2009 Dodge Challenger: The Last Big, Comfy American Coupe?
March 24, 2010
A big, comfortable American coupe. It may look like a retro muscle car, it may have the engine of a modern muscle car, but in the end, the 2010 Dodge Challenger is a big, comfortable American coupe. They used to be all over the place, but rarely have they been as cool as this Challenger.
I started to wonder, what was the last such car to grace this fine land? Over the past 10 years or so, big coupes have been dying off. Ford's had nothing since the retro, two-seatT-bird replaced the older Super Coupe variety. Chrysler had the Sebring, but it was based on the Mitsubishi Eclipseand thus it wasn't that big and presumably not that comfortable (I never drove it, not that I would admit if I did). There was the Lincoln Mark VIII and Buick Riviera, but they died before the Millenium. The Cadillac Eldorado survived it, but shouldn't have.
And then I thought of it.
The Chevy Monte Carlo. The official vehicle choice of NASCAR fans everywhere, not to mention the last NASCAR to actually resemble the street vehicle upon which it was supposedly based (unless you know someone who owns a Ford Fusion coupe). Though the Dale Earnhardt edition was obviously not a front driver.
Especially in its original guise, the full Monte always struck me as, well, hideous. That NASCAR-friendly shape was always so bulbous from the rear. Those headlights were just weird. Could've been worse, though, it could've been a two-door Lumina.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the last big, comfy American coupe still standing: the Challenger. I wouldn't mind if GM resurrected a rear-drive, big, comfy Monte Carlo, though. And a Riviera while they're at it. Dream on, I know.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 21,974 miles