Transportation

Hellcats' final hurrah: Chargers and Challengers are last of their Metro Detroit spinout breed

August 16, 2022, 1:10 PM by  Alan Stamm


Charger SRT Hellcat and Challenger SRT Super Stock, both 2022 models (Photos: Dodge/Stellantis)

Two legendary Dodge muscle cars will be far less muscular soon.

Stunting on the Lodge wit it won't be the same in electric models replacing the supercharged whips of Metro Detroit donut-spinning traffic blockers and street racers.

The carmaker this week confirms what it signaled last year: No gas-powered Challengers and Chargers, including the 700-horsepower Hellcats, will be built after 2023. 

The iconic speedsters, originally popular in the 1960s and 1970s, were reintroduced a decade and a half ago with V8 Hemi engines, aggressive styling and bright colors such as purple, orange, green and "Octane Red." They caught on with a new generation of burn-rubber daredevils. "This modern muscle car brings heat to every drive and drag strip session," a Challenger promo says.

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Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

They're notorious locally as negative newsmakers, involved in a series of sometimes-deadly incidents since 2019. Nancy Derringer wrote on our site early this year:

When you're passed on the freeway on a summer night by a squadron of speeding muscle cars, flying in formation on a mission of mischief, you're likely to be looking at the taillights of a Dodge. ...

Chargers have higher-end options that almost encourage misbehavior, because what's the point of having nearly 800 horses under the hood if you can't let 'em gallop from time to time? There’s line lock, which allows the driver to lock the front and rear brakes independently, so you can get the rear wheels spinning like crazy, then release the front and launch the car, exactly like a drag racer. Data collected onboard will tell you how the ferociously fast 0-60 you just pulled compares with the one you did yesterday.

"It's a street-legal racecar, basically," said Thad Szott, co-owner of Szott Auto Group in White Lake Township. "You can be cruising on the highway at a pretty good speed, put the pedal down and it'll throw you back in your seat."

A WDIV digital editor shares the era-ending news today with a quip:

"We still remember when that first Hellcat came out. Oh, how we'll miss it when it's gone," news editor Nick Yekikian wrote Monday at Edmunds, an industry site.

"Muscle car fans ... will soon be robbed of their Hemi fix from the brand," the vehicles blog Jalopnik posted earlier.

The change is announced just a year after Dodge began making the Durango SRT Hellcat, a sports utiluty model, at Detroit's Jefferson North assembly plant. A news release touted an addition to "the brotherhood of muscle" and described the newcomer as "the most powerful SUV ever, delivering 710 horsepower ... and a top speed of 180 mph."

Earlier this year:



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