I have just finished reading Tim Plouff’s review of the Dodge Charger Hellcat in the Aug. 4 Courier-Gazette. As a lifetime auto-mechanic, I can appreciate the “gee whizz” fascination with 717-hp. and even 797-hp. engines, but in passenger cars intended for street use by regular non-racecar drivers?

Tim’s breathless enthusiasm is palpable as he describes the possibility of a 900-hp. engine for 2023 models. Oddly, there is no description of any other features these street/race cars may offer, so apparently it is all about power and speed. Clearly these cars are intended as pure race cars, yet it does seem to me that potential buyers may be interested in safety features and reliability, though probably not fuel efficiency. It might be appropriate to mention these other aspects of the car.

Why do auto manufacturers produce such silly and absurdly overpowered passenger vehicles for street use? Because they can, as Tim noted. I think they should not be able to do so.

A couple weeks ago the Courier covered a story in which a Thomaston couple were beseeching authorities to do something, anything, to control speeding on public roads. The conclusion seemed to be that nothing can be done. As a member of the select board in Union, I have fielded this same plea countless times from concerned citizens all over town. Speeding and reckless driving are critical problems we face pretty much everywhere these days.

I have to wonder: Do any of us really need 717, 797 or even 900-hp under our hoods? I kind of doubt it from what I see of many drivers’ distracted performance on our roads. I also have to ask: Should your auto reviews include such enthusiastic cheerleading for such ridiculously overpowered toys?

John Shepard


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