winner with the Camaro, if one were just looking at the new body design. If I were in the market for a Stang or Camaro-type rig, though, I would go for another rig that we don't yet know will be built...the new world order Dodge Challenger. Now that car blows away the new Charger, IMO, and Dodge designers has given it a retro look that incorporates sleek modern lines yet retains the muscular bombardment that was the Challenger of old. I think Dodge will score large with the new Challenger and, yes, I think Dodge will build it.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    "That car, whether you like it or not, is what GM and Chevy need right now to stay afloat. Granted it's not everything they need but it's a portion, a hefty one at that, of what GM needs to keep going right now. Watch and you will read thousands of references to the new world order Camaro as the savior of GM or the one that brought GM back. That is if it can help save GM in the real world. That makes it sort of a suspense story, then, eh?"

    So what you're saying is that if GM can manage to get just one mass-produced, mid-end car perfect, that might be what it takes to restore confidence in the company and its abilities? Hmmm...interesting idea, and a "bold move" (with apologies to Ford...) to be sure. I'd love it if GM actually pulls it off.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    Not sure of the RX-8, but perhaps the RX-7 :confuse:

    Maybe even the original Fairlady Z (240Z) :confuse:

    Though it wasn't advertised as a "Pony" in the American sense, the Z used the basic body formula of long hood-short deck, light weight, decent power/weight ratio. And it had a decent suspension.

    But back on topic.

    I don't think the Camaro is going to come. With GM's financials, SEC probe, the UAW and Delphi situation, the on again/off again of the platform and Lutz's comments on break even point (one article quoted 100K, another 130 - 150K) are there really that many shoppers out there? As stated before, many talked about the gen-4 F-body, but many bought them. And with a high break even point, that they couldn't meet with the last model, are they going to meet it with the new one?

    I really don't see it happening. It would be nice, but I don't know. As long as they don't rebadge some Daewoo or something... :surprise:
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    new Camaro but it's a nice start. I am going on input from a GM exec that they are definitely going to build the new Camaro. It got out to the press, so I don't think he would say it if he didn't think it would eventually come to be.

    I just think GM needs a sporty rig to produce that is successful on a massive scale. One that they could mass-produce, get it right from the start and sell truckloads of. No, it won't be enough to lift them out of the dumpster entirely but it's a good start.

    The Pontiac Solstice is a GM car that is selling well that is sporty, new and different. From what I read they can barely keep up with demand on this car, but Pontiac isn't building them at a very fast pace, so take that one however you want.

    I think the Camaro will come but Chevy is going to need to improve their small car offerings and they still need a valid body design department to compete with Camry and Accord, IMO. What lame midsize offerings from GM. The Malibu and Impala are weak vehicles.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,395
    Not sure of the RX-8, but perhaps the RX-7

    Maybe even the original Fairlady Z (240Z)

    Though it wasn't advertised as a "Pony" in the American sense, the Z used the basic body formula of long hood-short deck, light weight, decent power/weight ratio. And it had a decent suspension.


    RX-7s and 240Zs are sports cars which are quite a bit different than pony cars, they're smaller, lighter and generally only have two seats. The original Mustang concept car (ca. 1962) was a tiny two-seater with a mid-engine.
    link

    When Ford chose to build a larger, heavier Mustang the reaction from the sports car set was disappointment if not outrage. It wasn't til the introduction of the GT-350 that the sports car crowd fully accepted the Mustang.

    The short deck/long hood look was a deliberate imitation of the portions of the front engined roadsters of the era.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Yeah, the RX cars are very light and nimble. The 240Z was light too, but the 300ZX was similar to a muscle car. The Brits describe it as a "big heavy wobbly thing to put Americans in" - a straight line car, with a 6cyl version and a 6cyl twin turbo version (normal for Japanese sports cars of the early 90s). The Toyota Supra was the same (same engine configuration choices, kinda heavy, better as a drag car). Maybe the Mitsubishi 3000GT, but that was AWD.

    American sports cars have traditionally had big engines, Japanese ones have emphasized handling, and Europe had two philosophies: lightweight roadsters (most of which have died) and luxury sports cars.

    I guess Toyota or Nissan could make an American-style pony or muscle car now that they've settled in here so well, but I don't think many people would buy one. Almost all the allure of the Mustang and Camaro is in their history - if they had been invented in 2005 I don't think they'd be nearly as popular as they are.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    Yes, agree.

    Know the difference between a pony, sports, sporty, muscle car. My mention of the Fairlady and RX-7 was that if considering an RX-8, my take is that an -7 and the Fairlady iterations were closer to the "formula". Now a Skyliner, hmmm, that's a sticky one.

    And as you know, many times the lines get blurred, especially between the pony and muscle cars - a little pet-peeve of mine.

    There wasn't too much of a market for the mid-engined two-seater - remember why the T-bird went to four seats? Iacocca, Fry and the other guys really hit the nail on the head with the Mustang - very, very good market research and execution. It still cracks me up when people don't realize it was a Falcon, a gussied up one, but still a Falcon.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    In my mind, there's a sort of triangle with points of "muscle car", "pony car" and "sports car".

    It's easy to fit cars under those designations...the tricky part is locating the cars that occupy points on the lines between any two points.

    On the Mustang's rear seat issue, love the reason why they added them...market research of college-aged kids indicated that they wanted bucket seats in the front for a sporty feel while driving, but a rear bench to facilitate, er, other activities while parked. ;)
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    The Celica was very popular. People bought some of the original Celicas, drove them a couple years and got their money back, or better. Recall the inflation years, when a Celica kept on moving up in price. Known for reliability and fun little cars to drive, they were popular. Honda had the Prelude, which was more high tech and eventually got a bit pricey. The Datsun Z " Fairlady " and Mazda 7 rotary were great hits. Both were true sports cars though, and not really a pony car.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    And as you know, many times the lines get blurred, especially between the pony and muscle cars - a little pet-peeve of mine.

    Okay, so I feel really stupid for asking this, but what exactly is the difference?
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Pony car is a sporty car, with long hood, short rear deck, not nessarily high powered or able to hold corners like true sports car. Generally it is economical, as in a sporty car for the masses. They look fast, handle decently, but are not for racing unless modified for such. A Pony car usually has an i4 or 6 cylinder as the stock engine, with V8 as an optional in the case of American true ponies.

    Muscle car is usually a large displacement engine pushing a heavy mass, or a small block high powered in a smaller car. Original I believe was the Super 88 Olds mobile, which for its time weighed a little less, yet had more HP. They won many a race of NASCAR days-gone-bye. Ah, the days of real stock cars. The real NASCAR.
    -Loren

    P.S. radio and other un-nessarary items are optional on a muscle car :P
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    To be fair, there were factory pony cars for racing...Boss 302s, Challenger T/As, Barracuda AARs, etc.

    I would have loved to have been old enough to enjoy the heyday of the Trans-Am series...sigh. :(
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,395
    I would have loved to have been old enough to enjoy the heyday of the Trans-Am series...sigh.

    The old TransAm was everything NASCAR should be and isn't. If you haven't seen Mark Donohue pounding Bridgemampton in the rain or Parnelli Jones dicing with Dan Gurney at Mont Tremblant or Lime Rock you have missed some great racing. ;)
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    Well that makes me feel better... ;)

    I was a little kid at the time, and had a father who was more interested in European sportscars than American pony cars. Though on the plus side, I have some great pics of me in his Jaguar 120 coupe. :blush:

    I catch the current iteration of Trans-Am (I like Boris Said) when I can, but it's hard to get too excited about cars that can change from a Mustang to a Jaguar simply by switching the body shell...
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061128/AUTO04/611280349/1148- /AUTO01

    Now this is a pony car, well sort of. More like a Italian Stallion. :P

    Rocky
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    A centrifugal charger on a domestic V8? :confuse:

    Twin-screw is the only way to go on a low-revving large-displacement engine, and it also needs some bigger pipes. 2.5" just isn't enough for a forced-induction 4.6L. The money blown on the hood could have gone for a nice flywheel.
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