The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding that Georgia Sheriff Butch Conway reimburse the government for his procurement of a 707-horsepower Dodge Charger Hellcat, which it does not believe falls under the umbrella of reasonable purchases for a police department.
However, the DOJ isn’t questioning whether the department could make use of such a vehicle, as the federal government already approved its purchase. It just isn’t sure that Conway is being responsible with it, since it sounds like the Gwinnett Country Sheriff may be using it as his daily driver.
Now approaching its fourth birthday, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is due for a mid-cycle refresh — a pleasant surprise considering the Demon only had one year to live. We weren’t sure how much longer Fiat Chrysler intended to keep the feisty feline around, and considered the possibility that it might already be on borrowed time. But with an updated face coming for the 2019 model year, the odds are good that the Hellcat will remain in production with the rest of the Challenger lineup until 2021.
Visual changes will likely be extremely limited. Dodge understands the Challenger’s look is iconic and doesn’t want to screw up the retro recipe, so it’s once again tapping into the past in a bid to overhaul the vehicle’s current aesthetic. It’s also taking a page out of the Kellogg’s Raisin Bran playbook, as customers stand to gain a Hellcat with two scoops of goodness.
Dodge is recalling Charger and Challenger Hellcats due to faulty engine oil cooler lines which may result in a rapid, catastrophic loss of fluids. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filed a recall request earlier this month, saying 1,207 vehicles assembled between February and May of 2017 may be affected.
According to the recall information, the issue stems from rubber used in the oil cooler line. Chrysler’s testing revealed that the rubber doesn’t meet the company’s usual criteria. Substandard materials can allow the hose to separate from a crimped aluminum portion of the line, letting oil gush out as if someone unscrewed a drain plug.
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat gets a new variant for the 2018 model year, and it just happens to be the widebody model track day enthusiasts have been clamoring for since the car’s initial announcement.
Borrowing the fender flares and front lip from the Dodge Demon, the Hellcat keeps its 707-horsepower supercharged V8 while adding extra room for more rubber. Since the supercharged Challenger is notoriously poor at transferring its power to the pavement, the wider 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires allow for superior cornering and straight-line speed.
Dodge claims the widebody shaves 0.3 seconds off the “normal” Hellcat’s 1/4 mile time for a lean ETA of 10.9 seconds. It also says the 305mm rubber helps the beast claw its way from 0.93 lateral g to 0.97 — while not earth-shattering, it’s still a major improvement. FCA has also changed the steering to an electric unit with selectable presets, claiming improved road feel, precision, and usability at lower speeds.
When we announced that the Dodge Demon would have a MSRP below six-figures, the comments section was immediately populated with discussions on how that might not be the case once the strip-focused Challenger arrives in showrooms. The limited supply of early Hellcats came at a significant premium and, for a time, even gently used models were going for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a new one.
Gouging on the Demon seems even more assured since FCA has stated that it will be limited production to a mere 3,300 units in North America. Obviously, there is no way in hell to avoid dealer markup on a vehicle like this one but Dodge seems to think it has found a way to attenuate the matter.
Dodge’s target demographic for the SRT Demon, which is presumably Hellcat owners with leftover money, will be relieved to learn that the straight-line monste r will be priced “well below ” six-figures. That’s a bargain considering that the majority of production vehicles that can approach its quarter-mile time are priced using the phrase “of a million dollars” as a reference point.
While it is a little surprising that Dodge isn’t trying to get excited shoppers to shell out more for the Demon, it has far more value to Fiat Chrysler as a media darling. Even at a much higher cost, it would still be too low volume to be a genuine money maker — but the positive attention it garners for the brand is invaluable.
Three Kansas City teenagers took a dream road trip last Friday, only to crash a stolen Dodge Challenger Hellcat and two Charger Hellcat sedans less than a mile down the road.
That, Toyota is finally considering a long-range electric vehicle, Jaguar’s deal with Silverstone goes off-track, and AutoNation is staying put where it is.