Harvard versus Yale is fine if your notion of a great American rivalry is rooted in stick-and-ball stuff. However, if you are a car person, it just does not get any more all-American than Camaro vs. Mustang. On street, strip, or road circuit, this has been a renewable competitive resource since the first Camaro made its belated appearance in September of 1966. I say belated because by that time, the Mustang had been on sale for almost two and a half years, and there were well over a million of them galloping around America's highways and byways. Since then, we have seen these two square off in a variety of Car and Driver performance shootouts, sometimes in multicar free-for-alls. As with collegiate athletic rivalries, the players have evolved as the years have gone by. But unlike college sports, Mustang-Camaro showdowns are rarely boring. That is certainly true of this one, particularly if you are a Mustang fan.
Fords entrance in this battle is the new 2003 SVT Ford Mustang Cobra. SVT (Special Vehicles Team) is Fords performance group that releases vehicles like the Lightning, SVT Focus, and the Cobra. The 2003 Cobra's 4.6-liter, DOHC V-8 is equipped with an Eaton supercharger and new aluminum alloy cylinder heads that provide increased flow capabilities ."Inside the iron block, we find the previous Cobra's forged steel crank fitted with forged H-beam connecting rods from Manley. Revised aluminum heads and dished-top pistons drop the compression ratio to 8.5:1 to tolerate the higher combustion pressures encountered during maximum supercharger boost (up to eight pounds). A water-to-air intercooler condenses the induction charge for optimal performance (Winfield)." The engine produces 390 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 390 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm, compared with the 2001 model's 320 hp at 6,000 rpm and 317 foot-pounds of torque at 4,750 rpm. "Other power train bits include an aluminum flywheel and drive shaft, plus a new 6-speed Tremec gearbox and a limited-slip differential with 3.