Nostalgia is another word for remembering the past as we would prefer it to be rather than how it actually was, which makes it the perfect lens from which to examine the 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker. Here is a modern muscle car that’s not particular fast and not all that engaging to drive, and yet it still holds a massive appeal to legions of Boomers whose only suggested improvement to the coupe’s formula would be to add the option of an 8-track so they could dust off those Creedence tapes and cruise like it’s 1970 all over again.
You see, the 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker both looks and sounds the business, and this special model – like the VW New Beetle before it – is perhaps the ultimate expression of what tapping into that vein of shared memory can do for an automaker’s bottom line. The Challenger Shaker doesn’t have to be great, it just has to play a role in the fantasies of its owners, which it manages to do in a way that the current Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro (despite their superior specs) haven’t quite been able to master. I spent a week behind the wheel of the Dodge reveling in my own, entirely-manufactured retro bubble and came away with an understanding, if not an outright appreciation, for the Challenger Shaker formula.