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By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff
There is a rumor floating around the internet backed by insider information insisting that in 2019 or 2020, the Hellcat Hemi will get a power bump up to 850 horsepower. Of course, there has been no word from FCA about this rumor, but based on the sources of the insider information, it seems like there really could be an 850 horsepower Hellcat Hemi headed to production in a couple of years.
A normal production Challenger or Charger with 850 horsepower seems crazy, but there was a point in time just a few years back when a stock Dodge with 707 horsepower not wearing Viper badges seemed crazy. Best of all, it seems as though the FCA engineers could extract the extra 143 horsepower without a whole lot of work.
I have the pleasure of knowing a great many folks who own a Hellcat Challenger or Charger, including some of the folks who own and race some of the quickest and fastest Hellcat cars in the world. I have followed a few builds and I've learned that increasing the current Hellcat Hemi from 707 horsepower to 850 horsepower doesn’t take a great deal of work. Upgrades as simple as a different supercharger pulley, freer flowing exhaust (headers) and a solid engine tune will easily lift the current Charger and Challenger to 850 horsepower.
More importantly, of all of the Hellcat Challenger and Charger owners out there running these simple modifications and the resulting power levels, I have heard of very few reports of mechanical failures anywhere in the drivetrain. Of the dozens of Hellcat owners Ive spoken with who spend time at the track, the heavy duty 8-speed transmission and the rear differential appear to be holding up well – even in modified cars.
In other words, the engine will easily make 850 horsepower while the transmission and rear differential will have no problems handling that extra load. Also, since the increase in power shouldn’t require any extensive modifications, there might not be a huge increase in price, should the 850hp engine reach production in a few years.
So, if the Hellcat Hemi can easily make 850 horsepower and the other drivetrain components will comfortably send that power to the ground, why don’t the current SRT Challengers and Chargers have this bigger power from the factory? One reason could be emission tests, as prior to the dealership debut of the first Hellcat Challengers, there were rumors floating around the internet (again, supported by unnamed insiders) which claimed that FCA was having a hard time meeting the strict emission standards in California and those states which follow California’s emission requirements.
This initial rumor suggested that in 700+ horsepower mode, the Hellcat Challenger was failing to meet the CARB requirements, but that problem was obviously rectified since these cars are all legal in all 50 states. If the company was having problems meeting CARB standards at the 700+ (red key) setting, they would most certainly have issues meeting those requirements with an extra 143 horsepower…or at least they would have in late 2014. Now that we are two years further into the steady progression of automotive technology, there is a good chance that the company has worked out a way to pull 850 horsepower from the Hellcat Hemi while still meeting the strictest emission standards.
Or, as the rumor goes, the FCA engineers have 3 more years to get a Hellcat Hemi with 850 horsepower to pass emissions tests from coast to coast. If they do, the Dodge brand will continue to lead the way in the American horsepower war – while also making the Challenger and Charger two of the most powerful production cars in the entire world.
To summarize everything…
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- The Hellcat Hemi is very capable of making 850 horsepower
Jul 18, 2016 - 4:34 PM - by TehKing
All of us here at LxF wish to extend our sincerest sympathies and never ending support to a member of our family, Chris (ChargerChick), who tragically lost her daughter in an act of unconscionable violence.
The entire LxF family, and indeed the entire Mopar world could not ask for a better ambassador of the spirit that makes this community and this shared hobby what it is. We grieve with Chris and want her to know that in this unthinkable and dark time, she is immensely loved by every single one of us.
A YouCaring donation page has been set up on her behalf. If you feel you can, please donate whatever you can.
Editor note: we are following up on a poll we posted several weeks ago gauging interest in a Challenger Convertible
By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff
Over the past few weeks, I have been watching a series of polls posted across the various social networking sites asking Mopar fans whether or not they would be interested in buying a Dodge Challenger convertible in the next generation, should one be offered. There was a similar poll posted here on LXForums and across all of the pages where I poised that question, the results were relatively uniform.
Across all of the polls that I posted online, there was a ratio of roughly 4 people who aren’t interested in a Challenger convertible to every person who would like to buy a next gen Challenger convertible. That ratio of 4 to 1 or, if you’d prefer, 1 in 5, suggests that of the hundreds of people polled, around 20% would be interested in buying a Dodge Challenger convertible. Of course, that number could be inflated by people who will post online saying that they would buy one in a heartbeat when, in reality, they aren’t going to be buying any new vehicles in the next few years. At the same time, there are likely people who voted “no”, but who would change their mind once they saw the Challenger convertible in person.
In other words, the polls posted online are a far cry from the act of putting money down on a new Challenger convertible, but these surveys show that a surprisingly low number of Mopar fans want to see a droptop Dodge muscle car. 20% seems very low, right?
I reached out to General Motors and Ford Motor Company to see what their coupe to convertible take rates were for the 2015 calendar year. Ford didn’t reply, but General Motors did, and they provided me with the mix numbers for the Chevrolet Camaro and the Chevrolet Corvette. For the Camaro in 2015, 82% were coupes and 18% were convertible while the Corvette saw a mix of 78.7% hardtops and 21.3% convertibles. Now, with the Corvette serving as more of a “toy” than a daily driver, we can expect that it would have a slightly higher take rate for the convertible, but the Camaro’s rate of 18% is obviously of special interest here.
While 20% might seem like a low rate of interested buyers, that is higher than the real world take rate for the Camaro convertible, so in the ongoing battle between the Big 3 for muscle car supremacy, 1 in 5 seems like enough Mopar fans to warrant a production convertible when the next generation arrives in a few years.
Now, it should be noted that the introduction of a Dodge Challenger convertible likely won’t account for the difference in sales numbers between the Challenger and its cross-town rivals. Critics have often referenced the lack of a convertible when examining why the Challenger doesn’t sell as well as the other two and while a droptop model would help – it isn’t going to close the gap between the segment sales leader. For example, during the first five months of 2016, Ford has sold over 53,000 Mustangs while Dodge has sold just over 29,000 Challengers. Say that we were to assume that the 20% of buyers who wanted a Challenger convertible weren’t going to buy a hardtop; that would effectively add another 20% on top of the current numbers – leading to an estimated sales figure of around 34,800 units. This is still well short of the Mustang and really, we cannot expect that every single person who raised their hand to show interested in a convertible in my polls would run out and buy one. However, if we look at the fact that GM has sold just shy of 32,000 Camaros through the first five months of this year, the Challenger would only need an increase of about 11.5% to catch and pass the Chevy in the annual sales race.
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