Archive for October, 2014|Monthly archive page

Part Two: A Closer Look at Indian Motorcycles

As part of our ongoing automotive and motorcycle coverage, we’re taking a couple days to take a close up look at Indian Motorcycles and the business of challenging an industry giant like Harley-Davidson. Today, we check in with an industry expert for an objective look at Indian’s operations.

Basem Wasef, motorcycle journalist, author and industry expert explained that Polaris’s resuscitation of the Indian brand has been both “brilliant and painfully obvious.”

“Polaris has applied considerable financial investment toward bringing back a legendary nameplate, creating relatively reliable modern motorcycles that pay homage to bikes which were arguably better in nostalgic retrospect than they were in reality,” Wasef said. “But at its core, Indian is less about the motorcycles themselves, and more about the power of a brand.”

Menneto evidently agrees: “We can’t build to match Harley’s capacity, but we can build a brand that’s popular as an alternative — that’s popular with a dedicated customer base with which we can build a relationship. Rather that match the size and capacity of Harley-Davidson, we’d rather compare with premium brands like BMW or Ducati.”

Wasef stressed that challenging Harley-Davidson’s market share would have been unthinkable if Polaris had created a new brand altogether.

“When it comes to brand perception, established Japanese manufactures like Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda still can’t touch Harley-Davidson in the areas of authenticity and that inscrutable sense of cool,” Wasef added. “But by adopting a nameplate that’s older than H-D and happens to be associated with larger-than-life personalities like Steve McQueen and Burt Munro, Polaris has taken on a serious challenge and dipped their toe into a potentially lucrative business.”

Indian’s slow build is still in effect. For three years, all Indian Motorcycles built were the Chief and Chieftain models — ranging in price from about $19,000 to $23,000. For the first time since the company made its return to business, it introduced new bikes this year — expanding its line at the top and bottom with the $27,000 Roadmaster and the $10.000 Scout.

The latter is especially important as it reaches out to less affluent buyers with its smaller price tag. If Indian wants to compete with H-D, they’re now trying to get to riders when they’re young and equipped with less disposable income.

Steven D. Menneto, Vice President for Motorcycles at Indian, admitted that Indian is still not building to full capacity as that all-important five year business plan unfolds. The next phase for Indian looks to be expanding to more international markets in Europe and South Africa to diversify that brand loyalty. Only time will tell if this classic American make will stand the test of time in a new business era of high-tech and international competition.

Wasef insisted it will still take significant amounts of time to make a dent against the Harley-Davidson juggernaut.

“But, considering the aggressive product development that has occurred since the new Indian models were revealed one year ago, Indian looks like it will be a serious force to be reckoned with moving forward.”

As read on: http://www.craveonline.com/lifestyle/cars-auto-motorcyles/781713-part-two-closer-look-indian-motorcycles

Part One: A Closer Look at Indian Motorcycles

Recently, a rival of Harley-Davidson – a Japanese motorcycle company that builds multiple cruising and touring motorcycles – held a recent full-line press event at a rural Georgia country club.

On the first morning of the media gathering, that bike maker lined all of its models up in a shiny row, with the company’s name and logo prominently displayed on large banners posted all around the motorcycles.

As a visiting couple strolled by the display on their morning constitutional, one said to the other, “Wow, honey. Look at all the Harleys.”

That’s the problem a competitor of the Milwaukee-based motorcycle giant faces. In the world of two-wheeled iron, Harley-Davidson is synonymous with big cruiser and touring bikes. Even if a rival makes better machines in the same class, they’re always looked on by anyone outside the enthusiast commune ant as a Harley.

Indian Motorcycles, the Minneapolis based manufacturer is taking on that identity challenge while trying to reestablish itself as a prominent part of global automotive culture. Indian is actually the oldest American builder of motorcycles — beating Harley-Davidson to the market by two years in 1901. But, while Harley survived highs and lows through the years, Indian faded from the business world in 1953.

Harley-Davidson used the rock n’ roll era of the 1950s and the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s to build its brand identity as the chosen ride of rebels. Indian missed all of that, finally returning to the American market in 2011 as a smaller division of Polaris – a builder of everything from snowmobiles to ATVs.

In the past three years, Polaris’ branding plan focused on one primary goal — letting the world know its back in business and an All-American alternative to Harley-Davidson.

According to Steven D. Menneto, Vice President for Motorcycles at Indian, the company’s plan for the first 18 months of its existence was “to let them know Indian is back.”

“We knew we first needed to establish what we’d build and what styling cues we needed to make our motorcycles distinctly Indian,” Menneto said. “We knew our motorcycles wouldn’t be small. That’s not our brand. We’d make 100 horsepower, liquid cooled engines powering big motorcycles.”

Of course, by 2011 everyone except dedicated riders identifies such bikes with that H-D Bar and Shield Logo.

Menneto, a veteran Polaris executive before taking on Indian, realized ownership by Polaris offered structural support and financial stability. But, the company needed to look beyond the need for that kind of capital buttressing.

“We had and continue to operate with a five year plan,” Menneto explained. “Gradual, planed growth is key to that plan. We could’ve had 1,000 dealers coast to coast, and we could be building at full Polaris capacity. But, we knew it was better to build the brand first.”

Check back in tomorrow for our continued up close look at Indian Motorcycles.

As read on: http://www.craveonline.com/lifestyle/cars-auto-motorcyles/781711-part-one-closer-look-indian-motorcycles

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat First Drive Review

There’s an insuppressible sense of buoyancy among Dodge folks of late. Certainly, it can’t be attributed to the Dart compact or the complete lack of a Dodge-brand entry in the hugely popular mid-size-sedan segment. It’s not even that the Viper sports car has been newly re-Dodged after wearing only an SRT badge in 2013–14. No, the smiles on the faces of the Dodge Boys folks are on account of one special thing, and its name is Hellcat.

By now, you’ve surely heard about Dodge’s prodigious supercharged Hellcat V-8—that it takes 80 horsepower just to run its supercharger, which can suck the air from a 10-by-13-foot room in one minute, and that its fuel injectors can fill a pint glass in six seconds. Oh, and that it produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, which turn the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat from a mere muscle car into a ballistic, five-seat supercar capable of hitting 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and passing the quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds at 126 mph, according to our first test, with a claimed top speed of 199 mph.

Now Dodge plunks that angry mill into the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat to create the world’s most powerful production sedan. Dodge says it can rocket to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds on its way to an NHRA-certified quarter-mile at 11 seconds flat (on street tires), with a top speed of 204 mph. We have not yet tested those claims with our own equipment, but after our first stint behind the wheel in rural Virginia and West Virginia, including a few hours on-track at Summit Point Motorsports Park, we will verify its ability to create huge grins.

Big, fat, shit-eating grins. While the Charger may be the more, ahem, mature Hellcat, it created the same fits of uncontrollable gasping, giggling, and cursing every time we stabbed the go pedal. Like its two-door sibling, the Charger Hellcat is seriously fast, is no joke at the track, and makes sounds best described as NSFW. Yet the Charger is a friendlier, more approachable creature, thanks in large part to a suspension tuned more for street performance—“touring,” in car speak—than for track-day or drag-strip craziness.

“The philosophy is a little bit different,” said Russ Ruedisueli, head of engineering for SRT. “On the Challenger, we wanted the car to be sprung a little bit stiffer, there to be a little less roll. On the Charger, there’s more of an emphasis on ride. It’s not to say that you’ll be embarrassed out on the track, you know, but it’s not a ‘track car.’ ” Specifically, the springs and shocks are softer, the anti-roll bars aren’t quite as thick, and the amount of slip allowed by the traction and stability control is recalibrated. These changes make allowance for the four-door’s longer wheelbase, stated 4575-pound curb weight (probably close to accurate; our scales said the Challenger weighs 4488 while Dodge claimed 4439), and its 56/44 versus 57/43 weight distribution.

Yet it hardly embarrasses itself on a circuit. After switching all chassis and powertrain settings to “Track,” we tackled Summit Point and immediately got comfortable with the car’s sharp turn-in and tidy, predictable body motions. It always drives big (because, with a wheelbase of 120.4 inches, it is big), but the steering—hydraulically assisted for the Hellcat, versus electric for other Chargers—is talkative and ultimate grip is quite high. Powering hard out of the curves, the rear end breaks away gradually and predictably yet is easily catchable with a bit of opposite lock. Driven smoothly, this is not a scary cat.

Read more at: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-first-drive-review

Dodge Dart R/T Concept: The High-Performance Compact Dodge Needs to Build

Dodge has a fascinating history of building hot compacts, one prominent example being the Omni GLHS by Shelby, while the Caliber SRT4 marked a low point in terms of style and refinement. For the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas, the carmaker has taken its sensible Dart and tweaked it significantly to make it digestible to more discerning enthusiasts.

Painted in bright orange with matte black as a contrast color, and fitted with a prominent rear spoiler and diffuser, this Dart R/T concept looks pleasantly aggressive. But it also looks rather refined, thanks to a revised front fascia that turns the grille into a slit, while creating a large lower air intake visually separated by a body-colored strip. This feeds more air to the intercooler, Dodge says. We say it just looks cool.

The flat-black aluminum hood incorporates a large duct that not only appears awesome, but also feeds extra air to the unspecified engine’s intake box (the hood will be available as a Mopar add-on beginning early next year). Fiat-Chrysler claims the Dart R/T concept seems “poised to strike fear in the competition.” We wouldn’t go that far, but we will say that the package is an impressive improvement over the already sleek-looking Dart. With 18-inch lightweight wheels, a big-brake kit, and adjustable coil-over suspension from the Mopar catalog, it promises better road manners, too.

Who knows—this concept may actually inspire a series-production variant and add another chapter to Dodge’s remarkable history of compact high-performance beasts. Given the Dart’s general “meh”-ness, we think such a car can’t arrive quickly enough.

As read on: http://blog.caranddriver.com/dodge-dart-rt-concept-the-high-performance-compact-dodge-needs-to-build/

Chrysler 200 safety: five stars

The 2015 Chrysler 200 has earned a five-star (the highest possible) overall safety rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It scored five stars in frontal collisions, two-vehicle side-impacts, and single-vehicle-with-pole side impacts. It got four stars for rollover resistance.

The 2015 200 had already earned a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The car’s many optional active safety systems do not factor into the ratings, though NHTSA provides recognition on their safety-ratings page for them. Collision-warning systems are required for IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status.

One segment-exclusive feature is the standard Electronic Park Brake (EPB) with SafeHold. This automatically activates the parking brake if the driver’s seatbelt is unlatched and their door is opened while in Drive or Reverse, to prevent rollaways.

Other standard and available features include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), electronic roll mitigation, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, ParkSense rear backup sensors, ParkView rear backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection and LATCH child seat anchors.

The 2015 Chrysler 200 is built in Sterling Heights, Michigan, a short drive north from Detroit.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/10/chrysler-200-safety-five-stars

Get a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Before it’s too Late

Back in May Chrysler made some announcements about their enthusiast-focused SRT brand. They had spun it off as a separate division but that didn’t work out so well so they decided to reconsolidate it as part of Dodge.

But this move resulted in a lot of questions, chiefly what would happen to other high-performance vehicles in the company’s portfolio including SRT versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 sedan? Answering part of this query, it appears as though the big, bad Jeep is sticking around, for the time being at least.

Model year 2015 Grand Cherokee SRTs can be ordered by dealers, but for how long is anyone’s guess. A few months back the company filed to trademark the name “Trackhawk,” which is rumored to replace the SRT version and go on sale in 2016.

The introduction of this and other special-edition models could coincide with the Jeep brand’s 75th anniversary, which takes place in the same year. The SRT Jeep Grand Cherokee starts at around $65,000 and features a 475-hp, 6.4-liter V8 engine.

Read more at: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/10/get-a-jeep-grand-cherokee-srt-before-its-too-late.html

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

Classification of vehicles in the auto industry has become a messy business. All sorts of new products blur the lines between SUVs and crossovers, compacts and mid-sizers and so on. But the SRT Grand Cherokee stretches into two categories that rarely cross, SUVs and sports cars.

This is the only domestic vehicle of its kind, and the only real competitors in this tiny niche segment come from Germany. Trying to wear many hats all at once, the SRT-tuned Jeep Grand Cherokee makes very few compromises in its goal of delivering tight-track handling along with the typical duties of an SUV, namely towing and hauling people and cargo.

STRAIGHT LINE SPEED

Powered by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that makes 470 hp at 6,000 rpm and 465 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm, the SRT Grand Cherokee is capable of a 0-60 mph sprint in 4.8 seconds according to the brand, though our time with GC SRT at a drag strip elicited times just north of 5 seconds. The powertrain is responsive, and matched to an eight-speed transmission that doesn’t miss a beat. Downshifts come quickly, and hammering the throttle from a stand still is met with fast upshifts that are nicely timed, after the initial blast of torque rips you off the line.

The immense powertrain combines to make this Grand Cherokee feel much lighter than it actually is, carrying a 5,150 pound curb weight. Just because you don’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not there however, and all those extra pounds being carried around prods the powerplant to drink an excessive amount of gas.

GAS HOG

Officially rated at 19 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg combined, we averaged 13 mpg, which is also the SUV’s city mpg rating. Now, if a fuel efficient SUV is what you are after, the Grand Cherokee can be had with a 3.0-liter diesel. If, however, you want the ludicrous speed of the SRT, dismiss all notions of saving fuel. Not that you can’t drive slow, of course, but the burst of speed and agility that comes when the throttle is depressed is so addictive that it is hard to keep out of it.

It seems that the folks at SRT were also having so much fun hammering the throttle, that they installed a feature specifically designed for straight line speed. A button located beside the gear shift initiates launch control, a system that optimizes the SRT’s all-wheel setup along with the powertrain to deliver the fastest 0-60 mph sprint possible and it couldn’t be easier to use. Simply hit the button, and the information screen provides step-by-step directions on what to do. Step 1: fully depress brake. Step 2: fully depress throttle. Step 3: release the brake, and try not to soil yourself when this mammoth jumps off the line like a jackrabbit.

STICKS LIKE GLUE

But that’s enough about speed because frankly, sticking a massive engine in an SUV isn’t this SRT’s greatest feat. That would be its handling. Coil springs along with a Bilstein adaptive damping suspension is found all the way around, along with front and rear stabilizer bars. Cornering is flat and planted while understeer is suprisingly minimal.

On the race track when speeds are higher, you can feel this sports SUV start to push a bit in the corners, but the speeds at which it can be flung around a track are mind bending compared to its heavy set nature.

Thanks to the Bilstein adaptive suspension setup, the Grand Cherokee SRT offers five different drive modes: auto, sport, tow, track and snow. Track mode, being the most hardcore, offers optimized performance for racetracks, but we found that the stability control system was still a little too intrusive.

LUXURY INTERIOR

Despite us gushing about performance, the SRT Grand Cherokee isn’t only about asinine speed. The insides of this beast are stylish and comfortable. Real carbon fiber accents along with soft-touch materials and real chrome adorn the dashboard and center stack, building on the already lush Grand Cherokee interior. The SRT model has a bit more of a business feel to it than some of the wood-trimmed cabins offered in the line. Importantly though, the sort of feeling you want from something that costs over 60 grand is well represented here.

One point of contention for us is the gear-shifter found down to the right of the driver, which can be finicky to operate. Attempts to go straight from drive to reverse almost always ended up with the SRT in park, as the motions used to control the gears must be precise.

Another complaint, albeit more of a personal gripe, has to do with the steering wheel. The button and paddle layout is well done, but the overall girth of the wheel is a little too chunky for our tastes.

GERMAN COMPETITION

As mentioned above, the only true competition for the SRT Grand Cherokee comes from German brands, specifically Mercedes-Benz and Audi. From Benz, we have the ML63 AMG with a starting price of $97,250, which makes 557 hp. Audi brings us the S Q5, which undercuts the SRT with a starting price of $51,900, but performance lacks with only 354 hp.

The SRT Grand Cherokee starts at $64,990, which actually makes it a fairly good value when you put it next to its competition. The interior is nice enough to make even Mercedes-Benz loyalists smitten, and the performance is not lacking in any area, with the ML63 and the SRT Grand Cherokee even sharing the same 4.8 second 0-60 mph rating.

THE VERDICT

While still expensive, the SRT Grand Cherokee offers good value in its segment and it is absolutely riotous to drive. It is truly a statement to what can be achieved against the odds. A small, sleek sports car already has a lot going for it when engineers set out to make it handle well, but a 5,000-lb goliath of an SUV has all of the traits that sports car buyers hate. And yet somehow, SRT merges two worlds that never should have met, defying convention to bring us a great product.

Read more at: http://www.autoguide.com/manufacturer/jeep/2014-jeep-grand-cherokee-srt-3753.html

Willys Wheeler a highlight at the Texas Truck Rodeo

Having two days to sample 75 different trucks, SUVs and crossovers sounds like being handed the keys to the candy store. But the old admonition about being careful what you wish for is is very appropriate: it’s a lot of candy, you get only a little taste of each kind and you have to eat very fast.

The reality is that you get about 12-13 hours of total driving time to sample as many of those vehicles as possible; you have to share those vehicles with 60 other people that have the same requirement and you have to be able to compare those vehicles in a large number of categories.

In spite of all of that, it’s a great opportunity to test a variety of vehicles side-by-side as well as drive some trucks that don’t routinely appear in media review fleets.

One of the most memorable vehicles at the event was a Hydro Blue 2015 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler which, along with a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock Edition, nailed down the Off-Road Utility of Texas title for the second year running.

Like almost all the vehicles at the Rodeo, the Willys was very well-equipped with options like automatic transmission, air-conditioning and hard top. They took the price from around $27,000, including destination charges, to about $32,000.

At most media events like this, the automakers send a team of managers, engineers and marketing people. These folks ride with you, filling you in on all the nifty stuff about the truck you’re driving and making sure you don’t do anything too weird, like taking off to Guadalajara for an extended test drive or testing the rock-climbing capabilities of vehicles that were never intended to climb rocks bigger than gravel.

However, on the afternoon of the second driving day, a lot of those company folks had to leave in order to make flights back to Detroit or wherever they called home.

While a desire to see events like this continue prevented anything too outlandish, the journalists had an opportunity to drive by themselves. This is a time to be cherished as you can focus on the vehicle instead carrying on a conversation.

The blue Willys Wheeler, which had been pretty busy since the driving began, was available so a drive was in order, especially since I had never driven a Wrangler with an automatic transmission.

Jeep-Willys-2-Web

There are two courses at the Knibbe Ranch. One is a road course that includes a few miles of country roads and a short stretch of highway. The other is an off-road course. The off-road trail isn’t like traversing the Rubicon Trail or mastering Moab but it does offer the chance to try out real four-wheel drive, hill descent control and other features. There are rocks to climb, creeks to ford and what many would consider moderately rough terrain to conquer.

My first time on the course, there were other drivers. As each challenge was approached, our parade would stop as we engaged the four-wheel drive or switched on the hill descent system and then each in turn made the crossing.

The Willys Wheeler handled it all with aplomb and the automatic transmission made shifting in and out of 4 Low a breeze.

As we circled back to the staging area, I noticed that no one was on the course, so I opted for a second pass, this time in two-wheel mode, and left the transmission in drive.

With no other vehicles ahead of me, I was able to open it up a bit. The ride was bouncy in places and the Willys and I may have been momentarily airborne a time or two, but it was a hoot: I grinned the whole time.

The Jeep never missed a beat, whether it was descending a rocky stair-step track or climbing a muddy incline. It was in its element.

All too quickly it was over and time to return and let another writer have a chance to enjoy the Willys Wheeler.

But it sure was fun while it lasted.

Read more at:http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/10/willys-wheeler-a-highlight-at-the-texas-truck-rodeo

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 6.4L Manual

There are two things we need to get straight before we embark on this review of the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack.

1. No, this is not the Hellcat, as half of the people we encountered thought (or hoped) it was. No, it is not the supercharged one. No, it doesn’t have 700 horsepower.

2. Mopar fans are not like the rest of us. That might just be because Mopars aren’t like other cars. A few bits of evidence: The Mod Top; the “meep, meep” horn on the Road Runner; and a general obsession with cartoon characters. Also, Dodge briefly produced a pickup named the Warlock.

It’s certainly not news that the Challenger is unlike its presumed competition, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet’s Camaro. It’s a monstrous thing with a buns-up wide rear end; in the tested R/T Scat Pack form, it weighs 416 pounds more than a new Mustang GT. Get out of your head the idea that the Challenger should be as satisfying a sports coupe as the Mustang or Camaro, though, and there is much joy to be had within its outsized dimensions. That’s particularly true in the R/T Scat Pack version, which borrows its rip-snorting 485-hp 6.4-liter V-8 from the pricier Challenger SRT 392. Classic muscle-car strategy there. Bolt it to a firm-shifting Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual and you have a vehicle capable of matching its lighter competitors at the drag strip (or test track, in this case).

It bludgeoned its way to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds at 113 mph. That’s a tenth of a second quicker than the 2015 Mustang GT in both measures. Sure, it takes the additional 1466 cubic centimeters of engine displacement to get it done. While there are replacements for displacement, a stonking 6.4-liter V-8 is still a pretty effective means to the end. And it sounds positively feral doing the deed. It’s musical enough that we routinely gave it one last throttle pump immediately before shutting it down as a sort of coda to every trip in the car.

Okay, so a monster engine in a big, heavy car can still be a fast thing. But surely that 4226-pound curb weight makes the Challenger a pig, right? Well, yeah, sort of. But it’s a well-mannered pig, anyway. Hop out of a Mustang or a Camaro and directly into the Challenger Scat Pack and you will feel as if you’ve just swapped your pony car/sports coupe for a pickup truck. The perceived size and weight of the Challenger is even greater than the reality.

But, hang on. What’s this? The Challenger’s body, updated for 2015with a few design cues from the 1971 model, is surprisingly well controlled. This pig does not wallow. Instead, it responds promptly to inputs from its big-diameter steering wheel (through a new rack-mounted electric-assist system with a tune specifically for the Scat Pack).

Credit the good manners to the Super Track Pak (no “c” in this Pak, because Mopar heritage) suspension tune. It comes standard on the Scat Pack car (with lowered ride height, Bilstein dampers, and larger front and rear antiroll bars), so this Challenger doesn’t heel over or push excessively. It squats a bit on hard acceleration in time-honored muscle-car tradition. Nothing untoward. Push it to the limit—imagine trying to keep up with a well-driven Mustang GT on a back road—and things start to get sloppy, with the suspension bottoming out on sharp heaves. Cool it a bit, and all is well.

Despite the performance-oriented 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires that come with the Scat Pack, the Challenger doesn’t have the ultimate grip of a Mustang GT. At 0.91 g, though, it’s pretty impressive. And the Scat Pack also brings upgraded brakes with larger rotors and Brembo four-piston calipers at all corners. That part is not so old-school. They allow the Challenger to stop from 70 mph in a scant 151 feet, with zero fade over repeated tests.

The point of all of this data recitation is that the driver of a Challenger R/T Scat Pack need not make excuses for its performance. It’s a more capable machine than most will assume.

For 2015, Dodge redesigned all Challenger interiors. It’s now a pleasant enough place to be on long drives, surrounded as you are by softly bulbous black plastic. Unlike the exterior, the inside of the Challenger is modern in appearance, save for the handsomely retro-inflected gauges. And unlike the Mustang and Camaro, you can actually fit adults in the back seat, should that matter.

The information and entertainment interface, consisting largely of a bright 8.4-inch center-mounted touch screen, is intuitive. Our test car came with zero options. Only a $1000 gas-guzzler tax and the $995 destination charge are added to the $37,495 base price, for a total of $39,490. We had no navigation or heated leather seats or any other extraneous frippery to distract us. A base-level Mustang GT with the ($2495) Performance package will undercut the Scat Pack’s price by a few thousand dollars. But there we go again, comparing the Challenger to the Mustang

Hellcat Watch

Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Charger Hellcat buyers may want to supplement their powerful new car with a stylish new watch, sold by the Bozeman Watch Company and named after the same American naval fighter plane as the new supercharged Hemi engines. The watch costs around 10% of the car’s price — $6,125 (the price is slated to go up after production begins).

The Hellcat, whose engines were made by Nash, brought down 5,271 enemy fighters during the second half of World War II. Bozeman Watch’s web site claims the watch “pays homage to its namesake with its clean lines and a dial inspired by aviation instrumentation, highlighted by sleek skeletonized hands and crisp markings.”

The first edition will include two hundred watches, individually numbered, followed by “limited annual releases.”

Bozeman Watch Company, LLC is, not surprisingly, based in Bozeman, Montana.  The company has associates in Detroit, Michigan, Bozeman, Montana, and Europe.  A series of Montana-themed watches are sold as well as Hellcat; the showrooms are in Bozeman and Whitefish, Montana, and Birmingham, Michigan.    Each showroom has all of the mechanical watch models.

According to the company, each piece is developed first as a pencil illustration, then progresses to three-dimensional images, ready for part prototyping and tooling.  Mechanical movements are built to specification during the design process, and the whole process takes 18-39 months. All are certified Chronometers by the Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres; each movement (built by suppliers) undergoes 15 days of accuracy testing, to allow a guarantee of being in the top 3% for accuracy.  Final assembly is done in the United States.

The company also makes “dry goods” — computer cases (inlcuding the “Mac Bag” at $500) and other luggage items — in Montana.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/10/hellcat-watch