Dodge Secretly Built a Durango Hellcat Redeye and You Can't Have It

Dodge Durango Hellcat Redeye 6 photos
Photo: Tom Bailey/YouTube
Dodge Durango Hellcat RedeyeDodge Durango Hellcat RedeyeDodge Durango Hellcat RedeyeDodge Durango Hellcat RedeyeDodge Durango Hellcat Redeye
In 2021, Dodge took the SUV world by storm with the Hellcat-powered Durango. The fun didn't last very long, though, as the company discontinued the high-performance hauler after only a few months on the market and 2,000 units sold. The decision left Mopar fans craving for a Redeye version.
Despite rumors that Dodge would eventually roll out a Durango with the 797-horsepower mill from the Challenger Hellcat Redeye, such an SUV never made it into dealerships. But that doesn't mean that Dodge didn't build one. Because it did. And none of us can buy it.

This shocking bit of news comes from Tom Bailey, the drag racer known for his insanely fast builds, including the world's quickest road-legal Chevrolet Camaro. And he knows about it because Dodge sold him the only Redeye-powered Durango ever built. And the story is actually a bit funny.

You see, Bailey, who already owned a Durango Hellcat, placed an order for a second SUV in 2021. The plan was to turn it into the quickest Durango out there. Yes, we're talking about a drag-spec build. But things didn't go as planned because the Durango Hellcat he ordered got stolen off the Dodge corporate lot.

And because Dodge had already halted production of the super SUV, there was no replacement for Bailey to take home. Fast forward a couple of months, and Tom got a call from Dodge. Which sounded something like this: "we found one, but it's different. Would it be okay if it had a Redeye in it?"

Yup, for some reason, Dodge had dropped a Hellcat Redeye engine into a Durango sometime in 2021. There's absolutely no info on the project, but perhaps it was put together for testing purposes. Maybe Dodge actually wanted, at some point, to offer a limited-edition Durango Redeye. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that Bailey took the SUV. And you can see it in the video below, next to his regular Durango Hellcat.

Yes, it's no different on the outside save for the Redeye badges on the front fenders, but it comes with plenty of extra oomph. Assuming the output of the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is identical to the Challenger Hellcat, it should deliver an additional 87 horsepower compared to the regular Durango Hellcat.

But here's the news that might upset you. Besides the one that there are no other Durango Redeyes to buy, that is! Bailey wants to see how fast he can get it, meaning he will go ahead with his initial plan to turn it into a drag car.

He actually wants to make it the world's fastest Durango, which right now means getting it to cover the 1/8-mile in less than 6.3 seconds. But he won't stop there. While the first goal is to get it into the 5s, he will try to take it up a notch and turn it into a four-second vehicle down the 1/8-mile.

In his own words, he will "break it trying or get there." This means only one thing: the only Durango Redeye ever built won't stay stock.

Oh, and in case you're wondering how quick it is, the video shows a comparison vs. the regular Hellcat over the 1/8-mile. With a 7.53-second benchmark at 92 mph (148 kph), the Redeye is three-tenths quicker and "a few mph" faster than the Hellcat.

So what do you think? Is Tom Bailey's decision to turn the one-of-one Durango Redeye into a dragster a mistake? I think not, because YOLO, but I know a few Mopar gearheads that will get upset.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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