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Out With The Old, In With The New… Or Not

Despite the ‘Chicken Little’ cries of global warming, it’s snowing here again on New Years Eve. One more day left on a turbulent decade, one more day before a new one starts. Could anybody have seen the changes to be wrought in the last ten years when it all started out? According to Wikipedia (a reliable, though biased, source these days), 2000 was to be The International Year for the Culture of Peace; how that workin’ for ya ten years, two ongoing wars, and an economic tsumani later? The globe moved toward globalization at a rapid pace during this decade, while many normal people just wanted everything to reset back to ‘normal,’ whatever that is.

As we close out the ten year window, the company that draws us to this website each month had also undergone a massive transition. Chrysler went from being the red-headed stepchild of Stuttgartt to the cash cow for a shark-infested pool of investment brokers, then became the very representation of the one-world movement as part of manufacturer Fiat, with European Chryslers soon to be rebadged as Lancias and Alfa Romeos. The faces we knew on the factory performance side have changed, though there is true promise as the SRT group tools up with new ideas and technological possibilities. Viper stayed alive, Challenger's become part of the modern musclecar era, and the alternatives to the Italian connection were all unpleasant; it will just take some getting ‘used to.’

A lot of people are bitter about the administration’s undisclosed methodology that cost long-time dedicated dealers like the Painters in the southwest their family franchises; frankly, it smelled rotten to a lot of us. The financial fallout from the banking debacle that rocked the world is still not finished for the survivors yet, either, as some of the remaining dealerships are struggling now with credit issues in a still-tight lending/financing market; GMAC got $3.2B (billion) more in stimulus yesterday (12/30/09) as a result. Regardless, this whole episode had ‘brave new world’ connotations as the government seized power over private enterprise at a rate not seen since the Great Depression. Resetting that back to zero, and paying down the attendant debt it has now generated, unfortunately becomes very unlikely with every passing day this Congress ‘works for us.’ Yeah, right…

In model changes, Challenger stepped up to the plate for competition at the end of the decade. In addition to the Drag Pak program, we now will have several teams running the retro pony car in NASCAR’s 2010 Nationwide series. Based on the car’s appearance, this is a very cool development coupled with the successful (but not as sporty) Charger design in the Sprint Cup Series. We still want to see a Challenger funny car, though… 

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