I have a confession to make.
As most of you know, I love Saabs. But even though I love Saabs, I also have an interest in other car companies. The ones I’ve mentioned most on this site are Alfa Romeo and Porsche. I’ve owned a couple of Alfas in my time and I definitely have either/both the Porsche 911 and/or 928 on my automotive bucket list.
But there’s more. I also have a soft spot, small as it is, for a good muscle car.
I knew a guy back in the late 1980s. He was probably in his early 20s and his parents owned a fast-food shop that a girlfriend of mine used to work at. They made great steak sandwhiches, by the way. I didn’t even have to state my order. I’d just walk in the door and Steve’s mother would nod in my direction and get the bacon on the grill. Great times.
Steve’s family were Greek and no-one did muscle cars in Melbourne better than the mediterraneans. Steve, young as he was, had a bright yellow Dodge Challenger from the early 1970s. The thing was big, loud, and it just gleamed. He’d done one hell of a job putting that car together and I can’t imagine the amount of money he must have spent on it.
When it came to cars that we could never afford to buy (i.e. most cars) my mates were mostly into Mustangs or early Aussie Holdens. I had a big soft spot for Burt Reynolds’ Screaming Chicken, but the car that really got my juices flowing was Steve’s Challenger.
Fast forward to today and the Big Three (such as they are) have a renewed pony car war going. Ford have had an updated Mustang for a while now. Chevy have the new Camaro and Dodge have a new Challenger. A few days ago, Dodge also announced the 2012 Charger SRT8, which is the car that piqued my interest in writing this piece.
There’s something about modern Dodge vehicles that really interests me. I know they don’t sell as many of them as what Ford and Chevy sell of their pony cars, but for me, they’ve still got that certain something. It’s most likely the flat-out aggressive looks.
To my eyes, the Mustang looks like it’s trying to be a hip, sophisticated version of it’s former self. The Camaro looks like a cartoon version of its former self. The Challenger and the Charger? They just look like they’d kill you if you glanced at them the wrong way.
They shout blue collar toughness, which is what muscle cars were all about. I could well imagine successful executives buying Mustangs and Camaros to get in touch with some glory days they may or may not have been part of. A Challenger buyer is getting something – and saying something – a bit more honest and earthbound to me.
The new SRT8 Challenger has 470hp.
There’s a new Camaro with 550hp and you can buy a Shelby Mustang with the same 550hp output.
The way we live here in blogland – constantly comparing one car to the other on the basis of numbers on a virtual page and the odd image – this would suggest to you that the Camaro and Mustang would be the better choice because they have more grunt. Sales would suggest that and reviews of the respective motors would probably suggest it too.
And I couldn’t care less. Based on my own brief in-person sightings of all three and my own historical leanings, I’d take the Challenger any day of the week.
It has perfectly sufficient grunt for my needs but more than that – it speaks to me about what a muscle car should be and it touches a spot in my own personal history. I don’t think I’ll ever add a muscle car to my garage, but if I were inclined to do so, I’d happily cruise around with my arm leaning out the window and
Prince The Boss cranking out Born to be Wild while I scoped out the local talent competition.
The Dodge Challenger is my pony car of choice and I couldn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about it.
Everyone’s got their opinions, whether they be well-founded or not. It’s what matters to you that’s important in the choices that you make.
Worry not that commenter X thinks the 9-5 wagon might be difficult to reverse. Have you ever owned a car that you haven’t got accustomed to the proportions of? I haven’t, and I’ve had to reverse down some pretty curly driveways in my time.
Your work colleague’s opinion about Saab’s future prospects? Who cares? It’s your taste and preference and more importantly, your judgement that matters.
Don’t fret about commenter X2’s concerns about this, that or the other. Check it out for yourself and either get comfortable, or move on.
I’ve really enjoyed sharing the stories of people who have recently bought new Saabs here at SU. Of course, they have an investment in the car and are more likely to be happy with it. But personally speaking, I’ve found every one of those stories to be genuinely brimming with satisfaction over these vehicles.
And that’s what’s important.
The only stamp of approval required with any vehicle purchase you consider….. is your own.