By MATT STRONG

The new Challenger, 2010 in this case, looks fast just sitting parked. A 1970 Dodge Challenger might have been the original, but this new one looks to have some stones also. I’ve loved the original Challenger RT since the first guy on my crew bought one. The new model does it justice, even from my jaundiced point of view. Chrysler Group, LLC, (Mopar to us), has done a great job recreating the “Iconic” muscle car from the 1970’s. I’d never had the opportunity to look at the old and new parked side by side, so to make this happen it took two RT owners named John, plus a bit of driving to find a suitable location.

The Specifications table will make you think your eyes have gone the way of your disposable income, but be patient and all shall be explained; except the lack of disposable income. Let’s just say they both look and are fast. Some people tell me that “Fast” is something to do with action, action that moves quickly. I guess that is partially true, but to me it isn’t the entire definition of fast. Fast is a place where things actually slow down, where you can see the last yellow light just starting to dim. Where you can cut “0.00” reaction times all day long; this is fast. It takes a while to get this down and put it to use on the drag strap or road circuit or even a roundy-round track.

How does this happen? You are moving quickly. Your mind can handle so much data that you are as fast as the largest, and latest, “Cray” super-computer. Do you now understand how I define fast? This tale of two RT’s displays fast as it was in 1971 and again as it is today. Enjoy the things they share as well as the things they do not. The only real differences have to do with their +40-year age difference. They are both fast cars, although they express it differently.

Looking at the two cars side by side was quite interesting. To begin with, the new Challenger looks just a tiny bit longer and doesn’t have a chrome bumper. But the grille area is so close to being the same as a 70’s model it would take careful measurements to find any differences. A header panel in front of the radiator determines the grille area on the red car. The black car’s hood and radiator support determine the top of the grille area. Both cars have plastic front spoilers; the red car - side-to-side; the black car – one on either side.

The belt lines, fender lines, rear tail sections and other details are almost the same; proportionally. Overall each car reflects the technology of the +40 years separating them. You could buy a Hemi RT in 1971, but the black car’s engine is a 440 wedge Six Pack and is far more powerful (at this point) than the red car. 

The black car actually started with a 383 ci engine, today it has a new engine that’s a full 448 ci thanks to a 0.030 overbore to clean up the cylinders. But, this used engine has matching numbers for a 440 Challenger of the same year. Plus, John Monroe still has the 383” in the garage. The wheel / tire technology differences resulted in 20” wheels and tires on the red car and 15” wheels and tires on the black. Both look perfect. Righteous even.