QOTD: Thankful for Horsepower?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd thankful for horsepower

The turkey’s been eaten, the football games have been shown, and all hands have tired of their close friends and relations by now. Around here, it’s generally accepted that laundry and family start to smell if they hang around for more than three days.

But never mind that. With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, what car manufacturer are you most thankful for this year?

Mine’s easy, and not likely to surprise any reader in this audience. I’m most thankful for a company that continues to churn out boldly painted copies of cars and trucks with way too much horsepower.

There’s no doubt a good chunk of FCA’s portfolio is showing its age and that all these colors and outrageous outputs are a clever distraction. You won’t hear me complaining. Our 2012 Charger — a car which stands largely unchanged from brand new Chargers sitting in showrooms today, by the way — is every bit as reliable as any Camry or Accord. There’s nothing to indicate new versions are any different. There’s something to be said for an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it add more power” philosophy.

Family sedans with more horsepower than Lambos and Ferraris, not to mention the over-the-top go-faster stripes that surely adds 5 hp. Those stripes show up on big SUVs, too — SUVs with physics-defying levels of acceleration, some with SUPERCHARGED badges along their flanks.

FCA has the bonkers chapter of the aftermarket taken care of, too. Where else can hot-rodders browse a catalog for the part number of a 1,000 hp motor with the name Hellephant?

I’d wager more than a few of us, writers and readers alike, are emerging from this turkey-laden weekend with a bit more of wide body than just a few days ago. That’s alright — for this model year, FCA’s got a few widebody models of their own.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • SWA737 SWA737 on Nov 26, 2018

    I’ve always thought that pushing the limits of ANY modern car on the street was an unsafe idea. My “need for speed” has always been satisfied in the air. I go 500mph for a living. I own ½ a share of a Pitts S2B. My car choices have reflected that for a long time, with cars that are lively enough to be entertaining, but not necessarily “fast”. Acura RSX-S, Accord 6MT. Key words, precision, reliability. But then a funny thing happened. A few weeks ago, the Executive aisle at National had a Challenger 5.7L sitting next to the usual choices. What the heck, give it a shot, right? Holy juvenile, tail happy fun, Batgirl. I found myself flappy paddling down through the gears just to listen to the ‘Murricha exhaust note. I definitely wasn’t approaching the car’s limits, but was certainly have a lot of Gun, Glide, Giggle fun. The seats were surprisingly comfortable, as was the highway ride. I probably wouldn’t want to drive one on the Tail of the Dragon, but where I live, the roads are all arrow straight for miles. The closest I ever get to a curvy road is the onramp to I95. When my wife saw me build and pricing a 392 Widebody, I got the raised eyebrow “Seriously, Dude?” look she usually saves for Fishing with Luiza videos. I dragged her along for a test drive. After some parking lot maneuvering and low speed roads, all she had to say was “It feels like it weighs 1000 pounds more than the Honda.” “Uh, more like 1200 actually, but you need to get it on the highway” Which is when another funny thing happened. Gun, Glide, Giggle hit her right between the eyes. “This thing is ridiculous.” “Yeah, that’s kind of the point.” “No, I mean it’s just so….American. So blatant. So poke in the eye.” “Precisely.” “No socially redeeming qualities whatsoever.” “Then why are you smiling so much?” More Gun Glide Giggle. More eye rolls and head shakes from her. After a few silent, post drive laps around it, she looked at me and the sales person and proclaimed “This is the Anti Prius.” A belly laugh and a “Yes, Ma’am” from the sales guy, followed by a finger point and a stare from her. “Destroyer Gray, Widebody, Six speed.” Another “Yes, Ma’am” from sales guy. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

  • Dividebytube Dividebytube on Nov 27, 2018

    This is a golden age of horsepower - something I thought would never come back after growing up in the 1970s/1980s. Now I drive a V6 Mustang that would put a lot (but not all!) of those older muscle and sports cars to shame; where you can buy a V6 Camry or turbocharged Accord that comes close too The Mustang GT is a whole 'nother beast and will be my next car; unless a Dodge Challenger 392 comes my way.

    • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Nov 29, 2018

      I never dreamed that power would even equal the old muscle days, let alone exceed it, but here we are. And unlike back in 1970-71, I was in a position to get exactly the car I wanted, an '18 Challenger R/T Scatpack. I love the damn thing. Just driving it makes me happy. The only negative about it is the HK stereo does not, IMHO, sound good at all. It's got great bass, but IMHO, the "Sound Group II" stereo sounds better all around, except the bass. I'm probably going to change out the dash speakers to the same JL ones I had in my '10 R/T and see if that helps. A friend of mine bought an SRT Challenger in '14, thinking his wife would want to drive the '14 Mustang GT he had just bought and didn't like much. He was wrong, and she almost immediately took over the Challenger, leaving him in the Mustang. That will change soon, the Mustang is about to be traded for a Challenger Scatpack Widebody. If he ends up ordering it, it will be Mango, but if he finds one on the lot equipped correctly, he will take a PCP, Torred, Yellow Jacket, or Octane Red one. I would bet he ends up with one by Monday night, probably from the dealer my car came from, who seems to know how to option a Challenger, unlike the dealers around here, who only option a car right if it's silver, white, or black.

  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
  • Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.
  • Sgeffe There's someone around where I live who has a recent WRX-STi, but the few times I've been behind this guy, he's always driving right at the underposted arbitrary numbers that some politician pulled out of their backside and slapped on a sign! With no gendarmes or schoolkids present! Haven't been behind this driver on the freeway, but my guess is that he does the left lane police thing with the best of 'em!What's the point of buying such a vehicle if you're never going to exceed a speed limit? (And I've pondered that whilst in line in the left lane at 63mph behind a couple of Accord V6s, as well as an AMG E-Klasse!)
  • Mebgardner I'm not the market for a malleable Tuner / Track model, so I dont know: If you are considering a purchase of one of these, do you consider the Insurance Cost Of Ownership aspect? Or just screw it, I'm gonna buy it no matter.The WRX is at the top of the Insurance Cost pole for tuner models, is why I ask.