During the summer months, Chrysler was kind enough to allocate a few select 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcats to various media outlets to do some testing and check out the amazing power and performance of this 707 horsepower supercharged Hemi feline. We borrowed one ourselves for a week, and though we did have a few wild streaks soak up our spine and make us romp on it a few times (we swear, we don’t even remember doing that wicked burnout), our week was otherwise a normal, every day driving experience.
Other media houses, however, put the Hellcat Challengers through their paces in order to prove what most of the world already knew about the Hellcat: the car is ridiculously fast, abnormally quick, and can smoke a $700 set of hides in mere minutes. Several of the media cars had been returned with worn out clutches, bald tires, steering alignment issues, and even our own loaner had some second gear synchro issues that hindered shifting.
But all wear and tear was pretty much expected from the Chrysler camp and the general consensus was this: it is what it is. However, wear and tear is a completely different story when you find a Hellcat Challenger sitting on a back lot with the front bumper and grille off the car. Nonetheless, we all signed release forms that basically said, “if you wreck it, contact us immediately” and we were told not to panic.
Although the Sublime Hellcat shown here was a media car wearing Michigan manufacturer’s plates, it still seems to be the first Hellcat out in the wild that we’ve seen that has sustained enough damage to visit a body shop. The damaged kitty is currently sitting in a back lot at a Dodge dealership in Poway, California, sustaining damage after an outing through the back roads of San Diego County on a trip to Julian, California – possibly for some of the world famous Julian apple pies?
Route 67 out of East County heads up through the east end of Poway and connects with Highway 78 in Ramona. Exiting Ramona, the trip becomes a very tight, winding road up through the hills towards Santa Isabel and out to Julian. This two-lane road is a favorite jaunt for automotive and motorcycle enthusiasts, and the speed limit signs are often ignored.
The story we’re told is that there was a mishap on the way to Julian, and though the rest of the car looks to be completely okay the missing front fascia apparently sustained some damage. We’re not aware of how much damage, it could be very minor, but when we find out, we’ll provide an update for you.
This was just a media loaner, and it shows that these cars have been pushed pretty hard and still kept going all summer long. The hard driving was expected, and for a car that many seem to find fault with, we thoroughly enjoyed our time with it, and it appears the driver of this Hellcat did too. Now that the Hellcats are being let loose to the public, it’s only a matter of time before the first injured Hellcat makes the rounds. If you hear of one, be sure to share the story with us and we’ll let everyone know who told us!