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Stripped-down-and-rebuilt 1969 Dodge Charger
Cannot be damaged by the player, but gets damaged by a Hunter-Chopper
The Muscle Car, also called The Junker in the game files, and the jalopy because of its entity name, is a vehicle used by Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance in Half-Life 2: Episode Two to expedite their travel to White Forest.
The Muscle Car is an invaluable vehicle in the Resistance arsenal. It is used to transport Resistance members from outpost to outpost. Unlike the Scout Car, the Muscle Car has two seats, for a driver and a single passenger. They are similar, however, in that they're both equipped with a turbo boost. The Muscle Car's boost is not as fast as the Scout Car's boost was, making it much more controllable. It is wider and harder to flip, which saves time using the Gravity Gun to flip it back over. When making sharp turns, the Muscle Car tends to skid. This happens especially on grass or dirt. The Muscle Car also appears to draw a lot of its design inspiration from the '69 Dodge Charger.
The Muscle Car can be used to run over Zombies as well as Hunters and other enemies, and break through barricades. While riding in it, Alyx helps Gordon by using her gun to shoot down any enemies. She also seems to take aim more and make more accurate shots.
Unlike the Half-Life 2 chapters featuring the Scout Car, there aren't many long jumps that need to be made but it can be helpful to use the turbo boost to try and stay ahead of the Hunter-Chopper, win the race to White Forest against Dog, or during the final battle to get ahead of Striders or ram Hunters (though they often jump out of the way).
Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance retrieve the Muscle Car from an abandoned and recently raided Resistance outpost overlooking a bridge, on the edge of the Victory Mine area. They find the Muscle Car, seemingly intact, on the far side of the bridge which is not directly accessible. Gordon makes his way through the Zombie-infested outpost to retrieve it. The Muscle Car is used until Gordon and Alyx make it to White Forest, picking up a radar module from a still occupied Resistance outpost along the way. At White Forest, MIRT makes several changes to it before Gordon uses it against the Combine while defending Magnusson's rocket.
 Related Achievements
|Half-Life 2: Episode Two|
|Hit and Run (5G)|
|Run over 20 enemies with the car.|
|Pedal to the Metal (5G)|
|Beat Dog in a race to White Forest.|
 Behind the scenes
- The Episode Two car was originally a Volkswagen Beetle, named "Jalopy". As stated by Valve's David Speyrer, that name says something about how uncool it was. Early feedback was that it seemed too similar to the Half-Life 2 Scout Car. The team decided to redesign it so that players would feel excited rather than disappointed when they saw the car. Alyx's original line when she first saw the Jalopy echoed the feelings of many early viewers: "What a wreck! Forget about White Forest... we'll be lucky if we make it to the end of the block.". Oddly enough, the final version of the vehicle retained the entity name prop_vehicle_jalopy.
- According to Jon Huisingh, the team wanted players to use the Muscle Car as much as possible during the final Strider battle, both to move around the valley quickly and to run over Hunters as a quick and satisfying way of killing them. To encourage this, and to help with orientation problems, the team added a radar to the car which indicated the location of enemies. This made the car a more valuable tool in the battle and solved the navigation problem once and for all. The radar on the Muscle Car may have been inspired by the leak Scout Car.
- According to Ido Magal, one problem the team faced in the Strider battle map was that players would abandon their car in the heat of battle and would not be able to find it later. Given the time pressure and large scale of the map, some of these players could not succeed in protecting the base on foot. To address this they started by adding flashing hazard lights to the car, which helped when the car was in view, but they still saw players lose the car among the trees or behind hills. Eventually they added a vehicle locator to the HEV Suit so that players could find the car wherever it was.
- Concept art indicates the car went through at least three other body designs (such as a body from a 1970 pontiac GTO) and color iterations, such as blue, orange and green.
- The Muscle car is one of the most difficult parts of Half-Life as to get the Little Rocket Man achievement. The player must drive slowly and carefully to keep the Garden Gnome in the car, while under constant fire from the Hunter-Chopper. This part has become a big challenge for Half-Life players to accomplish. A common tactic used by players is to shoot the Gnome a distance using the Gravity Gun, then drive up to it and repeat the process. This method is mostly used during the initial stages of the car drive where the road twists and turns frequently. During the section with the Hunter-Chopper, players sit in their car during the Hunter-Chopper's firing sequence, and get out while it recharges.
- The script file for the Muscle Car, named "
jalopy.txt", starts with the sentence "This is an amazing American muscle car that must be experienced."
- The sound used for the car when it stops, "
jnk_stop1.wav", can also be heard in several films such as Apollo 13 or No Country For Old Men (near the end). The Half-Life series uses many stock sounds heard in many other video games and films.
- If the car is lost, a black screen will appear, saying "It ends here. The Freeman has failed to preserve resources deemed critical to victory. Inescapable glimpses of doom clouds the Vortessence."
- The Muscle Car is powered by a carbureted, large-displacement V8, reminiscent of the classic 'American Muscle Car'. However, engine statistics and output power are unknown. It is possible, due to the car being modeled on the Dodge Charger, that it could be powered by either a 426 or 440 Chrysler V8. Thus having similar statistics.
- The Muscle Car appears in the PC version of the video game Renegade Ops, and is driven by Gordon Freeman, appearing as a bonus character. There, the car features a multitude of different abilities, such as mounted weapons, upgrades, and Antlions that can be summoned at will.
Concept art for the Muscle Car, blue '69 Ford Mustang.
Ditto, orange '69 Dodge Charger.
Ditto, green '70 Plymouth 'Cuda.
The Muscle Car when a Portal Storm hits, shortly before being retrieved by Gordon.
 List of appearances
- Source Particle Benchmark (First appearance) (Game files only) (Non-canonical appearance) (Indirect mention only)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two
|Vehicles, vessels and transportation|
|Aperture Science transportation||Borealis · Teleportation|
|Black Mesa transportation||Black Mesa SUV · Black Mesa Transit System · Black Mesa truck · Rail cart · Teleportation|
|Black Ops transportation||AH-64 Apache · M44 cargo truck|
|HECU transportation||AH-64 Apache · Jet · M1A1 Abrams · M2A3 Bradley · M44 cargo truck · Osprey Heliplane|
|Combine transportations||Advisor Platform · Armored Personnel Carrier · Hunter-Chopper · Razor Train · Teleportation|
|Resistance transportation||Airboat · Mil Mi-8 · Muscle Car · Scout Car · Teleportation|
|Xen transportation||Alien Craft · Teleportation|
|Trainstations||City 17 Trainstation · Depot · Technical Trainstation|
|Other||Rail transport · Road transport|
|Black Ops (cut)||Osprey Heliplane|
|Combine (cut)||AirEx Truck · C-130 · Combine SWAT Truck · M2A3 Bradley · Merkava · Osprey Heliplane · School Bus|
|Resistance (cut)||Borealis · C-130 · Jalopy · Jet Ski · Osprey Heliplane · Submarine|
|Other (cut)||Digger · Stealth|