So Johnny Hunkins calls me for our afternoon break Friday and drops a set of keys, well really a key fob, in my hands and says the Dodge Boys dropped off a press fleet Challenger- how about taking it for the weekend. Hell yes!
The "loaner" turned out to be a 2010 R/T Challenger with the 5.7 Hemi that was treated to the full complement of HEMI performance parts. When I say full, I mean full as it was like someone threw the catalog at the car and parts stuck in their respective place- cold air kit, shock tower braces, suspension mods, 20 inch 5-spoke wheels, and more!
Sliding behind the wheel the bolster buckets give support in places that have long since sagged on my frame. Mashing the brake as I hit the START button is met with sensory overload as both a strong pedal pushes back and then the sweet gurgle sound of the Hemi through the cat-back exhaust reaches my ears. Seat belts in place I grab the accessory T-Bar shifter and ease out of the parking spot readied to start my commute, sweet........
Shifting into Drive I am still met with the familiar D (-/+) shift pattern and then I lift my line of sight to peer out of the windshield- DAMN!! OK it is not enough that this Challenger is bright Red with flat black laser strip, but there staring back at me is the rear of the accessory Snorkel Hood Scoop. Visions of a Christmas Tree dance in my head as I image a right lane start before I come to my senses and realize this is a Friday night commute.
Screwing my head back on as I ease out into traffic the ride is crisp and responsive without being bone jarring harsh- nice. The 5.7 Hemi sipping air through the cold air duct work is responsive up front while providing a commanding note of authority as the spent gasses exit the chrome tips. The 26 mile trip was too short and left me longing for more. Hey I still have tomorrow!
Day 2 - The around town grocery cruise test.
Made a less than popular call the night before by putting the Challenger R/T in my wife's garage stall and kicking her ride to the curb. After a bit of verbal restitution during morning coffee produced the news that we needed to run some household errands by the spousal unit. Perfect as now I don't need to make any excuses as to going for a ride.
Buckling in again the sparks of excitement begin to grow even before I hit the "START" button. The 5.7L comes to life and once again the sweet exhaust note bellows from behind. Entering typical Saturday in-town traffic the Challenger acts civil in manner as we trek from stop to stop with the only drawback being the admiring stares, waves, and crowds it attracts along the way. If you want to be noticed then this is the car for you!
One of the stops was a local home store where as we left we entered the parking lot with full basket of various purchases for future honey-do projects. It was most pleasing to find that the Challenger's spacious trunk and ample sized deck lid opening allowed easy packing with room to spare for much more. Luckily I avoid a return trip inside thus reducing my future Saturday projects and time away from cars like this.
On the way home a stop was added to a friend's house to show them the car. After a few minutes of close scrutiny it was obvious a quick ride was in order. Four full sized adults easily fit in the roomy interior and could make a weekend cruise up the coast in total comfort. Ample window area leaves one with no feeling of being claustrophobic that has been noticed in some other lesser two doors.
Homeward bound my co-pilot got the smart phone out and shot a couple of quick videos to remember the day as a "direct connection" for sensory awareness.
Day 3- Back to reality via morning traffic
This fully featured Challenger is like a car show on wheels as no less than three patrons at the local gas station asked about the car and wanted more details, all this on a dreary Monday morning. The extra fifteen minutes at the pump as being the center of attention was certainly an uplifting experience and as I refrained from mashing the "loud pedal" we left the sweet exhaust note to keep them guessing as to what the car could do under full throttle.
This Challenger even makes nine miles per hour bumper-to-bumper traffic seem fun as the entertainment system provided plenty options. Conventional and satellite radio, iPod connection, Bluetooth, and even GPS are all inclusive in the dash mounted unit. Just when I think the drive cannot get any better from an on ramp appears a Saleen pony. Window down and this dude has the cell phone ear piece syndrome to the max for that look at me savoir-faire. Little did he know that on this Monday he would be upstaged as the laser striped Challenger reduced his horse to second best if that in our traffic car show as he even snuck a few glimpse of the five-spoke twenties as we rolled on by. See ya............
The last seventeen miles were sound system off to enjoy the remaining time together and that crisp note of authority. One last short blast from the stop sign down the street before we edged into our final destination parking spot. An over the shoulder glimpse at the Challenger plastered a smile on that should stay through lunch.