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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #126: How the Hellcat became the only car that matters

The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity. Yeats wrote those lines in 1919, perhaps against the mood of the times.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-126-how-the-hellcat-became...
30 REPLIES 30
CFH
Intermediate Driver

Now you have made me sad.
SJacobT
Detailer

I'm sure your savior will be slouching towards Bethlehem in 2024, JB...
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

You really think they're going to let Otto von Bismarck run? Even though he's dead? He could unify this country the way he unified Germany!

9lbhammer
Intermediate Driver

The future is lame. Seems like everything from housing trends to car tech to the job market is designed to reduce our stability and keep us paying for stuff every month.

Or maybe I'm just salty cause I can't afford to even put tires on a plum crazy purple widebody hellcat
DogGone
Pit Crew

What with the lack of (pace and magnitude of) construction of the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicles and the lackadaisical efforts put forth to ensure supply chain resiliency, it's almost as if the entire point of this exercise is to disenfranchise the populace of its freedom of movement by automobile. It all makes sense if you imagine the true intent is to replace every one hundred ICE-powered vehicles with one EV. Blindingly obvious, in fact.

The transition isn't from internal combustion engines to electric motors; it's from internal combustion engines to bicycles and running shoes.
CitationMan
Instructor

If regular Americans are denied affordable ICE mobility in the future, I wouldn’t be caught dead driving an EV.
BMD4800
Technician

That is the point.

Refer back to Lutz - none of us will. We won’t be driving.
CitationMan
Instructor

Oh, I get what our betters what to do, but this country is too big to make autonomous vehicles work. They will never work in the semi-rural area I live in. Autonomous vehicles might have some use in a big city environment, but shared vehicles in an urban setting will have a cleanliness level worse than a campground outhouse.

Chris_Tonn
Pit Crew

Echoes of “A Nice Morning Drive” circa 1973 here.

Come to think of it, has any other piece of automotive writing ever inspired great music?
relton
Detailer

At the risk of sounding like the old guy that I am, I have heard the death knellof automobiles sevral times.

When high insurance rates killed off muscle cars in the early 60s, it was going to be the end of the world for fun performance cars. The oil embargo of 1973 put the final spike in the coffin.

The fuel economy mandates were the end of the world in the 80s. Remember when a 110 hp Dodge Omni, and a 125 hp Pontiac 6000 STE were the hottest things around, and even made he cover of Car and Driver?

Right now we are living in the golden age of cars. The future won't be the same, but there's lots of hope that it might be better. I personally think that EVs won't mak much of a det in the arket, and that some companies that aren't making really big EV commitments will still be around to make cars and trucks we want to buy. I'm also convinced that autonomous cars are still a long way in the future. As te problems in real world environments raise their ugly head, autonomy will recede further down the road.

I think that companies who proclaim that they are "all in" in EVs might provide a chance to make some real money. Think about shorting GM stock, again, when the last ICE GM car rolls out of the factory.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Let's hope you're right!

ATLpaul
Intermediate Driver

Here in Georgia yesterday I paid $4.15 for a gallon of 93 octane super unleaded. At those prices or even higher as gas may be headed there, these become harder and harder to afford.
hyperv6
Engineer

Actually it is not the only car that matters. We have a number of great performance cars today that matter. 

The Hellcat is living on media and marketing. The others really don’t market their cars much anymore in a decking market segment. Tbe Hellcat was marketed through the toon. 

But the Hellcat also is a marketing car as it is all HP but not much else. Dodge had an old car and needed to get attention so they revived an old engine program they had earlier closed. This revised the old Platform and gave it life. I must add it was very good marketing. 

Truth said the car could be just as fast with less power as it just can’t app,y it all to the ground. The Demon was interesting as they tried to make a car that could put the power down but once converted it was not of a street car. In the future one with a full kit will be the more valuable. 

Not to be a downer but we are in the last years of cars like these and people are just not buying them as they once did. Part generational, part cost and part lack of love for limited use cars today. 

I expect EV replacements but we will never see cars like this again. 

When people complain about no back seat room or vision in a performance car you know the market is flat and the numbers do confirm that on all. Once sold in the high six figures they no longer reach 100k. 

BMD4800
Technician

I disagree, cars like the Hellcat will continue, but the price point, the taxes, and the restrictions will relegate them to occasional or track use.
AdrianClarke
Detailer

I spent a month in a rental 392 R/T Challenger in the SF Bay Area at the back end of 2019 (yes, I was there for a woman, why do you ask?).
It was immediately apparent why they are so popular. Here was a car built not for numbers in a road test but for actual people who drive everyday, to you know, commute and pick up cat food on the way home, and to look good doing it. Right sized, comfortable and practical, as well as handsome it's a car that is not too aggressive in it's styling and covers all the bases from secretary special to road burning hell raisers.
It reminds me of another product from the Stellantis stable, the Fiat 500. Still sold on a platform long since paid off, coupled with sensitive updates and continuous development, bags of emotional appeal and marketed to perfection. It too covers the spread from parishioner runabout to town center terrorizer. At this point both cars are printing money, which suggests somewhere in the bowels of Stellantis someone knows what time lunch is.
The Challenger proved a lot faster, reliable and more trustworthy than the woman (also Italian American) but that's another story.....
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Sir, I would encourage you to follow my depraved lead and write this up in full.

plamry
Pit Crew

My contrarian view on this as someone who owned a manual Challenger hellcat and who loves driving and cars is excitement over the fact that Dodge/Stellantis or whatever they will be called in 3 years is going to be putting resources into making electric cars better.

I love your writing Jack but I think you are being too pessimistic when it comes to electric. I guess the future could be autonomous but why cant there be enthusiast electric option? As economies of scale and engineering advances happen (where do all the internal combustion engineers go if there is no ic future, I assume electric) we will have a better product than we do today. I can see the argument that government is picking a winner by subsidizing electric but this happens all the time in our "free" economy. Healthcare, corn syrup, milk, steel, etc. Love them or hate them at least Tesla has created an electric car to desire that will also smoke most hellcats in a straight line.
RokemRonnie
Advanced Driver

I'm an advocate for "all of the above" when it comes to creating power (coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, and wind or solar where it makes sense) and I really don't care if a car has a combustion engine, an electric motor, or a team of trained hamsters under the hood as long as it goes fast when you step on the go fast pedal.

That being said, the push to electrify our transportation when we have an iffy electrical generating grid (California's brownouts, Texas' issues in severe cold) and regulations that pretty much preclude the development of our own considerable rare earth resources doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me.

It's telling the Toyota, which got a ton of green cred with the Prius, is very skeptical on battery EVs.
ogSVT
Pit Crew

How much did Dodge pay you to write this?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Not only did they pay me NOTHING, they refused to give me a supplier discount on the 1-of-1 Vipers! The last check I got from Chrysler was a $500 rebate on a 2004 SRT-4!

BMD4800
Technician

I got a $50 rebate on a $575 SRS headrest my kid broke when he was upset about ice cream.
DrillNFill
Pit Crew

Mr Baruth, that was the best piece of automotive journalism I have read in a long time. Thank you for putting a voice to, what I believe is, the large silent majority.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Thank you sir!

Ragster
Intermediate Driver

Well written.... and something we all fear , all us who love the internal combustion engine and what it means to our driving soul ! The EV is NOT the answer.....if it was TOYOTA would have had the world flooded with them by now !
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

It's worth nothing how conservative Toyota has been on this topic, largely because they have a culture of shipping products, not promises. 

BMD4800
Technician

They aren’t sold on LiIon either. Long game, much like Honda, though the new Toyota twin-turbo V6 Tundra may impact quality, much like turbos knock Honda for a bit.

No free lunch, I’m just happy there are many Challengers and Chargers on the road for future folks to enjoy.
BeatCancer
Intermediate Driver

Hopefully they can stockpile a lot of 'frames' with VINs so these can be garage-made, continuation cars for decades to come.
fueledbymetal
New Driver

Well said, chapeau!
BMD4800
Technician

The Hellcat is indeed the iconic second coming of MOPAR muscle, initially ushered in by the return of the Hemi.

The passing isn’t sad, it is a canary. Today it is 700 HP vehicles that are cleaner, more efficient, and more reliable than an 80s Tempo.
Tomorrow, your truck that you don’t “need”. We’ve all read the comments, folks all up in arms about trucks they don’t see towing anything.
Soon, your SUV, your minivan, your UTV, even your barbecue. Some states already took the gas trimmer and lawnmower. Charge those batteries. At least trimming the property has become a 3 beer job. Not enough batteries to do all of it. They say it is better than gas… They say a lot of things.

That $4/ gallon fuel price got you down? Go Galt. Stop buying useless garbage and grind the machine down until it stops.

Easy low APR financing? Pay cash, no debt. For me, fuel can hit $12 a gallon before it makes sense to buy something more efficient. The ROI is too long and the economy cannot sustain inflated energy prices.

The answer, the unifier? It isn’t one man (or woman, or non-binary, whatever) it is US, the people, who collectively say “nah, I’m just not going to participate.” When we all stand up and can say ‘Let’s Go Brandon’, not because of politics, rather as a unified voice against the ineptitude of the ruling class, we can make actual progress, while allowing our free market to once again thrive and make money solving problems we create.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Amen.