Throwback: '85 Mustang vs. Camaro vs. Trans Am Comparo


Comparo by Phillip Ferrini

This, my friends, is automotive gold! Seriously, we should celebrate manuscripts like this backed with cinematography this grand. The stars of this 1985 Motorweek comparo that pits the Mustang GT 5.0 against the IROC Z-28 Camaro and Pontiac Trans Am epitomize 80s old school cool ... or should I say, radical?
Here are some excerpts to wet your whistle. When praising the Pontiac Trans Am, here's what they had to say: "It's got five forward gears, so there's no waiting in this Tin Indian!"
When it came time to reviewing the Camaro, well, they dissed the other two for their low-tech carburetors; "Carburetors, merely carburetors. This one's got five liters of tune-port-injected small block Chevy!"
And finally, when it was the Mustang's turn, they exclaimed, "It's a hot rodders heaven with anti-sway bars the size of sewer pipes ... and it's got a four-barrel Holley big enough to inhale all of Cleveland."
In the end, they decided that, "Cars are like beer: it's all a matter of taste." But we can say that when it comes to straight-line acceleration, the Fox Body Mustang was king. OK, so it was a handful around the road course, but it was entertaining to watch the drivers try and tame the wild stallion.
Here's how they compare:
Quarter mile
  • Mustang GT: 14.3 @ 92 mph
  • Pontiac Trans Am: 14.7 at 89 mph
  • Camaro IROC Z-28: 14.8 @ (no speed posted)
Max speed on straight
  • Mustang GT: 127 mph
  • Camaro IROC Z-28: 123 mph
  • Pontiac Trans Am: 122 mph
Average speed on the road course
  • Camaro IROC Z-28: 74.4 mph
  • Pontiac Trans Am: 73.7 mph
  • Mustang GT: 73.5 mph
  • Mustang GT: $10,224
  • Pontiac Trans Am: $11,983
  • Camaro IROC Z-28: $12,635
Now, in all its glory. Drum roll please ...

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Dan F. McMiller (Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:18:24 -0700): Ahhhh Haaaa haaaa haaaa, the 80's! Back when the cars and the people were much lighter.
(Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:59:44 -0700): I drove a few of the 4 barrel H.O.'s and I owned a 305 Tuned Port IROC, and no way would that H.O. in the trans Am out run the TPI under any circumstances at any speeds. And by the way, the H.O. also came on some Z28 models. So it wasn't just the trans am's. And btw, I have no idea why Chevy offered so many different engine sizes and flavors in the same year. Carb or Fuel Inj, or 6 or 8 cyl, or 305 or 350 or 6-banger. Like why have 2 different TPI V8's? Why not just have 1 v8.. all 350. They don't do that today though. costs too much probably for that many options.
(Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:14:42 -0700): I do agree that the mustang was much better off the line. And that is where they always got ahead. Because the short body and soft springs allowed the car to rock back and thus gave the rear tires an extra bite on the payment that the F-body could not get. But then you couldn't gain on them because the 305 TPI was closely matched in performance. But cornering, exhaust note, style, the IROC and TA always beat the Rustang. :) and even though the mustang could get a jump on the F-body's, the little extra off the line wasn't enough to offset owning one. just my 2 cents. =)
Joe Newcomb (Tue, 02 Sep 2014 22:17:18 -0700): That was the year I joined the army, thanks for the flash backs.
Anthony G. Mattocks (Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:06:41 -0700): awesome video


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