2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

There are ball peen hammers and tack hammers. Sledge hammers and masons hammers. Copper hammers and framing hammers. And several other subspecies of hammers. Each has a specific use. Each is designed and engineered to do a specific thing. When used under the right conditions by someone who knows what he or she is doing, the hammer gets the job done in an effective and efficient manner.

Some people—especially young people—may have your basic claw hammer and not much else in the way of tools. Consequently, they use the hammer for a variety of things, from pounding and pulling to being deployed (more or less) as a screwdriver, door stop, and a multitude of other functions, none of which it can do particularly well.

What, you may be wondering, does this have to do with the 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8?

It’s like this.

The Challenger SRT8, with its 6.4-liter HEMI, is damn good at going damn fast when the conditions are right. When the conditions are not right, as in the winter, when those Goodyear three-season tires are on the 20-inch aluminum wheels and winter isn’t among the three, then the Challenger SRT8 is best used as an object that takes up space in one’s garage. (Assuming, of course, that it is winter in, say, Detroit and not Scottsdale.)

Mind you, this is a really great hammer. I mean car.

You sit on seats that bolster your bottom. You have very nice materials and stitching inside. You have all of the amenities—six-way powered driver seat that’s heated, 6.5-inch touch screen, Uconnect infotainment system, power windows, pushbutton start, etc.

It has the stuff.

It goes like mad, too, as indicated by the fact that there is a matter of a $1,000 gas-guzzler tax.

Yes, it is a car that is drivable on one’s daily drive. Again, assuming, that this isn’t a daily drive where one awakens to find there’s a Winter Wonderland outside and a snail’s pace on the freeway. (The only mitigating factor is the fact the car as driven has a automatic five-speed transmission [yes, there are paddles for manual shifting on the steering wheel, so one can get after it as needed] so one’s left calf doesn’t required copious amounts of Bengay after a crawling commute down I-75.)

I may be making too much of this whole winter thing. But as I write this it is winter. When I had the car, it was winter. And when I drove the car in the winter, I found it to be thrilling in a way that had lots of potential downside and little in the way of up.

And, having had the opportunity to drive a HEMI-equipped Charger with all-wheel-drive in the winter, I know that there is a Dodge-branded muscle car that can handle the conditions.

Which brings me back to the hammers. Different hammers, different jobs. Different cars, different experiences.

The right one will make you happy. The wrong one, or one used for conditions that are not right for it, might result in a smashed thumb. Or worse.

Selected specs

Engine: 392 cubic-inch V8

Material: Cast iron block; aluminum alloy heads with hemispherical combustion chambers

Horsepower: 470 @ 6,000 rpm

Torque: 470 lb-ft @ 4,200 rpm

Transmission: Five-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 116 in.

Length: 197.7 in.

Width: 75.7 in.

Height: 57.1 in.

Coefficient of drag: 0.356

Curb weight: 4,160 lb.

Base MSRP : $43,775 (destination: $995)

EPA: 14/23/17 mpg city/highway/combined

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