Horsepower Wars: Pony Wars – Meet Our 2017 Camaro SS

You’re probably familiar with the term “one trick pony.” It’s often used to describe something that’s only good at one thing. And while it’s a catchy colloquialism, and perhaps best suited to our competition, a 2017 Mustang GT— though no-trick pony seems more appropriate there — it would be a daft underestimation of our particular warhorse, a 2017 Camaro SS. Though, you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt as I am the editor of LSX Magazine and thus very biased, though I’ve been known to make a compelling argument from time to time. 

But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here. In case you are unaware as to what I am referring, I am speaking of Horsepower Wars: Pony Wars, a brand new automotive show from all of us here at Power Automedia which pits a Mustang GT and Camaro SS head-to-head in a battle for pony supremacy and ultimate bragging rights. But we aren’t keeping these bad boys stock. No, that wouldn’t really be our style. In order to raise the stakes, and really show what both cars are made of in a real-world scenario, we are sweetening the deal with $5,000 and $15,000 in two separate phases – the cost of our parts are based via Summit Racing, which is our official parts supplier.

But what do I mean by that? It’s simple, the cars will compete in two rounds of competition—after baselining both, naturally. The first round, each team— team Camaro and team Mustang respectively—will be given $5,000 for an initial set of mods. This is limited to bolt-ons. Next, both teams are given $15,000 and boost is added to the mix. When the smoke clears, the winner will be the car that performed the best on the road course, quarter-mile, chassis dyno, and 60-0 mph braking. For more details on our rules see our link here

Our Camaro is more than suited to the task of mopping any course or chassis dyno with the Mustang, but before we can get down to testing we felt it would be pertinent for you to get to know our Camaro just a little bit better.

We are starting with the best-of-the-best. Our Camaro comes to us equipped with almost every option available for 2017. It’s got heated and cooled perforated leather seats, navigation, Apple Car Play, and just about every accouterment anyone could ask for. But you probably don’t care about the comfortability of the car, you want to know the goods, right? Well, we didn’t disappoint you there either.

One of the only options our 2SS equipped Camaro didn’t come with is the veritable 1LE package. While that would’ve been fun, it would have put the Mustang at an even greater disadvantage and we want to keep things interesting—well, as fair as they can be. And while our Camaro isn’t sporting 1LE equipment, it was still well endowed from the factory with Magnetic Ride Control. The suspension on our Camaro is a nice upgrade when compared to the standard springs and dampers on the Mustang. The ‘Stang wasn’t available in 2017 with Magnetic Ride Control, though they did update it in 2018 — but that’s a story for another time.

The Camaro’s LT1 V8 overpowers the Mustangs 5.0-liter Coyote to the tune of 25 horsepower and 55 lb-ft. While the Mustang revs higher, redlining at 7,500 rpm, down low is where the Camaro really shines. With stump-pulling power just off idle, and an eight-speed automatic that has a wide range of gears to constantly optimize the Camaro’s powerband, the power delivery for our SS is unrivaled. Comparatively, the Mustang has just six gears to get the job done which prevents it from optimizing power levels the same way.

Moving to the brakes, it’s another win for the Camaro. While both cars come equipped with dinner-plate size binders up front, the Mustang lacks the same clamping forces out back. Both have six-piston calipers at the front. While the rear of the Camaro sports four-pot caliper, the Mustang has just a solitary piston. Clearly, the braking contest will likely fall to the Camaro.

And speaking of the braking test, the Camaro likely has less weight to slow down—by some estimations, considerably less. While we think this disparity might be substantially less than most estimates, since the Camaro comes with so many options and the Mustang is fairly entry level, the weight is likely in our favor.

So, let’s sum it up. The Camaro is lighter, more powerful, has an eight-speed transmission (compared to just six on the Mustang), has better suspension, stops better, and is generally better looking. If you ask me, the war is already won. But we are just getting started. The Coyote-powered Mustang does have some things going for it and will likely respond to boost like nobody’s business, but we’ve got some answers for that.

Before we can get down to finding out how these things do with modification, we have to establish their baselines; after which we can get down to our favorite thing, turning wrenches. And rest assured that you’ll see parts from your favorite brands such as COMP Cams, Mickey Thompson, Holley, DiabloSport, ProCharger, TCI, BMR, QA1 and more. So, if you like horsepower and you like Camaros—or even Mustangs—keep it right here, or head over to HorsepowerWars.com to watch the latest content.

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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