2012 Wish List

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, just not my style. Usually, in a practical kind of approach, I set goals for the New Year based on the prior year’s performance and targets for the coming year. Yeah, boring. I know.

But having just finished a year that can best be described as one of wishes fulfilled, I am going to make New Year’s wishes. I’m sure you’ll find one or two you’d like to see come true on this list.

Since Chrysler has been on a roll with resurrecting hallowed name plates this century – Charger, 300, Magnum, Challenger, and, for 2013, Dart – number one on my wish list would be to bring back one more: ‘Cuda. And while we’re at it, I wish the new ‘Cuda would signal a return of the E body concept period – a reduced weight 2-door platform to go head-to-head with the Ford Mustang. The Challenger is a great car; our columnist Alex Rogeo wishes for one each night when she goes to sleep, but it’s limited by its heft. The Mustang proves there’s a huge market out there for a pony car that’s 400 pounds lighter than the Chally. Can you imagine a sexy, curvaceous, new lighter weight ‘Cuda SRT8? I sure can.

OK, wish number two, more power. While there’s no doubt that we Mopar fans are spoiled by the availability of affordable 370 horsepower R/T models, the top-of-the-line SRT models have fallen way behind in the power wars with the General and FoMoCo. The 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 can be had off the showroom floor with 650 horsepower and a claimed top speed in excess of 200 mph. The Camaro ZL1 isn’t far behind at 580 horsepower and for 2013 it’s even available as a drop top. Yeah, I know, they both cost more than an SRT8 model, but that’s not the point. Only a tiny fraction of Mustang and Camaro buyers can afford the top models, but that doesn’t matter. It’s about bragging rights. It’s about brand image. It’s about needing something to get those smug blue oval and bowtie people to shut up already. Three words: “Factory Supercharged 392.” That might be five words depending on how you say, “392.” But this doesn’t require a new platform or a new engine. This is doable, so let’s wish for it.

Our magazine project car, The Maulin’ Magnum is going to compete in four race series this year: NHRA Summit, PSCA, NMCA West, and WCHRA. Our steely eyed pilot and Editorial Assistant, Alex the Car Girl, is loaded and locked and ready for battle. The car is being upgraded over the off-season (providing lots of great coming tech articles) to be a winning four-wheeled weapon. But racing requires some luck in addition to great preparation. Not everything is under our control all of the time, so I’m wishing for some racing luck. I’d really like to win a championship this year for the magazine, and for you, our dedicated readers.

Now for some quick hits: I wish for the economy to improve so more of us can afford new Mopar cars.

I wish for gas prices to stay reasonable so more of us can afford to drive our cars.

I wish for great health for all the fine people at Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and SRT to stay focused on building great cars for us.

I wish for that perfect “barn find,” the dream car we should have bought or not sold back in the day (mine was a 1970 ‘Cuda 340 six-pack that was stolen).

Most of all, I wish for a very healthy and happy New Year to all of you, the Mopar nation fans that read this magazine every month. We’ll see you where Mopars gather to show or race.