Hood scoops feed my gas-stained soul.
I guess that makes me pretty shallow. But I would rather wrestle a flamed ’32 highboy down a rough road in 100-degree heat than cruise a smooth interstate in a luxo Benz or Bimmer.
Some people fall for long-legged blondes or Jack Black straight up, the amber angel. Some swallow both hooks.
But I’m a bigger sucker for overheated headers, chattering camshafts and engines so edgy they bang and thrash like Charlie Watts on the drums.
Dodge must have heard the word on my wide-ranging weaknesses before sending over the 2014 Challenger R/T Shaker.
How can anyone be objective about a big bruiser of a Hemi-powered coupe with that functional, flat-black scoop protruding through its hood?
And did I mention the polished pistol-grip shifter, just waiting to stir up some six-speed mayhem?
I’ll do my best here, kids, but I’m already sweating.
As you probably know, the current Challenger was introduced in 2008, a slightly modernized version of the legendary 1970 model, one of the kings of Keller’s Drive-In.
Although the new-old Challenger never hurt Mustang or Camaro much — about 51,000 sold last year — it established a niche as the most retro car in America.
In fact, the one I had might as well have arrived in bell-bottoms and a tie-dyed T-shirt. (Actually, we kind of matched on some days.)
Four round headlamps occupied the corners of an impossibly wide blacked-out grille — and when was the last time you saw round headlamps on a new car?
Just like old muscle cars, the Challenger’s long hood abutted big fenders that flowed into large, heavy doors.
A fairly square top shoved down hard on the body even had thick rear roof pillars that created retro Old World blind spots.
Still, though tall and fairly bulky, the Challenger is as visually appealing as it was in 1970 — a claim most of us from that era can’t make.
A character line beneath the door handle provided some definition on the slabbish sides, while meaty 245/45 tires on good-looking 20-inch wheels made the Shaker appear slightly smaller.
Tying it all together pretty nicely was a broad flat-black stripe that started around the scoop and slid across the center of the top and trunk.