Pony cars sparked the imagination of a generation in the 1960’s, a spark that still flickers to this day. These aren’t sports cars and they don’t handle particularly well, though some of them are pretty fast. Every Saturday across American car owners and car lovers gather in parking lots to look at each other’s cars and chat about their obsession with the automobile. Typically these gatherings are not organized, they’re organic affairs sprouting up and growing. Colorado Springs is no different. Naturally, the Pony Cars, along with sports cars, hot rods, trucks, and all manner of motorized vehicles, show up.
Some would say the ultimate Pony Car comes from Carroll Shelby and Ford in the form of the GT-350 or 500. This specimen wasn’t perfect, but it had a patina that transports the onlooker back in time to evoke a time when people didn’t talk to their cars in a Hasselhoffian manner.
Painted in classic American racing colors, this GT-350 was a pleasure to just stand and look at. The owner has no problem telling you how he feels about your ride via his custom license plate.
In the interest of fairness, General Motors made some pretty incredible Pony Cars as well. Chevrolet had its Camaro and Pontiac the Firebird. I didn’t actually talk to the owner of the Firebird below, but it appears to be a 1968 based on the 350 cubic inch engine. It was clearly repainted in a pearl white. It looked really nice, even with a period incorrect paint job, it still transports you to the 60’s making it easy to imagine it shredding tires at a late-night stoplight drag race in Modesto.
Unfortunately, there were some more “modern” Pony Cars from what Dan Roth, of Autoblog, calls the “malaise” era. The soulless Firebird in the background, was a 50th Anniversary Indianapolis Pace Car Turbo example. Whew, that was a lot to type and I didn’t even bother with the year. Who cares? I was half expecting Hasselfoff himself to jump out in skin tight leather pants.
As time marched on, the Pony cars began to bloat, but there were still some notable models. This Ford Boss 302 Mustang was a road-going version of the Trans-Am racing car. This 1970 example is one of 7,013 manufactured. It was a pretty fast car, even by today’s standards, doing 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds. I asked the owner how it handled. “Terrible” was his answer. It’s probably safe to say that’s what one would get out of a Pony Car, fast in a straight line, but not so great when it comes to attacking the curves. This example has competed in Autocross, but the owner told me he was beat by, in his words, “a lot of girls.”