By on September 18, 2020

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody. Photo: Tim Healey/TTAC

I didn’t plan for it to happen. It just did.

I had requested a Shelby GT500 loan because I’d driven the car on the launch but wanted to see what it’s like to live with the king of current Mustangs in the real world. Because the car is likely in high demand among Chicago-area automotive journalists, the loan would be short. So I’d have a gap in my schedule.

I don’t need test cars to get around. I am not dependent on them – I don’t feel beholden to the fleets or the automakers. I have other ways to get around, whether it be walking, biking, using a cab/Uber, or whatever. But I try to schedule cars each week, either so I can review them for TTAC (even if it takes a while to actually get around to the write-up, sorry gang) or at least use them as background for knowledge and comparison.

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By on August 10, 2020

1973 Buick Century GS in California junkyard, RH view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAfter 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. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

Despite being an Italian-American company that will soon align itself with France’s PSA Group, Fiat Chrysler can still be unabashedly American whenever it lets Dodge off the leash. By adhering to the tenets of what (once) made domestic vehicles great, Dodge has bet the farm on providing quality family transportation that can be outfitted with more horsepower than any sane person could want at a price they couldn’t possibly ignore.

Dodge is putting its best on full display for Independence Day, letting the world know its priorities have not changed one iota. Yet there exists a sense — a gnawing feeling — that this could be the final round of truly mental V8 monsters to come out of America. Global emissions regulations and a new corporate structure could mean that SRT’s best may not be seen again for some time.

If that’s to be the case, Dodge has honorably decided to go down singing with some of the gnarliest machines yet to leave its stable.  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2020

Rare Rides reviews another Pontiac today. And much like the recently featured Bonneville, it’s large and in charge, from the Seventies, and has two doors. Let’s see how much horsepower the 1977 Can Am gained through stickers and spoilers.

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By on March 3, 2020

We all recall the Panther-based Mercury Marauder as the last gasp of large, sporty motoring from Mercury. Today’s Rare Ride is the predecessor everyone forgot — the 219-inch Marauder X-100.

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By on November 4, 2019

1973 Plymouth Duster 340 in California junkyard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDepending on how strict you are about stuff like gross-versus-net horsepower ratings, emissions-related compression ratios, or the general feeling of Malaise that set in after the 1973 Oil Crisis, the Golden Age of the Detroit Muscle Car ended in some year between 1970 and 1974. I say that year was 1970 and that only midsize coupes really qualify, but my definition leans to the strict side.

The case could be made that the 1973 Duster 340 was a lot more fun-per-buck than Chrysler’s “traditional” muscle car choices for that model year (the Plymouth Road Runner and Dodge Charger), and so we’ll keep that in mind when studying today’s Junkyard Find. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2019

With Independence Day nearly upon us, it seems fitting that Rare Rides take a look at a car wearing its red, white, and blue theme very proudly. It’s a rare version of the AMC Rebel: The Machine. Get your sparklers ready.  (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2019

Maximizing the footprint with which to apply up to 707 horsepower and 650 ft-lbs of torque, the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat and Scat Pack add a Widebody package to cover their 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires and 20×11-inch wheels. For the Hellcat, 0-60 mph comes in 3.6 seconds while the quarter-mile elapsed time drops to 10.96 seconds and the skidpad grip builds to 0.96 g. Combined with the additional braking grip and revised chassis tuning, the lap time around an FCA-approved, 2.1-mile road course drops by a massive 2.1 seconds.

The Scat Pack Widebody sees similar improvements, getting to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds on its way to a 12.4 second quarter mile. Without the weight of the supercharger and associated plumbing over the nose, the Scat Pack Widebody pulls an even more impressive 0.98 g on the skidpad. Around the same 2.1-mile road course (presumably GingerMan Raceway), the Charger Scat Pack drops 1.3 seconds in Widebody form. (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2019

Buy/Drive/Burn returns this week with three American sports cars in their most basic, purest form. The Big Three are represented here, and they don’t get any cheaper than this. No options or fripperies are allowed, and one must receive the Buy.

Start your (small) engines — it’s sports car time.

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By on March 27, 2019

TTAC’s Slack channel honed in on muscle cars the other day. As the discussion progressed, a question came to light which your author hadn’t previously considered. It’s a simple enough inquiry, yet there are many variables to consider.

Today we talk about the least sporty muscle cars.

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By on February 5, 2019

Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn brings three big and brawny American luxury coupes from 1963. You’ll have to burn one — no exceptions.

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By on January 24, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride is a Plymouth Barracuda, but not the one which generally springs to mind whenever someone mentions the legendary nameplate. Rather, it’s the first of the line. Let’s check out this special fastback.
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By on December 20, 2018

Domestic sedans are currently being walked up to the edge of a mass grave. Beneath them rests their two-doored brethren and the first wave of four-doors previously executed by the Big Three. Ford has promised a lineup comprised almost entirely of pickups and utility vehicles in the coming years and General Motors is in the process of doing the same. Fiat Chrysler wisely kept its automotive killing spree under the radar by being the first to pull the trigger and not making a big deal of it. But consider what’s left within its domestic nameplates: SUVs, pickups, a few vans and the endangered Chrysler 300 — which is really a more of a commoner’s luxury vehicle.

FCA also has the Dodge Charger and Challenger in its stable, but they’re not what one might consider when imagining your typical sedan. They’re ancient, powerful creatures. Gas-guzzling muscle cars, brimming with attitude, and seemingly impervious to harm. Goliaths without a David or fuel crisis to put them down. Who could have ever imagined that American muscle would crawl back out of its grave after such a long absence and manage to outlive the typical sedan?

Their manufacturer, for one.  (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2018

The Rare Rides series featured a vintage Aston Martin once before, when we took a look at the luxurious Lagonda sedan from 1984. Today we move forward in history a few years to see a luxurious, large coupe that’s more along the lines of what you’d expect from the Aston Martin brand.

It’s a Virage, from 1990.

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By on August 28, 2018

The Jensen Interceptor brought together American power and British design and craftsmanship in a rare heavyweight sports-luxury liftback.

The company even made a few of them into convertibles, like today’s Rare Ride.

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