Each week we break down a topic of interest by survivability rate compared to its competitors. You will even have a chance to weigh-in on our choice via a poll. Have a dispute to settle? Your team versus your girlfriend’s making the playoffs? Pepperoni or Hawaiian Pizza? – Bring it on, let us be the judge of what will ultimately BURN or SUCCEED!
The race is on this week as Burn or Succeed tackles muscle car dominance. Since the launch of the updated versions of Ford’s Mustang, Dodge’s Challenger, and Chevy’s Camaro lineups in 2005, 2008, and 2009 respectively, car and consumer critics alike have been arguing which of their prized rebirths takes the crown for the new generation. Now that latecomer Chevy has a couple production years under its hood, we take a look at these models’ highly-customized, in-house performance versions.
2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible
Serving as the celebratory vehicle of Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT)’s 20th anniversary, the Shelby GT500 Convertible packs style and power into a perfectly-tuned body that delivers 650 horses and a top speed of over 200 mph. This muscle demon’s huge 5.8-Liter supercharged V8 engine produces an unbelievable 600 lb.-ft of torque, giving it the distinction of having the most powerful 8-cylinder in production in the world.
Utilizing carbon fiber components such as a redesigned driveshaft, and updated transmission and clutch, the GT500 further boasts an in-house designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampeners, customized chassis tuning, and a new Brembo brake system. Clearly looking to best the Chevy Camaro ZL1 (specs, release dates, and too many other similarities to ignore), the GT500’s 70+ HP boost on the ZL1’s 2013 model combined with the generous torque puts this baby in another class: sorry ZL1, the GT500 was born to succeed.
Succeeds for: Ridiculously powerful engine
2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 (392 Yellow Jacket edition)
From Dodge parent Chrysler’s Street & Racing Technology (SRT) group, this 2012 hotrod makes up for speed and power with the classy vintage style that popularized the muscle car brand so many years ago. Rocking a yellow and black scheme that was highly overused five years ago on the Camaro turned Transformers’ Bumblebee (itself spawning a production edition with the series logo replacing Chevy’s); this SRT packs a 6.4-liter V8, which while larger in capacity than the GT500, “only” produces equal parts 470 horses and torque.
Available in showrooms sometime this quarter, the Yellow Jacket is the easiest of these supercars to get your hands on, and most closely resembles the muscle cars of past. We definitely have a soft spot for it, but seeing that it is 110 HP behind its closest rival, it doesn’t get star points for strength this time around. This being said, it’s still an extremely powerful car, and with style considered, we would be more than ecstatic to bring it home.
Succeeds for: Keeping the original muscle car design alive
2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Convertible
Last but not least in our performance models is the convertible version of the new Chevy Camaro. The most well-known of the three due to appearances in that aforementioned robot series; the Camaro was a big disappointment for us when we got behind the wheel of the coupe due to um, visibility issues, when it comes to the windshield size. This problem is slightly redeemed when the top rescinds, allowing the driver to experience the 580 horses and 556 lb.-ft. of torque that this muscle car offers.This power gave it the temporary position of the world’s most powerful convertible (with the GT500 convertible robbing its top-down thunder earlier this month).
Though, with its 6.2-liter engine able to complete Nürburgring’s Nordschleife course in 7:41.27 minutes, you’re not going to be dissatisfied with this car unless you have comparison issues. To keep it real, you still would be driving faster than the 2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante. It’s not the size of the engine; it’s how you use it.
Succeeds for: Fetching $250,000 for its first (non-convertible) production model last year