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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.
177 REPLIES 177

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.

I do want to add to this comment:


1st, I am not against electric cars in general, just against how they are currently being created. Given the lack of infrastructure and the length of time to "refuel", adding unnecessary electronics for the sake of appearing to be the most "advanced" seems a foolish choice. I would rather have practical simplicity so that range can be maximized and cost of the vehicle decreased, which will encourage wider adoption, and make fuel stations more likely to invest in charging stations if there is demand.


2nd, as some manufacturers are realizing, creating an electric drivetrain (batteries, control system, plus motor(s)) that can "drop in" to an existing ICE platform has a few benefits. Among them is the ability to allow home mechanics to convert an existing car to electric without having to buy an all new vehicle and potentially send a chassis with life left in it to a scrap yard. Additionally, and for the same reason, this will extend our precious chassis' and bodies of aging classics, that otherwise might end up in the scrapheap when engine parts become unavailable, as not everyone has the time/money/space/equipment/expertise to swap in a new ICE engine, when an EV system is by all counts much easier to drop in at home and maintain. 


I recognize some wont like an old Edsel or Studebaker with an EV drivetrain at a car show, but is it really any more sacrilegious than LS swapping an old Ford? The important part is that a classic body is saved from the junkyard and made still drivable.

Pit Crew

jack you sound like a horse owner at the turn of the 20th century. they provided similar arguments at the advent of the horseless carriage. the dinosaurs went extinct as a result of the inability to adapt fast enough to the events facing them at the time of their demise. its best not to be them at this point in our existence.
Pit Crew

We have brownouts and rollingblackouts now, what makes ANYONE think wind and solor will help this problem in the next 40 years. OH! I forgot the world is going to END in 10 years, according to some squad somewhere..

Brownouts and Blackouts will also shut the fuel (pick you fuel) pumps down. ICE & Tesla’s side by side….
Advanced Driver

Not for me. (and maybe not for you .. IF you have
a few 5-gal tanks of electrons .. or maybe NOT.)
New Driver

George Orwell might have been a little premature with his predictions cicrca 1984, but his predictions nevertheless seem to be right on target.

Jack, very well done, you obviously had the bit in your teeth on this one. I agree, and from what I see in the comments there are others who do the same. Thank you, and Happy Holidays.
New Driver

That '70s Show. All the good stuff disappeared (remember the Pinto-based Mustang?). Detroit did FWD, Japanese wannabes and got whupped. Went bankrupt. Repeat. Detroit does Tesla wannabes. Gets whupped. The Hellcat will rise again.


Don’t Forget The Rice Burning Challenger…..Hang On!, yeah RIGHT. Fast Forward 2021 YEAH RIGHT !!!
Advanced Driver

It’s funny how the world changed and not for the better. The beauty of internal combustion is efficient power run by competing companies to produce the cheapest highest quality fuel hence the price has remained relatively stable throughout the petroleum age. Improvements were made and efficiency increased throughout the age and could improve still if allowed.
So who was left out in the cold? The government that’s who, a slice of the pie is not the whole pie!
Most importantly imagination blossomed during the petroleum age during the early Hot Rod days to the 70’s when individuals could make improvements and create automotive art which prompted interest in engineering and design leading to the best of the best coming from America, (culminating in the Hellcat) and Corvette which others could only dream of emulating at a reasonable price.
There is literally no “next step” to an electric car just use it and throw it away like an old washing machine. Perhaps some day some enlightened soul will buy a burned out Tesla and install an LS6 454 or a Hemi that I’d like to see!!
New Driver

Back at the turn of the 19th century some of your arguments against EVs would also have been valid about ice cars. Only the rich could afford them and not a lot of consumer demand are a couple. It's ironic that one of their selling points of cars was they would reduce pollution by eliminating horse manure from our city streets. My guess is gasoline stations were slow to come to rural America just as charging stations will be. One thing is for sure and that's, things change and we old timers (I'm 71) generally don't like it. 100 years from now some rich guy is going to have an early model Tesla in his vehicle collection. Time marches on folks.
New Driver

You are far more eloquent than I, but I feel like I've been writing this article in my mind, watching the insanity for the last couple of decades. I feel like I am beating my head against a wall in almost every conversation, simply trying to understand what this "EV is the future" plan looks like, and how it's supposed to work without creating catastrophic cascade failures across our supply chains.

I'm constantly met with inarticulate responses ranging from "LOL ok you gas guzzling moron" to "Government knows best, now kneel". We need to find ways to do more with less. Which is actually relatively easy, but it's not glamorous, and it doesn't sell product.

Just a simple example: Let's start with letting go of the antiquated 9-5 lifestyle and high rise building frenzy. Let people work from home, the reduction in unnecessary traffic and pollution has already show demonstrable improvement during the pandemic. Why create more commute time, more overhead, and more waste when we have proven that the workforce doesn't need to be packed into offices to get the job done.

It seems that people truly think we can buy more products, more often, in order to save the environment. Ignoring the fact that that will exponentially increase the resource contention and demand we already have. Never mind the fact that we are selling our oil futures to foreign companies in order to make, and ship these products not once, but two or three times across the ocean. And we're putting our future into the hands of 3rd world countries who use slave labor and war to secure mineral rights to these pit mines, with no moral, ethical, or ecological conscience.

Having these products made internationally means they are exempt from EPA scrutiny, or any sort of pollution or process control really, at bare minimum. But, we are saving the planet, who cares if China is dumping waste reagent and byproduct straight into the rivers and soil, who cares if they pump pollution into the air, creating thick smog that drifts far across the world.

Apparently the answer is using governments to ban ICE, and enforce EV only sales globally by 8 years. Then handing the entirety of our future over to developing countries with no understanding or regard for ethical or ecological practices.

This "movement" serves only to create a new generation of oil barons, who will coincidentally be much the same as the last generation, likely with very familiar names and faces. It's driven by greed, and a desire to prey on the inner guilt instilled in you by clever marketing and paid for media coverage.

This article approved by Hellcat Nation.👍
Advanced Driver

Meh. I'm not really a MOPAR guy. If I'm going to spend a few thousand words lamenting the death of ICE I'm going to do it whinging about a Ford.

Start with the 4 (FOR-D) Door Mustang and the F-Series

Here is the deal.

The Challenger is what sells the Hellcat is a marketing plan.

In the big picture the Hellcat is not a volume car but a well planned marketing plan that sold more regular over weight regular Challengers.

The real trouble is we have a major industry that is being regulated by a large body of people with no clue about anything mechanical lobbied by groups with agendas.

The auto industry has given up and stopped fighting and decided to go EV. Why now because they have found in the next ten years most EV models will meet the needs of most customers and they will be in place to make more money.

Yet we will be saddled wit other products like EV mowers and air blowers that just don’t do the job.

We really need people in office that get the big picture but yet we are stuck with some who claim they are car enthusiast because the drive a Corvette up and down their drive way.

The real scary thing is the drop in sales of the Challenger, Mustang and Camaro. The public now have the best versions of each but sales are no where near what they once were will into 6 figure and even 7 figures.

The market has changed and even if EV models had not come would we still have these cars as their numbers are not sustainable.
Intermediate Driver

What an asinine piece.

I'm not sure why I am going to care about Dodge when the V8's go away. It's sad to see them go.
Intermediate Driver

Great story Jack. Loved it!
Pit Crew

Deja Vu all over again
Remember the feeling when the '72 cars took a serious loss of h.p. Then '73 rolled around, they lost MORE , plus many of the cars were downright BUTT UGLY with their gigantic bumpers. Same thing.
Pit Crew

Great article

Jack Baruth, last Neanderthal standing.
Pit Crew

Jack, this is brilliant! You have clearly illustrated where we are headed, and I hate it. Baruth for President, 2024!
New Driver

I "LOVE" this guy! He speaks my language. If the nay sayers were honest, they would admit that this is not a soliloquy but the feeling of many, gear-heads notwithstanding.....

The truth is this. We the enthusiast have adjusted and built what we needed over the yearsa and we will continue from this point on.
The Charger and Challenger are growing old in the tooth. They are becoming the car of the present day Mullet or what ever style there is today. These cars are getting beat to death and have wheels sticking way out of the wheel wells with the neon lights and other odd appendages on them.
I am not looking forward to the EV cars but it is not the end of the world. I do tire of the Tesla card tricks with how fast I can go to 60 mph when the customers are more concerned about how many minutes to full charge is what is on their mind.

We have enough hardware sitting around to have plenty of fodder for collector cars for a good while now. Our concern should be to protect the future of the collector car as the future of the new car already is set.
Many here are not happy that we have lost most of the manual gear boxes but we need to make sure they don't take our classics away. It will take the power of SEMA and companies Like Hagerty and others to reinforce that we make little impact to the planet but a major impact to many economic companies and places. Our hobby employs many. We should not expect them all to stop what they are doing and install solar panels.
And that's a fact Jack.

New Driver

Thanks for the shout out to the 2003 SRT-4, Jack! 😁

That program was a turning point for production performance vehicle engineering in Auburn Hills...
Pit Crew

I first read this on a Buick forum, of all places, because many of the (advanced age) hardcore Buick guys have become disillusioned with mother "gm" and turned to buying Challengers/Chargers for their affordable-ish, fullsize, full power fix. This is the story that made me find the Hagerty site and start reading "Avoidable Contact". And I'll say the same thing here that I said there, Jack: That was beautiful, and sad, and every car guy should have to read it.