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The crew ultimately landed on a power output of 707 horsepower and torque of 650 lb-ft. The secret sauce was the addition of a 2.4-liter IHI-built twin-screw supercharger to a 6.2-liter Gen III Hemi, which produced 11.6 pounds of boost. To compensate for the additional grunt, Big Engine Casting block featured thicker walls and a higher nickel content. Aluminum pistons were forged rather than cast, and oil squirters cooled them. The engine’s codename was given to the new model by powertrain chief Bob Lee, a huge warbird fan:
Increased power generated more heat, necessitating additional cooling. The inner driver-side headlight housing was converted into a clandestine air intake, while the hood was cut to reveal a pair of modest heat extractors. As with all 2015 models, the Challenger SRT Hellcat received an available eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and a sleek new dual-opening grille reminiscent of the Dodge pony car that competed in Trans-Am in 1971. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price was a respectable $64,000.
However, the majority of attention was focused on more absurd numbers, including an official 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds, a quarter-mile record of 11.2 seconds, and a top speed of 199 mph. Drivers were rendered crazy by the whine of the supercharger rotors whirling at 14,160 and 23,160 rpm, respectively. “At full throttle,” Road & Track noted, “the Hellcat sounds so terribly irate that you could believe there’s another behind you, on either side, and possibly above and below as well.”
By 2017, the Challenger was available in 14 separate trim levels, ranging from the entry-level SXT to the full-featured 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker. By this point, Hellcat had become obsolete, and the competition at Ford and GM had not slowed.
“We took a Sawzall to the fenders, mounted some large drag tires-they were 20s at the time-and began tinkering,” he explains. “It was a bootleg engineering secret project that was deemed cool enough by, FCA officials, to turn into a car.”
The most recent and greatest Challenger assumed the form of the Demon. The most noticeable – and eye-popping – change occurred behind the hood. Although the new car shared the Hellcat’s core 6.2-liter V-8 and cylinder head, the engine-which was painted red rather than orange, as was the case with prior Hemis-benefited from 25 upgrades, including pistons, rods, and the cooling and fuel-injection systems. Additionally, it received a larger 2.7-liter supercharger capable of producing 14.5 pounds of boost. The power output was mind-boggling, hallucinogenic, and absolutely absurd. Even jaded automotive journalists struggled to comprehend 808 horsepower and 717 lb-ft of torque-figures that increased to 840 and 770 when the beast was fed 100-octane race fuel. Equipped with a transbrake and bespoke street-legal 315/40R18 drag radials from Nitto, the car accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds at 140 mph-much faster than the NHRA’s street car class. Even more astonishing was the Demon’s ability to do a wheelie. It was dubbed “Hell on Wheels”.
Additionally, the automobile looked the part. A frightening air scoop spanned nearly the whole hood, and a widebody treatment was required to clear the large tires-all of which contributed to the Demon’s evocation of “the flavor of the old Super Stock cars of the ’60s.”. Despite his demonic appearance, the Demon was a street angel. “It has incredible skid pad times and insane braking distances. “However, it’s the most pleasant car to drive on the road since it’s sprung nice and soft and has enormous, tires that absorb a lot of road noise.”
Challenger SRT Demons were sold without passenger or rear seats to save over 100 pounds, while both were available for $1 each. Another $1 option was the “Demon Crate,” which included a variety of Snap-on tools, skinny front drag tires, and the components necessary to modify the car to unlock all 840 horsepower after switching to 100-octane fuel. With prices starting at $85,000, all 3300 units sold out before they were ever manufactured, instantly making the one-year-only model a collectable.
The blows continued to come. FCA introduced the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye in 2019, which had a normal Hellcat paired with a Demon engine adjusted to a “mere” 797 horsepower due to the hood intake being replaced by two smaller nostrils. The next year, the Challenger SRT Super Stock was introduced-a Redeye with a 100-rpm-higher redline that increased power output to 807 horsepower.
For 2021, there are ten unique Challengers available, as well as an unfathomable array of equipment and appearance packages. All-wheel drive is standard on lower-level versions, while widebody sheetmetal is available on higher-level models. Prices range from approximately $28,000 for the stripped-down SE to more than $81,000 for the Super Stock. In other words, there is something for nearly every muscle car enthusiast on the earth, whether they are working stiffs looking for a daily driver with attitude or wealthy dudes searching for another toy to park in their garage mahal.
If money is no object, the Demon is the Challenger to acquire and maintain, with the exception of occasional excursions to the local drag strip. For short- and long-distance driving, the “regular” Hellcat offers an exceptional balance of performance and comfort. Prefer a weapon for track days? A T/A 392 Widebody equipped with the Tremec six-speed manual transmission, adaptive damping, 20-inch wheels, and six-caliper front calipers will obliterate the majority of the competition.
True, it will never compete with a Shelby GT350 or a Camaro SS 1LE, but that is beside the point. Individuals do not purchase Challengers in order to set lap records or impress engineering nerds. They desire a reasonably priced, uncomplicated, conventional muscle car that is quick, loud, and attractive without sacrificing comfort or utility. Thus, while Ford has reintroduced the Mustang moniker to its latest electric crossover and General Motors is dedicated to an all-electric future, FCA continues to produce more obnoxious Challengers with absurd names and outrageous colors.