Few car companies on this planet do special editions with the vigor (and frequency) of the American brands at Stellantis. Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and – to a lesser extent – Chrysler all return to their respective wells in search of a way to quench their thirst for profits.
This time, the retro-inspired Charger and Challenger brothers have once again been enrolled in Special Ed(itions) class. Specifically called the Jailbreak models, these Hellcat Redeye Widebody machines will permit customers to unlock color combination ordering restrictions while layering on new factory-custom options.
When Dodge first built a Challenger, back in 1959, it was actually a Coronet. A decade later, the car returned as the spiritual foundation of the coupe we know today. Presumably, the name is intended to represent Chrysler rising to meet the Challenges laid by rival manufacturers already building American muscle. But we can nitpick here endlessly, going back to the 1950s and giving the pentastar brand plenty of credit for going bananas on horsepower.
It would actually take decades for us to realize the Challenger’s true purpose — serving as a canvas for a hilarious number of special edition vehicles. Thankfully, they usually turn out to be fairly enjoyable and totally on brand, leaving us with little to complain about.
For the Challenger’s 50th anniversary, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to offer limited production Dodges in new colors with commemorative bling. It’s basically the same recipe Ford used for the 50th Anniversary Mustang but with some additional brashness from Dodge. However, while those Fords only came in Wimbledon White and Kona Blue, the Challenger comes in every high-impact paint color FCA has at its disposal — including Gold Rush.
I hardly watch television anymore. I’ve a couple of shows that I keep up with via on-demand or DVR, but generally my time is spent working or with my kids. Occasionally, however, I’ll end up at the in-laws, where invariably they’ll have the old Sony tuned to some half-hearted reality show. One of their faves is Dancing With The Stars, where washed-up tertiary celebs dress in tight clothes and strut for an hour.
Often, one of those stars is a washed-up football player who’s blown through his rookie contract and trying to increase his marketability before the league pension and/or CTE settlement dough starts rolling in. Getting those hulking beasts to move with grace is quite a sight.
You can see where I’m going with this. Yeah, the platform on which this 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody is old enough to vote. But Mopar engineers, in creating this package, have taught this bruising lineman to shake a leg in style.
We’re living in a golden age of performance where somehow, despite all the focus on electrification and sport-utility development, you can still buy a nearly 800 horsepower coupe off the showroom floor for less than six figures. All of the so-called “Detroit 3” manufacturers are offering supercharged V8’s that start with the Camaro ZL1 and Corvette Z06’s 650 hp and top out at the Challenger Redeye’s 797 hp. The new Shelby GT500 falls in between, with 760 hp.
Are they the fastest iterations of each of their respective platforms? Yes. Does that make them the best? No. In fact, they become inferior in the process.
Maximizing the footprint with which to apply up to 707 horsepower and 650 ft-lbs of torque, the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat and Scat Pack add a Widebody package to cover their 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires and 20×11-inch wheels. For the Hellcat, 0-60 mph comes in 3.6 seconds while the quarter-mile elapsed time drops to 10.96 seconds and the skidpad grip builds to 0.96 g. Combined with the additional braking grip and revised chassis tuning, the lap time around an FCA-approved, 2.1-mile road course drops by a massive 2.1 seconds.
The Scat Pack Widebody sees similar improvements, getting to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds on its way to a 12.4 second quarter mile. Without the weight of the supercharger and associated plumbing over the nose, the Scat Pack Widebody pulls an even more impressive 0.98 g on the skidpad. Around the same 2.1-mile road course (presumably GingerMan Raceway), the Charger Scat Pack drops 1.3 seconds in Widebody form.
Dodge released a teaser video this morning of a Charger SRT, shrouded by a sheet flapping in the wind. Though covered, the visible cues point to the previously-spied widebody Charger. The video is titled, “Something big is coming…”, so they’re not exactly leaving much to the imagination.
The front bumper looks to ready depart from the current SRT Charger design by incorporating a snout akin to that found on the SRT Durango. The lower outer air inlets grow considerably larger and more aggressive, as well.
Instagram user eviil_srt, so named for his sinister-looking Chrysler 300 SRT8, posted a video in which he claims to have caught a production-ready Charger widebody in the midst of filming a commercial.
The video quality is perplexingly horrendous and involves plenty of unnecessary hooting noises coming from the camera operator, but we’ll cut him some slack. As a Mopar fan, he can’t be expected to remain sane in situations like these. Tapping down the enthusiasm is for saner people responding to other brands.
Rampant speculation surrounds the Dodge Charger and the possibility it might eventually receive the same wide-body treatment applied to the Challenger SRT Hellcat and R/T Scat Pack. Last month, Mopar enthusiasts, claiming insider knowledge, said Dodge would have sedan versions ready for the 2020 model year.
It wasn’t much to go on, but the automaker recently confirmed there will be a concept Charger on display at California’s Spring Fest this weekend, following the appearance of an online video showing a camouflaged SRT sedan cruising around Southfield, Michigan.
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.
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