Muscle Cars As We Know Them Are Living On Borrowed Time, But They Will Prevail

Eventually all that displacement will be replaced by electricity.

For muscle car fanatics, the first two decades of the 2000s has been quite amazing. We’ve seen the Ford Mustang become crazy powerful, the Chevy Camaro reinstated itself as a true muscle car, and Dodge, well Dodge, created a monster of an engine – the Hellcat – and has managed to cram it into just about everything outside of the Pacifica minivan. But, in the same way emissions regulations and the push for more efficient vehicles practically killed muscle cars in the late 70s and early 80s, the hard push for electrification means that performance and muscle cars alike – at least those from mainstream automakers – as we know them are living on borrowed time. Not all hope is lost, though, because muscle and performance cars will prevail once again. Things will just be a little different.

In a recent interview with CNBC Dodge CEO Time Kuniskis elaborated on this specifically, even admitting that the “days of an iron block supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 are numbered.” He is, of course, talking about Dodge’s famed Hellcat engine. The main reason behind this? As governments continue to push electrification, the cost of compliance will make it impossible for automakers to continue delivering gas-guzzling performance cars as they do today.

Lack of demand? Don’t even spit those words. Dodge, for example, has sold “well over 50,000” Hellcat vehicles in the past 5 years which, as he admitted, was “way beyond” the initial sales expectations. With the 2021 Challenger SRT Hellcat commanding a sticker price of $58,995 and the Durango SRT commanding a minimum of $80,995, nothing will a Hellcat engine is cheap, but it doesn’t matter. In fact, the Durango Hellcat is sold out.

So where is the muscle car industry going? Well, the answer is electrification. Of course, things won’t be quite the same as they are today, but we’ll still have muscle cars in 10, 20, and even 30 years.

“Crazy people are going to take the electrification – that has now become accessible from a price point [in the future] – and make that performance-based instead of economy based.”

You may not like the idea of a four-cylinder Challenger Hellcat with two electric motors, but it’ll still have 700+ horsepower and it’ll be crazy fast – it just won’t be a powerful V-8 under the hood anymore. This electrification might be the one thing that stops history from repeating itself. It took a long time for muscle cars to bounce back to the prime state they are in now after being all but killed off 50 years ago, and if electrification can stop that from happening this time, then I for one am all for it.

2021 6.2-liter Hellcat Redeye V-8 Specifications

Cylinder ConfigurationV-8
Horsepower797 Horsepower
Torque707 LB-FT
Bore & Stroke4.09 x 3.58
Valve ControlPushrod
Fuel InjectionSequential Multi-port
BlockCast Iron
Cylinder HeadAluminum
Compression Ratio9.5:1
Max Engine Speed6,500 RPM
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