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Three pony cars made it out of the muscle car era to be part of our modern automotive world. These three are the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Chevy Camaro. The Challenger is barely a pony car, but the Mustang and Camaro provide several engine options leading up to a V8 engine at the top of the line, defining the pony car market. While the Mustang lives on, the Chevy Camaro is dead and won’t likely return in true pony car form.

The top-level Chevy Camaro was awesome

At the top ZL1 trim, the last two generations of the Camaro delivered 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque through either a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission. This power is excellent, but not the top figures in the class.

The Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 provides 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque, while the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye delivers 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. These two competitors best the Camaro for power, but don’t have the same bragging rights as the Camaro.

As far back as the 2018 model year, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE set a new track record at Nürburgring. This made many European automakers sit up and pay attention. This Camaro trim package includes incredible control features to handle the challenging corners of the legendary European track, with wider fenders and tires and the Magnetic Ride Control suspension package.

With a record time at the world’s most famous test track, why didn’t we see it in GM’s commercials?

GM could have pushed the affordable fun of the Camaro

Can you remember any commercials featuring the Camaro during the past fifteen years? You might remember one, possibly two, but the bow-tie brand had pushed its trucks, large SUVs, and, more recently, electric vehicles more than a classic pony car that represents what driving is all about.

The Chevy Camaro, especially in its classic form, is easily associated with the fun of driving down wide open roads. It would have been easy for Chevy to capitalize on the Nürburgring lap record. The brand could have presented this pony car in more advertising, doing what it does best: provide fun driving on any road.

Orange 2023 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE driving around a track
2023 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE | Chevrolet

Did we, as Americans, fail the Chevy Camaro?

Although the collective feelings about the sixth-generation design changes weren’t well received, the Camaro has been present at local Chevy dealers for many years. There it sat, in all its glory, waiting for any driver to scoop it up. The Camaro waited to deliver affordable fun, but all it could do wa wait. But did we gobble up this glorious car? Nope.

In fact, Camaro sales dipped to an incredible low of 21,893 in 2021 after reaching 88,249 only a decade before. According to Good Car Bad Car, Camaro sales increased in 2022 and 2023 compared to the 2021 low. Unfortunately, those figures weren’t enough to save this pony car from extinction.

There it was, waiting for any driver to take it for a test drive and then home to be the fun and active car that doubles as a great daily driver. Who failed the Chevy Camaro? Was it GM with a lack of advertising and a poor final design? Was it us, as Americans, who knew the car was at Chevy dealers but chose the Mustang or Challenger instead?