I always relish the opportunity to test different iterations and trim levels of the same model, perhaps because it helps me determine whether the inherent goodness (or badness) of a given car is innate, or limited to a specific loaded-up example. In the case of the Dodge Challenger, my experience with the model line had thus far been limited to the full-fat SRT8 392 model with 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. I thoroughly enjoyed that car, loaded as it was to a near $50k price tag, but would its core values be retained in the 95-horsepower-tamer R/T Coupe? Only one way to find out.
Readers of this site with particularly strong memories will recall that I have a bit of a history with the latest generation of Mustang GT. I drove a few of the 5.0-liter cars when they came out back in 2011, and I liked them so much that I shelled out my own money for one – a Yellow Blaze GT Premium coupe with a 6-speed manual and the Brembo package; no other options. The test car on this page was more or less equipped similarly to mine, save for two crucial factors – its convertible top and a 6-speed automatic. Having never sampled a newer GT configured with either of those options, I was eager to grab the keys to one for a week.
Resto-modders, listen up: stop tearing apart perfectly salvageable classic muscle cars, fitting them with wide wheels and tubbed fenders, and instead go straight to your nearest Dodge dealer. There, you’ll find the Challenger SRT8 392, a classic 70s muscle car disguised as a brand new, modern five-seat coupe with a warranty. The Challenger looks as tough as those resto-modded vintage rides, hunkered down the way it is on its 20” 5-spoke wheels, a deep chin spoiler splitting the flies up front and a pair of over-the-roof vinyl stripes the only decoration on what is otherwise a totally throwback body.
Greetings, loyal readers! My name is Kasey Kagawa – some of you might remember me from a few years ago when I hosted the Speed:Sport:Life Radio news podcast – and now I have returned to once again bring you warmed-over news and half-witted commentary, just in this new, textual form that we shall call Speed:Sport:Life News. The 2013 Chicago Auto Show started today, and like all auto shows, there’s announcements with a little “A”, and Announcements. And so, we’ll start this off with the bits of fluff and bother that warrant little more than a brief mention.
Earlier this week, the Chrysler Communications blog ran a piece that we all knew was coming, but few true enthusiasts wanted to see. The Dodge Viper SRT-10 Final Edition is here. It’s bittersweet, to be sure, the end of the line for the consummate American two-seater. Apologies to the boys and girls down in Bowling Green, but no other vehicle embodies the history of American sports car racing the way the Viper does–the biggest engine in the smallest car with the fewest frills. It’s a legacy that goes back to the days before closed circuits and seat belts.
And for the first time in nearly twenty years, the world will be without it.
Carl Modesette: The thought hit me somewhere along the lazy, post-rush-hour, 12-mile drive home from picking up the 2009 Challenger SRT-8: “This may be the last fun car Dodge, as we know it, ever makes.” It’s not exactly the kind of thought that cheers you up, but, as Barney Stinson so wisely admonishes on How I Met Your Mother: “When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead.” And how to be awesome instead in a 425 horsepower car? Drop 3 gears and flatten the accelerator, of course.