DODGE CHALLENGER SRT8: PH CARPOOL
A rootin' tootin' slice of modern US muscle makes this week's PHer a very happy man
Car: Dodge Challenger SRT8
Owned since: February 2012
Previously owned: Just too many too list! But my current fleet includes: a 57 Beetle, 63 Splitscreen with tubs and hydraulics, Rieger Golf, Scirocco, Mk2 Golf race car, Westfalia T25, GMC Pickup, BMW 750il and 728, Saab Carlsson and 99 Airflow, Mercedes W123 and C124, Nissan Cedric, KITT Replica, Audi 100, Subaru SVX... and an EK4 Civic race car project that I’ve just started
The second I saw the concept images of the new Challenger, I knew I had to have one. They're so true to the design cues of the original car, yet have a style all of their own. There was no way I could afford a brand new one, but this one came up, with just 1,500 miles on, for around half list! One of those lucky situations that had to be capitalised on.
What I wish I'd known:
I did read up on this car to an uber-geek level before I bought it - I was so in love with the whole idea! So, luckily, there have been no nasty surprises at all. It’s a thirsty old thing of course, but you know that before you buy it. That said, thanks to the ‘cylinder defeat’ function, motorway gas mileage can creep as high as the heady mid-20s.. that’s almost sensible.
Absolutely everything! The way it looks, the way it sounds, the performance, the sheer excess of it all. It sounded great in stock trim, but with a set of Doug Thorley headers and a custom Milltek exhaust system it now sounds like a Nascar mating with an F40! Being such a popular car in the states there are so many tuning parts for this car, too... and I’m slowly getting around to getting a few of them on!
Things I hate:
When people call it a Charger, or ask if it’s the car from ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’. Puhleeeeease!
A lot less than you’d think.. A shade under £26,000 to buy. Not exactly pocket money, but a cost effective way to get a 1,500 mile, 431hp cartoon! Insurance, like all Yanks, is inexpensive if you keep on a limited mileage policy and road tax is cheaper than most hatchbacks, due to all imports being averaged out at a paltry figure.
In the good weather, I use it as much as I can. It’s such a great GT, so it does everything from client visits to long-distance schleps. It’s an incredibly nice car to drive long distances, and, at 6’4”, one of the few cars I own that I can truly stretch out in. The Americans do build ’em big!
It’s already had some great tweaks – a full Eibach suspension upgrade, SuperPro bushes, a Forge custom intake – and the exhaust of course, but I think a Hurst shifter is on the cards next... and then the call of a supercharger may be just too much to resist. It’s quick now, but the 550-odd horses it should have then could be even more entertaining. Can’t see the rear tyres being long for this world, though!