The Few Times the Chevrolet Camaro Outsold the Ford Mustang

If you can, try and find a pile of 559,500 Matchbox Mustangs. That accurately represents how many sold in 1965 alone. Ford sold even more in 1966. In its 57 years on the market, the Mustang’s sales dipped below 100,000 units only six times, and the Chevrolet Camaro was there to capitalize. Although the Camaro was slow off the assembly line by a couple of years against the Mustang, its sales figures were formidable. These were the Chevrolet Camaro model years that outsold the Ford Mustang.

Camaros from 1977-78 brought more power

1978 Chevrolet Camaro in Tehran
1978 Chevrolet Camaro | BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

Chevrolet’s Camaro outsold the Mustang for the first time in 1977. It sold approximately 218,853 units to the Mustang’s 153,173. The Camaro’s surge in sales may have had something to do with the Z28’s return. Its 350 V8 delivered a bundle of 185 horsepower, which was a lot in the late 1970s. Chevrolet directed the Z28, now its own model, toward handling. It got special springs and shocks and a quicker steering ratio. 

Camaros from 1978 didn’t see much change, except for a translucent T-Top option, according to Car and Driver. Otherwise, it used the same drivetrain from 1977. The 1978 Camaro sold 272,631 units compared to the Mustang’s 192,410. 

Third-generation Chevrolet Camaros got an overhaul

1985 Chevrolet Camaro Iroc-Z
1985 Chevrolet Camaro Iroc-Z | ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

The Chevrolet Camaro was reborn in 1982. It got smaller and more agile, thanks to significant changes in the suspension and bodywork. Though it kept the same platform from 1967, the 1982 Camaro lost about 460 pounds from its previous year. It enjoyed a continued surge in sales with almost 190,000 units while the Mustang hovered around 130,400. The Camaro continued on its gravy train through 1983, ‘84, and ‘85. 

It was the pony car to beat in the mid-80s while the Mustang struggled on life support. Camaro sales were solid in 1984, outselling the Mustang by over 100,000 units. The ‘85 Camaro saw a vast improvement, utilizing tuned port injection in its 5.0-liter V8, pumping out 215 horsepower. Mustang sales picked up again in 1986 and didn’t rest until 1991.

The 1991-92 model year Camaro improved while the Mustang got stale 

1992 Chevrolet Camaro racing in Canada
1992 Chevrolet Camaro | Rick Eglinton/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Ford was struggling to keep the Mustang afloat by the time 1991 arrived. The car hadn’t gone through many drivetrain or powertrain changes between 1987 and 1991. The Mustang GT got more expensive even though little changed. The Mustang sales sank below 100,000 units for the first time, while the Camaro just barely eked by with almost 101,000. The Camaro made more and more horsepower as the generation continued, crawling out of the low-horsepower hole of the 1970s and ‘80s.

An all-new Camaro entered the ring in 1993-1994

1993 Chevrolet Camaro Indie pace car
1993 Chevrolet Camaro Indy pace car | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Once again, a new generation saw the Camaro sales soar. Although 1993 sales suffered greatly, the 1994 model year cleaned house. Despite introducing a brand new design, the Mustang sold 123,200 units against the mighty Camaro’s 125,244. The difference wasn’t that great in sales, but the differences between the cars were monstrous. The Mustang made 215 horsepower, while the Camaro sprinted past with 275 and was twice as fast as the Mustang to 130 mph. It had better stopping power, handled better, and was cheaper—a no-brainer win for the Chevrolet Camaro.

A new muscle car has taken the crown

Recently news broke that the Dodge Challenger outsold the Mustang and Camaro, which just means one thing. The Mustang is no longer the only big kid on the strip. It’s got company, and the competition is more fierce now than it ever has been. Challenger sales in the early 1970s were around 70,000, in other words, not even close to the Mustang or Camaro. It took decades, but finally, the Challenger is in the running for the best muscle car ever.

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