"Our sole Challenger has just broken the ring of evil the deep blue meanies have so righteously wrought - get through 'em baby, get through 'em." - Super Soul, Vanishing Point 1971
It happens deep in the Nevada desert, just past Austin. On a long, straight section of road with nothing to lose, our friends in the white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T finally put the hammer down. At once, the rawness and purity of Kowalski's ride pulverizes the well-insulated interior of our 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, shredding the peace inside the modern car's cockpit with the same brute force Kowalski used to pierce a hole in the cool desert air 38 years ago. Even with my right foot buried, I see nothing but taillights until they disappear into the desert.
In these few brief seconds, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is clearly defined by its soft edges and quiet exhaust. Manufacturers don't let us feel cars raw and unfiltered anymore. Hammering down a desert road with a thin-rimmed steering wheel and pistol-grip shifter - that's raw. Four hundred and forty cubic inches and a four-speed - that's raw. Powerslides unhampered by electronic intervention - that's raw.
In 1970, when Kowalski drove this very road - U.S. Highway 50 through Nevada - he felt it. And it was raw.