I will admit that I’m not a person that thinks that power, specifically horsepower, makes a car. Having owned three motorcycles, I can positively state that there is no possible way a car can give you the same raw feeling as a two-wheeled machine. Once you ride a bike, cars are no longer “fast” but more along the lines of being, “ehhh that’s quick.”
When the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat came out, the entire world, along with me, took a deep breath and stated that nothing was more American. Nuzzling a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 into the heart of an enormous muscle car is as American as a cheeseburger with extra cheese and bacon. What’s even better, is that the car boasts 707 hp, 650 lb.-ft. of torque and can be had with a manual six-speed transmission. Oh yes, the gold ol’ Red, White and Blue still has a lot to offer.
If an automaker told you that they aren’t interested in trying to get the same amount of performance for the price, they’re lying. Only supercars offer more power than the Challenger Hellcat, which at roughly $61,000 is a steal. That puts the Hellcat in uncharted territory.
Well, as it turns out, isn’t. Some automotive outlets—I won’t point any figures here—decided that Lebanon Ford of Lebanon, OH is a godsend by offering the ultimate muscle car to enthusiasts. The dealership currently sells a brand-new Ford Mustang GT with a Roush Phase 2 supercharger kit for a little under $40,000—$39,995. At first glance, this seems like a steal.
The new Mustang GT blurs the lines between a muscle and sports car with its performance and comfortable interior. A base Mustang GT features a 5.0-liter V8 that puts out 435 hp, which is nothing to sneeze at. What makes Lebanon Ford special, however, is the dealership’s decision to pack a Phase 2 supercharger kit from Roush onto the engine. This results in a total of 727 hp. For those keeping track, that’s more than a Hellcat for $20,000 less.
There’s no denying that it’s a steal. But I’m still not hopping onto the bandwagon yet and there’s a really good reason as to why.
A quick search on Autotrader revealed that the cheapest Mustang GT—in D.C. mind you—could be had for $26,805. The Phase 2 supercharger kit, which runs for $7,549.99, would bring the total of a new Mustang GT with the kit up to $34,354. With Ford’s current service rates, getting the kit installed would run roughly $1,500. That brings the total up to $35,854. If you’re handy with wrenches and sockets, you could save a lot of money for a weekend’s worth of time.
While saving money sounds like a good enough reason to not purchase the $40,000 muscle car from Lebanon Ford, the thing that nags at me is safety.
When it comes to everyday road use, a high-performance car is extremely overrated. Seriously, after having an Infiniti G37 X Coupe with 330 hp, I’m convinced that anything more than that is way too much. Not only that, but other outlets have failed to recognize that the rest of the 727 hp Mustang’s components are meant to deal with 435 hp. The brakes, the suspension, the tires, all of it has been engineered to cope with the Mustang’s stock performance.
Getting a car to put out a lot of horsepower is relatively, at least, easy. Slap on a supercharger here, a turbocharger there and bam, you’ve got a powerful car. Getting a car that can put down all of its power in a useful manner, however, is more difficult, which is why Lebanon Ford claims the majority of 727-hp Mustangs that are sold sell for more than the $40,000 starting price tag. Ensuring the car has the performance components to match its overly powerful engine raises the price to Challenger Hellcat prices.
As one can only guess, a 727-hp Mustang for $40,000 will lead to many Mustangs wrapped around trees, poles and, eventually, in salvage yards. That’s a grim outlook on a high-performance muscle car, but it’s the truth. And it’s not necessarily the dealership’s fault. In fact, I applaud their ability to give drivers the ability to get an insanely overpowered Mustang for that kind of price.
But I can’t help but remember all of the Challenger Hellcats that had a short lifespan. One must also consider the group of individuals that will be licking their lips at the opportunity to own a car with over 700 horsepower. At $40,000, the supercar-besting Mustang is cheaper than a fully-loaded Ford Focus RS. And as much as I love that hatch,the supercharger bumps power to more than double that of the Focus RS.
That seems like a lot more dollar per smile for not a lot of change more.
Revolutionary, incredible, a must have? No, I don’t think so. A 727-hp Mustang for $40,000 is, however, noteworthy and deserves to praised. I highly doubt anyone would be able to get that kind of performance in a new car with a warranty in any other country. But, then again, America is known for being larger than life. The only thing that would make this deal better would be a one-way ticket into Canada. That would make this a can’t-miss deal.