cereal killer· Registered
Challenger SRT Hellcat
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After what seemed like an eternity--in Hellcat years--the time had finally come. The Challenger SRT Hellcat (press vehicle) was soon going to be sitting in my driveway and I would be its master...or so I thought.
On a beautiful Saturday morning I'm casually walking into Golds Gym not particularly feeling the urge to train that day when I get a call from a number I don't recognize. Hmmm, could this be about the Hellcat being delivered Monday morning? Ahh what the heck I'll pick up. Hello? "Chris this is Jack from Pilot Transport. I have your Challenger and wanted to verify your address for delivery on Monday." My mood automatically shifted as a surge of adrenaline shot through my body. Inside I was shouting "YES!!! YES!! YES!!" but on the outside I remained cool and collected and verified the address. Monday was the day, it was finally coming. Needless to say my workout was an adrenaline infused blur. All I could think about was getting behind the wheel of the most compelling car Dodge has ever built.
Monday morning the 80 foot transport carrying King Kong (might as well be) arrived. As Jack is prepping the car to be unloaded he reminisces with me about his 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT-8 and we immediately hit it off. There's something to be said about the Mopar 'brotherhood'. It's really a special thing. Fittingly the Challenger SRT Hellcat was on the rack above a new yellow Stingray Corvette Z06 (see what I did there) and the whole process to get it off the transport took about 5 minutes, but felt like 5 hours. Talk about going back to my childhood impatience--"hurry! hurry! I want to drive it!". Before handing over the paperwork and the keys something very very frightening happened. Jack says "just so you know they only gave you one key". My heart sunk and a wave of nausea hit me hard. All I could think of was "Oh no, they gave me the black key. No. Please no." "Which one?" I said calmy. Jack says nothing and reaches into the cup holder, my heart races, my mind goes into a negative space "oh no" I say over and over in my head. His hand slowly comes forward.....it's the Red key. "Oh man! Thank god!!" I shout. He laughs and laughs at my relief. Paper work signed, red key in hand ...it's time. This is really happening.
I get into the belly of the beast and fire it up. Whumpffffff! The super-charged hemi comes to life, the snarling hellcat logo appears on the touchscreen and the 'Red Key in use" lets you know the proverbial poop is about to hit the fan. I can tell you that no matter how many videos you watch, you will not be prepared for how incredible this car sounds. Have you ever watched a King Kong movie and seen how the ground shakes when he's approaching? You don't see him but you know damn well something big and ferocious is in that Jungle? Well that's the Hellcat; 4,439 lbs (w/ A8) of pure, unadulterated whup ass. And that's just sitting there doing nothing.
Ok, lets go. I've driven race prepped NASCAR stock cars around Texas Motor speedway, European exotics and my fair share of high horsepower cars, so I understand the concept of judiciously applying peddle when taking off for the first time. Stomping on the peddle wouldn't be prudent when your behind the wheel of a 707hp car you've never driven. There are nuances to every vehicle, and you must learn what makes a car 'tick' before pushing the envelope. We'll do that...just not yet. I slide the shifter into drive, apply about 20% peddle and.......OK! this car means serious business. The Hellcat will not tolerate fools and it lets you know immediately. At 20% peddle the Hellcat goes into what is for most 285-350 hp 'sports cars' a full out sprint. A little tire spin, some supercharger 'whine' and you are immediately at or near all posted speed limits. I do recommend leaving on the speed limit voice prompts at least until you get used to the Hellcat. My first day was spent listening to what seemed like a steady stream of reminders. "The speed limit is 45 miles per hour, the speed limit is 65 mph, the speed limit is 55 mph". Like a twitchy racehorse, the Hellcat loves to run. It was born and bred to.
Did I mention it had a very nice Harmon Kardon radio in it? No? Well good, because I never turned it on. I can bet that every new owner will drive around without the radio on for the first week because the sweet whine of the super-charger and deep melodious sound of the exhaust is the ONLY music you will want to listen to. Ohhhhhhhhh the sound. Did I mention the sound? Oh my...its simply delicious.
Lets get to the photo shoot shall we? I had a thirty mile drive to the location so I'd have plenty of time to get familiar with the Hellcat. If you're familiar with Austin, TX the 620 is a beautiful drive and there's plenty of room to let the Hellcat stretch its legs (so I thought). Yeah, I'lll take that route. Pulling up to lights you can't help but feel like a rock star. When the Hellcat arrives everyone hears it before they see it. Remember I mentioned those King Kong movies? Yup, same thing. Windows rolling down and "nice Hellcat!" are a common occurrence, other times people are just looking at it with smiles on their faces, nodding with delight. Driving a Hellcat is quite an experience indeed.
Time to flex some muscle. Sitting at the light, first in line with a clear road ahead I find myself poised and ready to see what this kitty cat is all about. The speed limit is 60, hey why not? A sprint to 60 can't hurt. The light turns green, I launch the Hellcat, my brain smashes into the back of my skull, all my organs are displaced..somewhere, and my ass gets wedged in the crease where the back-rest meets seat. It all happens in just over 3 seconds. This car is not fast, its wickedly fast..no..mind-bogglingly fast. Remember I mentioned there's plenty of room to let the Hellcat stretch it legs? I was dreadfully wrong. The Hellcat covers long stretches of ground instantaneously. I've come up with a theory that the Dodge engineers have figured out a way to warp the space time continuum, because point A to point B happens very quickly, almost immediately. Perhaps I'm just losing big chunks of time and should visit the doctor. Fellow Hellcat owners should let me know if they are experiencing the same thing.
I pull into Pikes Peak racer Doug Siddens' ranch. There are some great spots in his 'garage' to take photographs, and I'm going to take advantage of it. Word is... the Ducati Engineers are hanging in the garage. I bring the Hellcat around and into the cavernous space. The Hellcat rattles the tools on the walls, and the Ducati engineers' heads snap back as if they've been ambushed by a Special Ops team. Fear? Intimidation? Probably both, and it didn't make matters any better when I slid the shifter into neutral and blipped the throttle a couple of times. Whumppfffff! Whumpffffff!!!
The smiles on the Italians' faces was priceless. Italy meet America. The raw, brute force of American Muscle immediately made it's impression. As they gathered around 'Kong' they asked a flurry of questions with their thick Italian accents. They were in awe of the horsepower numbers and had to hear the beast rumble under idle once more. I happily obliged them, then offered them the Hellcat experience...a ride.
After I dropped the last guy off, they gathered once again to take in the rambunctious cat. Everyone still smiling ear to ear one gentleman leaned in and quietly said "American Muscle yeah? Heck yeah"
Yes sir, American Muscle at its finest! The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the most compelling muscle car this guy from Detroit has ever driven. It is raucous, it is brutal, it is a piece of art. With fine craftsmanship inside and out, the Hellcat is a strikingly beautiful car. I found the Hellcat is most happy setting off car alarms and shredding pavement, but it can just as easily cruise leisurely about town--although it's damn near impossible to do for more than 2 minutes. Ride and comfort are surprisingly very very good. I could easily take the Hellcat on a coast to coast tour and not feel exhausted from a harsh and uncomfortable ride. Gas mileage? The Prius forums are "thataway" ------>>>>>>> [SELF EJECT BUTTON]
I did want to address one last thing. The Ford and Chevy guys always mention how heavy the Challenger SRT Hellcat is. Yes it's heavy, it's supposed to be heavy. The Hellcat was born and bred to do one thing....tear up asphalt and make drivers black out from pulling too many Gs going light to light (ok that was two things). This car isn't a welter weight nimble fighter. It's Mike Tyson having a psychotic break in the ring. The Hellcat will punch you in the face if you don't respect it, and that's the message it sends the moment you start it up.
American Muscle is back folks, and those Dodge boys have set the bar so high I don't know how anyone, including them, will top it. In closing, I cannot stop gushing about the Hellcat. My week with it was such an incredible experience that I still can't stop talking about it--so I'm writing this novel about it. For anyone reading this who is in VON hell, VIN hell, build hell or any other kind of Hellcat hell; be happy you are least in hell. The Challenger SRT Hellcat is worth a year wait if it came down to it. Yes, it's that good.
Before signing off, I want to shout out a big thank-you to Dodge/SRT/FCA for building this machine. You're crazy as all get out for stuffing all that horsepower into a production vehicle and that's why we all love you. It took cajones to do what you did. Welcome back....we've missed you.
1 MB Views: 16,991