The rivalry between Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang is one of the most long-lived in the automotive world, but thanks to the ever-increasing cost of vehicle development the two all-American muscle cars are set to put their differences aside - at least when it comes to what’s under the skin.
A screenshot of a Ford dealership parts lookup system has revealed that the 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission that equips the high-performance Camaro ZL1 will be coming to the Mustang soon, with speculation that it will be applied in a 2018 model year update.
Its takeup by Ford is no surprise however - after all, the 10-speed automatic was designed as a joint-venture between Ford and General Motors, along with a nine-speed for transverse-engined vehicles. Why would two competing automakers join forces on something as crucial to a car’s performance as a gearbox? The answer is economics.
Engines and transmissions are the most expensive components to develop, and the ever-increasing complexity and capabilities of automatic gearboxes make them an especially pricey line item on the ledger of any automaker’s R&D department.
Spreading the cost of developing an all-new transmission - let alone one as ambitious as a ten-speed - between two manufacturers is an appealing one to any boardroom decision makers, rivalries be damned.
But don’t expect the Camaro ZL1 and whichever Mustang is set to receive the 10-speed auto (if the Camaro application is anything to go by, a high-performance variant like the Shelby GT350, below, might be a likely recipient) to use identical gearboxes.
While the hardware and hardpoints will be similar, the spinning parts that determine gear ratios and shift points will differ markedly and will be tailored to the specific power and torque outputs of the engines they’re attached to.
The same 10-speed transmission will also equip full-size pickups from both Ford and Chevrolet/GMC, with the Ford F-150 (below) set to receive it later this year. In all, a total of eight cars are set to use the jointly-developed Ford/GM 10-speed “Hydramatic” gearbox.
When could we see this gearbox in Australia? It’s an interesting question. We don’t yet know which Mustang variants will receive the 10-speeder, but we’d hope it arrives as a replacement for the dull six-speed slushers that equip the four-cylinder Mustang EcoBoost and V8 Mustang GT.
As for the Camaro, GM’s local arm Holden remains tight-lipped on whether that model will arrive here as its post-Commodore RWD hero car.
Even if the Camaro does find its way across the Pacific, a local release of the 10-speed auto equipped Camaro ZL1 (above) is no guarantee - regular Camaro variants come with a six-speed automatic as an option to the standard six-speed manual, not the 10-speed.