The bailout of General Motors and Chrysler stained both company’s reputations but also began a renaissance in American car performance. One look at the line up of either company reveals improved interiors, better styling, and more performance rear-wheel-drive monsters than we could have ever imagined a mere five years ago.
To prove this point, look no further than the Challenger SRT Hellcat and the Camaro Z28. These are the kings of their respective line-ups and they offer far more than just straight-line speed at affordable prices. In fact, they aren’t even very affordable.
Pondering a seventy-thousand dollar 200 mph muscle car seems like a parallel universe where accountants and shareholders don’t exist. Yet here are two. The Z28 is a Chevrolet science project, turning the large and aging Camaro into an unapologetic track-destroyer. The Challenger Hellcat goes for an even more impressive target by offering hyper-car levels of power at the cost of a large SUV.
707 horsepower didn’t exist in production cars ten years ago. It’s still hard to find without visiting a tuner shop. Yet on the short list of cars with seven-centuries of power you now find… Dodge. We have officially entered another dimension.
Whoever approved the Z28 was equal parts genius and madman. The poor bunker-like visibility remains, as does the plastic interior and low ceiling. Then Chevrolet took a page from super-car makers by actually removing interior immenities while jacking up the price. All of this was done in the name of the ultimate track Camaro, a part of the market no one even asked about.
This is a strange pairing in many ways, but these two cars seem to have sprung from the same restriction-free bender and made it all the way to the driveway in front of me. I’m holding a red Dodge key fob, and a simple Chevy key. Here. Now. And waiting.