The Dodge SRT Hellcat’s Roar Reaches The UK

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As an automotive writer, blogger, and owner of Gargling Gas – a site dedicated to the more aggressive cars and cultures – my ears obviously pricked up when I heard rumour of a 707-hp muscle car being given the nod. In an age of whining eco-warriors, eco-boxes and strict emission control, this was music to my ears, especially as all this horsepower was being hammered out by a giant supercharged 6.2-L V8 Hemi.

Okay, so the Dodge Hellcat’s monstrous power plant had to adhere to emissions, but as someone who fears the days of massive horse power generated by massive engines are quickly being replaced by smaller hybrid/turbo technology, it’s refreshing to hear an American legend has stepped up and injected their current SRT8 muscle with something a little more potent than those cliché steroids.

 

The first pictures I witnessed of Dodge’s monster showed it in an aptly bright green. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat was the same as its little SRT8 brother in the same way a Big Mac tastes the same as a lightly seasoned and seared fillet steak. It is worth noting that The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is now easily available with sites such as 51st State opening the gates to import the model.

From a distance, the SRT Hellcat could be mistaken for the SRT8 model, as the Richter-scale damaging power is hidden within the belly of the beast. The one fantastic and obvious giveaway to a Hellcat (apart from the noise it creates if running) is the RAM air hole neatly positioned within the Challenger’s front lights. Using “angel eye” lights made popular by BMW, the Hellcat still retains its sidelights as air is helplessly gulped into its supercharger.

As for the Lambo green… were they taunting the Italians over the fact their muscle car boasted more horses than their Aventador? Were they having a dig at the eco-warriors painting such a mechanical behemoth green? I’d like to think so.

The Hellcat also comes in red, but I think the green is perfect and hails back to 70s and the days muscle cars ruled supreme.

I haven’t mentioned I’m a UK-based writer yet as all this talk of muscle and horsepower would seem ludicrous and incongruously placed on our small and winding country roads.

After a little research and interest (obsession) on the Hellcat it seems the UK petrolheads are all falling for its looks and are pining to experience the Jolly Green Giant’s punch.

When I hear people laugh at UK muscle car owners, always dropping the “mpg” debate, I do wonder if they include the Chelsea tractor owners, the supercharged Range Rovers, Porsche Cayennes and other heavy and petrol-guzzling 4x4s families buy to carry their 2.4 children – obesity in children is on the rise, but this is ridiculous.

With petrol prices tumbling in the UK and a machine available with 707-hp whilst offering similar mpg (22) as a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, why wouldn’t a serious petrolhead put in an order? What other car offers this much power for such a low price compared to its supercar rivals?

Even the infamous Ram 1500/2500 pickups are finding themselves in colder and damper climes. Thanks to Chrysler’s diesel Pentastar V6 power plants and 8-speed transmissions, the efficient torque and solid mpg figures are attracting customers across the pond.

No more massive V8s and leaf spring suspension; the current Ram 1500/2500s boast adjustable air suspension, touch screen technology and stylish interiors, workhorses going under the guise of a luxury hauler.

So is big always better?

Of course it is.

 

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I Need A Big Pussy In My Life

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Non super car manufacturers not particularly associated with producing gargantuan power figures rarely decide to let their hair down and offer up a piece of kit capable of splitting the atom, but when they do, the news spreads like wildfire, especially if the creation is worthy of all the hype.

Remember when the ‘older persons’ brand of choice, Buick, released the muscle car-eating Grand National version of their Regal? Well, times that image by 10 and you have some idea as to the hype making the rounds surrounding Dodge.

Dodge may produce the Viper, and they’ve certainly produced great muscle cars of past, even rekindling their Challenger and Charger with modern Hemi SRT tributes, but to take this platform and give it a supercharged 707-hp is just plain… genius – a Dodge with more horse power than a Lamborghini Aventador!

The atomic version of the Dodge Challenger SRT pictured above also comes with a great name, a simple yet perfectly apt title: Hellcat. Imagine being able to say: “I own a Hellcat,” safe in the knowledge your 2-tonne feline can hit 62-mph in 3.7 seconds. Even if the person asking is a Ford guy with a Shelby GT 500, you’d trump him by 45 ponies.

That collection of nuts and bolts pictured above makes up a supercharged 6.2-L Hemi V8 boasting 707-hp and 650 lb·ft of torque. Notice the headlight – or lack of – allowing RAM air induction to produce more torque? I really like that touch; in an age concerned with helping the environment, I love Dodge for creating this car. Was it irony they unleashed this powerhouse in green?

I hope so…

Watch the Hellcat with its claws bared, 707-hp drifting in anger.

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Bad Ass Road Kill Charger

Muscle car enthusiasts will have definitely heard of Hot Rod Magazine and their brilliant YouTube channel. If you know this channel you’ll most likely know the Road Kill channel formed by Hot Rod Magazine’s Mike Finnegan and David Freiburger. These two guys literally know every nut and bolt of any muscle car ever built – the episode featured in this article is a testament to their knowledge.

The Dodge Charger is an iconic muscle car, not only featuring in classic TV and cinema but also making it into modern film too. The car pictured above is a ’68 Charger painted with the ‘serial child murderer’ brush. It is dripping with ‘bad ass’; it emanates a sense of dread, fear and disgust.

Finnegan and Freiburger take this beaten up Charger, throw spanners and wrenches its way and take a road trip any true man would kill for. It’s the kind of adventure that would take you to the level of excitement an 8-year-old kid would experience the night before Christmas. The best bit is its heart… yes, it’s a 440 big block, but it is ripped from the bowels of a camper van.

This is a bastard of a car, a Frankenstein machine botched together for the purpose of eating tarmac and terrifying the general public (the latter, I’m all for :D). It looks extremely sinister and irrationally evil; it is loud and probably handles like the devil with an icicle shoved up his arse, but it is beautiful and I want it.

Carroll Shelby’s Rarities

Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby

The name ‘Shelby’ in the auto world is usually associated with the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Viper, the AC Cobra and the Ford GT-40; however, the late Carroll Shelby put his knowledge, input and name to some other not so famous cars, and its these rarities I want to talk about.

But if you aren’t clued up on the inimitable Carroll Shelby, let me briefly fill you in.

Having raced all his life until heath problems forced him to quit in 1959, Shelby acquired a great deal of racing experience and knowledge. It was winning the 1959 Le Mans in an Aston Martin that led him to notice the English team AC Cars and their Bristol. In 1961, Shelby asked the English team if they could supply him a car that would accept a V8 – a year later the AC Cobra was born.

In 1963, after Henry Ford II’s offer to buy Ferrari was quickly snubbed by Enzo Ferrari himself, he summoned Shelby to help build a car to beat the Italians at their own game. This is where the gorgeous and legendary GT-40 came in, a car that stamped its name in the Le Mans history books with a big black marker pen with: 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969.

So it’s with this natural ability to build winners that also went into the following relatively unknown Dodge cars.

1983 Dodge Shelby Charger

1983 Dodge Shelby Charger

First up is the early 80s Dodge Shelby Charger. This was the era Carroll Shelby worked as a performance consultant for Dodge. Between 1983-1984 Dodge launched the Shelby Charger, a 2.2-L 4-cylinder engine that produced a meagre 107-bhp and 127 ft-lbs of torque. Although power wasn’t high on the agenda with this model, Shelby focussed on the suspension and styling. Stronger brakes, quicker steering and special wheels also came with this edition, along with cosmetic touches such as decals and racing stripes.

1987 Dodge Shelby Charger

1987 Dodge Shelby Charger

A year later and the Dodge Shelby Charger received the much-needed edition of a turbocharger, boosting the power up to 146-bhp with 175 ft-lbs of torque. Customers saw a massive leap in performance increase despite its turbo lag.

Dodge Shelby Omni

Dodge Shelby Omni

Around the same time in 1986, Shelby modified the last 500 Omni’s off the production line. It’s a rare car to find today, and with its innocuous appearance and a 0-60 mph time of 6.7 seconds, it was one of the most affordable performance cars and the ultimate ‘sleeper’ car. This amazing performance from the little car came from the same 2.2-L Chrysler engine packed into the 1985 Dodge Shelby Charger, although the system received an upgrade on the turbo’s inter-cooler, the air manifold, injectors, and throttle body. What was once capable of 146-bhp on the Shelby Charger was now up to 175-bhp in the Shelby Omni.

Shelby Daytona Z

Shelby Daytona Z

In 1987, Dodge applied Shelby performance package to the Daytona Z, although Carroll Shelby himself didn’t oversee the project; it still bore his name though due to the package being his creation.

Dodge Shelby Lancer

Dodge Shelby Lancer

Another year on and the Dodge Lancer received the Shelby touch too. With only 400 manual and 400 automatic built over two years, the Shelby Lancer is a very rare car. Power again came from a 2.2-L Chrysler engine tuned to Shelby’s specification, including the turbo and intercooler. This car produced 175-bhp with 175 ft·lb of torque. The Daytona was heavier than the previous Shelbys and this hampered performance slightly with a 0-60-mph time of 7.2 seconds, although for the ear, this was pretty swift.

Carroll Shelby was an incredible man; he worked with cars (particularly Ford) right up to his death last year, aged 89.