Challenger? Jim Press Barely Knows Her

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

You know, we give Autoblog a lot of grief for being the auto industry's bitch. And deservedly so. But every now and then the website of record gets a sudden rush of testosterone that makes us proud to share the autoblogosphere. Today's Detroit Free Press carries a boilerplate auto show story involving one former Toyota Prez (Jim Press) and one rear wheel-drive muscle car (Dodge Challenger SRT8). Price, waiting list, Mustang throwdown ("We'd rather run like a thoroughbred than ride like a pony"), yada yada yada. And then Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press has his say. And then Autoblog's Damon Lavrinc takes the Chrysler exec to the woodshed. "Press expounded on the Challenger's virtues, saying that the SRT8 has a higher top speed (170 mph) than BMW's M5. Kind of a misnomer considering that the M5's speed limiter keeps the BMW sedan below 155 mph – unleashed, it has the potential of doing 205 mph. The Freep also quoted Press as saying that the Challenger has more torque than the Porsche 911 Turbo. Ummm… no. The 6.1-liter Hemi V8 produces 420 lb.-ft. of twist compared to the 911 Turbo's 460 lb.-ft….'When you sit inside, it makes you feel younger and richer than you are.' Younger? Maybe. Richer? Not quite Mr. Press. We've seen the interior and it's hardly what you'd call luxurious, let alone exciting." You go boy!

Join the conversation
4 of 21 comments
  • Nick Nick on Feb 07, 2008

    1971 - HemiCuda 2008(?) - HemiChallenger Same concept, same inept timing. (And no, the HemiChallenger will never be worth 7 figures)

  • Stein X Leikanger Stein X Leikanger on Feb 08, 2008

    Landcrusher has it right. The car exec's have simply got to realize that old performance measures are increasingly invalid, and that the market isn't going for vehicles such as "The Challenger" - it's an elephant at a horse race. Performance used to be "take a lot of energy and convert it into instant acceleration to multiples of the speed limit." It's going to be: "Take a decent serving of energy and convert it into as many miles as possible. within the speed limit."

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Feb 08, 2008
    Landcrusher : The miata was a hit because the only thing wrong with the old MG and Fiat convertibles was reliability. You can make a hoon mobile with 125 to 150 HP, decent torque, and some nice looks. It CAN be done. Indeed it CAN. My 1993 Miata was a great car, and only had 116 HP. I put nearly 140K on it in 10 years' time. It was my emergency backup car when I drove a Vette. The fact that I NEEDED an emergency backup car was my first clue that the Vette wasn't all it was cracked up to be. The Miata never needed an emergency backup...
  • on Feb 08, 2008
    'When you sit inside, it makes you feel younger and richer than you are.' I think I would feel poorer given the price they are asking. I'll take a Mustang to get a dose of nostalgia and more speed than I really need for less $$, and I'm not even a big Ford fan. In reality, if I wanted just a fun car, I would either get a true classic from the 60's or earlier or a Mazda Miata with the hard top or, if I had the money, a Honda S2000. I thought the Challenger concept looked great, but not $40k great.