Muscle cars are always closest to my heart. The sound, feel, smell, and visuals are just awesome. They celebrate a bygone era of America when corporations had a sense of humor, people had a little extra spending money, and cars were built for a purpose, not a price point.
I love the thought of a bunch of guys sitting at a big company talking about putting cartoon characters on the car, bigger engines, stripping out the waste, and just creating a raw visceral experience. I assure you that doesn’t happen today.
Of course the new one which isn’t a bad car lacks the character of the old one. Sure there are a few special editions out there that come in a high impact color but in general the new Charger is just some car that is a big too big, a bit too over styled, and a bit too tame. This of course is largely because America has lost it’s sense of humor. You wouldn’t dare order your Charger in Hemi Orange and park it in front of your house in the suburbs that looks like all the houses in the suburbs because you need your car to look like all the other cars in the suburbs. Bah. Suburbs…. They ruined everything because now everyone has to be just like their neighbor.
That’s not to say black isn’t an awesome color. It certainly looks good here.
Not to mention this car doesn’t have navigation, 18 air bags, and passenger butt messagers. Nope this car was made for flying.
But back to cartoons. Can you imagine the look on the executives face at Chrysler if some one came into his office and said “we are gonna make big giant V8 car with basically no options and it’s going to be loud, mean, fast, and have a cartoon bee on the side with sunglasses on.
Yes yes I know there was some sort of rumble bee edition pick up truck made a few years ago. I admire it’s whimsy but it wouldn’t have existed if the original Super B hadn’t existed. As with all special editions made today it was too expensive and few people ordered it so it died quickly.
Special editions are a plenty these days because owning the standard edition just doesn’t make people feel special enough. Like this ZL1
Now the Camaro ZL1 is quite impressive and the owner clearly has good taste. It’s wicked fast, handles ok, and has a more aggressive look then the standard Camaro. It’s everything and nothing I want in a car. Had this existed in 1969 it would have been a stripped out racer and probably cost less then the standard model, maybe only slightly more. Today though it gets all sorts of leather, nav unites, and all kinds of things you don’t need in a car. Especially a car you probably won’t drive every day.
That brings us to this Challenger peeking out between two other classics. While this particular Challenger was made near the end of the muscle car era it still had all it’s muscle carness. Bold styling, big engine, not much in the way of amenities. That’s just fine by me.
As the car world goes further it seems to me that things are getting a bit out of hand. The new Corvette is going to cost $50,000. It’s hard to touch a Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger for under $35,000 and fuel prices are ever slowly creeping up. It would appear we are nearing another end of an era. The end of affordable horsepower. It wasn’t long ago $25,000 bought you a big V8, now it barely buys you a 200hp 4 cylinder. My solution? Be less serious. do you really need power heated messaging seats in your muscle car? Do you really need navigation, blue tooth, DVD, and Ipad like functioning? No you don’t, but the big automakers think you want that. I dream at night of someone at Dodge waking up one morning and saying we are going to make a stripped out Challenger with the Hemi and we are going to sell it cheap take that GM and Ford! Sadly I know the reality is we are stuck with navigation, dvd, bluetooth, and whatever crap they come up with next to weigh the car down.
I guess I’ll keep dreaming.