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A look at how the Dodge Charger and Hellcats Happened

Hellcat and ChargerD

The Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcats are here, and driving enthusiasts the world over are ecstatic. And who can blame them. Every real car lover wants a sensible family sedan that has a top speed of 204-mph, like the Dodge Charger Hellcat. But have you ever wondered what it took to make this muscle car lover’s dream a reality?

The battle was between horsepower and fuel economy. And with the 2016 Woodward Dream Cruise coming up and the worship of American horsepower about to kick into high gear, now is a great time to let real car enthusiasts get a look behind the curtain and see the machinations and negotiations that took place at the headquarters of Dodge and lead to the development and production of the Charger and Challenger Hellcats.

It was in 2014 that Dodge unleashed these two magnificent beasts with incredible straight-line speed on an unsuspecting public. From the first whispers about what Dodge had up its sleeve and in its garage until the incredibly sleek and powerful new Hellcat versions of the Charger and Challenger hit the asphalt, Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press followed the developments closely. He knew about the horsepower wars that raged inside the company. He heard that the output targets that started at 600 horsepower had been upped first to 675 and finally to 707 by the time production started. You can read numbers and be impressed, but you should test drive one at Chapman Dodge if you want to see how great the horsepower feels.

Mopar had long earned a reputation for creating groundbreaking vehicles with specs that were off the charts. But although the specs on the Charger and Challenger Hellcat models were reportedly quite amazing, even Phelan was stunned when the cars hits the streets in all their muscle car glory. He and many others were impressed with the handling and blown away by the drivability of the vehicles. If you looked past its top speed of over 200 miles per hour and simply focused on the comfort, amenities and style of the vehicles, you might even be able to convince yourself the Charger Hellcat was the ideal family sedan.

It’s true that the Charger and Challenger Hellcats were simply a way to for Dodge to get the driving public’s attention. And they did indeed do that with the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat being unofficially crowned King of Woodward. Still they are fun vehicles that can appear civil and tame at first glance. But step on the gas and put them through their paces on city streets, the open road or a dragstrip and the inner beast rears its beautiful head and leaves bystanders and other drivers with their mouths agape. It’s a wonderful and wondrous sight to behold.

The Charger and Challenger Hellcats are by no means perfect, but they’re great. Like other high-performance vehicles, they don’t focus on gas mileage, but they are reliable, fast and fun to drive. Sales have never been a problem and are up almost 10% in 2016. And rumor has it there’ll soon be a Hellcat version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Welcome to the new Golden Age of Horsepower.

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