By this time, the upcoming Hellcat Hemi SRT Challenger should be no surprise to anyone who has been following the latest automotive trends. The Camaro Z/28 was announced and the high sticker price shocked a few and yet made believers out of others that Chevrolet means business. The spy shots of the rumored 2015 Shelby Mustang SVT have been floating around, as well, and the Mustang crowd seems to have grown very fond of the new “European styling”.
But the Hellcat was just a rumor for quite some time, and the doubts were floating about and people began to ask if it was really going to happen. And then a few spy shots started showing up on various websites, and we all knew that Mopar was bringing out the big guns and treating their loyal enthusiasts to a car that would set the world on edge.
It’s good to have an enthusiast like Ralph Gilles at the helm, not only does he have passion for the cars, but he has made lots of friends in the Mopar community, as well.
We heard about the supercharger, and learned of the August debut, and even spoke with then SRT CEO Ralph Gilles about the car that everyone is talking about. He was excited to talk about the Hellcat and introduced us to the new Hellcat logo that day at Springfest 9 – an event put on by by SoCalLX that Gilles attends regularly. This show is also attended by a few other groups like Mopar360 and SoCal Challengers, both based on the RWD Mopar platforms.
All along we heard about horsepower being “Over 600… more than anybody’s gonna ever need,” according to Greg Black, Chief Powertrain Engineer for the Hellcat. Some rumors were in the 630 horsepower range, our guess was closer to 700, but the one thing that is for certain is that it’s more powerful than Chrysler’s flagship car – the Viper. That, in itself, leads one to wonder what’s in the plans for the next generation Viper.
UPDATE: Here’s one little Easter egg we have found for you: Today, Chrysler revealed the HP figures for the first time, and you’ll be amazed at what kind of power that Hellcat Hemi produces: 707 HP with 650 lb ft of torque! Watch this short video below, it’s official now!:
In the video at the top from our friend George J. Notaras, known by many as MotomanTV, we learn a little bit more about the Hellcat Hemi from Black, who tells us about the engine’s internals. To learn a little about the induction system, we hear from Russ Ruedisueli, VLE SRT & Hellcat, and head of SRT & Motorsports Engineering. To fill us in on some of the exterior design cues, we hear from Mark Trostle, Head of Design, SRT, Viper, Mopar and Motorsports. Ralph Gilles shared with us how and where they got much of their inspiration for this very unique car.
If you look at the front of the Hellcat, it has a little Plymouth in it. -Ralph Gilles
We hear first from Gilles, who tells us that the car was inspired by Mopar enthusiasts, but also that they took a lot of design cues from their heritage. Gilles said, “If you look at the front of the Hellcat, it has a little Plymouth in it.” Looking at the dropdown headlamps, we can see a little resemblance to the Plymouth’s twin headlamp design, a little like the 1970 Road Runner, and a little bit like the 1971 ‘Cuda.
Speaking of the ‘Cuda, many of us had wondered if we were going to see a new ‘Cuda from SRT, but the demise of SRT as a brand leaves us wondering now that there really isn’t a viable brand to drop on a new ‘Cuda – it can’t be a Dodge, and “Chrysler ‘Cuda” would just be wrong on so many levels. So was it the plan all along to combine cues from the early ‘Cuda into the new Challenger and give us a little of both worlds? We don’t see a ‘Cuda in the five year plan from Chrysler, at least not at this time.
In looking at the engine, Black said, “We changed the compression ratio slightly to 9.5 to deal with the forced induction and to prevent knock,” indicative of the amount of boost that the Hellcat Hemi is going to see (yet another mystery that has yet to be revealed). The twin intercoolers under the positive displacement supercharger help to keep things from overheating.
Black said that the cylinder heads are unique for this engine, made with a high strength 356 heat-treated T6 alloy, and explained that the combustion and porting are also unique to this motor. When asked about the decision to go with a supercharger, Black said, “We chose the screw compressor for efficiency, we really wanted exceptional throttle response and by having a supercharger you just don’t have any of the turbo lag issues.”
Top left: it's easy to see the similarities to the classic Plymouth designs, such as the Road Runner drop down headlamps.
Looking at the outside of the car, Ruedisueli talks about the need for cooling and air flow, and how the ducts in the hood help to vent some of the hot air from the engine bay. Of course, the really cool thing about the Hellcat Challenger has been the replacement of the inner left parking lamp with a “halo” lamp, allowing for cold air induction to feed the supercharger. This is a first for a manufacturer to do, however it’s been done for years by the turbo and centrifugal supercharger crowd.
The other unique design features about the car are the upgraded brakes with the two-piece rotor and six-piston caliper up front. For aerodynamics, Ruedisueli saids, “None of our cars are electronically speed limited, they’re all aero-limited, so the horsepower you have and the speed the car can carry is what limits our top speed.” Add to that the amount of fear you have for losing your beloved Hellcat Hemi to the police impound lot and the top speed just might be a little lower.
Trostle points out that down below on the fascia are the air to oil and air to water coolers that feed the intercoolers on the supercharger. He also points out that the car has a splitter down below the front fascia to maximize downforce, and says, “We spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel developing all the pieces that you see on it.” He adds, “This is the the tallest spoiler in the Challenger lineup, we developed this in the wind tunnel in conjunction with the front fascia and front splitter.”
Gilles also tells us that they always have mini research clinics to see what enthusiast want, and it’s usually more power but they want the aesthetics to stay the same. About the design clues, he said, “There’s a lot of Easter eggs, a lot of little details in the design that people will discover over time.” We’re starting to see some of those details already, and will bring more to you as we find out. We may have a little Easter egg of our own, so stay tuned with us and keep following the Hellcat Hemi, and we’ll do our best to keep you up to date.