I’ve always driven sensible cars from Asian makers. I’ve always wanted a muscle car, though. Now I’ve inherited some money and I want to say, “Go for it and buy a muscle car, while they’re still being made.” After I sell my Elantra, I can spend up to $50,000, but should I buy a Mustang, a Camaro or a Challenger? This is my dream, but which should be my dream car? – Mo.
Richardson: This is a question for the ages, Mo. Ford, Chevy or Dodge? Wars have started over less.
Gentile: I can smell the testosterone from here.
Richardson: Oh come on, Petrina. Muscle cars are a North American tradition. And Mo’s right. Electric cars and autonomy are already here, so who knows how much longer muscle cars will be around? Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, I say.
Gentile: Easy for you to say. But I guess muscle cars could be collectors’ items one day. And Mo could make back his money down the road.
Richardson: That’s really risky talk. You should never buy a car thinking it might be an investment. You can hope it might be, but don’t bank on it. It will need to be very clean and very old to gain in value, with nothing else like it still on the road, and it’ll help if Mo is a movie star.
Gentile: That’s not necessarily the case. I know many collectors who have made money on their classic cars. But definitely, don’t buy it banking on making money. If you do, that’s just icing on the cake. And besides, it doesn’t sound like Mo has any plans of selling his dream muscle car.
Richardson: So – Mustang, Camaro or Challenger? I’ve got a soft spot for the Camaro, but I think the Mustang is the more versatile car. There are so many choices for it, and it was totally redesigned a few years ago as a global vehicle.
Gentile: The Mustang and Camaro have been arch rivals for decades, but I prefer the Mustang over the Camaro. I’d take one in a heartbeat. I like the styling, the retro touches inside, the power and comfortable front seats. Now, the two rear seats are useless, but so are the rear seats in the Camaro. Wouldn’t you agree?
Richardson: I drove across the country in a Camaro and the rear seats were good for carrying luggage, but nobody with any legs wants to be back there. The Challenger is actually the larger and more comfortable car for the rear, if Mo cares about that.
Gentile: Agreed. And the Challenger is made in Canada, in Brampton, Ont. That’s got to count for something.
Richardson: Sure it does. The Camaro used to be made in Oshawa, but GM moved it to Detroit several years ago and now most of its Oshawa manufacturing is closing. Canadian owners don’t like that.
Gentile: Neither do I. I’m originally from St. Catharines, so I know what it is like for a community to rebuild after losing a vital GM manufacturing plant, in 2010. Buying a muscle car also comes down to politics – not just which car is the best car. Wouldn’t you agree?
Richardson: I guess it’s really about which is the car you think looks best, and which you’re proudest to own. A lot of that pride comes from local manufacturing and keeping your neighbour employed.
Gentile: So you like the Challenger, then?
Richardson: These three models all have different trim levels for power and features, and I don’t think any one can truly claim to blow the others into the weeds. For me, it comes down to the individual features: I really like the pulsing red light of the Mustang’s start button, which is supposed to be like its beating heart, and the adjustable noise of the exhaust. How about you, Petrina?
Gentile: You’ve managed to pull at my heartstrings with the Canadian-made Challenger. I wish Mo had a bigger budget, then I’d say go for the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car on the road. It has a supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI V-8 engine with 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque. But I know it’s nearly twice the amount he’s willing to spend. But the base model will still get his blood flowing fast and give him room for a few passengers in the back, too.
Richardson: For $20,000 less, he can get better handling from the Camaro ZL1 and still more than 600 hp, or he can stick to his budget and get better-than-base models of any of these three.
Gentile: But don’t forget, Mo wants to say “Go for it!”
Richardson: All three have expensive halo vehicles, with enormous horsepower, but you’re right that only the Challenger is built in Canada. I prefer the Camaro for track-day versatility, but the Mustang as a refined daily driver.
Gentile: I like the Challenger’s bad-boy good looks. It’s more aggressive and bold in styling than the Mustang and Camaro. That’s my pick for Mo.
What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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