Chrysler has been walking to a different cadence lately, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. It’s already been memed among car enthusiasts. While Ford and GM kill off their traditional cars and prepare for the inevitable electrified future, the glorious do-whatever-we -want minds over in Auburn Hills are probably measuring to see if the Hellcat motor can fit into their minivans. While that’s probably not something to hold your breath for, Chrysler (currently under the newly formed Stellantis) clearly has no use for the overly cautious eggshell walk that their larger counterparts so religiously follow. We’re all better off as a result.
In a world of downsized engines, e-assist everything, and promises to abandon recycled dinosaur-fueled transit within a dog’s lifetime, Chrysler’s core American brands seem more focused on ensuring you can own a real-life copy of the car you drew a picture of in elementary school. Here’s a toast to some of the craziest recent Chrysler vehicles or ideas.
Ford creates an F-150 for high-speed desert running. Names it after a badass dinosaur. RAM, not to be outdone, creates a truck with the same intended function. Names it after a dinosaur that we all watched eat Ford’s namesake dinosaur in Jurassic Park. Also, it has over 700 Horsepower compared to just 450 from its prey, the Raptor.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk/Dodge Durango Hellcat
So, apparently, the “regular” SRT models of these two SUVs just weren’t enough. That’s more than 700 horsepower coming from family SUVs. Think about that. Imagine if the Toyota Highlander had a program onboard to measure lap times and g-force. Crazy, right. Well, these two have it.
This truck hit the showrooms with love-it-or-hate-it styling, but it is what we’ve been asking for since the Comanche peaced out in 1992. Also, it’s a pickup with a removable top and a fold-flat windshield.
V8 Jeep Wrangler
Jeep is dropping the 392 Hemi V8 in the Wrangler. Was it necessary? No. But that’s not how Chrysler works. With the Ford Bronco stealing the limelight in the off-road SUV realm, Jeep wasn’t about to sit in the stands at the game it invented; in fact, they announced the project the day after the Bronco was released. Prefaced in the 392 Concept, this a Wrangler complete with paddle shifters and capable of sub-15 second quarter-mile times. In a Wrangler.
Think about what this car really is for a moment. The current car dates back to the original Obama administration and has changed slightly over the years, but not enough to render it a new car since its 2008 debut. Since production started, we’ve seen countless packages and iterations, the most famous being the Hellcat, which has a diabolical horsepower output to match its name, and the Demon, which literally had Satan himself stitched into the seats. Oh, and it came with an awesome toolbox.
Sadly, these days are limited. Time and progression eventually make everything obsolete, and Chrysler will eventually get on board with the pre-determined future of transportation. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis recently stated to CNBC that EVs will save what he called “the golden age of muscle cars,” which is PR-speak for “The Hellcat cannot live forever, and its expiration date is closing in fast.” While great creations will come in the electrified future (Tesla has a mode called “Ludicrous Mode,” after all), this era of old school analog performance is coming to a close in the near future. Let’s just appreciate it while it’s here and give Chrysler its due respect for having such a “hold my beer” approach to making modern automobiles. Performance cars aren’t going anywhere; they’ll just be evolving. But until then, Chrysler still owes us a Hellcat-powered minivan.