The New Breed of Muscle Cars

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT

Just because it’s available doesn’t mean it’s controllable.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the three big automakers in the United States were engaged in an epic power struggle. Building the car with the most horsepower and the best ability to smoke tires was all part of the car culture back then.

It was a time of cheap gas and power that was fun, but manageable. Heck, even a car like the ’68 Barracuda produced 300 horsepower tops.

Today, the automakers are at it again, only this time their arsenal has gone nuclear.

The Bugatti Veyron is the epitome of supercars. The car gained fame for producing more than 1,000 horsepower and being the plaything of the uber-rich. American muscle cars never came close to that number, but the gap is quickly closing.

With the upcoming Dodge Challenger Hellcat SRT, the bar has been raised past the 700-hp level for the first time, with Ford and General Motors not far behind. Bugatti, meanwhile, knows it has to act fast or it’ll find itself in a position where a Mustang packs more punch than a Veyron.

Do you want to live in an upside-down world like that?

While there’s no indication that Dodge motivated Bugatti, reports are surfacing that the supercar maker will soon have a 1,500-hp car to succeed the Veyron.

Other U.S. automakers are catching up, too.

Ford’s 2014 Shelby GT500 currently produces 662 horsepower, a number that should rise with the coming 2015 version.

General Motors manages a comparably small 580 horsepower out of the Camaro ZL1, and the 2015 Corvette Z06 gets 625.

How safe are these cars for the regular guys who buy American muscle? Buying a Bugatti comes with the stipulation that handling its power could possibly kill you. Buying a Challenger, until now, has meant an increased chance of a speeding ticket.

I think there’s a false sense of security in these high-power muscle cars, and it’s only a matter of time before their power falls into the wrong hands.

Is 700 horsepower from an American muscle car too much?


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