I recently attended a deep dive media event for the 707 horsepower Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat models. At that event, we learned everything that you could want to know about the most powerful American production road motor of all time, including one bit of information that will make most Mopar lover’s hearts skip a beat.
The Hellcat almost didn’t happen.
The Early Days of the Hellcat Hemi
The idea of supercharged super-Hemi codenamed the Hellcat was first introduced within the doors of the Chrysler Group headquarters back in early 2011. The crew pushing for the Hellcat Hemi wanted the Chrysler Group to roll out a new supercharged V8 that would serve as the ultimate American performance engine. In 2011, the prices of gasoline had calmed a bit and early in the year, the average price was “only” in the low to mid 3 dollar range, so it seemed like a good time to offer up a super powerful engine. However, this was the same time that the Fiat management was working on a direction for the company – and that direction didn’t include an ultra-high performance V8.
Fortunately, the creators of the Hellcat Hemi engine project kept pushing and four months after the Hellcat project had been pushed to the back burner, the engineers were given the green light to begin working on the new supercharged Hemi V8. Starting in the fall of 2011, the SRT engineers worked on every aspect of the 6.2L Hellcat Hemi and roughly two and a half years later, Chrysler announced the existence of the Hellcat Hemi to the automotive world in the revised 2015 Challenger.
The 707 Horsepower Announcement
A few months later, it was announced that the Hellcat Hemi would offer a whopping 707 horsepower in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, making the Challenger the 6th most powerful production road car in the world. With a stock quarter mile time in the low 11 second range, the Hellcat Challenger is the quickest stock muscle car ever while also offering a heavily revised suspension and braking system that ensure that the Hellcat Challenger handles almost as well as it accelerates.
Live images of the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat debut
My 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Test Car
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in TorRed
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in Sublime
A short while later, the SRT team announced at the Woodward Dream Cruise that there would also be a Hellcat Charger and with 707hp, it would be the world’s most powerful sedan. The Hellcat Charger offers all of the performance advantages of the Challenger (except for the manual transmission) so with 707hp, the Hellcat Charger is the most powerful sedan ever. A top speed of 204 miles per hour makes it the fastest sedan in the world and a factory-stock quarter mile time of 11 seconds flat makes it the quickest sedan in the world.
The new 6.2L supercharged Hellcat Hemi is the most powerful production road motor in the history of the American auto industry, putting the 2015 Charger and 2015 Challenger among some of the biggest supercar names in the world…and it almost never happened.