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Go Stalk Dodge's SRT, the 2015 Challenger Hellcat Is an Easter Egg

Easter eggs. We all love them, whether it’s about planting or finding these little cute time bombs. Apparently, Dodge’s PR team knows a thing or two about this and the image above stands as testament to that. The pic also goes to show what implications and ramifications Chrysler’s recent change of SRT plans can bring, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
For now, let’s take a short trip down the recent memory lane. Remember how our excitement level went through the roof earlier this week when Dodge announced the “over 600 hp” rating of the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat actually means 707 horses?

Well folks, the info has been around since May 20th. That’s when the adjacent image was released, along with a host of other press photos for the Chrysler’s new King. Sure, the... language in which it was written was a little little disco, but it’s still amusing as hellcat that the Chrysler guys let the 707 hp rating slip that long ago.

I admit I failed to decrypt the message of the 8.4-inch Uconnect satellite radio screen and the funny thing is that I may just miss it again when it shows up. OK Chrysler, its one-nil, but I’ll be keeping an eye on you.

Now that I’ve been hellightened, I obviously scanned every pixel of the pic for some additional hidden treasures. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the individual climate control temperatures, with 68 being the year when Carl Cameron designed the original Challenger. Still, I don’t know what to make of the “72”, since that was the first in a row of three years that brought the Challenger on a downgrade route. Maybe you can help.

Or perhaps I should stick to the “replay” button. That can’t be bad, not when the Hellcat, aided by its Performance Exhaust, sounds like some alien hell which is meaner than our own. Meow!

While I do that, I’m advising you to monitor Dodge too. The 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat may be muscle car poetry, but it’s probably only an Easter egg for the overall transformation of the SRT performance moniker.

As Chrysler announced (also in May), its previous halo philosophy, with Ralph Gilles leading the SRT sub-brand and the Viper put on a pedestal, is over and out. Street and Racing Technology now builds its aura around the Hellcat and is headed by Tim Kunisis, who will also continue with his previous duties of helming the Dodge brand, as well as the company’s fleet operations.

While he was mixing worked-out HEMIs with commercial vehicles in the morning briefing, Kunisis let it slip that SRT becomes some sort of an in-house tuner for Dodge, so it won’t serve other Chrysler brands anymore. Given SRT’s attitude, I expect stuff from Dodge’s future product plan to brings tons of smiles behind the wheel.

Alas, there might be some collateral damage here. It’s worth noting that the metamorphosis will affect SRT’s current best-seller, the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Still, I’m not worried. An absolute blast to drive, the pumped-up SUV will certainly find a way to carry on, precisely due to those hefty sales figures.

I can’t say the same thing about the Viper though. I found the wildest American experience when I got bitten by it, but 2013 only saw Chrysler selling 591 units of the Viper, with production thus being dialed down earlier this year.

Now that SRT is not a standalone brand anymore, the Viper went under the Dodge umbrella and the aforementioned product plan shows 2015 will bring a revamp for the supercar. What to expect of this?

Well, I don’t want to sound like I’m stalking the Chrysler guys, but I kind of am. For the answer to the question above, I watched Ralph Gilles, who has remained CEO and President of SRT Motorsports. Last month, the Viper SRT GTS-R racecar received a Red and White livery, a nod to the apparel of the Viper Racers which kept winning endurance races, Le Mans and American Le Mans included, back in 1999 and 2000.

The original Viper, the road-going one, was a car that topped American performance charts when it showed up in the early nighties. With the aforementioned livery that pays tribute to the seniors, I’m expecting even more adrenaline from the Viper’s mid-cycle refresh.

Nevertheless, the initial Viper did all that while attempting to kill its driver, which only made it more attractive, but also more hermetical. The second generation kept this all-wild character which many failed to understand. As a result, the third generation was close to not happening.

Even now when the Viper has become much tamer, people still refuse to give it a thorough look. And believe me, as much as this creature convinces you it should stay a poster hero at first, if you spend more time with it, you’ll be convinced to shed the aforementioned skin and fall helplessly in love with its racing feel.

That product plan I keep mentioning stops in 2018 and one of the reasons for this, if not the main one, is that Chrysler itself doesn’t know what will happen to the Viper afterwards. For now at least, it seems that the new Hellcat HEMI V8 ironically can’t fit in the Viper’s engine bay, and while I adore the natural aspiration of the beast’s V10, this all means the supercar has one more drawback in terms of sales.

So while I’m inviting you to stalk Dodge together with me, I have another proposal to make. Ask for a raise, go wild on Kickstarter or play the lottery, but go out there and freaking buy a Viper.

 
 
 
 
 

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