HISTORY OF THE Dodge Challenger Hellcat
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat debuted in 2015 as a performance version of the Challenger. It came with a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi that made 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Dodge also put this same engine in the Charger SRT Hellcat. The supercharged Hemi for the Challenger Hellcat was the first production supercharged Hemi that Chrysler had ever put on the market. It also was the most powerful engine ever made by Chrysler to this point.
However, the Hellcat Hemi engine almost never existed as Chrysler Group initially turned down ideas for the powerful V8 in order to conserve money. The SRT team continued to persist and argued for months to make the engine until finally, the project was approved. Once it was approved, the Dodge design group didn't cut any corners. An entirely new development process was created to manage the Challenger Hellcat's testing and design. Brand new facilities and labs were created to test the Hellcat and perfect the design.
The result was an extraordinarily powerful car. In fact, the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat was able to achieve a quarter-mile time of 11.2 seconds with street-legal tires. Zero to 60 acceleration was clocked at 3.6 seconds and braking from 60 to zero came in at 109 feet. The top speed of the debut Hellcat was 199 MPH.
Dodge Challenger Hellcat Evolution
After debuting in 2015, the Challenger Hellcat underwent various changes for subsequent model years. Some changes were related to the Challenger parent model, while others were unique to the Hellcat. For example, in 2016, there were no major changes to the Challenger at all. That said, a select number of Texas Dodge Dealers sold a special edition of the Hellcat, which was was lowered 2.5 centimeters in the rear and 3 centimeters in the front. The car also came with an upgraded supercharger that boosted horsepower to numbers between 745 and 750. All Hellcat Challenger vehicles from this limited edition were backed with a standard factory warranty, and most came in white with black rally stripes. A smaller number of this limited edition car came with the red exterior color and black rally stripes. The starting price for this limited model was about $80,000.
2019 Challenger Hellcat
For 2019, the Challenger Hellcat added the SRT Hellcat Redeye along with the standard SRT Hellcat. A slight increase in horsepower was in order for 2019. The standard horsepower went up to 717 from the previous 707. 2019 also saw the introduction of a new dual-snorkel hood. Compared to the 2018 model, the 2019 Hellcat went down in price by over $5,500. For this model year, the standard transmission options remained with the six-speed Tremec manual and eight-speed ZF automatic.
The real fun for 2019 was the introduction of the SRT Hellcat Redeye. This model was introduced to take the place of the Challenger Demon, which was discontinued for 2019. The Redeye is a performance-upgraded Hellcat. The 6.2-liter V8 Demon engine was put into the Redeye, albeit with slightly less power at 797 horsepower. Other upgrades for the Redeye included a track-tuned suspension, SRT power chiller, and a reinforced eight-speed automatic transmission. This version was able to take on a quarter-mile in under 11 seconds and has an impressive top speed of 203 MPH.
The 2019 SRT Hellcat and SRT Hellcat Redeye could also be ordered with the Widebody Package. Adding this package includes a number of upgrades, such as Widebody fender flares, 20x11 forged aluminum wheels, three-mode Billstein adaptive damping suspension, and 305/35ZR20 Pirelli performance tires. Some of the other elements of the Widebody Package, such as the stiffened anti-roll bars and six-piston calipers, were already standard on the Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye, but this package made them available for the Challenger Scat Pack model.
2021 Challenger Hellcat
For 2021, there were essentially four Hellcat models available for purchase: the standard SRT Hellcat, the SRT Hellcat Widebody, the SRT Hellcat Redeye, and the SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody. The original Hellcat started at around $64,445, and the price for each upgraded model went up in roughly $5,000 increments. The Widebody Hellcat was considered the best-handling of the four models. The Redeye models, while offering technically more power, weren't actually quicker than the original Hellcat because the tires weren't capable of putting that extra power into the ground.
2022 Challenger Hellcat
No major changes were made for the 2022 Hellcat other than a standard deluxe security alarm for all models. Prices on this model year of Hellcat remained roughly the same as well.
Challenger Hellcat Fast Facts
- The Challenger Hellcat offers the most power per dollar for any car produced in America.
- The supercharged Hemi in the Hellcat was almost never made due to conflicts about conserving funds.
- The Challenger Hellcat has diamond-infused washers on the crankshaft pulley for increased durability.
- Dodge had to build entirely new facilities to construct and test the Hellcat.
- The first Hellcat to roll off the assembly line was sold to charity for 1.65 million dollars.
- Pre-orders for the first Challenger Hellcats topped 5,000 in less than two months.
- The Hellcat name and logo come from the American Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter airplane used in World War II.
Legacy of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat
The Dodge Challenger has not been significantly redesigned since 2008. The Hellcat, similarly, hasn't been significantly redesigned since it was introduced in 2015, which was also when the Challenger was refreshed. No significant changes were made on the 2022 models either. Speculation among Mopar Insiders has hinted that an all-new Challenger will be coming out for the 2023 model. It's not known whether the Hellcat will also be redesigned, but it seems likely.
With many automakers focusing on electric vehicles, it should be a relief to Challenger Hellcat enthusiasts that Dodge has essentially confirmed that the Challenger and Charger will at least go through late 2023 or into 2024. However, there has also been some talk of creating a hybrid Challenger and Charger. It's also currently unknown if the Hellcat Challenger will continue into the age of electrification. Most likely, Dodge will make something similar to the eTorque mild-hybrid system for its next round of sports cars.
More Dodge History: Charger Hellcat (2015 - ??)·Trackhawk Hellcat (2018 - ??)·RAM 1500 TRX Hellcat (2021- ??)