I hate to say I told you so, but I did…
Back in February of this year when it leaked that Stellantis was disbanding Dodge’s SRT Division I said the “wonderful Hellcat V8 engines are likely on the chopping block.” For the egregious sin of questioning our automotive overlords I was called a crazy conspiracy theorist, a Dodge hater, and all kinds of other things I can’t publish. Well, it’s vindication time because Dodge brass has confirmed it is axing the Hellcat engine entirely. I told you so and I’m rubbing it in.
See what I said during the summer about Dodge’s upcoming electric muscle car here.
That’s it, the Dodge Hellcat twins are about to become history. Sure, we knew the fun couldn’t last forever, what with Jeremy Clarkson of all people lecturing automotive enthusiasts about cars killing the planet (he really did during the first episode of season 4 of The Grand Tour. Watch it if you don’t believe me). With government and elite societal pressure building, you’re required to sacrifice modern American muscle on the altar of the Green Movement which has labeled carbon, an element found in all life as we know it, as the enemy of earth and its supposedly fragile climate we know has changed without human intervention for millions of years.
You’d think Dodge and Stellantis would announce the cancelling of the Challenger and Charger Hellcats with some official press release, maybe a video commemorating all the good times we’ve had, or something similar. Instead, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis sat down with Motor Authority at the 2021 LA Auto Show to drop the bomb that at the end of 2023 the Hellcat is dead.
Back when I published that op-ed about how Dodge is disbanding the SRT Division, it was a move Dodge and Stellantis spun like a turbo spooling up using all kinds of lawyer-like double-speak. I argued this would lead to the watering down of what constitutes performance within Dodge, but my detractors pointed out that Dodge said the SRT badges aren’t going away, like that proves anything. Look, Jeep puts Trail Rated badges on Renegades these days; badges mean whatever the automaker wants them to. One person astutely pointed out the Hellcat engine isn’t going anywhere because Stellantis just dropped it into the Ram TRX. That makes perfect sense to the illogical, I guess. I was yelled at online by people who said I was “biased” for daring to question the Stellantis narrative. Yes, having an opinion contrary to others in 2021 now constitutes “bias.” How dare I question what my betters have planned for society?
I had a bad feeling about the whole Stellantis corporate structure when I saw who occupied key positions within the automaker. Just like with the Renault-Nissan Alliance, it’s the French executives from Peugeot Et al. who are really calling the shots. Why are they in charge, considering it’s Dodge, Ram, and Jeep that are the cash cows? And the French love them some dorky electric cars like the Renault Twizy, which they actually thought Americans would fall for once they saw how much better they are compared to the dumb, stupid muscle cars, trucks, SUVs and everything else evil we Americans love to drive. In the words of the brave Greta, how dare you?
Well, Americans have balked at these joke French cars for good reasons, but you see the French don’t really believe in free markets anymore. Nope, the masses are so dumb they have to be forced to do what’s right. That means taking away all the cool, sexy toys like Hellcats and through government regulation forcing everyone into lame electric cars while telling you they’re awesome and you’re doing the right thing.
Sure, the immediate push-back to that is to point at how awesome Teslas are. Look, I’ve driven multiple Teslas, including the hottest models they make and while that instant full torque delivery from a standstill is admittedly impressive, I have some serious problems with them. Not only that, but those super awesome, top-of-the-line Teslas are way out of the average Hellcat owner’s purchasing power. So guess what you’re going to be stuck with in this new electrified future? Hello, golf cart!
A wise journalist once said the key to understanding the truth of what the media reports isn’t in what they say but instead in paying attention to what they don’t say. There’s zero promise of future V8 engines from Dodge anywhere in what Kuniskis says in that interview. I predicted the all-electric muscle car announcement is the harbinger of smaller engines with fewer cylinders paired with electric motors. But don’t worry, Dodge will work overtime convincing you they’re just as good as a V8. After all, we live in an age of big corporations gaslighting the public constantly. And the automotive sites will gladly carry water for Dodge and tell anyone who says differently they’re wrong, that the V8 Dodges weren’t all that great, and besides you’re saving the planet by driving something loaded with rare earth metals and fueled by burning coal.
Kuniskis even showed off some advent calendar thing that’s for the 24 Months of Muscle program, which you’re going to hear a lot about, trust me. After all, enthusiasts must be treated like children waiting for Christmas before that big reveal and the ultimate gaslighting is cleverly dropped. Aren’t you excited to see what your leaders have in store for the automotive future?
As I argued back in July after Dodge teased the all-electric muscle car, there’s something really fishy about the whole situation. Adding to my suspicions was the fact the YouTube video of the tease was taken down not too long after. If Dodge were proud of what it’s planning, why take down the video? Surely it wasn’t because of criticism leveled by me and others.
Ultimately, the spirit of Chrysler and its awful decision-making process which led to gifting enthusiasts with the PT Cruiser is still alive and well. They got everyone really excited for that retro hatchback before people finally realized they’d been had. I’ve been waiting for Old Chrysler to rear its ugly head and upend everything good that’s been done in the past decade, and it seems the French are the ones helping to make that happen.
I hope everyone enjoys their future all-electric “muscle car” they have to blow into a breathalyzer to start (thanks to the now-passed infrastructure bill). Oh, and when that tax bill for all those miles driven for the month shows up from the IRS that will also be super fun. The future sounds really great.