Scat City Screamer’s 485-Horse 392 HEMI® V8 shrinks both time and distance during our 1000-mile round trip
Let’s face it — summer road trips are a blast. Especially if you’re wheeling a cool ride that’s packing some serious power under the hood. That’s what was waiting for us when we had a chance to take a 2016 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack from Michigan, through Ohio, and out to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. With this being the 50th anniversary of the iconic Charger nameplate, we couldn’t think of a better ride to take to the Chrysler Carlisle Nationals, one of the biggest Mopar shows in the world. For 25 years, the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals has been the place for all things Mopar. Combine that with the fact that this year’s show was celebrating five decades of the Charger, and we knew we’d be in for a good time.
When it hit the automotive scene in 1966, the Charger’s distinctive fastback style made it a standout from other two-door sporty intermediates. That same year, Chrysler also released the mighty 426 Street HEMI V8 for general public consumption and two legends were born. However, it was the second-generation models (1968-1970) that made the Charger a pop icon in films and on TV. It was the bad guy, good guy, hero and villain, getaway machine and friend.
Before pointing the long, scooped hood of our TorRed Scat Pack machine southbound, we visited the birthplace of the original Charger to see where they rolled off the assembly line five decades ago. To set the mood for the seven-hour journey we were about to embark on, we felt like embracing the roots of the original Charger. This included a drive past the site of the old Dodge Main factory. It was this plant that built the Charger — along with Challengers, Coronets, Darts and a lot more — while serving as the headquarters for the Dodge brand from 1914 until 1980. It swallowed over 60 acres in Hamtramck, a city within the city limits of Detroit. We could only imagine how cool it must have been to see brand-new Chargers coming down that long assembly line in 1968. But now was time to hit the throttle on that 392 HEMI V8 and hit the highways and turnpikes.
Our thirst for vintage Chargers was more than satisfied when we pulled into the vast Carlisle Fairgrounds. Here, prime examples of the nameplate from all generations could be seen in the show field, and in the permanent exhibitor buildings. Rare models like the 500, and even the “winged wonder” Daytona could be found standing tall while the show attendees gazed in amazement. What was under the hood of these classic Chargers also had fans in awe. Along with HEMI powered machines, 440 Six Packs and 440 Magnums showed why the Charger was a force to be reckoned with back in the day. The Carlisle Chrysler Nationals also had a large contingent of modern-era Chargers that included SRT® Hellcats, SRTs, Super Bees, and Scat Packs.
We can’t go back in time, but our Charger R/T Scat Pack sure felt like it could transport us to another dimension. When your right foot has 485 horsepower at its command, anything seems possible.