This past weekend saw the auction of 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat #1 and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick made the winning bid of $825k, which a charitable organization matched to raise the total charitable contribution from the Hellcat sale to $1.65 million – more than has been contributed by any other single car in Barrett Jackson history.
Are you surprised that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat sold for $825,000 at this weekend's charity auction? Patrick Rall reports from TorqueNews.com.
It has become very common for the first production example of hot car like the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat to be auctioned off for charity. Over the past few years, pretty much every new American performance car to hit the market has headed to a major collector’s car auction with the proceeds going to charity so It came as no surprised to learn that - like the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the new 2015 Ford Mustang and the newest generation SRT Viper - Hellcat Challenger #1 would be auctioned off by the folks from Barrett Jackson.
This past weekend, 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat #0001 rolled onto the stage of the Barrett Jackson auto auction in Las Vegas and when the final gavel sounded, the very first 707hp muscle car was sold for a whopping $825,000. NASCAR team owner, well known car collector and well known GM guy Rick Hendrick placed the winning bid and the Engelstad Family Foundation matched that bid. With that additional $825,000, the first production unit of the Hellcat Challenger raised $1.65 million dollars for the Opportunity Charity. That is the largest contribution from a single car in the history of the Barrett Jackson collector car auctions and the benefactor of that large contribution is the Opportunity Village charity group – which helps support individuals with intellectual disabilities.
2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat VIN #0001
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful American production car of all time so the simple fact that this is the very first for-sale unit of the most powerful American production car ever makes it a special car. That alone is reason enough for Hellcat Challenger VIN #0001 to be a hot item at a big collector’s car auction, but the Chrysler Group wanted to take some measures to make it even more unique. To do so, they painted the first production unit of the Hellcat Challenger a stunning Stryker Red – a color which is not offered on anything other than the Dodge Viper. Hellcat Challenger #1 also has a unique orange painted engine cover and a special owner’s package. This package includes a HEMI Orange painted base presentation box with an electronic vehicle build book and a video documentary on an iPad mini along with still shots, vehicle footage, a customized key fob holder, an authentic Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat embossed Laguna Leather iPad sleeve, a SRT Hellcat lithograph and a “birth certificate” for VIN0001.
“The $1.65 million raised by auctioning this one-of-one Dodge Challenger Hellcat at this year’s Barrett-Jackson auction means the most powerful muscle car ever will also have a very powerful impact on the people who benefit from the services of Opportunity Village,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO, Dodge and SRT Brands, Chrysler Group LLC. “The VIN0001 muscle car was not only one of the hottest cars that rolled through the Barrett-Jackson auction lanes, it is also the ultimate collectible 2015 Dodge Challenger as Dodge is ensuring there will never be another one like it.”
Even a GM Guy Knows a Great Muscle Car
While it came as no surprise that the first production unit of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat went to the auction, the winning bidder does come as a bit of a surprise. We figured that some well-known car collector would pay top dollar for the rights to own the first copy of the most powerful American production car ever, but it came as a surprise to some that Rick Hendrick bought the first Hellcat Challenger.
Hendrick has made a name for himself by being one of the most (if not the most) successful team owners in NASCAR history and throughout his championship years racing stock cars, his teams have fielded General Motors vehicles. Hendrick Motorsports is one of the biggest names in American motorsports and when you think about a Hendrick team car – you think about a Chevy race car.
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While the 2015 Dodge Challenger is still a little bigger and a little heavier than the competition, the 2015 models improved in every way except for one – the fact that there is still no manual transmission option with the base model V6 and that is one feature that could further help bolster Challenger sales. Do you agree that Chrysler should offer a manual transmission in the entry level 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT, asks Patrick Rall in this original story published at TorqueNews.com.
Let there be no mistake – I love the 2015 Dodge Challenger. I love the 1971-esque exterior changes, I love the vastly improved interior, I love the new Scat Pack model with 485 horsepower and, above all else, I love the 707 horsepower Hellcat Hemi. What I don’t love is that there is still no manual transmission option with the base model V6, which gives the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang a significant advantage in the modern muscle car race.
I Understand Why There is No V6 Manual
If you ask a Chrysler representative why there is no manual transmission option with the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT, they will tell you that the take rate for a base model manual transmission model is low – and they would be right. With more and more excellent automatic transmissions including dual clutch gearboxes hitting the US market, we are seeing more performance cars going to an automatic transmission and because of that, less and less cars are being sold with a manual transmission (see 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Delivers 707hp with Manual or Automatic Transmission). The sales figures make it clear that there is far more interest in an automatic transmission and the industry has followed that trend, with models like the 2015 Corvette Z06 coming with a fast shifting automatic.
Also, the new 8-speed automatic transmission in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 makes the entry level Mopar muscle car one of the most efficient options in the segment…even though it is also the biggest.
When you consider the facts that the manual transmission has a low take rate and that the 8-speed automatic does a great job of combining efficiency and performance, it isn’t hard to understand why Chrysler wouldn’t want to spend the money to develop a manual transmission.
The Demand is Clearly There
While fewer people may want a manual transmission, there are still plenty of muscle car drivers out there who want to bang their own gears and that is why the 5.7L Hemi, the 6.4L Hemi and the 6.2L Hellcat Hemi are all offered in different forms with the buyer’s choice of a 6-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is also why the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are offered with a 6-speed manual transmission and 6-speed automatic transmission across all trimlines, but if you want a V6 Challenger – you are forced to settle for the 8-speed automatic transmission.
This not only gives the Mustang and the Camaro an advantage in the eyes of many prospective buyers, but it also gives those two V6-powered muscle cars a performance advantage. Even with the automatic transmission technology advancements that make the Hellcat Hemi and the 8-speed automatic a match made in heaven, a smaller, less powerful engine like the 3.6L Pentastar would benefit a great deal in terms of both wheel horsepower and basic fun to drive factor with a manual transmission.
While Chrysler may point out that the target market for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT prefer the automatic transmission, Ford and Chevy sell plenty of V6 muscle cars with manual transmissions. While a V6 muscle car buyer obviously doesn’t list performance as their #1 concern (otherwise, they would buy a V8 model), performance is still important and there is no question that the manual transmission would make a well driven V6 Challenger quicker. It would also make it more fun to drive and that is why people buy V6 Camaros and V6 Mustangs with the manual transmission.
Unfortunately, it appears that the bean counters who point out the low rate of return on developing a manual transmission for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT will win out in this case. Fortunately, those same stick in the mud numbers people lost the battle with the likes of the Hellcat Challenger so not having a manual transmission... [Read More]
Be part of the biggest Dodge Car Show and Concert in Texas history when Dodge Rocks Gas Monkey on November 1, 2014. Show off your Dodge Challenger, Charger or Viper (modern or vintage model) on the grounds of the newly opened Gas Monkey Live in Dallas, and rock out at a Texas farewell concert by legendary rock band Mötley Crüe.
Pre-register your Dodge for the show for $100, and get up to 2 passes. Then, drive your registered Dodge into the show and we’ll give you $100 cash.
Do the math: Pay a hundred to register. Get a hundred back on-site - (YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY!)
Dodge Rocks Gas Monkey!
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