Last Ride of the Scharnhorst . . .

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One of the great stories of Naval history is the Battle of the North Cape in late December, 1943 during which Germany’s last battleship, the Scharnhorst, fought to the death – alone – against an armada of British warships. Scharnhorst eventually went down, but with her after-turret still firing as she did – earning the respect of the British commander, Admiral of the Fleet Bruce Fraser, who said:

Gentlemen, the battle against the Scharnhorst has ended in victory for us. I hope that any of you who are ever called upon to lead a ship into action against an opponent many times superior, will command your ship as gallantly as the Scharnhorst was commanded today.”

The same may one day be said of Dodge – the last American car company, also fighting gallantly against probably insuperable odds and determined to fight to the last shell, just like Scharnhorst.

Rather than bend knee to the EV – or even downsize its fleet – Dodge has raised its barrels in the direction of the EV and increased the caliber of its guns.

It will henceforth sell nothing but big-gunned, rear-drive cars – and SUVs. Life, liberty  . . . and the pursuit of horsepower.

The Caravan minivan is gone; the Journey has been sent on one.   

But the 2021 Durango will be offered in Hellcat trim – equipped with an uprated (710 horsepower) version of the magnificent supercharged Hemi V8.

it will also be given the four-wheeled equivalent of an updated Seetakt radar set – which Scharnhorst badly needed – to help it escape the enemy: an improved suspension, so that the 5,000 pound SUV can take corners as flat and as fast as a 2,000 pound sports car.

The 2021 Charger Redeye, meanwhile, gets 797 horsepower – along with the Wide Body kit – a kind of 16-inch armor belt around the perimeter that conveys to the unwary that this is a heavy hitter.

Flagship of the fleet is the 2021 Challenger Super Stock, which creates a wake with its 807 hp Hemi.

Kapitan zur See Tim Kuniskis – actually, he’s honcho of FiatChrysler’s North American brands (i.e., Dodge, Chrysler, Ram and Jeep) – says that Dodge will henceforth “embrace its strengths” – which is implicitly a shot across the bow of those who embrace the strengths of government. Who show weakness in the face of the enemy, which – to anyone who actually likes cars and driving them – is the government.

The reason Dodge stands alone as the only seller of big American cars with big engines  without big prices is because it hasn’t struck its colors, tucked tail and meekly sailed into captivity, as most of the rest already have.

It hasn’t changed what sells, despite heavy pressure from the Mandate Mandarins. The Charger and Challenger are the oldest new cars you can buy. Neither – they both share a common platform, or underlying chassis – have been changed much since 2007, which if you’re counting is 13 years ago.

Almost 14.

The typical “product cycle” of a new car is about four years. Throw it away, start over. Make it more government-compliant and politically correct. Install the very latest in “robust driver assistance” technology.

Dodge dodges that – because it’s not what people who buy Dodges crave. They buy new Dodges precisely because they’re not new – so as to avoid “the very latest.”

Keeping things the same also keeps down costs, which helps sell more because people can afford to buy them.

Dodge hasn’t “invested” in EVs – for which there are mandates but not much market – something which used to matter to people in business. Or at least, the business of pleasing customers.

Thus, it hasn’t had to shift the costs of designing and building EVs that can’t be sold for what they cost to design and build – plus a profit (otherwise, why bother?) onto the backs of the vehicles that do sell for a profit, like the Charger and Challenger.

Of course, this will make it harder to sell cars like them in markets like California, where mandates trump markets. But that can be solved easily enough by not selling in California, until the market is once again allowed to decide what’s for sale.

That being a capital idea – as Gomez Addams used to say.

There are still enough Americans left who are not only willing but want to buy an American car – not a government-mandated car. That’s the market that deserves attention.

Dodge is going to do just that – focus on this Brotherhood of Muscle – the actual new slogan – and let the snowflakes melt in the afterglow.

This could be the first salvo of another battle – one that’s well worth fighting, even if the odds are stacked in favor of the enemy.

Kuniskis says “(we will be) giving our passionate, engaged and very vocal performance enthusiasts exactly what they want: More performance.”

Can you imagine?

We’ve become so PTSD’d by the juggernaut of virtue-signaling political correctness that hearing a car company executive exult about performance – no mention of saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety or carbon dioxide “emissions” –  is almost as startling as seeing a person blatantly not Face Diapered among the Diapered.

God bless Kapitan zur See Kuniskis.

I hope that any of you who are ever called upon to go into action against an opponent many times superior will command your ship as gallantly as Dodge is being commanded today.

Never strike the flag.

Fight like a demon – until the barrels glow red and the last shell is fired.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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47 COMMENTS

  1. “Of course, this will make it harder to sell cars like them in markets like California, where mandates trump markets.”

    These cars are “huge”, here in central Florida. home to the Confederate Battle Flag. BTW, it’s currently Trump that mandates markets.

  2. Dodge is able to sell big engined cars because they sell to highway patrols, who still know there’s no replacement for displacement. And Dodge doesn’t sell in Europe, only North America, so they don’t have to concern themselves with the EU limits on engine size.

    I like the message, but let’s not act like FCA is raising the Jolly Roger. As it is now I have to do a double take every time I see a Charger, especially black or grey, in case there’s a searchlight on the A pillar. As long as Dodge has a stable fleet market with the police they’ll keep cranking them out. The really amazing thing is that they are letting us prols buy them, not that FCA is building them.

    • RK, YOU have hit the nail square on the head, on all counts! Add to that FCA’s Gateway Module BS., which prevents owners and independent mechanics from working on their new cars…forever- and is not realistically feasible to hack, since it’s very purpose is to “prevent hacking”, and that tells the whole story.

      The Gateway Module; making shoddy crap; and staying alive by making pig-mobiles, means that FCA is as much or even more of an enemy than the other car companies. And those pig-mobiles are not even holding up. I’ve already seen two stories of pursuits ending because the engine in the pig-mobile blew [Hmm..maybe FCA is our friend!]- and one is not going to see a thriving market for retired pig Chargers like existed for old Crown Vics and Caprices, many of which are still on the road two decades after being retired from pig service…because the Chargers are done (even though retired much earlier than the others) once they are retired. (And I know whereof I speak, as I had a client who used to sell retired PI Crown Vics as his busy-ness….he won’t touch Chargers…)

      • The 300s are sold in Australia. Very popular here. My son’s girlfriend living with him had one in our driveway for 4 years. I never got to drive it. But I would love a Charger. I drove a rental in 2013 and wanted to bring the Charger back to Oz. At 100 mph with the V6, there was no tire, wind or road noise to mar the drive. Just the sound of 60s and 70s rock coming loudly out of the speakers via satellite radio. The 1500 Ram pickups are selling good here now also. Starting around $70K on up.

  3. I’m not terribly concerned about extreme horse power, but most definitely applaud them for thumbing their nose at the Psychopaths In Charge. How unfortunate that the vast majority of corporations are in bed with the Psychopaths In Charge, instead of their customers. I’m sure that it’s hard to turn down the forbidden fruit that governments offer, to force customers to buy their product at gun point and to be bailed out if they get in trouble. The complete abandonment of any and all moral, ethical foundation. Which I strongly suspect is the ultimate cause of nearly all our social conflict.

  4. we’re in serious trouble. the communists have kneecapped the impotent trump administration and are going for a full takedowm. maybe jared Kushner can save us?

    • Mark, Yes, they’ve been showing pics of the “Real ID-compliant” KY. licenses on the local “news” websites…and they do indeed have a big gold star! Luckily, one still has the option of not getting a “Real ID” license. I have a feeling that that option will disappear at some point; Gradualism…..get the majority used to it by making it optional at first….then making it mandatory once the majority consents…as they always do. The loopholes are all being sewn up. The level of tyranny coming to pass is unlike anything ever seen in the history of the world! They are attempting to control every single aspect of life by making everyone dependent upon the infrastructure they have built, and the only freedom to be had will be to those who find a little spot in some far off wilderness where they will not have to interact with that infrastructure…and that freedom is NOT to be had in the epicenter from which the tyranny proceeds. We HAVE to stop believing that we can sit this out while remaining in the tyrant’s backyard.

  5. “The Caravan minivan is gone; the Journey has been sent on one.”

    I LOL’d at that one.

    I too would love to put a Dodge Hellcat in my garage, but I too, have been made poor (no really) by the gubmint in the last 2008 “great recession” depression, and have been on a steady diet of Civics ever since.

    • I’ll add, my white privilege hasn’t gotten me anywhere near the job I had, if you were wondering. If I were darker, I’d be a millionaire.

      • Hi Anon,

        And here, in re privilege. Were I a black female single mom who was “transitioning,” I’d have a six-figure slot writing about how may airbags the new minivans have for The New York Times.

        • Probably more….with appearances regularly on CNHEN and PMSNBC to promote yourself and your numerous writings and coming screenplay adaptation on your life and your “oppression”

        • You know how they do those loaded experiments with the ‘same’ resume under different names? I think of doing that with my own, but honestly and seeing what happens.

          • I like the one from a few years ago where an immigrant from Johannesburg applied for a scholarship for “African-Americans” and was either denied or had it yanked- I forget which- when they found out he was a white South African!

  6. Best thing I’ve read today. I’ve been waiting impatiently for one of the car makers to finally flip the bird to the safety cult. ‘Bout time!

    • Hi Philo!

      It made my day also; love these cars. If you’ve not had the opportunity to drive an R/T or Hellcat Charger/Challenger, make it happen… this is a moment that will not pass by again.

      • Eric, I’ll bet those cars are fun to drive….as long as you don’t have to own them…in which case, their quick depreciation and cost of keeping them going might spoil a good deal of the fun…..

        • Hi Nunz,

          I’d own one. I have friends who do. The V8/RWD Charger/Challenger (and Chrysler 300) are sturdy and pretty simple designs. They have been around for a long time in more or less the same form and proved reliable when it comes to the big things. I also have a friend – well… had one (pre-Diaper) who bought a new Fiat 500 about six years ago and has had no trouble with it.

          If I were in the market for a half-ton truck a Ram would be my first choice. I’m not saying they’re perfect; they have a track record of rusting faster and trim pieces seem cheaper. But overall, it’d be the truck for me – and that’s my 50 as a guy who’s got a lot of years driving/being around pretty much everything that’s come down the pike…

          • Hmmmm, dunno, Eric. I certainly respect your opinion, on most things- ‘specially cars- but my own observations seem to be the very opposite when it comes to FCA/Ram.

            From what I’ve observed, some of the Chrysler products do O-K when new, for maybe the first 50K miles…but then they just start having one problem after another- never see them making it to high miles.

            My friend who bought the brand new ’19 Cummins (Forget if it wasd a 3/4 or 1 ton) had trouble from day one, and ended up trading it in already….for another one, which he is already having trouble with…and he’s 72 years old, and not using the truck for anything heavy these days, just local driving, road trips, and towing light trailers.

            One of my nieces bought a new Dodge car a few years ago (Forget which one, but it seemed nice)….got rid of that before it was 2 years old….. I could cite more…but you get the idea- I’m just seeing things going wrong with low-mile FCA products which just should not be happening with with modern cars.

            I think if you were to buy a new Ram 1500, in short order you’d be pining your Jap truck! And hey, after rightly illuminating John Deere’s BS., I’m hoping that you’d champion exposing FCA’s Gateway Module nonsense as well, because it’s about the most odious thing any car company is currently doing.

            • Respect your opinion Nunz, but for owners like me, I can put 30-50K a year on a car, or 10K, depends. So I learned a long time ago that, for me, I can turn in an under 50-60K mile car and the dealer puts it on his lot vs wholesale, and I get a new car by writing a check. Works pretty well for me, and I could care less if they fall apart after 50K. When my 300 gets close to 50K miles (soon) I just might get a charger scat pack, hahaha….. way over the top for me, but i keep saying to myself, what the hell.
              There are not any vehicles that i have enjoyed driving more than my 18 300-v8 and 20 ram 1500. I’m old enough to have started saying I need to enjoy now.
              I find excuses to drive them. fun.

              • Hi Chris (and Nunz) –

                I try to avoid endorsing a particular brand of car but I feel the need to defend FCA cars… and trucks. In my circle of friends there are owners of a 500, several Ram 1500s, a Durango, a Challenger R/T and a Charger. Every one of these people love their vehicles and have not experienced a single major failure. Yes, some of the FCA stuff has cheap trim; I assure you that cheap trim is a common problem.

                I almost bought a new (year-old) 500 for knocking around in as the price was unreal ($12k for a new 500). The only reason I didn’t is because I can’t write a check for $12k and I never buy anything I can’t afford t pay for in full when I buy it.

                • Mornin’ Eric!

                  Ahahaha! That you could get a year-old car for “an unreal price” should tell you something…..

                  ‘Round here, it’s kind of a “used car desert”- Used vehicles are ridiculously expensive- even with rebuilt titles and high miles…..but even here, you can always find “screaming deals” on used FCA products (‘cepting the Cummins Ram trucks).

                  There’s a reason for that. Compare a Derange-O or 1500 or Dakota of the same year to your current truck…both price-wise, mechanically, and aesthetically, and you’d see the disparity…..

                  • Hi Nunz,

                    With regard to the 500, it told me that Americans aren’t buying small, affordable cars. They want $50k trucks and $500/month payments.

              • Hey Chris,
                Ah, yes, if ya don’t mind always having to write a check, that’ll work with just about any vehicle- Seems to be the norm these days.

                Like people who buy a Ferrari….they don’t care about the upkeep costs.

                For those who expect that spending tens of thousands of dollars should buy them a vehicle that will last for 10 or 15 years though….the options are getting pretty sparse.

                I mean, someone like myself: I paid $4500 for my used ’99 4×4 F250, and have been driving it for 10 years, with less than $1500 total spent on repairs and maintenance over those 10 years (And I love the truck), it would be hard to convince me to buy anything new- as the economics just don’t make any sense.

    • Are they flipping the bird, or are they just paying the penalties and or working the fleet aqverage numbers(Like: By spinning off their truck line as a separate company- Ram)?

        • AHAhaha! Have to agree with ya there, Eric! (If they’d only make better products, THEN we’d have something to cheer!).

          Consider though, that FCA’s Gateway Module nonsense is something which they are doing on their own- as opposed to something that they were forced to comply with- and as such, they are flipping the bird to all of their customers- Bitch Barra is probably salivating…and I’d bet that she will take a cue from that.

  7. Just wondering, what ever became of that he-elephant engine with 1000 HP they recently made – did they ever put it in a car ?

  8. Dodge makes about the only new cars I actually am interested in and lust after. I hope to have at least a regular Hemi Charger in my garage before too long. Hopefully before the uncles of the world shut them down.

    In some ways Dodge is becoming a “custom” garage, but with the advantages of being a large manufacturer too. At minimum it would go out on top, unlikely most recent dead nameplates that faded away and were gone long before being discontinued.

    Will have to keep Tim Kuniskis name in my mind, hopefully he will be the new Sergio Marchionne. Sergio’s death was a huge blow to Chrysler as I am sure he probably spent his days fighting the Mary Barra types inside the company.

    Hope for the best, but its going to be a very tough fight. Uncles pockets are far deeper than Dodge’s.

  9. Mornin’ Eric!
    Eric, SCREW Dodge/FCA! They are now pulling a “John Deere” with their cars- and it is very likely that other manufucturers will copy them- but this is an evil that FCA has started- at least among mainstream American market cars- and between that and the absolute crap they make, I for one will cheer when they fail. The fact that they still make a fast car (which falls apart fast) doesn’t redeem them IMO.

    FCA Pulls A John Deere: (<– Not the title of the vid) – Scotty Kilmer{
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwjW7rON-Rg&list=TLPQMDMwNzIwMjD3WSX6sZwIdQ&index=2

    • Didn’t watch the video, but right now I’m remembering that stunt where the hackers managed to remotely hijack a Jeep Cherokee. I have to wonder if the “secruity” doesn’t have something to do with that little vulnerability.

      AFAIC better “security” would just be isolating the car from the internet so it can’t accept outside input, but that actually makes sense so of course we can’t do that!

      • Hey Chuck,
        Yeah, but it’s a “security measure- to keep people from hacking into your car….. And I dunno about you, but even if it can be done, at what cost? I mean, I don’t want to have to go out and hire a hacker just so I can pull a code from “my” car……

    • Hiya Nunz! Thanks for the link, I love that guy, especially what he has to say about the Tesla fraud. This state actually has a “right to repair” law that is supposed to allow independent mechanics access to manufacturers ECU/repair code information. Not sure how well that works in practice since the one mechanic I know retired years ago; I imagine it’s like pulling teeth getting them to cooperate.

      • Top O’ The Evenin’ To Ya Mike!

        Whoa! MA. actually passed some legislation that pro-freedom, instead of anti-freedom?! Are you kidding me? I may have a heart attack! 😀

    • Good old Scotty! Looks like Mike beat me to it, but I’ll reiterate. After he spills the beans on FCA’s shenanigans, he rips into Tesla Motors becoming the most valuable auto stock in the world. Good stuff.

      Thanks for the link Nunz. I agree with everything Eric wrote about regarding Dodge, and they are awesome cars, but then they have to ruin it with the Secure Gateway Module nonsense. Cmon Chrysler.

      • Hi Ya c_dub!

        And don’t ya love it? How they [Chrysler] are just like the goobermint- passing off the Gateway Module BS as a “security feature- so no one can hack into your car”?

  10. “Life, liberty … and the pursuit of horsepower.”

    Yeeeeeee HAW!

    Eye-ceeee horsepower, that is … from black gold; Texas tea.

    Ol’ Jed bought a Dodge, lordy it was great
    Next door neighbor’s the governor of the state
    Lotta folks complainin’ but the governor found no fault
    ‘Cause some of Jed’s millions leaked into his vault

    Tesla stock; electric trucks: fool’s gold.

  11. I wish Dodge all the best! I’d love to buy one of their cars to support them, but I don’t have the money to spare. With the present economic environment being what it is, I can’t justify a big ticket purchase at this time.

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