Dodge Charger VS Chevy Camaro VS Ford Mustang - Which Is Better? - Muscle Car

Dodge Charger VS Chevy Camaro VS Ford Mustang – Which Is Better?

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Written by Elise

3rd November 2020

Dodge Charger VS Chevy Camaro VS Ford Mustang – Which Is Better?
Blog   >    Car Models   >   Dodge Charger VS Chevy Camaro VS Ford Mustang – Which Is Better?

Dodge Charger VS Chevy Camaro VS Ford Mustang – Which Is Better?

By Owen Pham

Graphic render of white 1969 Ford Mustang, black 1969 Dodge Charger, and silver 1970 Chevrolet Camaro parked side by side at a gas station

Ever since the establishment of American muscle cars as a particular car category in the 1960s, many different muscle cars have been released to the market to draw petrol heads’ attention. Although the Ford Mustang has always been known as the most popular muscle car ever, there have been fierce rivals around this savage horse. But the closest competitors for Mustangs in terms of popularity and sale figures have been Chevy Camaro and Dodge Charger. So when we have the Charger VS Mustang VS Camaro, who wins the battle?

The rivalry between the three has crossed the realm of specs and figures and made its way to the pop culture, as there have been memorable scenes of car chase featuring a Mustang and Charger in the 1968 action-thriller film Bullitt. Another example of movies depicting such close combat is the 2007 film Transformers, in which an old 1977 Yellow Chevrolet Camaro called Bumblebee upgrades into a fifth-generation Camaro. This later leads to a battle of Camaro VS Mustang.

Regardless of cinematic impact, there have been strong fanbases to all these three muscle cars, with every group praising their favorite car and prefering it to its peers. In this article, we are going to have a comparison between the Dodge Charger, Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang regarding their background, performance, and looks. Then we’ll conclude with the preference of each car for different tastes. 


Black and white photo of ’67-’68 Ford Mustang and ’67-’68 Chevrolet Camaro at a drag race start line waiting for the green signal

The first of the three competitors to hit the market was the Mustang, released in 1964. Initially offered in coupe and convertible body-types in March 1964, a fastback body style later joined the line up in August the same year. 

The first-generation Mustang remained in production until the 1973 model year; however, it received major restyling for 1967, 1969, and 1971 respectively, not to mention the less significant facelifts for 1970 and 1973. Mustang’s golden era came to an end after introducing the Mustang II for 1974 as its second generation.

After witnessing Mustang’s success in the market, General Motors company decided to build a direct rival for the first-ever pony car. This effort led to the birth of the Chevrolet Camaro in 1966 as a ’67 model and another pony/muscle car precisely in the Mustang’s vein. Released in either coupe or convertible body types, Chevy’s cade was restyled for ‘69, which is definitely the best model year for this car’s whole line. 

In early 1970, the second-generation of Camaro was introduced. Although a true successor to the first-gen, the then-new Camaro declined in atheistic terms compared to its mighty predecessor. This went much worse in 1974 when the 2nd-gen Camaro was facelifted and lost almost all of its charm.

In parallel to the two pony cars, Chrysler Corporation released the Dodge Charger in mid-1966. The Charger was intended to serve as a luxury muscle car on its first-generation to compete against the likes of the Rambler Marlin; however, the company changed this approach after the car flopped on the market. So, they introduced the second-generation Charger, which proved to be an all-time favorite among high-performance car lovers.

The third generation Charger was released in 1971 and was another market hit. Unfortunately, the Charger’s golden era ended in 1975, right after the introduction of its fourth generation.


Red 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible and Red 1966 Ford Mustang Coupe parked side by side on the wet floor

Muscle cars have personalities, often matched or enhanced by those of their owners. While choosing between the Charger, Camaro, and Mustang can be seen just as a matter of taste, many people seemingly make their choice out of the trio depending on their own character. 

For instance, it is somehow observable that Mustang owners are more loyal to their cars than Camaro and Chargers owners. This can be related to the Mustang’s strong character as an iconic muscle car; after falling in love with such an iconic car, it would be difficult to break away and leave it behind. 

On the other hand, Mustang owners are more interested in getting involved in races than Camaro owners, as there are examples everywhere of tuned classic Mustangs in the UK. This contrasts with many Camaro owners, who tend to keep their cars in original condition without any upgrades in the drivetrain.

While the Mustang and Camaro were pretty much similar in terms of dimensions, class, original price, and the target market since their initial release, the Charger was a little bit different, as it was intended as a more massive muscle car with a higher base price than that of Mustang and Camaro. 

Therefore, the Dodge Charger was desirable to a classier spectrum of buyers than the two pony cars, which were almost the cheapest muscle cars in the ‘60s car market. This viewpoint has remained until today, even though the Charger’s newer generations have a somewhat different approach than their classic ancestors since they are now considered full-size sedans rather than mid-sized coupes.


426 Hemi engine mounted on an orange 1969 Dodge Charger 500

Classic Chargers, Camaros and Mustangs were offered in different variants and engines when new, from 6-cylinders to big-block V8 engines. For instance, available engines for the 60s Mustangs ranged from a 170-cu straight-6 of 105 bhp in 1965 to a 428-cu V8 of 335 bhp on the Mustang Shelby GT500 in 1969, not to mention the more robust 429-cu engine of 375 hp that was exclusively offered on the ’69-‘70 Boss 429 Mustang.

In a similar manner, the first-gen Camaro was offered with a variety of engine choices, from a 230-cu I6 of 140 hp to a 427-cu V8 on the ’69 COPO ZL1 of 430-hp. At the same time, different high-performance variants were offered for the Camaro, including RS, SS, and Z28, among others. 

In the second-generation Charger case, the engine range was to start from a 225-cu to 440-cu, with the most powerful option being the 426-cu Magnum generating an output power of 425-hp. Also, there were the outstanding Charger Daytona and Charger 500 models as the lineup flagships.

Apart from different variants and engines, most classic American muscle cars offer quite a similar handling due to their design and engineering similarities. Accordingly, almost any Muscle car from the 60s follows the raw power pattern, meaning they offer plenty of horsepowers blended with not-so-great handling. However, regarding smaller muscle cars such as Mustang and Camaro, one can expect better handling than a more massive and heavier muscle car like the Charger. 

Classic VS Modern Camaro, Ford and Charger

Two green Ford Mustangs of modern and classic generations while driving on the road 

Although modern technologies have changed some aspects of modern muscle cars, it is evident that contemporary Mustangs and Camaros are the true successors to their old grandfathers. This can be observed mostly in the fifth and sixth generations of these muscle cars, on which the designers have adopted a retro design style greatly influenced by the first generation of these cars, making them appealing even to hardcore classic muscle car fans. 

However, this is less the case with the Dodge Charger; from 2006 onward, the Charger turned into a full-size sedan from the sole coupe body-style it was known for in the old days. Nonetheless, the more recent Chargers have been released in various cool high-performance variants and can quickly draw every passionate gearhead’s attention.

Yet, in spite of all technological advancements in the newer models, many gearheads still prefer the classic Mustangs, Camaros, and Chargers to modern ones, mainly due to the original spirit that exists in classic muscle cars. 

Some enthusiasts are of the opinion that there are technological benefits to almost any new car, but the classic muscle cars always steal the spotlight when it comes to the spirit and joy of driving. After all, what’s the point in buying a modern EcoBoost Mustang when you can experience the pure pleasure of owning and driving on a classic Mustang GT with its old school V8 engine and beautiful exhaust note? 

Matter of Personal Preference

1968 Ford Mustang Fastback and 1968 Dodge Charger R/T recreating iconic Bullitt car chase scene at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Choosing a certain car model can be seen as a matter of taste,  but it is also evident that each particular car can be appealing to a specific type of personality. Muscle cars are commonly adored and owned by the gearheads who are interested in raw power. Still, any muscle car has its own and enthusiasts and fans; and neither Charger, Camaro, and Mustang are exceptions from this rule.

Generally, if one is looking for an iconic muscle car with excellent tuning potential, they should look no further than a classic Ford Mustang. There are also more rational people who have less tendency to tune or modify them, who are more likely to be a Camaro fan. And finally, for the people who seek a classier and more privileged muscle car, the Charger might be a better answer.

Another point of view in buying classic muscle cars is the availability of spare parts. Ford and Chevy still manufacture genuine drivetrain parts for the classic Mustangs and Camaros. 

However, that’s not true for the Charger, as Chrysler destroyed the tooling for big-block engines including 383, 440 or 426 Hemi engines in 1984. So, in comparison with the Mustang and Camaro, It would not be that easy to find such parts for a Charger with big-block engines. But if one wants a more peculiar car for a restoration project, he has to pay the price.

Author: Owen Pham

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