Out with the old, in with the Hemi

My daughter Katie has been with us for six weeks now, and during that time, I’ve talked about my Camaro and its small back seat to just about anyone who’d listen. Sure, you could make a baby seat fit in the back, but getting it secured was tricky. And try doing it in a small parking spot in the rain, or in the dark. Unfortunately, although I’d loved my SS Camaro, its time had come, so I had to sell it. And I wasn’t about to replace it with a minivan.

On the bright side, there are lots of performance options out there for not a lot of money. I’ve written before about Cadillac CTS-Vs and Pontiac G8 GXPs, and although I’m a diehard GM guy, I couldn’t avoid what I think is the best bang for the buck – the Dodge Charger SRT8.

So this past weekend I located a clean 2006 SRT8 for sale locally. It’s a one-owner car in black metallic, has about 46,000 miles, and came fully equipped with navigation. And of course, that monster 6.1-liter Hemi. $24k was the price, and for a 425-hp car that won’t overheat on hot days and has plenty of room for a baby seat, I think it was a deal.

That 425 horse rating is shared with the original 426 Hemi-powered cars of the 1960s and 1970s. It sure feels like a true muscle car, although it can turn and stop just as well as it can accelerate. But like original muscle was back in the day, examples like mine aren’t especially hard to find. Will modern muscle like this ever be collectible? What do you think is the best late-model performance buy today? Sound off in the comments below.

The first issue of ACC has left the building, and if you’re a subscriber, it should be in your hands now. We’d love to know what you think about it, so feel free to send us your comments. And if you’re heading to Scottsdale later this month, look for us at Silver, Gooding, Russo and Steele, and Barrett-Jackson. We’ll see you in the desert!