Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Reno: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcats

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat | Barrett-Jackson Photos

Editors note: This is the fifth in a 10-day series featuring cars to be sold August 6-8 at Barrett-Jacksons Reno auction.

The Dodge Challenger was first produced from 1969-1974 using the Chrysler E platform and sharing components with the Plymouth Barracuda in an effort to rival the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. The Challenger was revived in 2008 to compete with the Mustang and Camaro. Continue reading

What to do about the General Lee?

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1969 Dodge Charger known as the General Lee | Photography by Hans Marquez

One of the most iconic images of the Confederate flag sits atop the equally iconic car from the popular TV series, The Dukes of Hazzard. The car in the show known as the General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger driven by fictional characters Bo and Luke Duke, is under fire and being defaced by some due to current controversies surrounding the Confederate flag.

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Pick of the Day: 1967 Dodge Charger

The sleek fastback roofline accentuates the large proportions of the ’67 Charger
The sleek fastback roofline accentuates the large proportions of the ’67 Charger

With the Fourth of July coming up tomorrow in our politically divided nation, let us come together and agree (for once) that there is nothing more all-American than a big-block muscle car from the 1960s.

The Pick of the Day is a bright-red 1967 Dodge Charger powered by a 440 cid V8, which should get the job done. The Lithia Springs, Georgia, classic car dealer notes that these big ground pounders do not get the attention they deserve compared with the later Chargers that regularly go into six figures at auction. Continue reading

Marie Callas’ limos among family cars headed to Artcurial’s Monte Carlo auction

One of two Mercedes-Benz 600 limos being offered at Callas estate auction | Artcurial photos
One of two Mercedes-Benz 600 limos being offered at Callas estate auction | Artcurial photos

Eleven cars from the estate of the Callas family, including a pair of limousines purchased in 1967 by acclaimed opera singer Marie Callas, will be offered for sale July 20 when Artcurial Motorcars stages an auction at the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo.

Maria Callas ordered the pair of Mercedes-Benz 600 limos to carry her on European opera tours. The sale, by Paris-based Artcurial, takes the limos back to Monaco, where Callas lived with Aristotle Onassis from 1959-1968. Continue reading

Mecum scores nearly $10 million sale in Seattle

A Plum Crazy 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger was the top seller in Seattle | Mecum photos
A Plum Crazy 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger was the top seller in Seattle | Mecum photos

A 1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T SE led the bidding at Mecum’s collector car auction last weekend in Seattle, where total sales reached $9,517,676.

The restored Plum Crazy Challenger, a true R-code car with four-speed manual transmission, sold for a high bid of $185,000 (sales results do not include auction fees). The second-highest sale was for a modern exotic, a 1999 Lamborghini Diablo Roadster that hammered at $170,000. Continue reading

Driven: 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T

The Dodge Challenger R/T gets some cosmetic upgrades for 2015 | Bob Golfen photos
The Dodge Challenger R/T gets some cosmetic upgrades for 2015 | Bob Golfen photos

Also see the second opinion (below) by Bob Golfen

For the 2015 model year, Dodge’s Challenger challenges the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro in eight versions, which is the same number of gears offered by the automatic transmission of the Challenger R/T that I’ve been driving lately. Continue reading

My Classic Car: Steve’s 1966 Dodge Dart

1966 Dodge Dart posed with P-51 Mustang aircraft | Steve Woods photos
1966 Dodge Dart posed with P-51 Mustang aircraft | Steve Woods photos

I was attending a monthly meeting of the POC (Plymouth Owners Club) and one of our members brought to my attention that in a national magazine (Hemming’s News) someone was selling a Dodge Dart convertible with a SC area code.

When I got home and researched the number I found out it was only 25 miles from my home. Calling, I set up a meeting to look at the car.

Mr. O'Connell would like the way his car looks
Mr. O’Connell would like the way his car looks

I met with the owner, Mrs. Heather O’Connell, a peach of a lady. With tears in her eyes she explained that her husband had purchased the car and sent it away to have some work done on it. He had never driven it and just a few days before it was returned, Mr. O’Connell passed away.

She had kept the car in her garage for the past 13 years, driving it around the block sometimes once a month.

Looking at this car I immediately fell in love with it. A 1966 Dodge Dart with 54,210 original miles, everything works including the AM radio.

I have grand daughters that have also fallen in love with the car, as well as my wife, who has made me promise never to sell it but let’s pass it down to one of our six grand daughters.

The car, just like the sweet lady who owned it, is a peach.

Driving it always brings so many waves, horns blowing and people coming up to it. It is now a member of our family with Mr. O’Connell smiling down on it, wishing he could have driven it but still proud of his purchase.

— Steve Woods, Charleston SC

Future Classic: Dodge Viper

1989 Viper Concept
1989 Viper concept car | FCA photos

Originally intended as Chrysler’s modern take on the Shelby Cobra, the Dodge Viper concept was simple and straightforward in 1989: A no-frills roadster capable of going from 0 to 100 miles per hour and then back to zero in 15 seconds or less.

It was the principle behind the Cobra way back when, and the Viper development team wouldn’t have it any other way.

The concept proved so popular that Chrysler decided to give it the green light into production and to bring forth one of the most ludicrous automobiles ever to see the light of day. The sports car was powered by a huge, strong 10-cylinder engine that had been developed as a truck engine by Chrysler and tweaked for extreme use by Lamborghini, which at the time was a Chrysler-owned company.

1992 Dodge Viper
1992 Dodge Viper

Come 1992 and the Viper was on public roads. As the epitome of ass in the seat and rubber on the road, first-generation cars shared few features with other vehicles. Viper buyers got an outrageously designed body, a 400-horsepower engine, a steering wheel, 17×10  front and 17×13 rear wheels, leg-warmer side exhaust pipes and not much else.

The Viper was the coolest thing on the road. It had presence. It was truly a gem, a car that was so bad and actually really good, and you couldn’t help but love it. It was a car so tied up in itself, nothing else mattered and no matter where it went. It always became the center of attention. The aggressive stance of this car made its way onto every kid’s wall.

Driving a Viper was an event, and not only for the driver, but for anyone lucky enough to witness one.

The aluminum V10 was a hammer. Sort of a lazy lump until the revs built, but when they did, it hit loud and hard. Acceleration came like an unexpected punch in the face of a 4.5-second 0-60, and 9.2-second 0-100 mph time.

1994 Dodge Viper GTS Coupe Concept
1994 Dodge Viper GTS coupe concept

Handling was on the sketchy side. Comfort was a pipe dream. The car was literally only good for one purpose, and that purpose being able to haul ass.

Air conditioning would come later. So would a real top and, for that matter, and windows that really mattered.

And then a second-generation car that was lighter and more powerful, and then the GTS coupe with even more curves between its hips, a voluptuous double bubble roof, a bubble-glass hatch and a sharp ducktail spoiler.

In 1997, the RT/10 roadster made its return, with such “innovations” as exterior door handles, power windows, a removable roof and soft-touch interior. Air conditioning was standard, as were dual air bags.

All of it made the car much more user friendly, if maybe less fun to drive. And then there was a third generation, but it didn’t have the charm or the audacity of the earlier versions.

Pick of the Week: 1970 Challenger from ‘The Bucket List’

You might recognize this 1970 Dodge Challenger from its supporting role in ‘The Bucket List’
You might recognize this 1970 Dodge Challenger from its supporting role in ‘The Bucket List’

If a Hemi-powered muscle car is on your personal bucket list, here’s a 1970 Dodge Challenger with loads of bucket-list experience — Hollywood style.

Matter of fact, this Challenger is the very car driven by Jack Nicholson in the 2007 movie, The Bucket List, according to the California seller who’s advertising the hardtop on ClassicCars.com.

Anyone who has seen that popular film should be able to identify the Banana Yellow-and-Black Challenger from its role as the “hero car” for close-ups and driving shots. In the film, driving race cars was one of the bucket-list items for the terminally ill characters played by Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and the Challenger became part of the dream.

Freeman and Nicholson head toward their dream cars in the film
Freeman and Nicholson head toward their dream cars in the film | Warner Brothers

The Challenger is not an original car but a resto-mod created by famed muscle-car builder Ted Moser, who also built them for the Fast and Furious movie series, the seller states. It’s powered by a newer 5.7-liter Hemi V8 backed by an automatic transmission and slowed by a set of Weldman disc brakes.

After The Bucket List movie, the car appeared in a few TV roles, including on NCIS with Mark Harmon, and the 2010 movie, The Runaways.

The asking price is $57,500, which would seem kind of high for a non-original car except for its interesting Hollywood provenance. Another selling point is that the Challenger has only been driven about 2,000 miles since its restoration for The Bucket List, with less than 60,000 miles overall.

So if this is the car you’ve always wanted, go for it before it’s too late.

Or as Nicholson’s character said in The Bucket List: “We live, we die, and the wheels on the bus go round and round.”

 

My Classic Car: Bruce’s 1970 Dodge Charger R/T

Bruce Clark is older and wiser, and recapturing his youth | Bruce Clark photo
Bruce Clark is older and wiser, and recapturing his youth | Bruce Clark photo

In the spring of 1970 I received the dream car every 18-year-old boy thinks off: A shinny new 1970 Banana Yellow Dodge Charger R/T with white interior and white vinyl top . My parents bought it for me for my birthday one spring evening at the local Dodge dealership.

I don’t think they or I realized what a powerful beast that car was. Had they, it would have never been sitting in the driveway the next day. I drove it home that night from the dealership and remember it was the first time I had ever driven a 4-speed, but I learned quickly that night.

I immediately headed to the local teen hangout to show off my new wheels. My best friend at the time, Rick Banks, came running out of the local malt shop staring at the car with eyes wide as saucers as he jumped in and we screamed off down the road laughing like wild men.

The next day as I drove up to school the looks and stares I still remember to this day.

This Charger was loaded with 440 Magnum 375-horsepower stock from the factory, 4-speed pistol gripe shifter and Rally gauges.

I eventually added Hooker headers, boosting the horsepower to around 400.

Having never driven anything even close to the power of this Charger I was amazed at how fast and powerful the car was, as were all my friends. This was the heyday of the muscle car era so all my friends were driving muscle cars, Challengers, Boss 302s, GTOs and a Hemi GTX that was the bad boy of the clan.

We had a local quarter mile, a side street that ran along side the Atlantic City Expressway where we’d see who had the fastest car. My Charger rarely lost.

One day that spring when returning to school from a late breakfast with 3 guys in the car I headed down one of the back roads in our town full throttle pedal to the metal. Clocking at over 135 mph I looked in my rearview mirror to see about two miles back the flashing lights of a Glassboro police car chasing me.

I looked up and at the crossroad ahead:3 police cars had just entered the intersection and blocked it off. And yes they were all there for me!

I didn’t even realize the cop was following me until that moment as I slowed down and pulled over.

Needless to say he was one pissed-off officer who promptly handed me a ticket for reckless driving, which cost me my license for 6 long months.

After a slew of additional tickets for various infractions my parents said “enough” and that was the end of my beautiful Charger. I was forced to sell it.

Many years later as I grew older and more sane and vowed one day to create the car of my youth. The Charger you see pictured here is the Dream Car Part 2.