Saddle up, it’s pony time! These are the cars that define not just a great period for the American automobile, a time when it went sporty with a capital S, but are an integral part of American culture like little else. Everyone after all has their favourite pony car, pony car hero, film, TV series… The seven cars on display at FoS stand for everything that was big, bold, noisy and fast… you can hear those V8s from here.
Read on, and then check out our gallery above:
1970 AMC Javelin SST Mark Donohue Edition
‘Voluptuous curves and nary a hint of fat,’ that was the idea behind the Javelin SST. The designer famously summed up its shape as ‘the wet T-shirt look.’ The car at FoS is one of 2501 homologation specials that marked the 1969 TransAm victory in the hands of ‘Captain Nice’, Mark Donohue, in 1969.
1966 Shelby Mustang GT-350
Who doesn’t know this car? Even if it is from a certain film set in San Francisco and famous for its car chase. You know the one. The ultimate high performance pony car, the Shelby Mustang had everything: light weight, 306hp from its 4.7-litre V8 for ferocious performance, and the magic of Carroll Shelby in its handling. Did you know 1000 of these seminal US muscle cars were made for Hertz as rent-a-cars? Happy days…
1965 Plymouth Barracuda
The Mustang was the first pony car, yes? Well, almost. The Barracuda actually came out a fortnight ahead of the Ford. The pillarless fastback coupe with the gigantic wraparound rear window had the looks but underneath was Plymouth Dart sedan, though the top model’s 4.5-litre V8 compensated.
1968 Chevrolet Camaro
The Camaro represented the first big threat to the Mustang’s superiority, and the Z-28 was the one to have. No question. In the hands of Mark Donohue, the Camaro was dominant in SSCA TransAm racing in iconic Sunoco/Roger Penske colours.
1964 1/2 Mustang Convertible
The Mustang came out in convertible form early in 1964 so it could be used as pace car for the 1964 Indy 500. It was unusual because US launches usually came in the Fall. The ‘Stang was already a hit: everyone knows the stories of people fighting each other for the first cars, and the car remains the fastest selling new model in US history. The Mustang has had its ups and downs since then but now is on the cusp on potential greatness again – elsewhere at FoS Ford were previewing an all-new model that goes on sale here next year. Bring it on!
1966 Beverly Hills Mustang Mustero
The Mustang pickup? You bet. It’s a straight cross between the ‘Stang and Ford’s Ranchero pickup, built by Beverly Hills Mustang but officially approved by the Blue Oval. It vwasn’t a great success, with ust 50 made – something perhaps to do with the fact that it was super expensive, al most as much as a Shelby Cobra. Bizarrely 30 of the 50 came to Europe.
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A
Dodge’s answer to the Mustangs and Camaros, the Challenger was the latecomer to the pony car club but to many no less desirable for it – particularly in racing homologation mode like the T/A (for TransAm) model on show at the Cartier concours at FoS. It boasts 320bhp from a six-cylinder motor, and, say some, savage understeer. Might be something to do with front wheels rather smaller than the rears…
1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7
The idea was a softer, more refined, and V8-only version of the Mustang at a higher price. The pillarless coupe styling was meant to be more Europeanised than the ‘Stang, but, inevitably, was criticised for a front end that reminded people of an electric razor. Highlights inside were a simulated woodgrain dash and full array of instruments. Maybe a good idea at the time, the Cougar hasn’t endured quite as well as the Mustang.