How the Dodge Hellcat V8 Was Initially Killed Off by Fiat

Dodge Challenger Hellcat burnout 1 photo
Photo: Dodge
Can you a imagine a world where all the burnout smoke from the Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat wouldn’t exist? Where all the cool Hellcat logo t-shirts Dodge people wear would be just black? Well, this almost happened, as Fiat had initially decided to kill the project.
The story took place back in early 2011, when Fiat, which was developing Chrysler’s future strategy at the time, aimed to cut development funds and said “no” to the supercharged HEMI V8 thing, as Automotive News Europe writes.

As many other great projects that never saw the light of day over the years, the Hellcat V8 was axed. Not only did the 707-pony V8 require substantial funds to be developed, but such an intense output also meant the supporting upgrades that were to be performed throughout the 2015 Charger and Challenger families were costly.

Returning to the engine itself, we have to explain the engineering job required a bit more than just strapping a blower to the naturally aspirated 6.4 HEMI V8 of the normal SRT breed. As a result, a gasket-blowing 91 percent of the goodies in the Hellcat variant are new. And let’s not forget that this is 2014, not the '70s, so the result couldn’t be an engine that needed a bucket of gas just to idle - the efforts paid out pretty well, namely 22 mpg (10.7 l/100 km).

The engineers fought back

Enthusiasts have been “lobbying” for a supercharged HEMI for years and while tuners hadn’t hesitated to deliver, people wanted an OEM offering. This arguments helped the engineers in their quest to make Fiat change its mind and, after four months of idling, the Hellcat was back on the table.

The pair of Hellcats has already worked wonders for Dodge, namely because over 5,000 Challenger SRT Hellcat units were ordered since the model went on sale. When you come up with stuff like “the most powerful muscle car in the world” and "most powerful sedan in the world", people are going to remember your name when talking about performance.

Chrysler’s PR people have been nothing short of brilliant in exploiting the potential of the Hellcat. From intentional real world leaks and trolling to cool commercials and sweet social media work, they made sure the world gets the Hellcat message.

We can’t help but salute the 707 hp and 650 lb-ft (881 Nm) thrown onto us in the middle of the mpg battle the industry is currently going through. Oh, and we're also OK with the Fiat 500X.
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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