By now, you've seen them -- the Dodge Challenger photos dancing all around the Web, including the one at the top of this page. And no doubt you've seen more if you're a subscriber to some of the monthly enthusiast magazines out there--because Chrysler's public-relations policy is to dole out photos only to certain publications, for whatever reason, despite the fact that photos are easily grabbed on the Internet and reproduced.
So while we're a patient lot, we're not waiting any more to bring you info on the new Challenger, like this PR photo we saw first on Autoblog, which got it from Autoweek, which published it because Chrysler saw fit only to release preview material to the likes of Car and Driver magazine.
It's part of the media manipulation that happens when a company feels like they have a big hit on their hands. Only, there's a problem. Chrysler's Jim Press is on record saying the HEMI engine is not a part of Chrysler's future. New CAFE regulations promise to make 425-horsepower musclecars a vanishing species. And even though Chrysler's just introducing the Challenger as a 2008 model, we're predicting the Chicago show press conference they have planned will feel a little like Weimar decadence compared to the hybrid Ford Escape and plug-in Chevrolet Volt being shown at the booths next door.
Chrysler needs the good news a Challenger can bring. But holding Challenger information from our readers is something we won't settle for. We're betting when new issues of other buff books appear in mailboxes next week, we'll see reviews of the Dodge Journey I just drove two days ago - when an embargo of February 1 was supposed to be in place. We're ready with our full road test as soon as we see one of those reviews appear in another outlet.
The whole system of embargoes is broken and needs fixing, because it keeps you readers of TheCarConnection.com from getting the information you want, from the site you read. Tell Chrysler what you think of embargoes in a comment below, and stay tuned as we post from the Chicago auto show on February 5 and 6.