The bodybuilders of the motoring world, muscle cars are as much about looks as they are about performance.
Like an oiled-up Venice Beach weightlifter flexing his guns on a balmy summer afternoon, these pimped up machines are unashamed show-offs with equal parts power and personality.
Let’s just say they’re not designed to blend in. Quite the opposite in fact. When you’ve got bulging curves and a roaring V8 engine bursting from your bonnet, it’s impossible not to attract a few lingering side glances, or more likely, an admiring crowd.
But isn’t that the point?
Muscle cars have always been designed to stand out.
While the ‘first muscle car’ is a hotly debated topic, many experts award the title to the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. However, the classic retro lines of what most of us envisage as a true muscle car didn’t take shape until the 1960s.
Picture something like the Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee, and you’ll know what we’re talking about. Arguably the show’s biggest star, this 1969 Dodge Charger is the quintessential muscle car. The Charger ranks as one of the best muscle cars of all time along with the likes of the Ford Mustang, Pontiac GTO and Chevrolet Camaro.
While we have America to thank for introducing the high-performance coupe, Australia has contributed more than a little bulk to the muscle car line up. A brief golden era from the mid-60s to early 70s saw power-packed cars like the Holden Monaro, Ford Falcon GTHO and Chrysler Valiant Charger hit the market and almost instantly take on legendary status. Naturally, red-blooded Aussie males melted at the knees when they first clapped eyes on their curves and heard their low rumblings. The attraction was instant. Those who could afford one were quick to line up for an opportunity to park one in their driveway.
And then disaster struck.
The production of Australian muscle cars came to a sudden-halt in 1972 when the Federal Government clamped down on the increasing and, if we’re completely honest, scary power of the new performance models.
But it was glorious while it lasted.
The short but oh-so-sweet production timeframe combined with the fact that these cars were in a way ‘outlawed’ (that’s instant appeal right there) did nothing but push their resale values up and up.
With so few models ever made, the desperation is great, and the demand is high.
Mint-condition classics like the Monaro and GTHO regularly go for substantial six figure sums at auctions and through online platforms. In fact, a Track Red XY GTHO Phase III, once owned by Australian fast bowler Jeff Thompson, astoundingly sold for just over $1 million in 2018. Before that, the highest price paid for a GTHO was $750,000 in 2007. Not a bad return when you consider the new price of the car was just over $5000 back in 1971.
Those resale price tags make Dodge’s new Charger Hellcat look like a steal at a cool $202,568 including on-roads. Just one of two Dodge muscle cars to be won in our Ultimate Life Changer lottery, the iconic Charger Hellcat is from the same stock as the Duke’s General Lee. The Charger’s classic lines have been revived to create a modern-day muscle masterpiece.
This supercharged machine boats a 6.2L SRT HEMI engine that equates to a nasty 707HP and 880 Nm of torque. With 20×11-inch forged aluminium wheels and an eight-speed automatic transmission built to handle the power within, the Hellcat is just raring to get off the blocks. Choose from Street Mode for a ‘compliant’ ride, Sport Mode for maximum handling, or Track Mode for firm handling and performance shifting. Ultimately, what the Charger is best at is going straight ahead, fast. You can go from 0 to 60mph in just 3.6 seconds and looking amazing while doing it.
Released 55 years after the first Charger was produced as a show car in 1964, the 2019 Charger Hellcat is still a show car in every sense of the word. And if you’re lucky, you might just get behind the wheel one day so the Hellcat can really show you what it can do.
The Charger’s track buddy in our Ultimate Life Changer muscle car prize – the Dodge Challenger – is also pretty buff. The 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T has a 5.7L VVT HEMI V8 engine rumbling away under the bonnet. The Challenger will set you back $112,458 on-road, but can you really put a price tag on the ultimate in 70s cool?
Sliding into the driver’s seat of this two-door beast is like stepping into a time machine. The nostalgia is palpable. Fire up the V8, jam your foot on the accelerator and you’re thrust back into the 1970s with the kind of whiplash you’d expect from 312HP and 556 Nm of torque. In layman’s terms, that kind of power could see you get from 0 to 100km/h in about 5 seconds. More than enough power for taking off from the traffic lights.
While these new-age Dodge muscle cars are all classic styling on the outside, they are thoroughly modern machines on the inside.
Beneath the brawn, some smart features give Dodge’s Charger and Challenger substance as well as passion. For example, with FuelSaver MDS fitted you can transition from eight cylinders to four when full power is not required, optimising fuel efficiency.
Plus, modern safety features like Park-sense Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Electronic stability Control, help to justify the not-so-tiny price tags.
All things considered, the Dodge Charger and Challenger offer a whole lot of bang for your heard-earned buck. Not just a long list of impressive high-tech features and mind-boggling specs. But also, the spirit of an era that you just can’t put into words.
Are they collector cars of the future? Only time will tell. In the meantime, who cares? They’re a heck of a lot of fun to drive. And isn’t that what the muscle car dream is all about?
What’s better than owning one muscle car? Owning two muscle cars of course! In Endeavour Foundation’s Ultimate Life Changer lottery, you have the chance to drive away with the ultimate muscle car prize including the 2019 Dodge Charger Hellcat (valued at $202, 568) and the Dodge Challenger R/T (valued at $112,458).
For just a $10 investment, these two incredible muscle cars could be yours along with $184,000 in cashable Gold Bullion. It’s the stuff that heart-pumping, petrol-fuelled dreams are made of.
Find out more about this incredible muscle car prize or to see the other prize options are for this Ultimate Life Changer lottery.
When you buy a ticket in an Endeavour Foundation Lottery your support is helping to provide the care and resources needed to keep people with intellectual disability active, safe and connected during these difficult times.