The Truth About Cars » Dodge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:30:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Dodge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1976 Dodge Colt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096361 We’ve seen plenty of front–wheel–drive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory. Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for […]

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23- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’ve seen plenty of frontwheeldrive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory.
17- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for decades.

08- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The severity of the top-down rust indicates that it lived near the ocean, or maybe under a leaky tarp in a shaded Bay Area yard.

11- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Someone took the cylinder head off and said “To hell with it.”

01- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Still, you can always find something useful on a car like this. The instrument cluster would be useful for a Colt restorer.

18- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Ah, Malaise.


Hemi engine!


This appears to be the same car, down to the blue tape stripes. Look, adjustable steering column!

15- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Dodge Grand Caravan Continuing Into 2017 Model Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/dodge-grand-caravan-continuing-into-2017-model-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/dodge-grand-caravan-continuing-into-2017-model-year/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097873 Mourning over the loss of the Dodge Grand Caravan? You won’t need to pour a 40 out for your homie yet, as production will go on through the 2017 model year. Per an internal document unearthed by Automotive News‘s sources, FCA will continue production of the minivan alongside the redesigned Chrysler Town & Country set […]

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2015 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT Blacktop Package

Mourning over the loss of the Dodge Grand Caravan? You won’t need to pour a 40 out for your homie yet, as production will go on through the 2017 model year.

Per an internal document unearthed by Automotive News‘s sources, FCA will continue production of the minivan alongside the redesigned Chrysler Town & Country set to hit the line February 29, 2016. The 2017 model — bearing the same code as the 2015 edition — will join the T&C August 23 of the same year.

The continuation of the Grand Caravan — originally slated to end in 2016 — may be a hedge against losing market share over the T&C’s new look, and would also meet demand in Canada and from fleet owners.

A representative reiterated the Grand Caravan would eventually be discontinued, adding no further details on the continuation could be given at this time.

(Photo credit: Dodge)

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FCA Defects from Takata, Finds Solace with TRW for Airbag Inflators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-defects-from-takata-finds-solace-with-trw-for-airbag-inflators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-defects-from-takata-finds-solace-with-trw-for-airbag-inflators/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097793 FCA, looking a 4.1 million unit recall in the face thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, will source replacements from a rival, ZF-owned TRW Automotive. The Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram parent will be the first company to refuse to toe the line. While the announcement has not yet been made official, The Detroit News obtained “copies of the written […]

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FCA US HQ

FCA, looking a 4.1 million unit recall in the face thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, will source replacements from a rival, ZF-owned TRW Automotive.

The Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram parent will be the first company to refuse to toe the line.

While the announcement has not yet been made official, The Detroit News obtained “copies of the written testimony from the executives ahead of Tuesday’s hearing” before the Senate Commerce Committee.

Scott G. Kunselman, FCA U.S. senior vice president and head of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance, said in written testimony the company is “replacing all driver-side inflators involved in the recall with an alternate and permanent design provided by TRW,” effective June 8.

That does not mean FCA is leaving Takata full stop. The two companies are working together to improve passenger airbag inflators, says the report.

A total of eleven automakers have been affected by the recalls.

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Crapwagon Outtake: 1987 Shelby CSX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/crapwagon-outtake-1987-shelby-csx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/crapwagon-outtake-1987-shelby-csx/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095521 I grew up thinking – nay, knowing – that Mopars were crap. What can I say? I’m a child of the Eighties. A kid that grew up in an import household. All of the Chrysler products I ever saw were causing headaches for their hapless owners. Most were unremarkable, unmistakable derivations of the venerable K-car […]

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1987 Shelby CSX

I grew up thinking – nay, knowing – that Mopars were crap. What can I say? I’m a child of the Eighties. A kid that grew up in an import household. All of the Chrysler products I ever saw were causing headaches for their hapless owners. Most were unremarkable, unmistakable derivations of the venerable K-car platform, seemingly built in endless minor variations to minimize the time spent on engineering.

For whatever reason, I didn’t “get” the hype around Carroll Shelby, either. Whatever his racing/engineering genius, he seemed to be a publicity-hungry blowhard who would put his name on anything for a massive pile of cash. Again, this was a time before televised classic-car auctions, where anything with Shelby’s name requires a massive pile of cash.

So, when I surreptitiously took my dad’s Car and Driver and Road & Track in my backpack to school, to read at lunch or on the toilet, the waves of Turbo Dodges spilling from the page made little impression. (Thanks to the excellent Shelby-Dodge.com for the reprinted road test.) These cars were seriously quick for the time, putting out 175 hp or more with decent (if harsh) handling for the time. They actually threatened pony cars on the track!

This car for sale in South Dakota, #359 of 750, looks rather clean, save some needed detailing. Under seventy thousand on the odometer looks impressive, too, though I’d be concerned about deferred maintenance on a car that’s likely been sitting a good bit. I wonder if these will ever command big money like Carroll’s Ford-derived specials do. At $9,000, this doesn’t look like too much of a gamble.

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FCA Delaying Dozen Model Introductions, Redesigns Across Product Range http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-delaying-dozen-model-introductions-redesigns-across-product-range/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-delaying-dozen-model-introductions-redesigns-across-product-range/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 16:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082089 Suppliers close to FCA and its plans say production for a dozen new and redesigned models have been delayed, including key Jeep and Ram offerings. While high-margin products like the Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, and Ram 1500 wait for their redesigns, Alfa Romeo may be the only brand in FCA’s portfolio to receive its awaited […]

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition

Suppliers close to FCA and its plans say production for a dozen new and redesigned models have been delayed, including key Jeep and Ram offerings.

While high-margin products like the Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, and Ram 1500 wait for their redesigns, Alfa Romeo may be the only brand in FCA’s portfolio to receive its awaited models much sooner than planned, Reuters reports.

The suppliers stated a number of reasons behind the delays, including last-minute design and engineering changes, especially those whose changes could reduce the automaker’s overall investment in its products in the short-term as CEO Sergio Marchionne continues seeking a partner for consolidation. FCA held a net debt of €8.6 billion ($9.6 billion USD) at the end of Q1 2015, while cash and marketable securities fell €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) over the same period.

Despite the automaker’s focus on updating its most profitable models, redesigns of said models are being pushed back. The redesigned Ram 1500 was to hit production by the middle of 2017, but the suppliers say the pickup will begin its trip down the line in November 2017. Meanwhile, the Jeep Wrangler is set for a July 2017 introduction instead of earlier in the year, the Grand Cherokee may be delayed by as much as a year from its autumn 2017 launch, and the Grand Wagoneer — which is expected to share its underpinnings with the Grand Cherokee — may not make its autumn 2018 production date.

Other models to see delays in introduction or redesign include: a Jeep compact crossover to replace the Patriot/Compass siblings (pushed back six months from spring 2016); Dodge Dart and Journey (full redesign set for 2019-2020); Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger (new designs to now come in 2019 or later); and Chrysler full-size and mid-size crossovers (postponed/shelved from 2017 and 2018 introductions).

[Photo credit: Jeep]

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The Night That Danger Girl Stole A Black Challenger From The Airport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/night-danger-girl-stole-black-challenger-airport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/night-danger-girl-stole-black-challenger-airport/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 17:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1077714 “Let me show you how this works,” Danger Girl laughed, as we descended the stairs in the airport parking garage. I call her Danger Girl because 0. I keep putting her in danger, sometimes mortal; 1. She soloed in a Cessna before she turned seventeen; 2. She has certain other dangerous habits that, this being […]

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chally1

“Let me show you how this works,” Danger Girl laughed, as we descended the stairs in the airport parking garage. I call her Danger Girl because

0. I keep putting her in danger, sometimes mortal;
1. She soloed in a Cessna before she turned seventeen;
2. She has certain other dangerous habits that, this being a different kind of publication than it was in days past, cannot be discussed in the full and frank fashion with which it was once my delight to oppress our more delicate readers.

She’d told me that we were renting a Camry. I was happy about this. I like renting Camrys. But as we walked towards a line of cars that clearly included Camrys, Danger Girl took a sharp right turn towards a black Challenger in what I was pretty sure was the rental return lane. “I can take any car I want,” she informed me, “so I’m going to take this one.” I loaded our luggage into the wide, flat, Seventies-style trunk as she fired up the Pentastar and adjusted the seat. “Off we go!” she laughed, and we drove up two levels of a circular ramp and out into the warm California night.

As we entered the freeway, something occurred to me.

“Hey… aren’t you supposed to, like, tell somebody you’re taking this car?”


Danger Girl’s response was measured. “I… suppose… that maybe we should have passed some kind of security gate. But I do this all the time. I just take whatever car I want and then my company pays for it.”

“Have you ever just driven a car out without talking to anyone?” There was a long pause.

“Maybe, possibly, not.”

“Should I call the rental agency?”

“If you want.” I called the rental agency. There were three options in the automated system. None of them corresponded to reporting a self-stolen car. So I pressed the third option.

“Blah-blah Car Rental, this is LaQueesha speaking.” I’m not making that up; it was her name.

“Yes, ah, I picked up a rental car from the airport and nobody asked me for any ID or had me sign anything.”

“Can I get the identifying number on the car?” I read it to her.

“Sir, I’m showing that car as being in our inventory.”

“Well, that’s because I drove it out and nobody stopped me.”

“Well, I am showing that we still have it.”

“Well, I,” I responded in somewhat irritated fashion, “am showing that it is driving down the 405.”

“What do you want me to do about that, sir?”

“Could you, I don’t know, maybe put it in your computer that it wasn’t stolen? That we’re bringing it back?”

“I’ll have to connect you to the rental office to do that.”

“Then connect me.” And the phone promptly bleeped to inform me that the other party had hung up.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Danger Girl said, “it’s a black Challenger, they won’t be looking for it.”

“Baby,” I whined in response, “cops like pulling over black Challengers so much they don’t even care which one it is!

“I don’t know what you’re moaning about. I’m the one driving, not you.”

“I’m an accomplice! Plus, this is California! They’ll arrest me for stare-raping you into doing it or something!”

“This thing’s pretty fast,” Danger Girl noted, as the speedometer swung past ’70’ on the four-lane surface street. “But I can’t see out of it at all.”

“Then why are you going so fast?”

“In case they’re looking for us.” I dialed the rental car company again. And got Omar. Who also hung up on me.

“Well, I want to have a drink,” Danger Girl exclaimed, “so I think we should give it to these valet people.”

* * *
In the morning, we fetched the Challenger back from the valet. There were no cops waiting to bust us. Having spent half of my life in imminent expectation that either the police or the film crew from “Cheaters” would appear around the next corner, I didn’t truly relax until we were away from the hotel and back on the freeway, where Danger Girl accelerated to a steady eighty-in-a-fifty-five.

“You cannot,” I explained, as if to a child, “operate a stolen car with this degree of recklessness.”

“Hey!” she exclaimed. “It’s another Challenger just like us!” And in truth I’d seen four black rental V6 Challys that day already.

chally2

This one was being driven by a Hispanic fellow with a face tattoo. I instructed DG to stick close to him as we traveled to the parking garage where my car was stored, figuring that the LAPD, given the choice between pulling over a blonde girl in a North Face jacket or a Mexican with a face tattoo, would choose the latter, even if the license plate on the APB matched the former.

We retrieved my car without difficulty and Danger Girl had an idea. “Hey. There’s an airport here, too,” she said, with the same kind of wonder a child might display while playing SimCity. “Let’s leave the car at the rental office.” We pulled up in convoy and she drove in without me. Two young black women awaited her.

“Girls,” DG chirped, “this car is from another airport. They just let me take it. I’m giving it back.”

You just took it!” responded the lot attendants, in tuneful unison. I could read their minds from a distance. This is what these blonde bitches get up to! They steal cars! And don’t nobody stop them!

“I just took it!” DG responded. “Would you like it back?”

“Well,” one of the attendants responded, scanning it half-heartedly, “It don’t be showing up in the system.”

“So,” DG prompted, “it’s like this never happened! Do I have to pay you anything?”

“I guess not,” the taller of the two replied.

“Well then. Goodbye!”

“Goodbye!” the lot girls said, again in tuneful unison. DG hopped into the passenger seat of my car. Behind her, I could hear one attendant say to the other,

“She just took the car.”

“Surely,” I opined, as the three-cylinder engine roared to life behind me and we pulled away, “there will be consequences for this.” And yet there were not.

THE END.

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FCA US Reducing Powertrain Warranty To 60K Miles For 2016 Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-reducing-powertrain-warranty-to-60k-miles-for-2016-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-reducing-powertrain-warranty-to-60k-miles-for-2016-models/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 19:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1077546 Those shopping for a new Charger, 300, Wrangler or 1500 because of the powertrain warranty may need to pull the trigger soon due to an upcoming mileage cut. According to the following statement, FCA US is cutting the warranty down from the current 5-year/100,000-mile guarantee to a new 5-year/60,000-mile term for the 2016 model year, […]

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21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track Exterior-007

Those shopping for a new Charger, 300, Wrangler or 1500 because of the powertrain warranty may need to pull the trigger soon due to an upcoming mileage cut.

According to the following statement, FCA US is cutting the warranty down from the current 5-year/100,000-mile guarantee to a new 5-year/60,000-mile term for the 2016 model year, Automotive News reports:

Following changes already made by competitors, FCA US is adjusting powertrain warranty coverage for 2016 model year vehicles to be more consistent with industry practices. For 2016MY, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram Truck vehicles with gasoline engines will be covered by a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.

An FCA representative says the company’s 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty will remain unchanged, while diesels, Alfas and Fiats are not affected by the policy change; Fiat has its own 4-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The move follows General Motors’ decision in March 2015 to cut-down its 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty for its Chevrolet and GMC products to a 5-year/60,000-mile policy.

[Source: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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Chart Of The Day: What If Dodge And Ram Were Still Just Dodge? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chart-day-dodge-ram-still-just-dodge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chart-day-dodge-ram-still-just-dodge/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 12:45:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072834 As recently as 2009, Dodge was the sixth-best-selling auto brand in the United States. But through the first four months of 2015, Dodge is the tenth-best-selling auto brand in America. Granted, Dodge volume has fallen 15% year-over-year, but the real reason for Dodge’s lower ranking is that the Dodge of today isn’t the Dodge of […]

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Dodge Ram sales chart

As recently as 2009, Dodge was the sixth-best-selling auto brand in the United States.

But through the first four months of 2015, Dodge is the tenth-best-selling auto brand in America. Granted, Dodge volume has fallen 15% year-over-year, but the real reason for Dodge’s lower ranking is that the Dodge of today isn’t the Dodge of yesterday. 

Ram, formerly part of the Dodge division, is the twelfth-ranked auto brand in America so far this year.

As a unit, Dodge/Ram is currently – you guessed it – the sixth-best-selling auto brand in America, ahead of FCA’s top-selling Jeep brand. Ahead of Hyundai, too.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Piston Slap: Minivan or SUV to Take the “A” Liner? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/piston-slap-10/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/piston-slap-10/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 11:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074810   Clark writes: Sajeev, We plan on buying a hard-side folding camper (a.k.a. an Aliner) with a dry weight of about 2,100 lbs. Which minivan or SUV would you recommend? Sajeev answers: I would be remiss if I didn’t admit I kinda want a pop-up camper to tow behind my Ranger. Kinda the same thing…sorta. Anyway, if […]

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Get to where you’re goin’ in a hurry. (photo courtesy: roamingtimes.com)

Clark writes:

Sajeev,

We plan on buying a hard-side folding camper (a.k.a. an Aliner) with a dry weight of about 2,100 lbs. Which minivan or SUV would you recommend?

Sajeev answers:

I would be remiss if I didn’t admit I kinda want a pop-up camper to tow behind my Ranger. Kinda the same thing…sorta.

Anyway, if you stick with an Aliner and don’t totally overload both the trailer and exceed the tow rig’s GVWR, almost any late-model V6 powered CUV or minivan is fine. I’d go vanning, for practicality and stretch out comfort; ideal for a small family, a couple, or just one person with mucho outdoor stuff. And their boxy shape (usually) punches a larger hole in the air for the trailer to “rest” inside.

Consider these minivan parameters, in no particular order:

  1. The option for a large, standalone, transmission cooler. And maybe the same for power steering. Or, as previously discussed, a super trick bolt-in setup in the aftermarket. Or perhaps give up and get the largest universal-fitting tranny cooler you can slap in. The latter could be the best and most affordable alternative.
  2. Size of brake discs and, to a lesser extent, any variance in caliper surface area between manufacturers. While I’m not holding my breath for a minivan with 4-piston front calipers, that would be sweet.
  3. Towing Capacity: checking the manufacturer websites, Chrysler wins the minivan towing race for MY 2015. Not only does it have available trailer sway control, there’s an extra 100 lbs of tow rating beyond every 3,500 pound rated minivan. But is that extra rated 100 lbs a tangible improvement?
    1. Another option: The Nissan Quest offers the same 3,500 pound towing capacity, but is the CVT gearbox is a good or bad thing? Good: CVTs work so well to put down power with efficiency, no steps for downshifting must be nice with the extra demands from towing. Bad: well, who here actually knows people who tow with CVT gearboxes over long periods of time?
  4. Tires: with all that load, finding the van with the most tow-worthy rubber is also important. Or switch to LT tires.
  5. Ease of adding aftermarket camping accessories: if you want it, can you get it for non-Chrysler minivans?
  6. U-body with LS4-FTW. Obviously, the rightest of the most righteous answers, if not the easiest to acquire. How sad for everyone!

What say you, Best and Brightest?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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2015 Dodge Charger R/T Road and Track Review (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-dodge-charger-rt-road-track-review-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/2015-dodge-charger-rt-road-track-review-video/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 11:18:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071058 The first car I bought new was a 2000 Chrysler LHS. (I single handedly lowered the model’s average age demographic.) It was the very pinnacle of Chrysler’s Iacocca turn-around. It was large, competitive and made from Chrysler’s universal parts bin. Then Mercedes came on the scene promising to “synergize” product development with their luxury brand. The […]

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21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track Exterior

The first car I bought new was a 2000 Chrysler LHS. (I single handedly lowered the model’s average age demographic.) It was the very pinnacle of Chrysler’s Iacocca turn-around. It was large, competitive and made from Chrysler’s universal parts bin. Then Mercedes came on the scene promising to “synergize” product development with their luxury brand. The plan had a promising start with the 300 HEMI C concept, but the production reality was a big sedan with a plastacular interior and Mercedes hand-me-down parts.

Now that Mercedes and Chrysler have divorced, we’re starting to see what a real German-American synergy looks like. For 2015, the Dodge Charger has gone under the knife to look leaner and meaner with a new German transmission. Like my 2000 LHS, this may just be the pinnacle of the Marchionne turn around. It’s big, it’s bold and it’ll make you forget why you stopped to look at that Toyota Avalon last week.

Identify the Competition
The Charger is a segment oddity because it’ll be the only four-door muscle car after the Chevrolet SS drives into the sunset. No, the Hyundai Genesis doesn’t really count – that’s a luxury entry and it’s American cross-shop would be the Chrysler 300. That leaves the Charger to battle the Avalon, Taurus, Impala, Cadenza, Maxima and Azera. (Or, if you buy the Hellcat, a ballistic missile.) Sure, you can compare anything to anything, but the Charger is tough to categorize, so I’ll just focus on this main segment.

Exterior
As the only RWD entry in this segment, the Charger has very different proportions than the rest of the crowd with its ever-so-long hood. Since 2015 is a refresh rather than a redesign, the hard points remain the same as before but the style has been significantly altered and essentially every panel has been changed. I’m not entirely sure that the “Daddy Dart” look up front is the style I would have chosen, but it looks far more grown up than the 2014 model. Out back we get better integrated exhaust tips and a refinement of the Dodge “race track” light strip.

21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track Interior-003

Interior
While the engineers touched every panel on the outside, interior changes are minor. The same 8.4-inch uConnect touchscreen is still nestled in the dash (SE models get a 5-inch screen) and the style is still decidedly retro. On the driver’s side we get a new 7-inch color LCD between the speedometer and tachometer in all models. There are still some hard plastics to be found and the dashboard is a little rubbery, but that places the Charger on equal footing with the Impala while the Avalon and Cadenza have slightly nicer interiors.

FCA reps said that no changes were made to the seat cushion design for 2015, but our tester lacked the pronounced hump found in the 2012 model we last tested, an issue that make me feel like I was sitting on a very large gumdrop.

In a car this big, you’d expect a big booty, but the smallish trunk lid foreshadows the decidedly mid-size trunk at 15.4 cu-ft, 7 percent smaller than a Ford Fusion’s cargo spot and only 15 percent bigger than that of the compact Ford Focus. In general, the full-size car label no longer guarantees large luggage capacity. So, on paper, the Charger’s smallish trunk is fairly competitive with the likes of the Toyota Avalon (14.4) but the Taurus’ ginormous booty will schlep 25 percent more warehouse store bagels. The rear seats fold down to reveal a large pass-thru and the wide and fairly flat rear seats make three baby seats across a tight but entirely doable adventure.

21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track Engine

Drivetrain
SE and SXT models use the familiar 3.6L Pentastar V6 tuned to 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Adding the $1,495 Rallye Group on the SXT adds eight ponies and four lb-ft. This puts the Dodge right in line with the front wheel drive competition in terms of power.

Unlike the competition, the Charger offers some more powerful engines to choose from. Scroll down the spec sheet and you find not one, not two, but three different V8s on offer. R/T and R/T Road and Track trims get the popular 5.7L V8 good for 370 hp / 395 lb-ft, R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 models make do with a 485 hp / 475 lb-ft 6.4L V8, and if you want to throw caution to the wind there’s a 6.2L supercharged V8 making a whopping 707 horsepower.

8HP

Last year most models had the old Mercedes 5-speed automatic with just some trims getting the new ZF-sourced 8-speed. This year every Charger gets the 8-speed and the difference is eye-opening.

For those of you unfamiliar with the transmission world, ZF is a German company that makes transmissions and licenses transmission designs for a wide variety of performance and luxury cars. You’ll find ZF transmissions lurking under the hoods of twin-turbo V12 Rolls Royces, inline-6 BMWs and AWD Audis, so the Charger is rubbing elbows with some classy company.

21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track uConnect 8.4.CR2-001

Performance
Not only does the new 8-speed have a lower first gear for improved acceleration, it also has a taller top gear for improved highway economy. If you ever wondered how much difference a transmission alone can make, the Charger is a perfect test case. Last year, the V6 with the 5-speed needed 8.5 seconds to run to 60, this year it’s 7.0 flat, making the V6 Charger competitive with the pack. The 5.7L V8 model was about as fast as the last Maxima at 6.1 seconds. This year, the same engine will do it in 5.0 seconds with the Road and Track rear axle ratio and 5.1 seconds without it. That means the Taurus SHO competitor is no longer the 6.4L V8 but the 5.7L model we’re testing.

Let’s tally this up so we keep this in perspective. The V6 is now competitive with the competition and the 5.7L V8 is now a hair faster than the SHO. What makes the Charger crazy is  we still have two engines left. Add the Scat Pack to the R/T, or choose the SRT 392 and acceleration drops to 4.2-4.3 seconds as long as the tires can find grip. The Hellcat, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is the fastest production sedan with a blistering 2.9 seconds to 60 if you are willing to wear racing slicks and put your life on the line.

An interesting note of trivia is that Charger Pursuit police cars still get ye olde 5-speed with both the 3.6L and 5.7L engines. The reason likely has more to do with the 5-speed automatic’s column mounted shifter in Pursuit guise than any durability benefit.

21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track Exterior-001

Drive
In many of the trims the Charger comes across as “under-tired.” Before you get your flamethrowers out, allow me to explain. The Charger SE is a 4,000lb vehicle riding on low rolling resistance 215/65R17 tires; handling isn’t its forte. The SXT gets 235/55R18 all-season performance tires with a 245-width option. Handling is easily equal to the Avalon despite weighing 500lbs more due to the Charger’s near perfect weight balance. The R/T gets 245/45R20 rubber, which honestly feels a little skinny for 370 hp, especially if you get the Road and Track. On the flip side, it’s easy to smoke your tires if you’re into that. The Scat Pack feels as under-tired as the SE because it adds 115 horsepower, some curb weight and changes essentially nothing else. If you like a car that has a very lively rear end, this is your car. The SRT 392 significantly upgrades the brakes, tires (275/40R20), and suspension and I found it to be well balanced in terms of power vs grip. Then the Hellcat comes along with 222 extra horses and no extra grip. You get the picture.

Under-tired doesn’t translate to less fun – quite the opposite in my book. In fact, the Charger reminded me of the base Mustang and FR-S. Confused? Toyota’s mission with the FR-S was supposed to be a car to explore RWD dynamics without breaking the bank. Know what? That’s actually the Charger. Starting at $27,995, it’s only $1,000 more than an automatic FR-S and $2,000 more than a V6 Mustang with the auto. Unlike the FR-S, you get a power seat, dual-zone climate control, the 7-inch LCD in the gauge cluster, a much snazzier radio, three extra gears in your transmission and usable back seats. Will it dance around an autocross track like an FR-S? No, but you have almost as much fun and still use the car on the school run. Our R/T Road and Track tester was the same sort of thing taken to the next level.

21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track Exterior-003

All versions of the Charger deliver a civilized ride thanks to the well designed suspension and a long wheelbase as much as the size and weight of the vehicle. As with all modern cars, electric power steering sucks some of the fun out of the RWD platform, but the boost is adjustable. And because the front wheels are only responsible for steering, you get considerably more feedback than in the FWD or AWD competition. Despite the heft, braking fade was well controlled, although distances are a little longer than I’d like due mostly to the tire sizes involved.

Compared to the SHO, the Charger has a more polished ride. The SHO has an enormous trunk and a more accommodating back seat. The SHO is all-wheel-drive which gives you better traction, but the Charger has better weight balance and more accurate feel on the road. Compared to the FWD competition, the Charger feels more substantial out on the road, more precise and certainly handles the corners with less drama. There’s no torque steer and surprisingly neutral handling even in the heavier 6.4L models.

21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track Exterior.CR2-005

At $42,265, our model as tested managed to be $1,000 less than a comparable Avalon Limited, $2,000 less than a Cadenza Limited and, although it was slightly more expensive than the Taurus SHO, it had about $1,800 more equipment. The Charger’s discount price tag honestly surprised me. I had expected our tester to be a few grand more than the SHO.

What should you buy?
I’m glad you asked. Skip the V6. What’s the point of going RWD if you’re going to get the V6? I wouldn’t get the 5.7L V8 either. If you like the 5.7, buy the Chrysler 300. It has a nicer interior, a few extra available features and I think the front end is more attractive. I wouldn’t buy the Hellcat either, because I know I’d be “that guy” who wrapped it around a tree 5 minutes after driving it off the dealer lot. I am, however, eternally grateful the engineers created the bat-shit-crazy 6.2L engine because it makes the 485 hp 6.4L HEMI seem like a rational and practical engine choice. When driven very gently on level highway at 65 mph, the 6.4L V8 can deliver 28 mpg thanks to cylinder deactivation. My fuel economy in the 6.4L engine hovered around 18, just 2 mpg shy of the last Avalon I tested (the 5.7L scored 19.5 over almost 700 miles). When driven like you stole it, massive wheel spin, effortless donuts and 4.1 second runs to 60 with one of the best soundtracks money can buy are the order of the day. When your maiden aunt asks why you needed nearly 500 horsepower, you can safely say you didn’t get the most powerful one. With logic like that, how can you go wrong?

FCA provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of fuel for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.05 Seconds

0-60: 5.0 Seconds

1/4 mile: 13.3 @ 114

Average fuel economy: 19.5 MPH over 678 miles

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Marchionne: AWD Minivan Will Lose Stow ‘N Go or Gain Electric Motor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 17:45:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072338 Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year. According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give. Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year.

According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give.

Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation minivan can only bring all-wheel drive to fruition in one of two ways: ditch Stow ‘N Go to free up space under the passenger floor or implement a hybrid system with an electric motor driving the rear wheels. “It’s not that complicated. We’re exploring both,” said Marchionne, Automotive News reports.

Considering the popularity of Stow ‘N Go for Chrysler’s minivan twins, the latter option seems most likely, and it isn’t without precedent.

Starting with the second-generation Cube in Japan, Nissan offered a system called “e4WD” that sent power to the electrically-driven rear wheels when the front wheels slipped. It also eliminated the need for a center coupling and reduced parasitic loss typically associated with mechanical all-wheel drive systems.

The new Chrysler minivan will debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in January before heading off to dealers later the same year as a 2017 model.

[h/t AutoGuide]

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Brothers Bid For Piece Of Father’s Legacy, Win Despite Losing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/brothers-bid-for-piece-of-fathers-legacy-win-despite-losing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/brothers-bid-for-piece-of-fathers-legacy-win-despite-losing/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 18:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069218 Five years after losing their father in the line of duty, Tanner and Chase Brownlee did their best to win his retired squad car at auction. Weld County, Colo. Deputy Sheriff Sam Brownlee was on duty when he lost his life in 2010 at the end of a police chase, KMGH-TV reports. Five years later, […]

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Weld County Dodge Charger Retired Squad Car Set For Auction Circa May 2015

Five years after losing their father in the line of duty, Tanner and Chase Brownlee did their best to win his retired squad car at auction.

Weld County, Colo. Deputy Sheriff Sam Brownlee was on duty when he lost his life in 2010 at the end of a police chase, KMGH-TV reports. Five years later, the Brownlee brothers set out to claim his father’s work vehicle, a Dodge Charger, at auction Wednesday evening.

At the time the auction began, Tanner planned to use funds from his GoFundMe page to bring the car home, only to find himself severely outbid as the auction wore on.

However, the winning bidder — Steve Wells — quickly handed over the keys to Tanner seconds after putting $60,000 on the car, catching him off-guard.

Both proceeds from the auction and the GoFundMe page will go to Concerns of Police Survivors, an organization providing services to survivors of LEOs killed in the line of duty.

[Photo credit: KMGH-TV]

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Dodge Burnishes Viper’s Halo With New ACR http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/dodge-burnishes-vipers-halo-new-acr/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/dodge-burnishes-vipers-halo-new-acr/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 14:58:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064402 When Chrysler invited the media to an event at the Conner Avenue assembly plant where the Dodge Viper is put together in Detroit, it was rumored they’d use the occasion to reveal a 700+ horsepower Hellcat Version of Dodge’s sports car. After all, how could the Challenger and Charger have more powerful engines than the brand’s […]

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IMG_0311

When Chrysler invited the media to an event at the Conner Avenue assembly plant where the Dodge Viper is put together in Detroit, it was rumored they’d use the occasion to reveal a 700+ horsepower Hellcat Version of Dodge’s sports car. After all, how could the Challenger and Charger have more powerful engines than the brand’s King of the Hill? Over at GM, even Cadillac’s V cars don’t have as much power as the Z06 Corvette.

It happens Dodge did reveal a new version of the Viper – but it isn’t a Hellcat. Instead, they introduced what they billed as “the fastest street legal Viper track car ever”, the all-new Viper ACR.

When the acronym was introduced, ACR stood for American Club Racer. As you would expect from a suffix like that, the Viper ACRs have been more focused for track use than regular Viper roadsters or coupes.

As quick as the Hellcat versions of the Charger and Challenger are, they are muscle cars, not track cars. Chrysler isn’t ashamed to say they weren’t meant to take on the Z/28 Camaro or Boss 302 Mustang on a road course. The Hellcat V8 is based on the iron block HEMI and those cars are a bit noseheavy and prone to understeer. Don’t get me wrong, I had a Scat Pack Challenger for a week more than a month ago and it’s not a bad handling car. The steering is quick enough to balance the drift happy rear end with a flick of the wrist, but the big Hemi powered sedan and coupe were consciously designed to do well on Milan’s quarter mile drag strip, not so much Waterford Hills’ tight road course.

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The Viper, on the other hand, is Dodge’s track car. It’s the one they’ve used to set the Nurburgring lap “record” and to race at LeMans. (The Hellcats, though, can do 200 mph just like the Viper.) It has been Dodge’s halo car for more than two decades. When cars below it in the brand’s hierarchy have gotten the attention that the Hellcats have gotten, it was natural for people to speculate the Viper would eventually get the 707 hp Hellcat HEMI V8. That speculation has proven to be unfounded.

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Tim Kuniskis, Dodge’s president and CEO, said that putting the Hellcat engine in the Viper was never really considered. While the Viper has a bigger displacement engine with more cylinders than the Hellcat V8, the Viper’s all-aluminum V10 actually dresses out about 200 lbs less than the Hellcat HEMI. Since the 645 hp base Viper already has a better power to weight ratio than the Hellcat cars, dropping a Hellcat in a Viper would actually make it slower than it is. It would also upset the weight balance and likely make the Viper less competitive on the track.

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So the Viper ACR won’t be getting its speed from raw power. Instead, the ACR gets suspension, brake and aerodynamic upgrades. Fully adjustable coilover shocks are at all four corners. Ride height can be adjusted up to 3 inches. More negative camber is allowed. Some bushings have been replaced by more rigid joints. Brakes have been upgraded to six piston Brembo calipers with carbon-ceramic rotors. An aero package has been added that doubles downforce at speed to almost a ton. And special Ecsta V720 tires developed just for the Viper ACR are claimed to have the largest contact patch of any production car. Dodge claims the combination will allow the Viper ACR to sustain lateral acceleration levels of 1.5g, something pretty much unheard of with street legal cars.

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The Extreme Aero Package deserves some attention in particular, though admittedly it’s a bit hard to miss. In the front is an aggressive and adjustable splitter that’s removable so you don’t damage it when using the car on the street. Also removable are the strakes for the rear diffuser that extend far under the ACR’s smooth belly pan. They’re meant to be installed when you get to the track. One part is intended to be removed when you get to the track: the under-fender panel that blocks off the hood louvers intended to extract air from around the front wheel. The ACR gets even more aggressive front dive planes than the Viper TA. Dominating the back end of the car is an enormous adjustable dual-element rear wing that’s wider than most men are tall.

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While the new ACR is said to be the fastest track oriented street Viper yet, and the base ACR comes with a somewhat stripped out interior and a modest three speaker audio system, buyers can participate in the Viper “One of One” customization program. Even though it is track focused, it can be equipped with the panoply of luxury options. If you want to luxuriate in leather with the A/C and stereo blasting while you set a new lap record at your local track, you can do that, (if your driving skills are up to it). In any case, Chrysler will build your ACR the way you want it. They’ll even deliver it in your team colors.

The last of 13 pilot ACRs was going down the assembly line as we took the plant tour, so production on the retail Viper ACRs should start as soon as sales being in the 3rd quarter of this year. You can assume the price will be somewhat north of the base Viper’s $87K.

Photography by Ronnie Schreiber. For more photos of the vehicles in this post, please go to Cars In Depth.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

one of one

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Buick Regal Tops Among Those Traded-In After One Year Of Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 19:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062954 In a hurry to trade your new Buick Regal for something else? You’re not alone, as the sedan joins a handful of models traded-in after a year of ownership. Per a report by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of vehicles bought new end up on the used lot after being on the road for one year, Forbes […]

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2014 Buick Regal GS AWD Exterior-003

In a hurry to trade your new Buick Regal for something else? You’re not alone, as the sedan joins a handful of models traded-in after a year of ownership.

Per a report by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of vehicles bought new end up on the used lot after being on the road for one year, Forbes reports, with trade-in rates as high as 11 percent for a specific model.

The models brought back to the sales lot run the gamut, from $18,000 subcompacts to $45,000 luxury sedans. The Regal tops the list with 10.7 percent of owners exchanging their keys after a year, the Chevrolet Sonic takes second with 8.9 percent, and the BMW X1 at a close third with 7.8 percent. The Dodge Charger, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan Frontier also make the list.

As for why the sudden change of heart, quality or the perception of quality played a key role; the aforementioned models were rated poorly by owners surveyed in J.D. Power’s 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Survey. ISeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly says those issues usually involve technology, such as connected-vehicle systems, voice command, and Bluetooth connection, and aren’t so much “problems” as they are difficulties with said technologies.

Those looking for a deal on those models will likely be happy with what they find on the used lot, though. The 2014 Regal with average mileage comes with a price tag 32.2 percent less than new, while the C-Class and Charger lost 31.0 percent and 28.4 percent in new-car value after a year, respectively.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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BREAKING: Worker Crushed To Death At Grand Cherokee, Durango Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/breaking-worker-crushed-death-grand-cherokee-durango-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/breaking-worker-crushed-death-grand-cherokee-durango-plant/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 13:23:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062082 UPDATE: Previous incident at Jefferson North included at bottom. UPDATE 2: Added name of worker and clarified details. A worker was crushed and ultimately succumbed to his injuries this morning at Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango plant. At around 6:30 a.m., 53-year-old Donald Megge, of Sterling Heights, was crushed in a press and declared dead […]

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Jefferson North Assembly Plant

UPDATE: Previous incident at Jefferson North included at bottom.

UPDATE 2: Added name of worker and clarified details.

A worker was crushed and ultimately succumbed to his injuries this morning at Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango plant.

At around 6:30 a.m., 53-year-old Donald Megge, of Sterling Heights, was crushed in a press and declared dead at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. The accident happened during the day’s first shift, confirmed a FCA spokesperson speaking with CBS affiliate WWJ in Detroit. He was performing preventative maintenance duties at part of the first shift of the day starting at 5:30 a.m.

“A plant employee was killed at the waste water treatment plant. The company is currently working with local officials to investigate the incident. All of the FCA family extends its deepest sympathies to the employee’s family during this difficult time.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

This isn’t the first time a death has befallen Jefferson North in recent years. As Automotive News reports, a worker was stabbed by another worker at the plant in 2012 during a dispute over a woman. The attacker later took his own life off-site.

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Dodge Adds 1,000 Hellcats To The Assembly Line http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-adds-1000-hellcats-assembly-line/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-adds-1000-hellcats-assembly-line/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032625 Not too long ago, Dodge had to curb new orders from dealers for both the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats. As of now, 1,000 more on on their way. According to Jalopnik, an anonymous source relayed the news to Hellcat.org forum, though how many of each was not mentioned: For those of you still waiting […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Not too long ago, Dodge had to curb new orders from dealers for both the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats. As of now, 1,000 more on on their way.

According to Jalopnik, an anonymous source relayed the news to Hellcat.org forum, though how many of each was not mentioned:

For those of you still waiting on your VIN’s, you just may be receiving a nice little surprise in the coming days. An anonymous source tipped us this morning and said that Dodge has just scheduled an additional 1,000 SRT Hellcat’s to be built. Of those 1,000 new schedules, we did not receive any hard numbers on how many were Challengers or Chargers, but it’s definitely a huge step in the right direction and looks like Dodge is listening.

Right now, 2,200 Hellcats left the assembly line since early March. The duo have proven to be popular among those plunking down over $60,000 for the opportunity to wrangle the 707-horsepower monsters, with dealers taking so many orders that the brand had to tell them to stop until the current orders were fulfilled.

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Dodge Restricting New Hellcat Orders Until Older Orders Are Fulfilled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023097 Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up. MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative: […]

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up.

MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative:

Due to unprecedented demand for the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats, we are temporarily restricting orders while we validate current orders that are in the system.

As of now, over 9,000 orders have been placed for the Hellcats; over 2,200 have been delivered thus far.

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FCA Canada CEO: Reports Of The Grand Caravan’s Demise Are Exaggerated http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-canada-ceo-reports-grand-caravans-demise-exaggerated/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-canada-ceo-reports-grand-caravans-demise-exaggerated/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:10:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017098 Although the Chrysler Town & Country will be FCA’s main minivan nameplate going forward, the Dodge Grand Caravan will stick around longer than many people have expected. Speaking to the Windsor Star, FCA Canada CEO Reig Bigland said that the Grand Caravan would continue to be produced past the introduction of the new Town & […]

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2014_Dodge_Grand_Caravan_RT_1198940

Although the Chrysler Town & Country will be FCA’s main minivan nameplate going forward, the Dodge Grand Caravan will stick around longer than many people have expected.

Speaking to the Windsor Star, FCA Canada CEO Reig Bigland said that the Grand Caravan would continue to be produced past the introduction of the new Town & Country, stating

“The Dodge Grand Caravan is still here, it’s going to be here throughout all of 2015, 2016…I’m not going to give any time frame, but at the launch of the next-generation Town and Country we will continue to have the Grand Caravan and I have not speculated as to when or even if the Dodge Grand Caravan will go away,”

Previous comments by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne suggest that the old model Grand Caravan will disappear by 2017, as regulatory concerns will make it impossible to sell in North America. The strategy of running two different vans on two different platforms has been something that hasn’t been explored in the automotive media.

If this is indeed the case, then it would allow FCA to sell the all-new minivan with the latest technology at a more premium price point while retaining the volume that comes from selling both vans. Both vans would ostensibly be built at the Windsor, Ontario plant, with a new flexible architecture eventually accommodating an all-new crossover vehicle built on that platform.

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Junkyard Find: 2000 Dodge Intrepid R/T http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2000-dodge-intrepid-rt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2000-dodge-intrepid-rt/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998890 With the ’01 Saturn L200 yesterday and the ’01 Pontiac Aztek the day before that, we’re having a 21st Century Junkyard Find week. I’ll continue that with today’s find: Dodge’s high-performance version of the second-gen Dodge Intrepid: The Intrepid R/T. You got the 242-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 in this car, which was pretty decent for […]

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08 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith the ’01 Saturn L200 yesterday and the ’01 Pontiac Aztek the day before that, we’re having a 21st Century Junkyard Find week. I’ll continue that with today’s find: Dodge’s high-performance version of the second-gen Dodge Intrepid: The Intrepid R/T.
03 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou got the 242-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 in this car, which was pretty decent for a front-wheel-drive family sedan.11 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe LH platform had been around for quite a while at this point, so the novelty of the cool-looking-at-first “cab-forward” design had long since worn off by 2000.
14 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI often suggest that 24 Hours of LeMons teams run a Chrysler LH, but so far only one has shown up (and it threw a rod 100 yards into the race).

Roomy. Well-equipped. Cheap.

01 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Peak Emblem http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/vellum-venom-vignette-peak-emblem/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/vellum-venom-vignette-peak-emblem/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 16:40:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=997690   Most design students don’t consider Peak Oil in their studies, but The Reckoning was on my reading list back then. While Peak Oil is tangentially connected to car design, we clearly reached Peak Emblem. It cannot get any worse than what’s being introduced in Chicago this week. Emblem size, just like wheel size and body/firewall (versus glass) height has […]

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This just happened. (photo courtesy: Ram)

Most design students don’t consider Peak Oil in their studies, but The Reckoning was on my reading list back then. While Peak Oil is tangentially connected to car design, we clearly reached Peak Emblem.

It cannot get any worse than what’s being introduced in Chicago this week.

Emblem size, just like wheel size and body/firewall (versus glass) height has been on the rise for over a decade.  Park a new Corolla next to a 1995-2000 model for proof.  The problem is empty real estate, sheets of painted metal with no landscaping. A big problem for a top-tier RAM, for the Laramie Limited trim. How do you visually separate a premium model when even the mid-level model has that in-yo-face look from a huge grille and acres of chrome?

Larger and larger emblems, apparently: on the grille and the tailgate.  Damn Son, dat tailgate!

As mentioned before, it’s all about proportioning: big butts need MOAR BLING. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless the proportions are so extreme that creativity is stifled and the sheet metal cannot to rest on its design laurels.  A shame, as the RAM (like many new Chrysler designs) are quite fetching by themselves.

Here’s my suggestion:

1985 Dodge Power Ram (photo courtesy: www.fortrucksonly.com/truckforum)

Stamp a (unique to trim levels like the Laramie Limited) tailgate with negative area, then add a metal insert with small(er that what you did) lettering. Of course Ye Old School Dodge has a much smaller tailgate, but applying the concept of negative area to the Laramie makes sense.  Well, perhaps not the financial sense of slapping the biggest emblems you can make on dat butt.

Peak Emblem is real, it happened.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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TTAC’s Own Bigtruckseriesreview Goes Viral http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ttacs-bigtruckseriesreview-goes-viral/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ttacs-bigtruckseriesreview-goes-viral/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:07:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995850 (NSFW for language)

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Click here to view the embedded video.

(NSFW for language)

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1987-dodge-shelby-charger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1987-dodge-shelby-charger/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 02:41:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982713 Who would have thought, in the late 1960s, that the future held front-wheel-drive Chargers, based on a French platform? Or that Carroll Shelby’s name would be on some of those cars? The Shelby Chryslers aren’t worth a whole bunch today, which means that non-perfect ones show up in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time; […]

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06 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinWho would have thought, in the late 1960s, that the future held front-wheel-drive Chargers, based on a French platform? Or that Carroll Shelby’s name would be on some of those cars? The Shelby Chryslers aren’t worth a whole bunch today, which means that non-perfect ones show up in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time; we’ve seen this ’87 Daytona Shelby Z, this ’86 Omni GLH, this ’85 Shelby Charger, and this ’84 Shelby Charger so far, and now I’ve spotted a very rough but still recognizable ’87 Shelby Charger in the San Francisco Bay Area.
13 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe 146-horse 2.2 liter turbocharged engine is long gone, but the genuine Shelby bucket seats are still there.
01 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYes, it’s a genuine Shelby.
11 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinAir conditioning, maybe some Georgia Satellites on the cassette, some Iran-Contra on the news… yeah, a very 1980s car.

Dodge is creating a revolution in the streets!

01 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 02 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 03 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 04 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 05 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 06 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 07 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 08 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 09 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 10 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 11 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 12 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 13 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 14 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 15 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin

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Dodge Unveils 1-of-1 Program For New Viper Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dodge-unveils-1-1-program-new-viper-gtc-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dodge-unveils-1-1-program-new-viper-gtc-owners/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974282 Is the standard color palette for the 2015 Dodge Viper not enough for you? Have you looked at your child’s Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk brushables and thought to yourself, ‘Those hair colors might look good on on a Viper’? Dodge has a program just for you. New Dodge Viper owners can get a lot […]

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2015 Dodge Viper

Is the standard color palette for the 2015 Dodge Viper not enough for you? Have you looked at your child’s Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk brushables and thought to yourself, ‘Those hair colors might look good on on a Viper’? Dodge has a program just for you.

New Dodge Viper owners can get a lot more for the $94,995 base price with the brand’s 1-of-1 customization program, which is set to open in February. Owners who place their order with their dealer will have the following to consider:

  • 24,000 hand-painted custom stripes
  • 8,000 hand-painted exterior colors
  • 16 interior trims
  • 10 wheel options
  • Six aero packages
  • A wide array of standalone choices

With every possible option under the sun, over 25 million unique build combinations can be had from the program, which also includes a concierge service throughout the build, a new mobile-friendly website to track the build process, personalized plaque and instrument panel with “the customer’s chosen name to commemorate their design,” and a complementary 1:18 scale replica to confirm color selection.

The program also allows Dodge and SRT to demonstrate the full capabilities of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, where the Viper is assembled. Brand president Tim Kuniskis explains:

Because every Viper is hand crafted with such an extreme level of detail, we have the unique opportunity to make each one even more special by giving buyers the opportunity to customize each vehicle to their exact specifications. Now, Viper owners will be able to say their Viper is truly one of a kind.

Delivery options include rapid transport in an enclosed carrier, or, for those wanting to visit Detroit, picking up their new Viper at Conner Avenue following a tour of the facilities.

Production of the first 1-of-1 Vipers will begin in Q2 2015.

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The Ballad of the Death Star http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ballad-death-star/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ballad-death-star/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 16:30:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971698   You wouldn’t know to look at her, but she had history. Amazing history, built up throughout her 2-owner life.   Chris the owner is featured above. He is the one spraying Cruex on his crotch. He had ordered this 1992 Dodge factory custom right from the military car sales office at Ramstien Air Force […]

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The Death Star

 

You wouldn’t know to look at her, but she had history. Amazing history, built up throughout her 2-owner life.

 

Chris the owner is featured above. He is the one spraying Cruex on his crotch. He had ordered this 1992 Dodge factory custom right from the military car sales office at Ramstien Air Force Base in Germany. It was precisely that fact that allowed him to order the interior colors exactly what he wanted, the short wheelbase and most important, the 5 speed manual transmission.

 

Why a van? Well, Chris was in a band. Actually Chris was in a lot of them. He is still a very talented bass player, but in the late 80s was stationed in Europe. Every band needs rhythm, thus Chris was in high demand. The fluid nature of military changes ensured that as soon as one band broke up, another was forming. He could play several instruments and had his own gear. In addition to instrumental talent, a decent voice and lack of musician’s ego, Chris also had a van.

This landed him a gig with a country cover band called Texas Pride in 1992. Country cover bands were even more rare than a bass player with a van in Europe. The gigs were consistent and paid well. The crowds became huge and they eventually toured bases all throughout Europe. With tours comes groupies and well…Chris had a van.

Non-musically, this was a hooligan vehicle of the highest order. Any semi-organized night of drinking involved a designated driver and this van. I distinctly remember a friend hanging from the open rear doors via his belt held by another buddy, while we were in motion. The blonde guy on the roof (next to me in the black shirt) once rode the luggage ladder for almost 5 miles. In the photograph above, we were preparing for a night of debauchery in Luxemburg; it became known as “The Boys Night Out…of The Country.”

Many hours after this photograph was snapped, we would arrange for the services of a professional so that one of the young lads in the picture above could lose his virginity to her. He would hug all of us for it later.

The groupie related shenanigans that occurred in the or as a result of this van are far more sordid.

Eventually Chris and the van returned stateside. He had met a lovely woman, fell in love and got married. Despite his monogamous ways, every day the van sat in their driveway, it mocked his new bride with untold sordid stories of what happened within. It had to go.

Which in 2002, is how it came to be mine.

The van’s life continued in a similar fashion, but I am married and can only play four chords on my very cheap guitar. But any semi-organized evening of drinking involved a designated driver and this van. In 2002, a pack of young Air Force Lieutenants were returning from the bars in downtown OKC when my wife’s phone rang. It was her sister; my friend Doug snatched the phone and questioned “Who the hell is this?” She replied; “Who the hell is this?”

Six months later they were engaged. They have been together for over 10 years together just had their third child, my darling niece Sofia.

At the start of 2003 I drove the van to a six-month temporary assignment in Las Vegas, where it was dubbed The Death Star. She also became the vehicle of choice for hijinks on and off The Strip and at least once was a hotel room when I had imbibed more than I had anticipated and elected to not drive.

Throughout all of this; she helped folks move, carried big purchases home, towed cars, motorcycles and performed any other menial task requiring a big vehicle for a variety of friends in this nation and others.

Sadly, she passed on the way back from Las Vegas. With almost 300,000 on the clock and more than a few Nebraska winters, the door hinges had started to rust. In the late 90’s she had struck a deer in Wyoming and still bore the battle scars. These issues precluded her repair when the flywheel lost about 25% of it’s teeth and the starter wouldn’t engage. It’s no small feet to find a hill near a gas station as I staggered across the Texas panhandle, but still easier than having to push it and bump it off solo. By the time she limped back to Norman Oklahoma, the charging system had also failed. Add in the growing body rust, and despite her proud heritage, her time had come to an end.

Like the infamous Giving Tree, her days of giving were not finished and I managed to drive her to a parts recycler. Like a Crabspirits adventure, I envisioned her telling tales her of travels all over Europe and the US to the other cars in the mortal ward, and after sunset those sagas turning more adult in nature.

If you live in the midwest and enjoy folk music, Chris still plays with the same lovely bride. Check out An Evening.

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Drive, Road & Track, Pit Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Against F-16 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/drive-road-track-pit-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-f-16/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/drive-road-track-pit-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-f-16/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 01:08:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971730 In the time honored buff book tradition of pitting supercars against military aircraft, Road & Track and the Drive network managed to procure a Hellcat for a drag race against an F-16. Shot on a rainy Friday at South Florida’s Homestead Air Force Base, the weather conditions weren’t ideal for a Hellcat – but that didn’t […]

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In the time honored buff book tradition of pitting supercars against military aircraft, Road & Track and the Drive network managed to procure a Hellcat for a drag race against an F-16.

Shot on a rainy Friday at South Florida’s Homestead Air Force Base, the weather conditions weren’t ideal for a Hellcat – but that didn’t stop the F-16.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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