11:33 Fire up the Hemi in the 2006 Charger R/T. Listen to it roar like a hellcat. Get stuck behind utility truck.
11:36 Fiddle with the mediocre stereo. Leave it on Animotion's "Obsession.” Sing.
11:37 Envision Waylon Jennings punching a good ol' boy like myself. Change station.
11:38 Hear blaring horn. Zip around an ambulance. Fishtail wildly. Coooool.
11:42 Release parking brake. Laugh at incompetence. Rest radio dial on Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion.”
11:45 Try to come up with one original Dukes of Hazzard joke. Fail. Admire the sleek, white-faced gauges set deep into the dashboard and wonder what's for lunch.
11:47 Get stuck behind five cars at the on ramp. Notice brakes are stiff. Smile as Lynyrd Skynyrd comes on the radio. Why, yes, I can "smell that smell.”
11:48 Finally, FDR Drive. Quickly shoot 'er up to 85 mph. This thing really cooks. Spot one of New York's Finest in a police cruiser. Let out a rebel whimper. Get off at next exit.
11:50 Arrive at the Wall Street area. At lunchtime. Bad idea.
11:55 Happily idle at stoplight to Ratt's "Round and Round.” Give thumbs-up to Navy dude celebrating Fleet Week. Receive blank stare. Green light!
11:58 Bask in the one-half mile of unencumbered West Side Highway and LL Cool J's "I'm Bad.”
Noon Return Charger. Enjoy crab cakes, asparagus, and lemon bars. Yeee-haaawwww!
Sticker price: $22,995 base price, $29,995 for the R/T model tested, up to $32,495 for the Daytona version, which comes in a choice of two decidedly unmacho colors: Go ManGo! and Top Banana.
Vital stats: 5.7-liter 340-hp V-8; 0 to 60 in less than six seconds; 390 pounds of torque; 17/25 mpg.
Nice touches: The crisp two-toned look of the interior nicely balances a taut, angular hood that sneers at the flabby competition.
Drawbacks: Although the new Charger could comfortably fit Bo, Luke, Coy, and Vance, purists are howling about the four-door chassis.
Second opinion: "Old-timers who find the new Charger inauthentic should take off their blinders,” says Winston Goodfellow, a writer for Automobile Quarterly. "With distinctive looks, oodles of horsepower, and upgraded underpinnings, the car is a bonafide hit that will add even more luster to the Chargers of yesterday.”
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