Motor Trend puts together the latest comparison from the ongoing muscle car war with Chevrolet’s awesome new 1LE handling package for the Camaro SS and Ford’s Track Package for the Mustang GT. The $3500 1LE Package uses huge 10 and 11 inch wide wheels, custom tuned mono-tube shocks, bigger anti-roll bars, a 3.91:1 final drive and some minor driveline enforcement to fix the stock Camaro’s handling problems for track use. Ford’s $1500 GT Track Package includes the anti-sway bars from the GT500, retuned shocks and springs, 19″ wheels with Pirelli summer tires, Performance Friction brake pads, recalibrated ABS and traction control and a shorter (numerically larger) 3.73:1 final drive with carbon fiber clutch plates. The guys put the two cars against each other at the drag strip and then around the Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs with Randy Pobst behind the wheel.
I’m posting this video from Jay Leno’s Garage as a counter-point to Motor Trend’s review of the awesome Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE from this morning. Jay gets to go over the finer details of what all was changed on the Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition with the Mustang head engineer Dave Pericak. As I mentioned in the 1LE video, I really enjoy the fact that GM and Ford took the time to give real suspension tuning and chassis balance to their core muscle cars. Keep the naturally aspirated engine response, cram as huge of a wheel and tire package as you can under the fenders and change the spring and damper rates so the cars have some agility. The term muscle car doesn’t have to mean settling for handling compromises for straight line speed. The 1LE and the Boss 302 are proof.
This is the story of one of the cars featured at SEMA this year. It’s a 1969 Ford Mustang built by Bodie Stroud. The car is probably the most extreme definition of a resto-mod. Stroud cut out the Mustang’s unibody frame for a separate air-spring chassis. Under the hood is an ultra-rare aluminum 494 cubic inch V8 that Ford originally built for Mario Andretti’s Can-Am car in 1969. Only 10 of these engines were ever built and they never saw competition because they made too much power for the Can-Am cars at 777 horsepower. The rest of the body was modified to look somewhat like the funny car drag racers of the same era.
The guys at Hot Rod Magazine get their hands on the Shelby GT500 and Camaro ZL1 press cars after they’ve made their rounds getting formal reviews by British guys here and here. Instead of doing the same thing again, they just have fun with the cars testing their burnout abilities, exhaust notes, cup holders vs. bang shifting and drag racing.