We take great pride in contemporary muscle cars resembling the pure spirit of the original generation that reigned between the mid-60s and the early 70s and we often assume that the five decades of technological progress separating the two means the young metal is quicker. Well, the old dogs can sometimes learn new tricks and show their descendants how it’s done, as demonstrated by a recent drag race between a modern Dodge Challenger 392 and a 1967 Coronet R/T HEMI.
While sharing the B-body platform with the second-generation Charger, the fifth-gen Coronet we have here was never as visually impressive as its platform mate, which is why somebody who’s not a car person might mistake it for something less than the monster it is, especially when fitted with the legendary 426 ci (7.0L) HEMI as is the case with this 1967 Coronet R/T.
The official rating of the motor places this at 427 hp and 490 lb-ft (664 Nm) of twist, but this is the gross horsepower (the American industry switched to the more realistic net ratings in the early 70s). Besides, the HEMI V8 was seriously underrated in a bid to spare owners from having to deal with generous insurance payments.
The vehicle has been with its owner since day one and this driver is quite the drag strip enthusiast, having specced the vehicle with the three-speed Torqueflite automatic to hit his 1/4-mile goals.
As for the modern Dodge, the third-generation Challenger is also a marathon runner, as beating the Mustang and the Camaro in the 2021 sales race—despite being a generation behind—has come to show.
Sure, there are more potent units out there, from the factory 9s car that is the Demon or even the Hellcat to custom units rocking the Hellephant 426 tribute Dodge builds these days. But, having had the pleasure the review one of these coupes fitted with the N/A 392 ci (6.4-liter) HEMI, as is the case with this Scat Pack that pays its respects to the elder via a Shaker Hood, I can confirm the 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet (644 Nm) of torque are more than enough for a thoroughbred feeling and teaching the Germans a lesson.
In theory, a modern Challenger 392 should cover the quarter-mile in around 12.5 seconds, while the said Coronet R/T HEMI was recorded doing a 14.6s run back in the day, albeit with longer gearing—this unit features more aggressive 4.30 gears, while the weight battle also favors it, since it’s around 500 lbs (227 kg) lighter than its descendant.
Old dog, new dog, it doesn’t matter: both have new tricks
It’s also worth mentioning that both Mopars have left their factory configuration behind, as clearly indicated by their quarter-mile times. Note that the coupes are engaged in a Factory Appearing Stock Tire (FAST) drag race, which essentially means they can’t feature all-out mods, but hardware with a more limited impact, such as different gear ratios, overbores up to 0.070″ and a compression ratio increase, among others, are okay. And, judging by the quarter-mile times of the cars,
Returning to the 50 years of tech advances mentioned in the intro, you’ll see these flashing away in 11 seconds, since that’s how long it took the Coronet to cross the finish line, with the Challenger left staring at its old-school taillights—lens tip to YouTube label Cars and Zebras for the camera work.
Not only was the E.T. (elapsed time) difference between the two Dodges a considerable one, but the driver of the Coronet has shown what decades of drag racing experience means by one-upping his opponent in terms of the reaction time, thus further enlarging the gap.