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

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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 …



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