Like Gas Is Free
Published on Wed, Nov 27, 2019
By: Brian Kennedy
It looked like the 1960s (or early 1970s) exploded all over one end of the Dodge display area at the LA Auto Show, with Challengers and Chargers on show three deep and three or four wide. They ranged from one that was decked out as Santa’s sleigh (which finally explains how he hits all thosehouses in one night) to a bunch that are actually streetable and will, no doubt about it, make you the pariah of your neighborhood, which, in my opinion, is just what the suburbs need.
They also featured several models that are drag-able. That’s right—these guys not only sell a 797hp muscle monster (the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye) but also a new street-to-strip model called the Challenger SRT Scat Pack 1320. For under $45 grand, you get a 392 Hemi engine and street legal drag racing tires. One of those on display even had the remains of the rubber left on the fenders behind the rear wheels from a dragstrip pass. The time was noted on the window as well: 11.72. That’s in seconds, to 1320 feet, or one quarter of a mile.
This is not to forget the 2020 Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, a limited production car that celebrates the Challenger’s 50thanniversary. Only 490 of these will be sold, 70 per color. If I were you, I’d get it in Sinamen Stick, just because of the name.
Ranging further into the Fiat-Chrysler section and leaving the muscle behind, you can see the emphasis is on big, just like in every other display save a few at this year’s show. Trucks—Rams, called things like 1500 and 2500 and even 3500—threatened to run over anything that got in their way.
There was also a bit of a throwback element, with one truck called the Rebel, which some will remember reaches back to the brand’s Rambler (later American Motors) days. It’s now just a sticker and wheels package for the 1500 pickup.
The Ram trucks did feature one cool new gizmo—a 60/40 split tailgate available on all the so-called “light duty” (1500) trucks. This is an interesting way to spend to spend $800, and it comes with a side step to make getting stuff in and out of the bed easier.
The Dodge people also feature some new-style (European travelers will recognize these) commercial vehicles including the Promaster City and Promaster, the former a small cargo van and the latter a larger version. Both are Italian in derivation.
The Jeep display featured Renegade, Cherokee, and Wrangler and various versions of those, including the Jeep Gladiator, a vehicle they were calling “100% truck 100% Jeep.”
The Fiat section had one new thing—the 500X Sport, a new trim level with AWD, body color fender flares, and a new-style grill for under $27,000, according to the spokesperson on the stand. The car features a 1.3-liter engine.
So it’s a combination of tiny and huge at Dodge-Fiat-Chrysler nowadays, with the emphasis leaning toward the latter. Doesn’t seem to matter how much or how little or how fast you need to go. This company is ready to help you burn some massive quantities of fossil fuel.