When staying up-to-date on current auto news, many Dodge enthusiasts are keeping a close eye on impending changes expected for the Charger and Challenger in the 2021 model year.

Over the last ten years, neither of the reintroduced Charger or Challenger have benefited from a full redesign. Limited only to minor updates, it’s fair to say that some of the changes have been met with mixed response. With three more years until the redesign, we should probably expect more of the same in terms of any refreshes served up to tide us over.

That said, speculation that both cars would be redesigned around the Giorgio platform (upon which Alfa Romeo has built their Giulia) is enough to grab anyone’s interest. This would only be fueled by emerging indications that the Alfa Romeo plan would be abandoned, favoring the Maserati platform upon which they build their Ghibli.

It certainly makes sense, considering that the Ghibli’s wheelbase is more comparable to that of Dodge’s (once more) iconic muscle car offerings, but such a decision has yet to be confirmed. What is more surprising is insider speculation that Fiat-Chrysler’s indecision over which platform was best was inspired, of all things, by Olive Garden.


$100 for 7 Weeks of Pasta

Those who don’t follow current restaurant news as diligently as they follow current auto news may be unaware of Olive Garden’s most recent promotional gimmick.

On Monday, September 11th the Italian-inspired casual dining franchise announced its plans to celebrate American gluttony (and possibly terrorism, based on their timing) with a limited special offer. For the low, low price of $100, Olive Garden would give 1,000 lucky patrons a 49-Day Pass for Never-Ending Pasta, beginning September 22nd.

In true first-come first-serve status, the 1,000 passes were sold out nationwide within 45 minutes (making it the diarrhea-based equivalent of scoring tickets to a Justin Bieber concert which is, admittedly, as equally diarrhea-inducing).

One such recipient of the aptly-named ‘Never-Ending Pasta Pass’? None other than Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales for Fiat-Chrysler, as we all as Chairman, President, and CEO of FCA Canada. A strength-training enthusiast, Mr. Bigland considered the promotion a perfect opportunity to ‘carb-up’ in order to add size.


Strike One

A task-force of FCA executives and engineers were due to meet on Friday, September 22nd when Mr. Bigland suggested that it be conducted as an off-site lunch meeting. Excited to get the most out of his (now tax-deductible) $100 pass, Bigland thought the only indecision would surround the Alfa vs. Maserati platform debate. That was, of course, until he was approached by the server.

22-year old Olive Garden trainee, Andi Bostowe-Salad recalls the first-appearance of the FCA team. “I had just finished my 3-shift training when my manager told me that there was a 27-person party to be seated. Normally, they would have had a two-person team for such a large group, but man…This place has been SWAMPED with fatties that love there All-You-Can-Eat Pasta. Like a ton.”

Shift Manager Mary Narra agreed, specifying, “Like a metric dick-load. As a result, we’ve been really understaffed.”

According to insiders, the intention of the lunch meeting was to make a definitive decision as to which platform would be used by FCA in redesigning both the 2021 Charger and Challenger. Due to the length of time invested in such a large-scale project, it was imperative that FCA executives pull the trigger, making an immediate decision. Until…

“They seemed pretty unfamiliar with our menu,” explains And Bostowe-Salad, “So, I began to list their choices. First the Pasta Choices: Fettucine, Spaghetti, Rigatoni, Angel Hair, Cavatappi, Gluten-Free Rotini or Whole Grain Linguine. Then I listed the Sauce Choices: Traditional Marinara, Five-Cheese Marinara, Traditional Meat-Sauce, Alfredo, Asiago Garlic Alfredo and our New Creamy Mushroom. Then, of course, you have your toppings: Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Crispy Chicken Frittata, Grilled Chicken and Crispy Shrimp Fritta.”

According to onlookers, the party immediately seemed to be overwhelmed with the choices. Further distraction came in the form of endless salad, breadsticks, and free Coca-Cola products for up to seven members of the party.

Needless to say, the mass confusion had only just settled by the time entrees were brought to the table. After most of the party had finished 2-3 servings, several orders were placed for Warm Apple Crostata and Dolcini.

One insider source (FCA Engineer Rick Shart, who wishes to remain anonymous) shared, “Any intention that we had of reaching a final decision stood little chance of succeeding against the variety of pasta, sauce and topping options and barrage of orders.”

And so, the meeting was rescheduled for the following Monday in the hopes of ‘attacking the problem with clear minds’.


Strike Two

On Monday, September 25th the FCA team returned to Olive Gardner, confident that they were now familiar enough with the menu to avoid any distraction. Plus, after a weekend of gorging, Reid Bigland was down to 44 days of Never-Ending Pasta…and today was ‘Leg Day’ at the gym. And if there’s one thing Reid Bigland never skips…it’s ‘Leg Day’.

Andi Bostowe-Salad was supposed to have had the day off but was called in to handle the overflow. “They were excellent tippers, so I didn’t mind. And they seemed pretty confident…at first. Unfortunately, indecision would set in.”

Rick Shart, our anonymous source, elaborated, “Despite our best intentions, the immense selection proved us unsuccessful once again.”


Strike Three, Four, Five, Six…

To-date industry reporters have been unable to secure confirmation as to whether or not Fiat-Chrysler would be basing the 2021 Charger and Challenger on the Maserati platform. Considering that we are only 17 days into the 7-week promotion, one can only assume we have just over a month until we can hope to see any announcements. This is, of course, unless the inevitable self-hate delays the decision any further.


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