As electrification becomes part of an undeniable future for the automotive industry, the fates of our favorite V8-powered muscle cars appear to be all but written. That said, the muscle car segment is currently experiencing what could easily be called its brightest moment since their historic “golden age” of the late 1960s and early 1970s. And when you think of the current crop of these V8-powered machines, none are more true to their roots than the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger. As you might expect, the very character of these big, beloved American brutes are inseparable from their powerful Hemi V8 engines. But it appears a change in formula is imminent.
The Future Of Dodge Muscle Cars
“There hasn’t been a date drawn in the sand saying you’ll no longer be able to buy an iron block Hemi anymore, but everybody knows it’s coming and they want to enjoy (today) while they can… it will come to an end, but the replacements are going to be so much more exciting,” said Matt McLear, head of Dodge Sales Operations in an interview with MC&T.
If you take a look at the current Dodge Challenger and Charger lineup, you’d be hard pressed to know that the industry is embracing hybridization and electrification. The Dodge muscle cars are available with three different V8 engine options, ranging from 375 horsepower up to 797 horsepower in the Hellcat Redeye models. That isn’t to say that Dodge isn’t gearing up for an electric future, but they realize their customers want to be able to experience the best V8 engines they can with the time we have left.
“I think more than anything people are looking for the next generation,” said McLear, on the broad trend of the shrinking muscle car segment. “Everybody knows electrification is coming, we’ll reinvent the muscle car as far as Dodge is concerned. I’m extremely excited about where the future is going, but right now everybody is enjoying ‘the bachelor party.’ This is the last hurrah.”
Several key figures at Stellantis have also made remarks about the what the future of the Dodge muscle car family will look like, including CEO Carlos Tavares and celebrity design chief Ralph Gilles.
The End Of An Era?
It’ll be a sad day when the last Hemi V8 rolls off of the production line, but we’ll never forget the impact they’ve had on the industry. But, as McLear mentioned, there’s no clear line in the sand just yet (provided certain policymakers don’t get their way).
If this is truly the end of the line for the V8-powered Dodge Challenger and Dodge muscle cars, we couldn’t have asked for a better send-off. The current crop of models are genuinely some of the most enjoyable American vehicles money can buy.
As for whether or not there’s enough rare earth minerals to go around for the auto industry to make batteries, that’s another conversation.
“We’ll leave that to smarter people,” he said.
Photo copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks