Stellantis made many announcements yesterday at its “EV Day 2021” event, first and foremost a big commitment to EVs going forward. The second most important thing involved the super cringe slogans for each brand.
But there was also a Dodge-specific announcement, which promised the first-ever EV muscle car, and the resurrection of a long-dead logo.
Long-time readers of this site (thanks, both of you) will recall the Ace of Base series of posts, natterings in which we ruminated on the state of a particular model and its entry-level trim. Thanks to a myriad of reasons, we’re morphing this concept into a new product for your eyeballs called The Right Spec. This time around, we’ll be teasing out what we think is the best spec of a given vehicle – we hope it generates some comments. Knowing you, the BnB, it surely will.
A 2,000 horsepower 1970 Dodge Challenger was selected Best in Show from a group of 50 vehicles at the Barrett-Jackson auction this past weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona, and awarded the 2021 Barrett-Jackson Cup. The Challenger was among five finalists, including a ’32 Ford Tudor, ’55 Chevrolet Bel Air, ’63 Chevrolet Bel Air Wagon, and a ’70 Ford F-100 Pickup.
After writing about more than 2,000 discarded vehicles during the past 13 years, I haven’t found many legitimate machines from the Golden Age of the Detroit Muscle Car. I believe this era started with John DeLorean’s brilliant marketing of the 1964 Pontiac GTO and ended at some point during the 1972-1974 period, depending on how many beers you’ve consumed before beginning the debate about the edge-case vehicles.
Today’s car meets most of the requirements: a GM A-Body coupe with spiffy graphics, a thirsty big-inch V8 engine, and school-of-hard-knocks small chrome bumpers.
2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium
5.0-liter, DOHC V-8, CVVT (435 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm; 400 lbs-ft @ 4,240 rpm)
6-speed Getrag MT82 manual
15 city/25 highway/19 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
18.2 mpg (Observed, MPG)
Tested Options: GT Premium Trim, Ruby Red Paint, 401A Package, Performance Package, Adaptive Cruise Control, Navigation, Recaro Seats
* All prices include $900 destination charge.
Ford’s Mustang is as American as the hot dog and KFC Double Down, but for 2015 it received an internationally-focused makeover. Since 1964, the Mustang has been the place to find a large V8, a manual transmission and a solid rear axle. That solid axle has been a point of contention for foreign auto journalists who frequently compared the Ford’s handling to a pickup truck, and decried the GT as a one-trick pony: the car that was excellent in a straight line at a drag strip — and that was about it. That’s a problem when Ford’s new mission is greater harmony in their lineup worldwide.
While 2015 retains the large V8 engine, manual transmission and rear wheel drive we’ve all come to know and love, it brings the first completely independent suspension to every Mustang in over 50 years. Also big news for 2015 is the resurrection of a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, something we haven’t seen since the Fox body Mustang of the early 1990s. In a nod to our friends in Old Blighty, a factory-made right hand drive model is also in the works. All of these changes are because this Mustang is suddenly thrust into a much bigger pool of competitors.
Can Ford teach this pony some new tricks to compensate?
Among the TTAC staff, the consensus is clear: the Ford Mustang is the top choice in the pony car segment. For cheap thrills, the Mustang V6 with the Performance Package is the most comprehensive “performance per dollar” option on the market. The 5.0, Boss 302 and Shelby GT500 represent increasing levels of performance that rival the best of the sports car world, at prices accessible to the common (or, slightly better off) consumer. The Camaro is not as highly regarded, but of course, what would this site be without a dissenting voice.
So what about the Dodge Challenger?
TTAC reader and Charger R/t owner Rich Murdocco pays tribute to the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
I’d say 6.2 liters is plenty of engine. Too much, in fact, especially if you’re trying to save the planet one bike lane at a time. It’s simply too much engine that consumes too many gallons of gasoline, which causes all sorts of problems down the road. Every time this 6.2-liter behemoth starts, I hope the driver, who is probably some man-child who never grew up, thinks of the plight of the polar bears. Shame on Fiat, the spunky Italian auto giant, who bought Chrysler, for creating this anachronism. Those peppery Italians have some nerve.
And then they added a supercharger.
While JFK was busy capturing the hearts of the German people with his Ich bin ein Berliner speech, the GM engineers at Rüsselsheim were busy at work finishing their next big project – the series of full-size (on European scale) luxury models, called Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat. Introduced in February of 1964, the new models were meant to take on Mercedes-Benz, though they shared something in common with contemporary America cars, in that they were really just one car, offered in different equipment levels, and with different engine options. Kapitän was the cheapest, with an inline six under the hood, standard manual transmission and relatively sparse equipment. Its size, equipment and power put it somewhere between American compacts and midsize cars of the time, like a smaller 1964 Chevelle, with a dash of Buick styling.
Back in 2009 I wrote a blog about buying a Z4M on a whim. Four years later, I’ve made another impulse buy. Prior to moving to Seattle last summer my wife and I downsized our car stable and I purchased an $8k E39 530 as my daily driver. Given how expensive Seattle can be I didn’t want a big car payment until we got our new housing budget in check. Finding a new place took less time than expected, and soon enough, I started the research process to lease a new vehicle for my 50 minute commute.
There’s a “problem” with the modern performance variant: they are too easy to review. You see, dropping a high-horsepower V8 into anything makes it good. Take the last generation Chrysler 300 SRT8. It’s interior was made from plastics rejected by Lego and Rubbermaid and you’d be hard pressed to tell it apart from the $9.99 rent-a-car special. The big difference with the SRT versions was that Chrysler stuffed a 425HP 6.1L V8 under the hood and a set of pipes that made the 300 sound like sex. The uncomfortable seats, crappy dash plastics and 1990s stereo were distant memories. If Chrysler had managed to fit the same V8 into the Sebring, it would have been the best convertible ever. This time is different. Before the 2013 300 SRT8 arrived, I decided I would not be seduced by Chrysler’s larger, meaner, sexier, more powerful 6.4L engine and review it like any other car. Can that be done?
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