I am a man, but one with limper wrists than an 18th century, lace-bedecked dandy. A man willing to run shamelessly from confrontation and who suffers anxiety when hearing even moderately raised voices. One who would even flee Richard Hammond should he threaten to raise those savage hamster brows. I am beta-prime, the very antithesis of Doc Savage. Ayn Rand would not be a fan.
Why is it then, that when I see a Dodge Challenger, my heart threatens to leap out of my throat?
Let’s just say that I have been heavily influenced, in no small part, by the shades-at-night, leather-coated machismo of movies like Vanishing Point (1971), Mad Max (1979), Blade (1998) and TV shows like Supernatural. Sadly, over the years, my only experiences of driving anything vaguely muscular was as a result of free rental upgrades – once to a souped-up Oldsmobile and, years later, a base-model Dodge Charger.
Now let’s back up a little, back to a few years ago when I lived, or rather subsisted like an unwelcome budget-priced wart, amidst the Richie Richs’ play-ground of the Pacific Northwest, also known as Vancouver. I remember quite clearly the day when the Detroit mean-machine returned to local showrooms after a long, sad absence. Not having a bean, however, did not stop me from paying homage to the sinister, elder god reborn. No doubt much to the annoyance of the prim salespeople, I slithered onto the hotseat of an unwisely unlocked display model. Purrrfect. It felt just right – threatening and raw. Sitting there, low-slung, I was a dragon, the Grendel, the Great Beast. I was imbued with the power of Thor!
Fast-forward a few years to 2014 and I’m living back in Blighty when Dodge unveil this year’s Challenger SRT. Given that the price ranges from $27,000 to $47,000 (£17,000-£29,000) between from the lowest specified model the top-trumps SRT, surely the SRT is a cooler, arguably better looking and much, much cheaper alternative to something like Jaguar’s new F-Type R Coupé kitty rocket? While the big cat throws out 80 bhp more than the paltry 470 bhp of the SRT, it also costs a tad more at £85,000+
Still not tempted? For around $15,000 less than the SRT, there is the R/T, made iconic by car culture vultures’ all-time favourite existential movie mentioned above: The Vanishing Point. Just ask Kowalsky.
So, if want to get in touch with your inner Viking, forget beating drums in the woods; just get in one of these and turn that meow into a proper grrr on your way to the shooting range.
I was tempted to conclude this article with something like “Gentlemen, I present the Dodge Challenger SRT, the best car that you can’t buy here”, but that would be a horrible cliche, so instead I’ll say: ‘…on that bombshell…’ No, no, no… I just want to drive it and look like a bad-ass.