True Detective’s Dodge Charger Exhaust Note: Could It Be Real?

True Detective Dodge Charger cop car

Say what you will about season two of the HBO series True Detective, but of all the show’s implausible over-complication, and as Wired points out, its impossible driving timelines, it did get one unexpected thing so very, very right. All season, those on staff watching the show have wondered how the various cop-spec Dodge Chargers driven by Detective Velcoro (played by Colin Farrell) could possibly sound so bad-ass. There’s no way that actual cop cars sound like they’ve been warmed over by the best and brightest at Chrysler’s SRT division. Or could they?

True Detective Dodge Charger cop car

When the lights went out on last night’s season finale, we started thinking back to the last time we drove a Dodge Charger Pursuit—the police-spec model—and we had it! We did a Name That Exhaust Note segment on a 2012 Dodge Charger Pursuit (nearly identical to the unmarked model driven by Velcoro in the show, save for a few accessories like a light bar). Sure enough, the sound matched that of Velcoro’s in the show. But while True Detective‘s sound people nailed the rippling exhaust note of the Charger’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, there were a few times the team seems to have taken some liberties with the sound editing. For example, in one scene (which you can watch here), Velcoro and another of the show’s characters are having a heart-to-heart inside the Charger as it sits in traffic. Well, at least they’re trying to have a deep man-to-man—the duo struggles to make themselves heard over the V-8’s over-amplified (yet totally cool) burbling.

True Detective Dodge Charger cop car

We hear another instance of over-amplified idling exhaust notes in a scene where Velcoro leaves his cruiser running at the curb while pummeling some guy’s face in—on that guy’s porch. Unless the police deleted Velcoro’s muffler in the name of awesomely menacing exhaust thumping, we highly doubt the car’s sounds would be audible nearly 30 feet from the street. (View the clip here.) However, upon making his getaway, Velcoro lets the Charger rip, and the sound mixing grows more realistic as the V-8 thunders off into the night.

Finally, in the scene that really started our head-scratching over the plausibility of the Velcoro Charger’s volume, the whole True Detective gang makes a harrowing escape from a well-attended sex orgy/sinister business meeting (yep, that’s apparently a thing) to the glorious soundtrack of a Hemi V-8 at full whack. (View the clip here.) Yet, for as NASCAR loud as the car seems, our Exhaust Note recording proves that this isn’t far from reality. That drift at the end? Even that’s plausible, given the car’s full-throttle exit from a dirt road. Don’t believe us? Check out our Exhaust Note recording below:

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