Pony cars are very sporty, and garner lots of attention. They are often compared to muscle cars for their flashiness. However, they tend to be more compact than muscle cars. The term “pony car” is derived from the equestrian image of a Mustang, because the Ford Mustang was the first car released of this type. 

They are fun and classic, and although they had their heyday in the 60s and 70s, they’ve made a few comebacks. So don’t count out the pony car. 

They definitely have evolved over time, however. So we’ll take a look at the best ones, and compare their original days to their current models. 

Pontiac Firebird 

Photo from Pexels

For the Pontiac Firebird, it all started in 1967 as a response to the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. People instantly took to it because the Firebird was very powerful and more luxurious than the Camaro. It was flashy and came with a fiery decal. And it was immediately a legend.

Unfortunately, in 2008, General Motors cut out the brand in order to simplify its market. However, that has not deterred its enthusiasts from keeping the Firebird presence alive. In fact, there are many options when it comes to Pontiac Firebird insurance, even though it is no longer manufactured. 

Ford Mustang 

The Ford Mustang is definitely the most popular pony car. The Mustang is sleek, aerodynamic, and rides close to the ground. 

It first went on sale in 1964 and appealed to a wide variety of customers, including both men and women of all ages. Ford planned for 100,000 sales in the first year, but dealers had already sold 22,000 on the first day. And many people even now purchase first-generation Mustangs

The original engine lineup included a 170-cid straight-six, 4.3-liter V-8, and the 289-cid V-8 that went up to 271 horsepower. It had elegant contours and a bold look.

The modern Mustang includes a 300-hp V-6, a 435-hp V-8, and a 310-hp, 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It is sharp in aesthetic and a powerful ride.

Chevrolet Camaro

Ford held the monopoly on the pony car market for several years, but in 1966 Chevrolet introduced the Camaro, and the monopoly ended.  The Camaro almost identically matched the dimensions of the Mustang, and the Camaro came close to matching the Mustang’s option list as well.

The original Camaro had a very fluid, smooth shape, in contrast to the more muscular Mustang. The modern Camaro has a dark front-end treatment. Its aesthetic is less smooth and fluid, more robust and intense. 

While the Camaro started out as a response to the Ford Mustang, it definitely has held its own, standing the test of time.

Dodge Challenger 

The Dodge Challenger came a little later in the game than the rest. Dodge released the Challenger in 1970, and it did not outsell the Camaro or Mustang. It did, however, secure itself a name on the list of the wildly popular pony cars. The Challenger is considered to be the last of the pony cars.

The Challenger had a complete line of nine available engines. These ranged from the Slant Six to 426 cubic inch Hemi. The Hemi was in effect a race engine that was re-adapted for the street. It had a vibrant appearance and vibe.

The modern Challenger is powerful, fast, and can hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds. It, too, has stood the test of time, though it has evolved over its course.

Iconic and Powerful

Pony cars have remained popular over the decades, in varying degrees. For some, the appeal is the classic look. For some, it’s the sporty, compact, aerodynamic ride. Whatever the reason they have stuck around, they truly are iconic and make for a great joy ride. 


Dorothea Hudson writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, She is passionate about many types of cars and enjoys educating her readers on the topic.


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