I don’t remember a whole lot of strict rules growing up, save for one: the rule of GM. The Pickering household bled Chevrolet Orange.
Sure, there were other rules that we had when I was a teenager — but they were more like guidelines. Stuff like no burnouts in the driveway, decreed by my mother and promptly broken by my father the day he and I finally got my ’66 Caprice roadworthy. I was 15, it was summer, and the car had a 454 and no hood. I can still picture the cold look my mom gave my dad when he cranked open all four barrels of that Holley double-pumper in front of the house. Instant tire smoke and a night on the couch.
Dad likes to say that save for a few Volkswagen diesels in the early 1980s, his GM ownership trail had no black eyes. A Camaro, Chevelle, Impala, Blazer, C-20, Suburban, Trailblazer SS, and a Silverado. And like him, I followed the same trend, starting with that Caprice and running through a couple S-10s, that same C-20, a Camaro SS, and my K-10.
Then I had a kid.
All of a sudden I needed something with a real back seat and four real doors. As much as I tried to convince myself that my Camaro would do the job, it wasn’t going to work. So I did something I wasn’t sure I should. I broke the rule. After days of waffling, I went out and bought a Charger SRT8 because GM just didn’t have anything that fit my needs for what I wanted to spend.
For the most part, after buying that thing, I still considered myself a GM guy, even though I was pretty vocal about loving the SRT. It got a lukewarm reception back at mom and dad’s house. But later, when I needed his truck for something, Dad drove my Charger for a day. When he returned my keys, he mumbled, “That thing’s fast” — a quiet sort of don’t-tell-anyone approval.
And then Chrysler launched the Hellcat. I saw one out on the street the other day, boosted and snarling as it went past my comparatively small 6.1 SRT, and I instantly calculated how much all my cars would be worth if I sold them to buy one Hellcat Charger. I caught myself actually considering selling off the cars I said I’d never sell — my Caprice and K-10 — and turning three into one. Maybe it’s the power of marketing, or the power of overkill. Either way, that’s about the time I figured out that I’ve become a Mopar guy.
But it’s okay — after all, maybe that GM thing was just a guideline, too. I don’t know that I’ll get a Hellcat. But I’d bet 707 horses will do a mean driveway burnout, and from what I can tell, Hemi Orange and Chevrolet Orange are almost the same color.