The Challenger Hellcat and Ford GT Prove Every Car Should Have Holes in Its Lights


The Detroit auto show has come and gone. And now we are left with one very obvious and pressing question: Who wears it best? "It," of course, being a big ol' hole in a lighting element.

In the past year, two performance cars have been introduced that feature these cleverly engineered lights. First, there was the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with its ram-air intake hidden in the front of its driver's-side running lamp. After all, a 707-hp, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 is a hungry thing.

Then last week came Ford's big surprise: the 2017 GT. Ford's new supercar has so much goodness going on it's hard to focus on just one feature, but among its most distinctive elements are the rear taillamps. Hollowed out to allow hot air to exit from the intercoolers buried within the fenders, the lamps make the car look like it belongs on a flight deck instead of a race track.

So, we have two amazing cars, each with with a hole in their lights. But which car's parlor trick is, for a lack of a better word, the coolest? We polled some prominent journalists in the industry to get their opinions on this very important matter. Unsurprisingly, the more dramatic GT won out, but it wasn't exactly a sweep. Here's what they had to say:

"I'm excited about the GT as a car, but I'm more excited about the Hellcat headlight as a light-with-a-hole-in-it. That's an old drag-racing trick that I never expected to see on a production car. Plus, for a taillight, I'd really like to see it hooked to a flame-shooting exhaust pipe. Maybe they can make that happen on the production version." —Ezra Dyer, automotive editor, Popular Mechanics and Carolinas editor, Car and Driver

"SRT Hellcat Challenger. It's unapologetic, Detroit vintage-future. And I predict: The last of its kind. *drops the mic*" —Tamara Warren, contributor, Car and Driver

"I give Dodge credit for the subtle detail of turning a headlamp into an air intake. But subtlety is hardly something to worry about with cars like this. Kudos to Ford, then, for installing two large air outlets in the middle of the GT's brake lamps, allowing for a symmetrical, four-exit-hole design across the supercar's rump." —Steven J. Ewing, senior editor, Autoblog

"Holes are good. Holes that are surrounded by plastic that looks like red-painted toothpaste tube caps are better. And that's what the taillights look like on the Ford GT. They look like rocket exhaust nozzles you'd find on a toy rocket, one that lights up and makes weird whirring noises so you can pretend that's fire shooting out back instead of a low-watt bulb hooked to three C-cell batteries." —John Pearley Huffman, automotive journalist and contributor, Car and Driver

"Between the Z/28's flowtie and the Hellcat's ram-air headlamp, 2014 was the year of creative front-end cooling solutions. But the idea that the taillights on the Ford GT also act as cooling for the massively powerful V-6, well, that's the future. 2014 was all about induction, but the future is about how we get rid of that heat. That's what makes the Ford GT cooler, both literally and figuratively." —Travis Okulski, deputy editor, Jalopnik

"The Ford GT's taillights—hands down. I prefer the look of an F-14 Tomcat in full afterburner over sad Wall-E's corneas." —Mike Spinelli, automotive journalist, producer at /Drive

"It has to be the GT, for originality. Drag racers (and maybe other racers) have been sucking air through headlight holes for decade. And yes, there's a heavy grading bias in favor of anything GT. I'd also argue vehemently in favor of the GT having the superior lugnuts, or wiring-harness clips, or hood latch." —Jared Gall, senior editor, Car and Driver

"The answer to this question, like so many others, depends on whether you consider yourself a pitcher or a catcher. Neither is right or wrong. Both result in intense pleasure." —Brett Berk, automotive columnist, Vanity Fair and contributor, Car and Driver

Text Source: Popular Mechanics