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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.
175 REPLIES 175
Pit Crew

Your energy is provided by a cooperative utility? Sorry, you're but you are being dictated to. You have no choice to switch electric providers. You do not have a free market for electricity with a cooperative utility arrangement. You're already half way to acceptance of the government controlling your life. So go enjoy your EV/hybrid until they tell you that you can't power it anymore because they want to limit driving to lessen traffic congestion.
As for Texas and the power grid issues....that situation was caused by the stupidity of electric providers shutting down electricity to the natural gas pipelines because the pipelines didn't fill out forms to make them essential customers where they had to have power maintained. It should have never happened. As for me, I survived the freeze quite well and with the exception of three 45 minute periods, never lost power or heat to my home during the week.
Advanced Driver

There is no real competition possible in markets for basic necessities such as water, power, natural gas, sewage, etc. Governments can set up apparent competition but when there is only one set of power and water lines to your house, reliability and price stability are of much greater value than marginal savings on identical products offered by “competitors” — see Texas ice storm (except where you live).

Just because you have an electrical outlet doesn’t mean there will always be electricity when you plug something in.

Intermediate Driver

Don't suppose you remember the '70's?

Such a foolish post, and so self-centered. It truly strikes me as elitist. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but for clarification:
Glad that you own a home, what about folks who rent who don't have their own "infrastructure" to get by on? 65% of the USA rents, it is higher in other parts of the world
The governments are forcing EV adoption, the market is NOT driving it
The free market isn't free
If you can remember "the first time muscle cars died" you can surely remember when the car companies came to DC to get their bailout money - they were ridiculed for flying private jets, then laughed at for driving gas guzzlers - that wasn't even the beginning of the "market" capitulating to government dictates, nor will it be the last
Batteries can be manufactured anywhere, but the USA doesn't own the raw materials to actually MAKE batteries or solar panels, but china does
99.1% of all electricity in the USA is produced by government-owned agencies, and if in my state, if you are dealing with a cooperative you are over paying by at least 10 cents a kilowatt


I would not own an EV. I might lease one. Owning one means owning the Battery. Batteries die and financing a replacement? Thats a big bite out of where your wallet resides. What happens to all those dead deadly batteries?

They get recycled

Pass the Koolaid
New Driver

Am I the only one who is reminded of the song Red Barchetta by the band RUSH?

I didn't put the two together, though I have been listening to the solar federation trio since this morning. Don't know if you caught the piece about Neil's car collection/auction. He was indeed a motor head and had some fine cars.

Rest assured this column will be linked to a private Chrysler employee group. 

New Driver

Now that is beautifully written. Genius
New Driver

Hey JB. It's 1890. I love horses. Wouldn't be caught dead on one of those motor contraptions
and no one that I know wants to buy one. How do you drive them on narrow horse paths and through mud? Where do you get that smelly stuff that they burn? Why go through all of that when a horse can fuel itself anywhere? Blacksmiths and saddle makers are everywhere. Horses reproduce themselves before they wear out or break. How is all of this going to work?

Went through this in the '70's, didn't think it would happen again, on a larger scale. Those days were the best, it was all about wrenching on them.
Pit Crew

I trust that most of this article is tongue in cheek and that Jack understands that EVs are here to stay. The demand for Hellcats and such like is much less than the demand for EVs and the manufacturers most certainly have their fingers on that pulse.
I have had a Nissan Leaf for almost five years and have only opened the hood twice, and that was to fill the windshield washer reservoir. Granted, the range is less than 200 km but most of my trips are less than 60 km. It costs about 80 cents to fill it up. If I want a driving experience, I fire up the MG TC.
For the price of a Hellcat, I could buy a decent XK120, Healy 1000, or just about anything that is better (and way cooler) than an over-powered four door sedan.
Intermediate Driver

My 2012 Challenger R/T Classic and my 1970 Dodge Super Bee are both paid for. You’ll have to raise those gas prices to double digits before it’s cheaper to finance a new electric eggbeater. I might have 20 years of driving left and I plan to do it with the sweet smell of high octane, the sound of a rumble dual exhaust and the head snap of dropping the clutch.

Equating the EV revolution with Afghanistan is spot on. EV’s are a bridge to nowhere.
Advanced Driver

A very good article, but the author is only half right. I wouldn't mind having an EV for a daily driver charged by solar panels on my roof. but for trips, vacations and just plain having fun I require a nice cool ice vehicle. Problem solved as long as I can still buy some fuel!

Good perspective. A half-asleep commute to a daily grind can be accomplished with a bland safety pod but a weekend jaunt should be enjoyed on as many levels as possible. It just requires the ability to own two vehicles.
Advanced Driver

I am by no means  well off financially but I have had two vehicles for the last 30 years. It just depends on your priorities.  

Pit Crew

WOW! Great article but no mention of the coming blackouts caused by the desire to rid us of fossil fuels before there is an alternative sufficient for demand.

As an ex GM engineering manager I was called a moron by a guy on line when I said the all in EV program is the beginning of the end for OEM's. No question EV's are fast, and we all may be forced into them in the next ten year if things don't change. But EV's are all really expensive, I am lucky enough to own many cars but how does a family making $60,000 (not great money but a "living" wage) a year afford to get one? Who will watch racing without the visceral roar? I also know that GM, for all their bravado, can't give up ICE for trucks (who wants to pull a trailer and have to stop every 200 miles for a long time to get a charge) and just came out with the most outrageous ICE in the new Z06. The only company fighting the good fight is Toyota, with their push for Hydrogen ICE engines. Funny, how the UAW sold out their powertrain "brothers and sisters" who won't have jobs in the EV world... it takes a non union Toyota to protect the jobs in the industry.

So an online troll called you a moron - there are few more accurate indications that you are in the right.
Pit Crew

Jack, I think you're spot on about EVs being for the rich and/or city dwellers. Living in an urban area, I see more than enough EVs on the road. I also see lots of old ICE vehicles with 30 day tags. When not being driven, those temp-tag ICE vehicles are often parked on the street in front of abodes with no garage (and thus nowhere to charge an EV), and very often they look like they'll expire before their tags do. Even so, those old ICE vehicles serve their purpose: providing inexpensive transportation (and a degree of freedom) for those who can't presently afford a newer ICE vehicle, much less an EV. 20 years from now, will we see old EVs with 30 days tags in urban neighborhoods? I think not. 20 years from now, will people who are struggling financially have fewer options for inexpensive transportation? I think so.
BTW, the late Brock Yates and the thankfully-still-with-us Peter Egan were my two favorite automotive writers (I'm glad Mr. Egan still occasionally puts pen to paper/fingers to keys). I consider you and Sam Smith to be the heirs apparent to Mr. Yates and Mr. Egan. Keep up the great work.
Pit Crew

It's way past time to join the resistance but better now than never. One day we could have a rebirth of sanity where we drive the cars we want and just like us old guys removed the pollution devices choking our engines big brother needs to be defeated.

HEY! I'm NOT that old! (.. don't feel it, anyway ...) and I removed a LOT of A.I.R. pumps and air injection manifolds for my friends' cars back in the day .. re-tuned and re-timed, those 70s cars could SCOOT with a measure of pleasure.
Pit Crew

It's a shame the current administration is forcing EV's on the public by starting to restrict the petroleum supply before they are even remotely price competitive with the lower end vehicles that almost all popular manufacturers produce many more than the high end ones like Hellcats, Corvettes and Cadillacs. There aren't all those Kia Souls on the road because they are fast handling machines, they are there because they are affordable. Something no EV can really claim to be without some sort of government rebate.

I have a 74 Pontiac Grand Am that I will probably have until I can't drive anymore. Whether it's because I am too old or the government makes gas so expensive, it becomes prohibitive.
With that being said, there is no doubt that EV's are the future. If you have ever ridden in one, you'll get it. BUT! Not with the current battery. It's too big, not enough capacity and takes too long to charge and if it goes bad, it is mucho $$$ to replace. If you have had your EV for a couple years, the entire value of your car is based on the condition of the battery. The growing pains alone will create headwinds for at least the next 10-15 years. I fear car manufacturers may have said they were going to be all electric in the next 10-15 years, but when horror stories of people having to buy $20k batteries, that will put a serious damper on sales. Unless car manufacturers keep that from happening, they may take it on the chin in terms of sales. Time will tell. Interesting times we live in.

I will miss the hellcat powered vehicles even though I have not had much of an interest in owning one. I still feel I'm going to be that "white haired uncle" from Rush's song "Red Barchetta". I'll just be in my Silver Supra...

My uncle has a country place
No one knows about
He says it used to be a farm
Before the "Motor Law"
And on Sundays I elude the eyes
And hop the turbine freight
To far outside the wire
Where my white-haired uncle waits
Jump to the ground
As the turbo slows to cross the borderline
Run like the wind
As excitement shivers up and down my spine
Down in his barn
My uncle preserved for me an old machine
For 50 odd years
To keep it as new has been his dearest dream
I strip away the old debris
That hides a shining car
A brilliant red Barchetta
From a better vanished time
We fire up the willing engine
Responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel
I commit my weekly crime
Wind in my hair
Shifting and drifting
Mechanical music
Adrenaline surge
Well-weathered leather
Hot metal and oil
The scented country air
Sunlight on chrome
The blur of the landscape
Every nerve aware
Suddenly ahead of me
Across the mountainside
A gleaming alloy air car
Shoots towards me, two lanes wide
I spin around with shrieking tires
To run the deadly race
Go screaming through the valley
As another joins the chase
Drive like the wind
Straining the limits of machine and man
Laughing out loud with fear and hope
I've got a desperate plan
At the one-lane bridge
I leave the giants stranded at the riverside
Race back to the farm
To dream with my uncle at the fireside
Advanced Driver

Good Article! Reminded me of the doom and gloom articles of Mopar Muscle in the 70’s and the actual doom and gloom by everyone driving k cars…. Flash Back 1977 I was a passenger in a recently purchased used car, a 1970 Superbird for $3,000. That day was filled with scratching off the used Superbirds for sale in both the Detroit News and Free Press. The day consisted of driving Mopar Muscle for purchase including Superbirds, Daytona’s and Charger 500’s finally deciding on the Bird purchased in Lansing after dotting all over Woodward Ave. The stoplights were a blast on the way home! Articles were laden with the demise of Chrysler’s Elephant. One of my favorite ads from Chrysler in the 70’s was “ We Would Like To Take This Opportunity To Thank Ford And GM For Using Chrysler Engines In Their Funny Car Racers”(still doing it today!) Anyone can make a fiberglass body, a only Chrysler can Engineer the HEMI ! What a great ad! Still have it framed today ! Fast forward to 2022 we are still seeing them in our rear view mirrors and the taillights. All I can say is “What a Run, Way to Go Mopar” !!! The demise of the Elephant in 2022??? Which one? My bets on the Animal and not the one Chrysler created with the HEMI !!! Where’s it going? WE WILL SEE, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK MOPAR OR DC OR WHATEVER!!! THE HEMI ROAMS THE EARTH…..
Advanced Driver

Everything Chrysler was running in NASCAR in 1969/70 was available in the used car section of both the Detroit News and Free Press in 1977 and dirt cheap!!!
Advanced Driver

Chrysler going into the battery age…. What a great vehicle name! CHARGER and Platform DC (Direct Connection) !

Sheezus Jack. I'm just glad you're on our side, that's all.
Pit Crew

First, a blip of the throttle to Baruth for his literary references. Rare are they in automotive... ah journalism.
But before I comment I'd really have to have the demographics for the Hellcat's market. You know: age, educational level, ability to spot a poetry citation.
C'mon, Baruth. You know or can find out.
"Knowledge exists to be imparted." Emerson
Intermediate Driver

Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy. WB Yeats
Pit Crew

Unavoidable laughter.
New Driver

Superbly-written article, even though I am mad as hell at the EV BS being rammed down throats of markets and consumers who don't want it, not to mention the host of technical, safety, and logistics issues that they never seem to talk about. The LAST thing it's about is the environment - rather, nothing but political agenda and greed motivated by evil. Let's hope all this dies down real soon.
New Driver

I do morn the days of the ICE, but it's getting it handed to itself at every corner. I hate Musk and Tesla, but the numbers are there. Torque off the line talks and hellcats don't even walk, they get shamed. I will keep pumping gas into my ICEs, absolutely, but I'll also buy an EV (and have) to tool around town in. Not to mention that the interstate infrastructure didn't just build itself - that was also a bunch of government intervention, which I don't love, but look what it got us. Feels like politics may have got in front of you on this one, and said without condoning the nanny stating that is clearly and already a problem.

Good article. Sure didn't know that Hellcat Chargers were such a "thing", though; around my Midwestern area, they seem far rarer than Hellcat Challengers.
Advanced Driver

Cars that use batteries to motivate are built from heavy metals and rare-earth elements. That is not fake news, that's reality. We have more than 100 million cars on the road in the US, not sure how ecologically friendly it will be to replace them all in 20 years.
Pit Crew

Finally someone that gets it. And yes it makes me sad as well. I started as a technician in Chrysler dealerships in 74 when they were phasing out muscle. 25 years later we were putting out a new model every six months and I had enough. Now they will discontinue a great product just to appease the climate change freaks. I hope they can figure out how to plug in their EVs or maybe not.

I showed this to my wife who's been grading college papers all week and she wanted me to let you know that this was the best thing she's read in a LONG LONG TIME.
New Driver

Interesting read, very well said. I’m getting to the sunset years and I’m not looking forward to retirement with the knowledge that the younger folks will be making decisions that probably affect my future. I’ve decided that saving all my money and hoping to enjoy my golden years is most likely asinine given the direction of the country thanks to the left wing idiocy. I think I’ll head down to my local Dodge dealer and order the Challenger Hellcat I always admired. Then I’m going to fire up a premium cigar and enjoy a top shelf bourbon when said vehicle is in my garage looking forward to hammering the throttle and enjoying the fantastic sounds of the fossil fueled supercharged V8 before I am too old to do so. I will never own an EV. That’s for a golf course.

Thank you Mr. Baruth for this article that reports what most of us out here think. I agree these auto giants are jumping into EV manufacturing with as much enthusiasm as a bunch of panic stricken rats jumping from a sinking ship. They, like the government, think the majority of the country are excited about the EV future. Has the DOT or factories actually crash tested any of these current EVs? It is MHO that they haven't. EV batteries are prone to combustion. What happens when an EV collides with an ICE vehicle? I've never seen any data concerning these questions. Has anyone else here?
Advanced Driver

I just read an article on ev/ice collision hazards written for first responders and I wish I would have saved it! It was very interesting to say the least and as always SAFETY was the utmost concern with both vehicles. On the battery’s THEY (yes big subject in itself) we’re developing state of the art roll cages for the vehicle and battery where collisions did not damage the battery or life. The battery cage was surrounded by a inflatable material not mentioned. All I could think of was another article I read years ago mentioning “”Aerogel””(google it). It was developed in the 30’s and refined in the 80’s by “Space Technology “ It is the worlds lightest substance (1/8” times the size of a football field weighed 1oz). That is not a typo “One Ounce”. What I found interesting was at 1/8” thick you could lay crayons on it and hold a blow torch below it forever and not melt the crayons!!! WHAT !!! And you can buy a chock of it on eBay (unbelievable) So, what I’m getting at is nowadays “YES THE TECHNOLOGY IS OUT THERE” . Ask STAR-MAN looking for the next habitable planet out there, right now….In his Tesla…Let safety and human life making loved one’s huggable just one more day….in vehicles
Advanced Driver

Inflatable material in above comment was supposed to read unidentifiable material (Damn spellcheck!:)

Per Tesla’s Emergency Response Guide:

”It can take between approximately 3000-8000 gallons of water, applied directly to the battery, to fully extinguish and cool down a battery fire...”.

”Battery fires can take up to 24 hours to fully cool”.

“Always advise second responders that there is a risk of battery re-ignition”.

”Due to potential re-ignition, a Model S that has been involved in a submersion, fire, or a collision that has compromised the high voltage battery should be stored in an open area at least 50 feet (15 m) from any exposure.

Intermediate Driver

The instrument has yet to be invented that can measure my indifference to your perfect statement. This is happening in ALL areas of American life, when you start praying to government instead of God, it is the beginning of the end.
Intermediate Driver

This article has provoked the most reader response since I joined hagerty......I think that speaks volumes!

The only debatable aspect of this former Detroit Edison vehicle would be whether it was motivated by diesel or gasoline.The only debatable aspect of this former Detroit Edison vehicle would be whether it was motivated by diesel or gasoline.A little more time to write today... 


I truly do believe in the idea of free markets, (which I've heard makes me a raging capitalist pig). As such I have no problem with electric vehicles. For the record, I ditched my gas-powered weed-eater for electric after I became fairly certain repeated pulls of the recoil starter are what damaged my shoulder... Repeated pulls because all two-strokes run like hot garbage due to emission regulations.


But I'm always struck by the fact that the very first logical place to use EVs is an electric utility. Despite tinkering with the idea for decades (the Google machine shows Public Relations experiments back to the 60s), the utilities, flush with cash, sitting on monopolies and able to pay their CEOs outrageously; have what percent of an electrified fleet? A good rule of thumb is that if such an otherwise positive piece of information is hard to come by, it's because it's embarrassingly low. 




You know, vehicles that come to the same place every evening, with loads of commercial infrastructure, a building full of mechanics, etc. In other words, the perfect EV environment.  Meanwhile most local gas utilities have been running Natural Gas ICEs for decades, again because of the ideal infrastructure.


Yet we have Teslas all over the place before a serious percentage of utility fleets are electrified. And don't give me the idea that "It's because they are all trucks". A huge amount of what utilities do, does not require trucks. Site inspections, line planning, even meter change-outs. As a landlord/part-time builder, I've been around for all of these on multiple occasions. Electric cars have been local-practical for a decade. I've yet to see a worker arrive in one, unless low-bid Chevy Cavaliers and Cobalts came in an electric form I've never seen.  Wouldn't a natural progression be electric fleet vehicles and THEN widespread consumer use, WITHOUT mandates from uncle Fed? Or if there are to be mandates, why not on the PUBLICALLY REGULATED UTILITIES first and foremost? 


Because they have more money to lobby with than you or I. 

Advanced Driver

Putting aside the valid points regarding battery sourcing and charging infrastructure, I think the biggest issue facing EV adoption at the moment is the fact that they are all building "spaceships". As an example, I will pick on the Tesla Model 3: it's air vents' direction/position is controlled by the touchscreen and actuated by motors. This is lunacy! First, you have taken the driver's eyes off the road for something that can be done without looking with good old-fashioned manually operated air-vents. Second, you have added even more motors/electronics to the mix, draining precious battery life that could be used to drive further. Another example, those fancy door handles that have sensors to detect when you touch them, then extend. Lunacy for the same batter drain/extra electronics reason above. All of this also adds to the price, complexity, and likelihood of a component failure.

How about some manufacturer do the following: just take their normal everyday ICE vehicle, stick electric hub motors on it (or attach them to the differential), put in the requisite control electronics, then stick batteries where the engine and gas tank were, and then stop. Yes, the weight distribution and packaging will be less than ideal, but you will have an affordable car with normal features. Alternatively, build a ground-up EV for better packaging efficiency, but just have the drivetrain by electric, and make the rest exactly the same as your non-EV (ICE and Hybrid) lineup. We don't need the "spaceship" stuff from Minority Report until the vehicles have reached a point of being the norm. Until then, just give us normal cars with EV drivetrain, and work on the infrastructure.

Also, I will not buy an EV unless this is the case or I am forced to.