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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...
177 REPLIES 177
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!

AG1962
Instructor

Except Bismarck started with Prussia as a highly unified core polity, and more or less integrated the rest of non-Habsburg Germany into Prussian institutions and structures. Even he would have trouble with your country.
kls2021
Pit Crew

Like it or not he’s your savior too Trumpette 😘
VetteKid56
Pit Crew

With saviors like that who needs enemies.
9lbhammer
Detailer

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
Intermediate Driver

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
Technician

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
Technician

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.

Reinhold_Weege
Instructor

The "new normal" is more about autonomous than "climate change". Electronic cars are simply easier to control. The next time (or the 20th time) we have an outbreak of something, it will be much easier to "quaranteam" us by shutting down the transportation grid. Safety First!
softedge
Pit Crew

null argument, any new vehicle can already be shut down. there is easily enough electronics and communication links on board that ice vehicles are no different from ev's in this respect.
brians356
Advanced Driver

It's the EV mandate, not the autonomous part, that matters. What makes you feel your masters, the "saviors of the planet", will care that semi-rural and rural citizens are kicked to the curb? After all, those are the folks on the wrong side of history, best filtered out of society.
OldCarMan
Instructor

Well, this is all brought to you by those "progressive" folks that know better than you, what is good for the country, the world, and YOU!
Controlling the poplace has been the goal, since the start. It worked so well in the Soviet Union and has in China. It makes it so much easier to make everyone financially equal, except the celebrity/political/elites. They always knew they were better!
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
Advanced Driver

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!

corv3tte
Intermediate Driver

I don't WANT a vehicle to drive me.... I want to drive IT ! Same way with a sailboat....don't want one so big I couldn't sail it myself....even if I was rich.
ATLpaul
Detailer

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.
MAXTHEAX
Intermediate Driver

Once everybody gets hooked on electricity you are really screwed when the powers that be start jacking up the price of it. You can't drill a hole in your backyard and find electricity. Priced enough solar paneling to satisfy your needs? Now where are you going to put them?
I wonder if this is the Mollusk end game, control of electricity after getting the world's testes into Testicles and making themselves totally dependent.
May the Ponzi be with you!
softedge
Pit Crew

from your argument, the petroleum industry hasn't formed cartels to control supply and set, dictate, the price of gasoline. access to electricity in it's raw state is far easier than access to gasoline in it's raw state by an individual.
brians356
Advanced Driver

I hate to clue you in, but $4 gasoline is near normal in real dollars (adjusted for inflation) for the past 60 years and, compared to the rest of the world, a real bargain. You need to appreciate just how historically cheap the $3 gas we recently enjoyed was. A $1 gallon of gas of 1973 would cost over $6 today.
OldCarMan
Instructor

You DO understand that the only reason gas is that expensive, is because they tax the daylight out of it!
Prior to Fake Energy Crisis I, a barrel of light crude was under $3. A barrel makes over 50 gallons of gasoline. Cars are already 99% clean. Never mind CO2, which is a bureaucratic job preservation scam, not a pollutant we need to worry about. And fake CAFE mileage has never been higher, but that is still too hard to control the peons.
Tinkerah
Gearhead

Look at it this way: think about how far that gallon of $X.XX/gallon of gas will push you and your multi-ton vehicle, and how much you'll enjoy driving it that distance. I say still a good value.
Oldroad1
Technician

You've just explained the government's method of weaning from the petrol teat.
hyperv6
Racer

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.
Reinhold_Weege
Instructor

Actually, the Challenger defies conventional logic by selling more as it ages, AND prior to the Hellcat introduction. It really doesn't fall off until 2019, and we all know what that was about.

2019    60,997
2018    66,716
2017    64,537
2016    64,478
2015    66,365
2014    51,611
2013    51,462
2012    43,119
2011    39,537
2010    36,791
2009    25,852
2008    17,423

retro-tech
Pit Crew

So what was the 2019 fall off due to since the first time covid was mentioned was February 2020, but please don't let that stop you from politicizing everything.
AdrianClarke
Advanced Driver

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.

AdrianClarke
Advanced Driver

It would be both an honour and a privilege to follow your depraved lead anywhere.
plamry
Intermediate Driver

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.
brians356
Advanced Driver

A Tesla will smoke a Hellcat in a straight line ... albeit a very short line. The 0-60 or 1/4 mile times mean nothing. Let's see which car wins a straight line run over the most boring Midwest 400-mile section of I-80, obeying all speed limits or driving the Tesla as fast as you dare.
Billthecat707
Instructor

Depends on how long it takes to refuel.
MG54
Pit Crew

Lets see a Tesla in The Cannonball Run......
BMD4800
Technician

3 questions:

 

1) trailers cool?

2) can you charge a Tesla while driving?

3) how much do you think a 20kW generator and trailer with 50 gallons of diesel would impact the average speed?   

Tinkerah
Gearhead

I'm an ICE guy through and through but having spent time and miles in a Tesla it's harder and harder to keep holding out. Truckloads of rear wheel drive power, almost zero maintenance and....NO CHECK ENGINE LIGHT.
brians356
Advanced Driver

Sounds like an ideal candidate for or any endurance road race or continental rally! I wonder why EVs aren't winning any, or even entering, against ICE vehicles?
softedge
Pit Crew

and around a corner, and to avoid a rear end collision, braking that is. i am not a fan of tesla, but i am a fan of electric. an electric motor is the ideal power plant for an automobile, 200% torque at zero speed and maximum horsepower at speed is exactly what is needed. once electric has had 120 years, as has ice cars, to overcome the battery and weight problem, we will have some truly extraordinary cars.

on the note of autonomous, hell no. make as a condition to receive your drivers license the proven ability to control a car in an accident situation and autonomous will not be required. this should be done on closed courses where people are taught how to avoid accidents and then show they can actually do it in a vehicle before receiving their drivers license. a high end simulator that takes into account vehicle weight and suspension dynamics is an alternative.
petersalt
Advanced Driver

Electrics are as old as IC autos. More like 130 yrs each.
RokemRonnie
Instructor

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.
DC
Detailer

One more failed Fiat
venture....yawn
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!