By Dave Ashton
On the surface, British car sensibilities and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat seem to go together like oil and water. However, as you will see from the video below, the seemingly simplistic template and raw power of the Hellcat is to any car fan a rare treat, no matter which patch of soil you live on.
Present-day muscle and pony cars have the reputation of sticking unapologetically to their original formula of simplicity and raw power. This is why the breed can be either loved or hated. You either get the concept or you don’t. But, a modern muscle car like the Dodge Hellcat is a more advanced beast than its predecessors, while it still retains that original essence.
The Dodge Challenger Hellcat in the video has a supercharged, 717 HP 6.2-litre Hemi V8 under the hood. While the ‘Redeye’ version has 797HP, and the ‘Super Stock’ 800 HP, squarely aimed at drag racers.
There may be plenty of other sports cars out there with comparable power levels, even relatively affordable supercars. But, as you will see from the video, it’s the unbridled fun factor of the seat-of-your-pants driving experience that is the main selling point.
The point above is important, as such a raw driving experience is now only found in these classics. Anyone over the age of 40 experienced cars in their youth which were almost as basic as a simple body shell, engine, rear wheel drive, and steering wheel. It was analog all the way, with only your driving skills to get you through.
For the average driver going from A to B, a modern car with all its computer governance feels like a more controllable and easier ride. But for the car enthusiast, the simple principles still provide the best driving experience. Okay, traction control and everything that keeps the car planted these days is great, but there’s nothing like every reaction being directly translated into your roadgoing experience. This is where the modern muscle car still stands.
If you watch the video until the end, Rory states in the video what we all already know. The Hellcat may not go round corners with such aplomb as a Mercedes E63 or an M5, but that’s not the point. Plus, the statement of the present-day Challenger and Charger being, ‘the last great muscle car.’ or is it?
In terms of the last great ICE V8, we still have a good couple of years for some rather tasty V8s to hit the market. They may be limited edition and collectible items, but are still largely available. The advent of electric is going to be a hard sell to muscle car fans, but future generations who only know electric, may come to see their vehicles as potent muscle cars, with the older generation simply being those original classics.
For now, let’s enjoy how the Hellcat has carved its own path.
The Hellcat may be an analog wristwatch in a digital world, but there’s still nothing like owning the original design, even though it is harder work to maintain, the effort is worth it.
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