Regular readers will have noticed by now that there is a general preponderance of Dodge Charger and Challenger models featured on our site…this is no mere coincidence. We at Speed:Sport:Life are huge fans of the breed in general – that is, torque-heavy, rear-wheel-driven, throwback American muscle cars. Dodge makes some of the absolute best cars in the business right now at fitting that exact criteria, and as long as they keep making them, we’re happy to keep driving them. The SRT 392 that recently spent a week with me is a perfect example of what makes the model so great.
Tag - HEMI
Though my ownership punch card skews heavily in favor of the import, I’m a documented fan of the American car as a species. I owned and loved a 5-liter 2011 Mustang GT. I find the current Corvette to be an absolutely fantastic specimen (though the Camaro leaves me a little cold). And though it’s been only a short while, I can consider myself an honest Mopar fan thanks to the Hellcat – specifically, the Challenger Hellcat I spent some time with over the summer. And now the newest variant to receive the monster 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat powertrain – the 2015 Charger – looks set to bring my budding domestic love affair to a full boil.
Trying to figure out which 2015 Challenger best fits your desired performance goals and options list requires poring over a labyrinth of commingled model names and trim packages; we figured a basic primer would be helpful coming out of our press introduction with the cars yesterday in rainy Portland. Here goes:
Chevy’s new heavy-duty line of Silverado pickups are big beasts of burden. Short of a U-Haul, there’s not a whole lot out there that’s bigger and can still be legally piloted without a CDL. Even compared to the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab, a truck already near and dear to my heart but not exactly “compact” in its own right, the 2500 4×4 pictured here commands attention with another 2,000 pounds of girth, 4.5” of height and 9.5” of length.
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.
Ray Wert, the Jalop of Jalops over at www.jalopnik.com, recently wrote a piece about the HEMI brand and the upcoming 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. For those who aren’t scrutinizing the JGC’s launch on the same level as us know-it-alls, let me catch you up. Essentially, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will no longer have a 5.7L HEMI engine. Instead, it will have a 5.7L OHV MDS V8 with Variable-valve Timing… and an engine cover emblazoned with enormous, embossed “HEMI” branding.
It’s okay if you’re confused, but it boils down to this: Jeep will no longer feature the HEMI branding within its vehicle lineup. The same engine will be branded as a HEMI in other Chrysler Group LLC products (as Jeep Brand Marketing Head Honcho Jim Morrison put it, they’ll be leaving it to “the Dodge and truck guys”), but not in a Jeep.
But why? Mr. Wert proposes that this is green-washing–an effort by Chrysler to minimize the enthusiast value of their vehicles in front of an ever-more-environmentally-focused media. It’s not a poor argument. Just look around at the rest of the industry. Ford’s twin-turbo, 350+ horsepower V6 monster is dubbed “EcoBoost,” for crying out loud. If that’s not green marketing, I don’t know what is. But in the context of Chrysler, I think Wert’s assessment, while not unreasonable, isn’t quite on the mark.