tristarenvy
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The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:49 am

Let's chat about the class of car the much discussed Mustang started.

On a day in April 1964, Ford Motor Company gave birth to a car that captured the heart and mind of the US. An affordable car, that was classy, fun, and easily customized by it's owner. Want a V-8? Got several! Vinyl tops? You bet, name the color! Stick or automatic? You decide!

There was really nothing like it, at the time. Sporty, and cheap, that you could haul the family around in, and race on Sunday! Most other "sporty" cars were either imports that were not cheap, or practical, like the E-type Jaguar, or big and bloated and pricey, like the Oldsmobile Starfire, or Buick Riviera.

Now, the Plymouth Baracuda beat Mustang to market by a few weeks, but the Mustang was much more popular. So much so, according to historians, the whole class of that type of car was called "PONY CARS" in it's honor.

Along came the competition, like the Camaro, Firebird, and Javelin, trying to cash in on the trend.

Fast forward to 2005. Camaro, Firebird are gone. There are few domestic affordable, and sporty two door coupes on the US market. Dodge Stratus/Chrysler Sebring coupes are dead. Most "performance" cars these days have a Japanese nameplate, and a coffee can sized exhaust.

Mustang stands alone. Probably the last real example of the class it started.
If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:20 am

Well the nimrods running General Motors killed the F-body (Camero/Firebird Trans Am) for no reason at all. Hell they were better performers than the Ford Mustang. The Mustang on the other hand has more room and sits a little higher.
Please don't mention the grocery getter boring soccer mom Dodge Stratus. That's not a pony car, or is it?
The Sebring is front drive with only a V6. Not a serious competitor. If GM and Chrysler wanted to seriously compete with the Mustang, they could. They've done it before with lots of success. GM is ran by idiots and rather focus on selling Cadillac Escalades to thugs with gold teeth and H2s to failed jocks.

Chrysler could do it if they wanted. They have suprised my lately with there 300C, Magnum and Crossfire.

The last serious competion to the Mustang at Mopar was the last generation (1976-1980) Dodge Aspen RT and Plymouth Volare Roadrunner Edition. You could get up to a 360cu" V8 up until 1979.
The last serious competitor the Mustang at AMC was the 1980-1983 Eagle SX/4. That was awesome because it was 4 wheel drive.
You could drop a Hornet SC engine in that car (360cu") and smoke most Mustangs. Then continue to haul ass off road. Talk about adding insult to injury.  Smokin cool

The front drive Dodge Daytona and AMC Encore was a joke of competion.
Bring back the Concorde
 
ltbewr
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:36 am

Yes, I agree that except for the Mustang for a nitch demand, the 'pony car' is dead. Many people need a back seat that is suitable for adults, not for midgets or kids and vehicles that allow for more flexibility such as 4 door sedans, mini-vans. Almost all cars today probably perform and handle better than the basic original versions of the Mustang. There is a cycle of fashion too and generational differences. The original Mustang was the car for exploding number of 'baby boomer' young adults who were rejecting their parent's bigger, over chromed, slow sedans. Today the children of that generation want big, go anywhere, ego supporting and (not really) safer SUV's. Also since the 1960's, American designed cars were not as efficient, or reliable as the Japanese cars; they became to be much more on the mark of what people wanted, especially as to reliabilty in the first 3-5 years of a car's life than the USA cars offered. I would also suggest that to the mass public, cars are an appliance, an evil need, not some to be romatic about.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:59 am

Ltbewr:
Depending on whare you live and lifestyle choice, cars aren't a need. Also with smart urban planning, cars wouldn't necessarily as needed. i see no problem with people being romantic about cars. Look at all the new retro designs coming out today. People like a stylish car that suits there personality. There are many classic car buffs that would totally disagree with your statement.

I'd like to see full-sized convertibles on the market. The only one left is made by Rolls Royce. Most people don't have $375,000 to spend on a car.
It's too bad that Nercury decided not to go forward with teh Marurader Convertible.  Sad
That would have been nice. I am sure there are a lot of people that need a large back seat yet would like to have some top down fun in the sun while driving around town.
Bring back the Concorde
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:10 am

I think it's a change in times unfortunately. Back in the 60's and 70's, it was a hot thing...a status symbol...to have a neat car. Sure, old rich farts had Mercedes and Rolls....the teenage/20/young at heart/bachelor crowd flocked to high-displacement high-touque cars. GTO, Le Mans, Camaro, Mustang...Corvette...legendary muscle cars. Stupid emmissions rules weren't in place then, and a 454 engine was on just about every enthusiast's garage..with the straight pipes to back it up. Women loved these things.

Sure, the 1980's was terrible years for the Mustang, Camaro, etc (hell, name a car from the 80's that's still a good car!)...the 90's brought em back into style, and dropped the word mullet from the Camaro family...despite what many members here will tell you...they're idiots anyhow, and probably wish they could afford a fast, American built man's car.

Ford, although I disrespect them greatly, did make some wise choices with the Mustang in the 90's-early millenium..they updated the body style 3 times and provided plenty of special edition models...Cobra, Bullet, Mach 1...stuff muscle heads like. Camaro unfortunately only underwent one update in 1998, and that only changed some headlights/minor exterior parts/added the new LS1 engine. They failed to aggressively market the vehicle as direct competition to the Mustang, failed to upgrade the style enough that the discerning car enthusiast would appreciate.

Therefore, the 2002 model year went out withnot even a bang, but a whimper...thereby handing the pony car market to Ford almost exclusively. Chevrolet claims that the Corvette is it's muscle car...that is, if you have $60G to blow. Next on deck is the new Cobalt SS, a small Cavlier-sized supercharged putt-putt mobile, said to be a competitor for the Mustang.....yeah right....displacement displacement people!!! There is rumor of resurrecting the Camaro line for the 2007/2008 model years, and there are several concepts out thus far...stay tuned sportsfans.

Meanwhile, with the advent of little putt-putt Hondas and Nissans with super-low emission/gas consumption 1.8 engines, people looked more towards senability instead of show. The asian market could make these pieces of junk for pennies on the dollar, but make them reliable enough that people would want them...hence, now it's a Honda meetup at the local burger joint..not a muscle car meetup. Those kids who were issued a $7000 honda by their parents either drove it and put up with it, or became a new breed of sickness...called a ricer....taking a piece-of-shit import car and dressing it up like it's all that, like it can actually go fast. Their little teenage drivers brag about having 100 HP per liter (think, they only get about 160 HP out of em, modded)...but then they cry when someone with 5+ liters spanks them, and their curb weight is almost double that of the import in some cases.

Here is two rough-concept ideas for the new Camaro...the jury is still out on this one, I myself do not believe that Chevy should follow Ford's mistake of going retro....I'm on the fence about these for now though. Good part is, they would have the C6 Corvette standard LS2 engine, BHP of 415 horses Big grin If they would offer it in LeMans blue like the Vette, I'd be a little more wild about it.




Depending on how these come out in the next few years, I may upgrade, sell my 2000 Camaro (or keep, depening on my financial/family situation), and get this one.....if not, it's Corvette for me  Big thumbs up
DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
PHLBOS
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:14 am

I would also suggest that to the mass public, cars are an appliance, an evil need, not some to be romatic about.

Ltbewr,

First and foremost, it's romantic not romatic.

Second, if you applied that your-described logic to planes and aviation; this particular web-site would not exist at all. Just like there's plane and airliner enthusiasts, there are also car enthusiasts out there as well.

Back to the topic at hand, unfortunately, with the aging Baby Boomer market opting for either sedans or SUVs; the share of the pony car market is not what it once was. However, Ford does deserve some kudos for not only keeping the Mustang alive (though it almost died in 1989) but giving it a fresh new look while keeping many of its traditional styling cues.

A modified quote taken from Corporal Ed Sanow's Encyclopedia of American Police Cars as it applies to pony cars.

"We're essentially back to where we were over 30 years ago... Ford, without any real competition"

Edited to add:

Sure, the 1980's was terrible years for the Mustang, Camaro, etc (hell, name a car from the 80's that's still a good car!)...the 90's brought em back into style, and dropped the word mullet from the Camaro family...despite what many members here will tell you...they're idiots anyhow, and probably wish they could afford a fast, American built man's car.

DeltaGuy,

I would not necessarily say that the '80s were terrible years for the Mustang and Camaro/Firebird/Trans Am. Apparently you forgot about the fact that during the 80s, the Ford Mustang was the preferred pony car among many police forces nationwide. The true rebirth of the pony car actually began with the 1982 Mustang GT, I guess you were too young to remember The BOSS is Back! phrase. GM restyled its F-body that same year. With gas prices dropping at the time and President Reagan along with the Senate keeping CAFE and EPA regulations at bay, both the Mustang and Camaro/Firebird/Trans Am were able to improve their performances during that decade. Actually, it was 1989 that Ford that started to back away from continually improving the Mustang's performance for a few years when it pondering on replacing the platform with what later became known as the Probe. Thankfully that change didn't happen, but GM took advantage of the situation and really started to get serious performancewise with their F-body as you being a Camaro guy know very well.

While Ford did finally redo the Mustang in 1994 (the police package was dropped with the restyling), their refusal to offer an engine larger than the 5.0L/302 than later the 4.6L did put them at a performance disadvantage over GM's F-bodies. But I guess, with the change in population demographics along with lack of advertising on GM's end; they saw fit to kill the F-body platform just like they did with the Caprice/Roadmaster/Fleetwood chassis after '96.

[Edited 2005-01-07 00:42:48]
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
flight152
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:26 am

I'd like to see full-sized convertible on the market. The only one left is made by Rolls Royce. Most people don't have $375,000 to spend on a car.

Rolls Royce only currently builds the Phantom sedan. However, a convertible based on the 100EX is rumored in the near future.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:37 am

DeltaGuy:
Those pictures look like a 1971-1973 Ford Mustang combined with the 1971-1974 AMC Javelin. Did you make that up?
If not, GM really has no direction or originality. The LeMans might comeback as a South Korean build econobox again!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

hell, name a car from the 80's that's still a good car!


The 1987 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible! Big grin
OK, OK, it was a piece of $h!t but it was a beautiful piece of $h!t.  Smokin cool
I still miss that car and I don't know why.
Don't forget the Buick GNX. I also like the early 1980s Mustangs. You could still get plaid seats and an 8track player up until 1983.  Smokin cool
Bring back the Concorde
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:46 am

Superfly,

I definately did not make those little pieces of art...apparently it's some people GM contracted or something to come up with ideas. As we know, GM keeps its new designs under very tight locks until they're ready (at least in my experience)...the new C6 Corvette was very well protected, even doing time trials at the track you couldn't get but the general shape from under the cloaks. I'll wait till I see GM's official word on it  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

The LeMans had better not come back as a Daewoo or some crap like that...I like the new GTO's for the most part, they just need to kick it up a notch and make it look like Pontiac used to do it...before they entered the family car market with the Grand Am/Prix, etc etc....the LS2 engine in next years GTO will make it quite a force to be reckoned with Big grin

Definately not a fan of the LeBarons...2 of my classmates had them, they were always late to school because of some crap that would go wrong with em....and the 80's Stangs were of the same design philosiphy...boxy and 80's looking lol..guess it was sharp back then. Does anyone even play 8tracks anymore?  Big grin

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
flight152
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:32 am

and probably wish they could afford a fast, American built man's car.

I'm sure many of them can, considering they are not expensive to begin with combined with steep depreciation, makes them pretty affordable.

but then they cry when someone with 5+ liters spanks them, and their curb weight is almost double that of the import in some cases.

This doesn't prove anything. A heavier 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera S, with less horsepower (321 @ 6800), and less displacement (3596cc) beats a lighter 2005 Corvette with more power (400 hp @ 6000) and more displacement (5967cc) in nearly every performance category.

*source Automobile Mag.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:24 am

DeltaGuy:
GM keeps its new designs under very tight locks until they're ready

*Good thing they kept those designs under lock & key for the Cobalt, LaCrosse, Aztec and Aveo!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy





* [dripping with sarcasm]  Smile




Flight152:
Wasn't there a Cornich-like convertible based on the Park Ward?
Bring back the Concorde
 
LOT767-300ER
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:59 pm

:"Well the nimrods running General Motors killed the F-body (Camero/Firebird Trans Am) "

God damn it Superfly, spell Camaro right.

"Those kids who were issued a $7000 honda by their parents either drove it and put up with it, or became a new breed of sickness...called a ricer....taking a piece-of-shit import car and dressing it up like it's all that, like it can actually go fast. Their little teenage drivers brag about having 100 HP per liter (think, they only get about 160 HP out of em, modded)...but then they cry when someone with 5+ liters spanks them, and their curb weight is almost double that of the import in some cases."

I am one of the few that has to take care of these morons in the vast Suburbia of Chicago. God when I park next to a IS300, a TSX, 3.2TL S Type, Mitsu 3000, and yes folks even Subaru WRX STI, Mitsu Evo. There is nothing like the face of a 2002 M3 Owner who is 34 years old and gets spanked by a black 96 Impala SS Lingenfelter.

"This doesn't prove anything. A heavier 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera S, with less horsepower (321 @ 6800), and less displacement (3596cc) beats a lighter 2005 Corvette with more power (400 hp @ 6000) and more displacement (5967cc) in nearly every performance category."

1. The Carrera S 2005 has 355@6600.
2. The Carrera S Curb Weight is 3131lbs whereas the Corvette is 3250lbs
3. The Corvette is $45,000 starting the Carrera S is $79,100 starting
4. Considering that the OFFICIAL 1/4s are 12.7s for Vette and 12.6s for the Carrera S thats .1s difference...the Carrera definately is on par with the Vette, but then again there is one thing, for $80k you pay almost twice as much and you still dont have a 6.0L V8. One should note that top speed for Vette is 186mph whereas the S is 180.5mph hehe. MOREOVER the Vette has a better skidpad rating at .98gs against a .97gs. The interior noise at 70mph tested for both is even less in the vette by a decibel, hell its even quieter.

And the final nail in the coffin. The Z51 Coupe vs the Carrera S coupe FUEL ECONOMY. The Corvette is 19/28mpg the Carrera S is 18/26.

Which makes me laugh when one is a 3.8L H6 and the other is a 6L V8 and AMERICAN.

God that fuel economy comment was good...that was a shaft.  Laugh out loud

 
DeltaGuy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:16 pm

LOT767-300ER kind of finished that one off....no further comment!

Superfly, the secret thing I was referring to was at least in terms of production of the new C6 Corvette...that was pretty well shrouded for awhile, at least in initial production and test runs...not sure how test runs with the Cobalt, Aveo, etc etc went.

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:18 pm

LOT767-300ER:
Sorry for mis-spelling the name.  Sad
Don't pay much attention to Flight152 in terms of cars. He loves those German cars and I am sure he's been humiliated by fine American muscle automobiles.  Smile
Bring back the Concorde
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:56 pm

DeltaGuy:
No doubt, the new C6 is a force to be wreckon with. I just think that an exotic sports cars should at least have some exotic features such as concealled headlamps.
Making a fast car is one thing, but a 'stylish & unique' fast car takes some creativity.
I'll certainly take a new Corvette, Viper or Ford GT over a Germantrash car in a second!  Smokin cool
Germans should stick with econo-diesels only. The Germans make the best eco-diesels in the world.  Smokin cool
Bring back the Concorde
 
AvObserver
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 5:34 pm

"Well the nimrods running General Motors killed the F-body (Camero/Firebird Trans Am) for no reason at all."

Not exactly NO reason, Superfly. Sales were way, way down from the old days, due to a myriad of factors, including high insurance costs, too much competition from front-drive sport coupes like the Eclipse, sales lost to the SUV boom and a more hard-core performance design that appealed to a smaller range of buyers than the softer-edged (non-Cobra models) Mustang.

From a 9/26/01 article: "Camaro sales were down 25% through August, and Firebird sales were down 28%, according to AutoData. Mustang sales were down 12%. The combined sales of 38,564 for Camaro and Firebird were about one-third of Mustang's sales through August."
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2001-09-26-camaro.htm

Perhaps GM's marketing, or lack thereof, was also to blame for low sales. Whatever the cause, the numbers were precipitously down, too low to justify continued production. While you'd think the SS, with most of the Corvette's performance for little over half its price would hang in there with fans as a screaming bargain, too many other factors were apparently at work. The Mustang, although its sales shrank too, was far less affected because it didn't compromise on driver-friendliness as much, being higher; easier to get in and out of and having a better driving position for most people. The GM F-body was too low for so many drivers, like sitting in a bathtub and rear-seat room was also tighter.

"The front drive Dodge Daytona and AMC Encore was a joke of competition."

Okay, maybe the Daytona didn't have the right handling dynamics, being front-drive but the top 224-HP turbo model was fast enough, over 140 mph in tests. You can't be serious about listing the Encore as a ponycar competitor! It was merely a hatchback econobox, the 3 & 5-door version of AMC's subcompact Alliance, the Americanized version of the Renault R9 sedan. Its 1.5 and 1.7 liter fours offered no real "performance" to speak of. The earlier Spirit V-8 'AMX' manual was closer to the mark, however.

"Good thing they kept those designs under lock & key for the Cobalt, LaCrosse, Aztec and Aveo!"

You may be being a bit hard on the Cobalt, although it's somewhat mundane looking. The supercharged sport model is getting some pretty good reviews in Car and Driver, Motor Trend and Road and Track. It seems overall to be a vast improvement over the hopelessly dated, cramped and otherwise lackluster Cavalier. The LaCrosse IS somewhat peculiar in appearance but seems a cut above the all too bland Century it replaces. Nobody cares what the Aveo looks like; it's all about being dirt cheap. No contest on the Aztek, obviously they badly miscalculated on reactions from their focus groups, but the new Torrent to replace it reeks of the old 80s GM cookie-cutter car syndrome, being lifted from the Chevy Equinox with no more distinction than the obligatory Pontiac nose tacked on. At least, the Aztek attempted to stand out, even if the execution was botched. I rather like it, myself. Big grin

"It's too bad that Mercury decided not to go forward with the Marurader Convertible."

What would've been the point of that, Ford screwed up the sedan, anyway? Lacking a V8 with great low-end torque, like the '94-'96 Impala SS that obviously inspired it, plus too high a list price, made the mostly show but little go Marauder a surefire sales dud. It was barely faster than the cheaper 239-HP Crown Victoria LX Sport.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:30 pm

AvObserver:
I guess I need to include a "  Smile " when I am being sarcastic.
IWe all know darn well the Encore & Fuego was not a serious competitor to the Ford Mustang but according to AMC sales brochures and ads, it was.  Smile


Okay, maybe the Daytona didn't have the right handling dynamics, being front-drive but the top 224-HP turbo model was fast enough, over 140 mph in tests.


Oh I am sure it had the top end performance but wouldn't the driver lose there hearing after driving at that speed in that little 2.2 liter 4-banger?
My 146 HP turbo 1 LeBaron Convertible had a very loud exhaust for such an under-powered car.


Perhaps GM's marketing, or lack thereof, was also to blame for low sales.

That's the MAIN reason sales were low. The last time I saw a Firebird/Trans Am commercial on TV or saw ads in magazines, it was back in 1983 when I was only 10 years old. Product placement in
Bring back the Concorde
 
T prop
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:29 pm

Dying? I hope not, Dodge will be unveiling the new Charger at the North American International Auto show in 3 days.

T prop.

 
PHLBOS
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:47 pm

Dying? I hope not, Dodge will be unveiling the new Charger at the North American International Auto show in 3 days.

T prop,

The Charger that you speak of is not considered a pony car. With the same 120 inch wheelbase as the Magnum wagon and Chrysler 300 sedan, it will be Dodge's largest sedan (that's 4 doors instead of 2) offering since the 1977 Royal Monaco.

The legendary Charger mid-size coupes of the '60s & '70s were categorized in what was known as the 'muscle car' groups. Muscle cars performed like pony cars except that they were larger in size.

Other muscle cars include:

Olds 442 (Cutlass platform ONLY)
Pontiac GTO (the ORIGINAL ones from the '60s)
Dodge Charger and its Plymouth clone (some models were called the Road Runner)
Mercury Cyclone
Chevelle SS396
Chevy Monte Carlo SS
Buick Grand National
Ford Torino GT

Other pony cars:

Plymouth Barracuda and its Dodge clone (I forget what it was called, excuse the brain freeze)
Mercury Cougar ('67-'70 or '71)


[Edited 2005-01-07 13:52:59]
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
tristarenvy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:42 pm

'Fly, careful on knocking the 'Tek! I have one of those screamingly ugly things in my driveway.

It's too bad that, aside from the 'Stang, there really isn't an affordable "sporty" coupe sold here, that's a "domestic" car. I liked the Avenger/Stratus coupes, but they were really Eclipses' on steroids.

One of the reasons for the decline of the sporty two door, in my opinion is the fact that we are getting "bigger". I'm 43, and stand 6', and could stand to drop a couple of pounds. I like being able to "step into" what I drive now, a taller vehicle. I have a friend who owned an Avenger, that would damn near kill me getting into. As the RX-8, a co-worker owns, would do to me as well.
If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
PHLBOS
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:03 pm

Tristarenvy,

That's one advantage that the mid-size muscle cars had over the smaller pony cars; performance of a pony car but sized to fit the 'average sized' person(s).

The pony car may be a dying breed, but the rear-drive muscle coupes have been non-existent for sometime. The last vehicle that could 'qualify' for such a category would be certain High Output V8 engined 1997 Ford T-Birds/Mercury Cougars. Among GM vehicles, the last vehicle of such caliber would be 1988 Chevy Monte Carlo SS.

That could change if Chevy decides to make a rear-drive successor to the present Monte Carlo.

Edited to add:

Speaking of size (I am not making any fat jokes here, just telling the truth); back in my college days, one employee at the college's academic computer had a Porsche 928. This guy stood about 5'-8" but weighed over 300 pounds. To this day, I am still surprised that this guy was able to fit into his car. He told me that his Porsche did have an automatic transmission. No joke, one day when I saw him pass by me in the parking lot, I looked at the rear of his car only to discover that the driver's side was lower to the ground than the passenger's side.

[Edited 2005-01-07 15:11:10]
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
tristarenvy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm

Ha! Good 928 story! Those things will always look like Pacers that were flattened to me. On a side note: Don't those things pretty much self destruct when they get old, due to the amount of aluminum in the body?

I wager a RWD Monte is probably in the cards. GM should spin it into a GTO or something like it. But then, again, the whole point of a "pony car" is affordable. So let Chevy do it.

Saturn should be the perfect division for a true pony. Gotta be RWD, however.

The Scion C would be one, were it not FWD.
If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
PHLBOS
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:11 am

The Scion C would be one, were it not FWD.

It would also need to add a V8 or at least a V6 to the options list as well.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
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drerx7
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 1:27 am

Every mag has tested the 911 S as quicker than the C6 Vette--if money wasn't an issue I'd go Porsche, otherwise C6 Vette is a winner.
Third Coast born, means I'm Texas raised
 
cptkrell
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:31 am

Lots of good comments to this topic. I'll add that to make the equation a bit more encompassing, one must realize that lack of update (in GM's case w/ the F-Bodies), and lack of any product at all (in Mopar's case) left FoMoCo as the only game in town. Much of the demise of the F-Cars is attributable to the bottom-feeder tier thinking of "car guys" that don't even understand cars in some of the executive offices. They commonly refer to lagging sales of 2-door vehicles (and specifically the F-Cars) being changing demographics, popularity of SUVs and the like, insurance costs, and ANY other reason in the world EXCEPT taking into consideration that there are still plenty of buyers in the pony-car market who DO know cars and therefore want new styling and performance and the choice of an interior other than septic tank grey.

The F-Cars languished without substantial update because of this barely mediocre talent and vision; "Why do a new car if the current one isn't selling?"
Well, the current car is an aged fossil, and frankly, those buyers that would be interested in such a product, aren't interested in an OLD new product. Notice this thinking has essentially killed the Cadillac ElDorado 2-dr also. Although I have reserved applause (for styling) with the new Mustang, I have heard that my prediction of initial success is pretty much spot on (assembly is currently running 24-7), and I do applaud Ford for the offering. Perhaps continued success will open the eyes of the Grosse Pointe myopians and they will continue development of a new Camaro. Maybe demographics won't support an entire bevey of Pony Cars, but I am convinced that with the right combination of style, performance and price, there is room for an entry from DCX, too.

As far as "muscle cars" go, the GTO is a terrific offering, except the bucks and time for one main ingredient, styling, wasn't there. 16,000 unit sales were predicted, and they moved only about 10,000. Hopefully, the short term thinkers won't point to those numbers as a total failure and drop the offering before they pump some bucks into much-needed sheet metal that genre sorely needs.

One would wish, too, that DCX would have had the restraint to save the Charger nameplate for a shorter wheelbase, 2-dr Hemi platform. I say put some bucks into exciting and common sense product into these markets and success will come a-knocking. God knows we don't need another SUV or Mini-Van to visually clutter up the roadways (shit, do you realize that Porsche is now America's fastest-growing truck company?). Regrads...Jack
all best; jack
 
Delta767300ER
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:18 am

I'm about to leave for work but I have to say I love the concept car pics of the 5th Gen. Camaro that DeltaGuy posted. It sits low and looks extremely aggressive. I just hope that if GM brings the F-Body back it will kick the shit out of a Stang and have dual exhaust! Real muscle cars have duals!

-Delta767300ER
 
flight152
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 7:34 am

Flight152:
Wasn't there a Cornich-like convertible based on the Park Ward?


There might have been, but not anymore, here's a picture of the 100EX concept, if you are intrested.


And the final nail in the coffin. The Z51 Coupe vs the Carrera S coupe FUEL ECONOMY. The Corvette is 19/28mpg the Carrera S is 18/26.

Final nail on the coffin? You think 1-2 MPG difference would sway a potental customer away from a car in which they are spending between 60 to 80 grand? Get real.

2. The Carrera S Curb Weight is 3131lbs whereas the Corvette is 3250lbs

Once again, incorrect Peter. Car and driver points out that he Corvette has a weight of 3288 lbs while the 911 a weight of 3253.


Which makes me laugh when one is a 3.8L H6 and the other is a 6L V8 and AMERICAN.

Actually I do find it funny that a 3.8l flat 6 keeps up with your 'superior' 6.0L V8. *rolls eyes*

but then again there is one thing, for $80k you pay almost twice as much and you still dont have a 6.0L V8.

Since when is having a 6.0 liter engine a right of passage to being a excellent sports car worthy of 80K?

One should note that top speed for Vette is 186mph whereas the S is 180.5mph hehe. MOREOVER the Vette has a better skidpad rating at .98gs against a .97gs. The interior noise at 70mph tested for both is even less in the vette by a decibel, hell its even quieter.

If you want to nitpick on as pointless things with sports cars as interior noise, consider the 911 has a 150 foot braking distance from 70-0mph, while the corvette takes 164 feet.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:07 am

Flight152:
YIKES!  Wow!
That thing looks awful!

Rolls Royce isn't going to go forward with this, are they?
I knew Rolls Royce was in trouble when the Germans took over. Theres no way an Englishman designed that. That car is also a lot smaller or at least has much less interior space than the previous convertible.

Anyhow, there needs to be a full sized coupe convertible on the market at an affordable price.
Tristarenvy who is 43, and stand 6' can benefit with that kind of a car with the top down.  Smokin cool
Cptkrell, any chance of seeing one within the next 5 years?
It's too bad that the only convertibles are sports, exotic, roadster or pony cars. There needs to be a full size 6 passenger convertible on the market.





PHLBOS:
You also for got to mention;
Other muscle cars:
AMC Rebel Machine


Other pony cars:
AMC Javelin


Bring back the Concorde
 
flight152
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:52 am

They aren't building that model, however they will be building a four seat convertible for 2007 inspired from that concept, which was unveiled during the 2004 Geveva auto show. The concept showcased a V-16, but the production version should come from the Phantoms 6.7liter V-12.
 
AvObserver
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:51 pm

"We all know darn well the Encore & Fuego was not a serious competitor to the Ford Mustang but according to AMC sales brochures and ads, it was."

You didn't mention the French built Fuego before, Superfly. Yes, THAT car was marketed as a ponycar competitor and its turbo model was also respectably fast, like the Daytona. Yes, I imagine a REALLY potent turbo back then put out an equally REALLY potent whine at speed, like the shriek of a turbofan jet engine spooling up. The American-made Encore, however, although hawked as "sporty", wasn't pitted against ponycars in AMC ads. It was pitched as a fun runabout; performance claims didn't even come into the Alliance car line until the '87 GTA 2-door sedan. Even the bigger 1.7L motor was merely adequate with an automatic, as I found with my '85 "Spring Special" (a two-tone red over black paintjob with the name, Encore, in bold black letters at the rear sides). This car and I'd think other Alliance models, as well, was highly unstable in hard braking, I nearly lost control one time. NOT a sporty car, except for the looks, by ANY means!

"'Fly, careful on knocking the 'Tek! I have one of those screamingly ugly things in my driveway."

Tristarenvy, it's off topic but I'd honestly like to know how you like it? There's a chance I might get one also come late summer, depending on how things pan out this year. I know that they were scheduled to be discontinued last month but I'd think there might still be unsold new examples available for quite some time, yet. My biggest peeve about getting one is mediocre gas mileage, being used to an econocar. I don't care beans about being likened to a dork if I get one; hell, I've already owned BOTH an AMC Gremlin and Pacer. What does that say?  Big grin



 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sat Jan 08, 2005 7:28 pm

AvObserver:
I've already owned BOTH an AMC Gremlin and Pacer. What does that say?

That says you had great taste in cars! Big grin
The AMC Gremlin and Pacers were radical yet still very respectable vehicles. They were solid cars with unique styling and one of the first to come with galvanized steel. They were availble with V8s and they were all rear drive. Best of all, you could get stylish plaid steats or Levis Strauss blue jean seats.
The Aztec on the other hand, well what exactly is that thing supposed to be?


I meant to mention the Fuego in my original post above. I got it mixed up with the Encore. Shame on me.  Sad
Bring back the Concorde
 
PHLBOS
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sun Jan 09, 2005 4:04 am

PHLBOS:
You also for got to mention;
Other muscle cars:
AMC Rebel Machine


Other pony cars:
AMC Javelin


Superfly,

Good catch, I forgot about the Rebel Machine. Since Tristarenvy already mentioned the Javelin at the beginning of the thread, I didn't include it in my earlier listing of other vehicles.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
57AZ
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sun Jan 09, 2005 10:51 am

Finally got around to getting myself a diecast model of a police Pony car. Don't know what the situation is with the model offered to the general public but the police Pony is definately on the endangered list. Back in the 80s, they were a necessity due to underperforming sedan based squad cars and their inability to catch up with high performance sport cars. They were never really popular with police departments as their smaller size often kept them from carrying a full load of equipment and often prevented them from being suitable for prisoner transport due to the lack of a prisoner cage. That meant that if an officer made an arrest, they would have to wait with the prisoner until a unit with a cage or the paddy wagon arrived. Eventually, some Ponies were outfitted with an akward looking divider between the driver and passenger seats-lousy but better than the alternative. What really spelled the end for the police Ponies was the development of the high powered police cruisers, specifically the bathtub Caprices and the Crown Vics and Police Interceptors. Cops initially joked about the Caprice's looks but those stopped when they learned what it was capable of-good handling and top speeds of 140+ mph.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
Delta767300ER
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Squad Cars

Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:04 pm

Speaking of squad cars, I was riding with a Deputy a couple years ago and we hit 140 MPH running full lights and sirens on our way to a Home Invasion. It was a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. I had no idea they went that fast.

-Delta767300ER
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Sun Jan 09, 2005 11:21 pm

Alabama troopers had lots of fun!

Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Damned MSP...Red tail...Red tail
 
57AZ
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:01 am

Yep, they will go that fast if need be. One reason that we're now seeing a return to slick tops, aside from the tell tail lightbar, is that the reduced aerodynamic drag provides small increases in fuel economy and top speed. I think the difference is something like 5 miles an hour. Chevy's 1990s Caprice, as asthetically strange as it was had none of the flat vertical surfaces that the preceding CV's had. Coupled with the LT1 Corvette engine, it was a powerhouse that Ford had a hard time besting. I know that many police departments were very unhappy when Chevy announced that the Caprice would be discontinued, especially since the performance of the revamped Impala was not assured to compare with the Caprice LT1. As one police official put it, GM announced that they had perfected their police package car just in time to stop selling it. That's one reason why so many departments have tried to keep theirs on the road as long as possible, rebuilding them instead of buying new cars.

As for my ride alongs, the fastest ride I had was 90+ mph through downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. We were responding to a medical call in our district just after leaving the motor pool (located on the opposite side of town from our district) and were the only car available as all the other units had court. When we arrived, we learned that it the PR didn't know the full story and it was actually a robbery with a small amount of cash and a firearm being stolen. I'll probably do a ride along here as I have to have a certain amount of job training here in my present job and I can count that as part of my annual training requirement.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:04 pm

San Francisco P.D. still has a lot of the last Cheverolet Caprice Classics. All the others are Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors.
I do see a few of the old Dodge Diplomat and Plymouth Gran Furys doing non-patroling jobs.
Bring back the Concorde
 
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RayChuang
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:32 am

I think the reason why every pony car except the Mustang are gone is the fact today's cars don't really need big engines anymore to be fast.

I mean, look at the proliferation of hot hatches coming out of Europe and Japan. Honda has taken the Civic and put in a 200 bhp 2.0-liter I-4 engine, of all things. And I've heard rumors the Civic Type-R based on the next generation Civic due this coming Fall may use a 2.4-liter I-4 rated at an amazing 240 bhp!  Wow!

Besides, why would you want to drive a pony car when the Mini Cooper S "John Cooper Works" version is way more fun to drive?  Big thumbs up
 
MD-90
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:37 am

The pony car is NOT a dying breed when even I (pro-Jap reliability, pro-German driving, anti-American build quality) seriously like the new Ford Mustang.

And this is coming from someone who likes (and would consider buying) the Mazda RX-8, Acura TSX, 2002-2003 Nissan Maxima SE, B5 and later VW Passat, etc.
 
tristarenvy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 2:40 am

Man, don't you love a great car thread...

Let's see... AvObserver commented on that long lost Renault gem, the Fuego. Oh man. Had it been better screwed together, we'd maybe bought more. Cool looking car (As most French cars are) but cursed w/whatever bug strikes Gallic iron headed our way, that makes 'em go boom. I'd rather have a Gordini, or souped up R5..um..."Le Car", than a Fuego..

About the Aztek, not a bad riding vehicle. Suprising considering the short wheelbase. Gas mileage is to be expected, around 15-20, in town, depending on if you have a "lead foot". Mine is an '01, with the horrific grey plastic cladding, the newer ones are better turned out, I think, with the monochromatic paint. Resale value b-l-o-w-s, so buy the best one you can, and drive it until it dies. Avoid the Versatrack all wheel drive, it's not usefull, from what I read. Drop me an e-mail, if you want to know more...

PHLBOS, did we count the Rambler Rogue? I'd forgotten it. Plus the Hornet SC/360 fits the cheap, cheerful, and cheeky bunch. Hell, the Gremlin X w/a big old motor counts...


If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:04 am

Tristarenvy:
Hell lets throw in the Cheverolet Monza and Pontiac Sunbird with the 305cu" V8 and the Ford Mustang II Ghia and King Cobra with the 302cu" V8. Also the Dodge Dart & Plymouth Valiant with the 340cu" V8.
Those would be compacts but really fun to see tricked out 'under the hood only' and beat the $h!t out of the garbage from Japan and Germany, yet give the pony & muscle cars a run for the money.  Smokin cool
Bring back the Concorde
 
tristarenvy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:12 am

They fit the bill, Mr. Fly! You were poking around in that "Cars of The Sensational 70's" book, I'm thinking!  Big grin

Add the Olds Starfire/Buick Skyhawk brothers to the Monza/Sunbird's. God, those were h-e-a-v-y cars. I drove an Olds on Spring Break from East Texas, to Tampa Florida, and was amazed how thirsty it was. And a very unforgiving clutch. The Buick was the coolest w/that huge moonroof.

What was it they advertized the Dart as, if it had the sunroof? A "Conver-TRIPLE"?
If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:08 am

Tristarenvy:
Well my roomate has that Senastional 70's book and he collects car brouchurse. (3500+).

I was amazed by that huge fixed glass top offered with the Buick Sunbird. That's similar to the 'wide fixed glass' option availible with the 1977-1979 Lincoln Continental Town Cars and Town Coupes. I'd love to get my hands on one of those.
Bring back the Concorde
 
tristarenvy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:31 am

I had friends in college that had all four of that family. A Monza that had a 350 shoved into it, a Sunbird, a glass roofed Buick, and the afore mentioned Olds. I liked the Monza wagon, that was the Monza base "S" model nose grafted onto a Vega wagon. Makes you wonder if you could find a nice Vega Kammback and put a better motor in it.....

That book is great. I get a kick out of looking at fit and finish problems on the manufactures photos of cars. Not the modern "restored" cars, but ones that were taken in the respective years they represent. The Ford photo of the new-for-'74 Mustang II, has the door trim really off line. there are several shots like that thru the book....

If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
57AZ
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:35 pm

To answer the question as to whether the Pony is a dying breed, I suppose that one should differentiate between the commercial model and the police model. The commercial model is doing well. The police model passed on when Chevy's Camero police package got Ford's attention. They were so concerned about the Camero biting into their sales that they failed to notice the real threat until it was too late-the revamped LT1 Caprice.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
PHLBOS
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:20 pm

I suppose that one should differentiate between the commercial model and the police model. The commercial model is doing well. The police model passed on when Chevy's Camero police package got Ford's attention. They were so concerned about the Camero biting into their sales that they failed to notice the real threat until it was too late-the revamped LT1 Caprice.

57AZ,

If you don't already have it, you may want to purchase/look through the Encyclopedia of American Police Cars by Edwin Sanow. It gives a complete history of the various police packages through the decades and the whats and whys of certain packages being offered and disappearing. In the book, it was stated that while the Camaro police package in the '90s started to overtake the Mustang police package in terms of performance; the real reason for the police Mustang's demise was due to the fact that the full-size sedans (Crown Vic and Caprice) were once again capable of achieving top speeds over 125 mph.

Also, Chevy actually started 'getting serious' about the police Caprice's performance during the late '80s. At that time, Ford wasn't 100% sure as towards whether the Crown Vic. platform would survive into the '90s. The Taurus police package that debuted in 1990, if successful, could have been a potential successor to the Crown Vic. police package. Thankfully, the '92 revamp saved the Crown Vic. from extinction.

It is worth noting that all police vehicles are subject to the CAFE laws. that's probably the only reason why Ford has not stuffed a 5.4L engine in its current Police Interceptor nor the now-discontinued Mercury Marauder.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
cptkrell
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:02 am

Word is that Auburn Hills, MI now has Dodge Magnum Hemis on duty w/ the police package discussed several months ago. Perhaps a sister offering could be the new Charger? Although we have only about 3500 miles on our 300C, it's rapidly turning out to be the most hassle-free, all around high performance sedan I've driven. Even with the added weight of electronics/commo equip and other added goodies, I can see the Dodge Div. twins as "ruling" the police high performance market until the new RWD Impalas make it on-scene.

Weather may prevent my planned visit to Detroit for the auto show, but I'd sure like to ask some of my FoMoCo friends what THEY have planned. I fear that with the exception of the Mustang, they may be behind the eight-ball in the near-future high performance market. Anyway, relevant to the police car part of this discussion, anectotal as it may be, I have never chatted with an officer who was totally satisfied with any FWD offering for daily patrol let alone pursuit duties. Thankfully, newer cost-effective computer assisted traction and dynamic stabilizing will usher in more RWD performance-oriented products. The future for nice, growly, V-8 American power may not be all that bleak. Regards...Jack
all best; jack
 
PHLBOS
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:48 am

According to a Motor Trend magazine article regarding the 2005 cars that came out a few months ago; there is a comment regarding Ford redoing its Crown Vic./Police Interceptor/Grand Marquis/Town Car platform for the 2006 model year. The article does state that the Panther platform will remain RWD. There are no clues as towards styling or engine availability and upgrades. Keep in mind that it wasn't until March or April of '97 that the photos for the restyled '98 Crown Vic./Grand Marquis models were released.

With the competition getting fierce, Ford would be wise to heed the call of boosting the performance on all of its cars, not just the ones that are getting all the headlines. However, should the cost of gasoline soar to $5/gallon and stay there; all bets are off regarding the existence of performance cars from anybody.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
tristarenvy
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Wed Jan 12, 2005 1:55 am

You gotta believe that the "new" big RWD Fords/Merc's/Lincoln will not change too terribly much, style wise. Dearborn probably remembers the hue and cry from the masses at GM for the Caprice of 1991. Sure, it was a step in a better, more modern look direction, but a "transitional" shape between the two might have gone over better.

If you think about it, the differences between the 97 and 98 Fords and Merc's were slight, to the averager observer. The Ford got Mercury's four light roof styling, dropping the small quarter windows in the "c" pillar, and some tweaks in the nose and tail. Pretty much as sedate as the differences between the 86-91 Taurus and the 92-96 version.

I can't wait to see a new magnum cop car. (Unless it's behind me, with lights blazing, that is....)
If you don't stand for SOMETHING, you'll fall for ANYTHING.
 
Superfly
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RE: The Pony Car: Dying Breed?

Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:41 am

Cptkrell & PHILBOS:
Sounds like the future could be bright from Detroit.
Is there ANYTHING that can be done to stop the Lincoln Mark truck and Zepher? Did Ford accidentally hire some clowns from General Motors?
That move is so un-Ford like. Didn't they learn anything form the failed Blackwood?
So this truck may be more capable of a truck than the Blackwood but the target buyer would never consider a Ford and certainly not a Lincoln. Leave that market to Cheverolet & Cadillac. No other luxury make from Asian or Europe is wasting there time with luxury trucks. The only upscale truck Ford should offer is the current Kings Ranch Edition F-350 and that's it.
The term 'luxury truck' sounds like an oxymoron anyway.


It's sad that they are going to produce something that WILL be a marketplace failure. Also, why isn't this Mazda6 based Zepher not going to Mercury or Ford?
Will Mercury stay with us or will it join Oldsmobile and Plymouth?
Bring back the Concorde

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