When people talk about the rekindling of the muscle car wars, they usually discuss horsepower, handling, torque -- all those good things. But to my mind, there's another, less cut-and-dried way to measure who's currently reigning supreme: the car's place in pop culture.
I bring this up because it's being reported that the Ford Mustang will play a major role in the network remake of the island-cop drama "Hawaii Five-O," and it seems to me that the 'Stang has got to be the most ubiquitous of the big three muscles, right? I mean, the Chevy Camaro obviously scored a major pop-culture coup with its none-too-subtle tie-in to the "Transformers" franchise (a coup in terms of exposure, not the quality of the movies in question), but where else does it pop up in the film, television or music universe? Likewise the Dodge Challenger -- sure, a classic version was featured in the original "Gone in Sixty Seconds," and I'm pretty sure Vic Mackie drove a purple one in the latter seasons of FX's cop drama "The Shield" (or was that a Charger?).
But the Mustang, I think, must have them both beat in terms of overall exposure, between the good (Steve McQueen's '68 GT 390 Fastback in "Bullitt," the red-and-white 2007 Shelby GT500 that Will Smith drove in "I Am Legend"), the bad (Vanilla Ice's shout-out in "Ice Ice, Baby" to the ungainly '90s version of "Hawaii Five-O"), and the truly ugly (anyone catch the premiere of that televised eye-acid they called the "Knight Rider" rehash, which was supposed to be a brilliant, synergistic marketing tie-in with the Mustang?).
Anyway, that's hardly a scientific sampling -- just my opinion. Anything I missed? Probably. Let me know about any big role for a Camaro or Challenger that I plain blanked on, in the comments section.