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Scorching halos

The Dodge Challenger SRT-8 and Nissan GT-R show off their companies' performance skills. But are "halo cars" like these out-of-place today?

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Flagships from different fleets
With gas prices topping $4 a gallon, it would seem like a particularly bad time for car companies to introduce fuel-thirsty, high horsepower performance cars.

Yet, here come the Nissan GT-R, on the gas pump on the left, and the Dodge Challanger SRT-8, on the pump to the right. Both take premium fuel, which they consume fairly quickly. (Total bill for the fill-up pictured here: $156)

But judging the responses of onlookers as we traveled around New York and its New Jersey suburbs in these two machines, there is no lack of interest. Both cars are now for sale now and, if you can find one available, expect to pay well over the sticker price.

Beyond their role as "halo cars" for their respective brands, these cars have little in common and certainly won't be competing directly in the marketplace. The Challenger is an old-school muscle car. The GT-R, which costs $30,000 more, is a rolling technology lab from it's twin-turbocharged V6 to the computer interface designed by a video game company.

Both cars, however, show why performance car icons, even an era of $4 gasoline, still have their place in the world. Few people will probably buy them, especially in the current car market, but they give everyone else plenty to gawk at and talk about. And they will definitely shape how people think about Dodge and Nissan.

NEXT: Dodge Challenger SRT-8
Last updated July 18 2008: 12:37 PM ET
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