Car spot: Dodge Durango 5.9 R/T

The Durango Hellcat’s dad

Dodge has never been shy about jamming a big V8 into one of its cars and trucks. A great example is the Durango, I own a 2017, introduced to the public in 1998. Just two years later the 5.9 R/T arrived with 17-inch alloy wheels and a standard 5.9-liter V8. Other goodies included a standard limited-slip rear differential with a 3.92:1 final drive stiffer different shock absorbers, plus a sportier exhaust that gave it a nice grumble. Rounding out the package inside, the R/T got leather and suede-trimmed seats.

While it looked fast, not so much. Its engine put out 250 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. My 2017 with the Penstar V6 has almost 300 horsepower. It did zero to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds. Mine will do that in just over seven seconds. The first-generation Durango 5.9 R/T was one of the earliest performance SUVs. It sold for around $35,000.

These are really cheap to pick up now, lots under $5,000. This one is considerably less because of all the rust. I spotted it in Monona, WI where my daughter works. A fun ride though. With the push for EV’s, I hope Dodge doesn’t forget its roots in muscle cars with big V8s but fear that’s the road they’re going down.

Be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with some history.

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