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Dodge News: The Hellcat Was Almost A Dead Engine Walking


William Maley

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Chrysler's supercharged 6.2L V8, named Hellcat, has been a sensation since it was first announced earlier this year. With 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, this engine put many sportscars and even supercars to shame. But according to Automotive News, the Hellcat may have never even happened.

In early 2011, Fiat was in the process of figuring out plan for Chrysler and deciding where to spend money on product development. The Hellcat V8 was in the process of planning, but it was shelved and engineers were moved to other projects. However, engineers in SRT still dreamed about this engine making it into production, and pushed hard to bring it to life. Their efforts paid off as Chrysler gave them the green lights only four months after the project was shelved.

The rest you can say is history.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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If the engine lives on as a solid v8 Beast and does not end up as a warranty nightmare for Chrysler than this will be a legacy that last. I really hope it is the quality it deserves and last as the Car Guys need this break to bring innovation back to the auto industry rather than Bean Counters dictating vanilla bland cars.

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I was at the Gas Monkey/Dodge/Motley Crue event in Dallas last weekend.

 

One of the many things Dodge had was running 1/16th mile "ride along sprints" in Challengers and Chargers.

 

They were running burnouts and full-throttle launches in a mock-up drag strip for 6 hours straight.

 

Apart from the standard breaks for fill-ups, tire changes, and computer tuning, the cars were operating at 110% the whole time.

 

The line was 2 hours long to experience a 20 second "ride" in the car and it was worth every minute of the wait.

 

Needless to say, the engine and the car is a SOLID BEAST and now I really, really, really, really want a Charger.

 

Between all of the R&D and marketing that Dodge has put behind making and selling these cars, you can bet that they are putting all of their other resources to keep up the quality and reputation of the Hellcat both on and off the track.

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  • 1 month later...

The truth behind the Hellcat is it was a cry for attention more than a pure car guy love thing.  

 

With Ford coming out with a new Mustang and the new Camaro just around the corner there were problems at the newly arrived Fiat/Chrysler.

 

The Challenger/Charger is a very old platform based on even older Benz parts. The car is due for a make over as well as many needed updates as it has always been hampered by a poor interior and too much weight. the interior is easy to fix but the new platform is still several years away while Ford and GM walk way in the spot light.

So they dust off this engine program and stick it in the cars they have to buy time and attention till the next model is ready. This engine is a very good engine but the platform is just not letting it show all it could be. The weight issues are still a problem and though the numbers are good they should be better as the engine management has to step in s much as the platform can not use all of the power.

 

My hope is the engine lives long enough to make it to the next revamp of the platform and really get the home it deserves.  Right now the engine is like putting track shoes on grandpa.

 

Today cars are finally moving to where it is the whole package that counts and not just an engine. We see this in the Z/28 where the entire car fits all its parts and make use of the sum of all its parts.

This is also where the Mustang is going and the next Camaro will be.

 

As for power like this it is not difficult to make as GM did it with the engine for the ZR1. Right here we had a engineer from GM that had to retract his comments as he spoke too much and stated the new engine could easily pass emissions and durability testing up to 725 HP with no problem. He came to the administrator at the time and myself asking for his post to be removed.

 

The key to note here is the ZR1 had about as much HP as it could really use as more power was not going to make it a better car. Now we see in the Z06 where the entire package was addressed and now even testers like Randy Probst state it could easily handle 100 more HP. This is where we will see more in the future because the car can handle it.

 

HP for the sake of just HP means little other than on paper. It works good for media but in the end the product still comes up short.

 

I really find the new engine great but sad it was not given a home to where it could fully be used.

 

Chrysler and Fiat have a lot of work to do as while the 200 and Dart are better than the cars they replaced they are not great cars. The trucks are winning with features and cheap pricing. Only Jeep is doing all that great and I ponder how well a Fiat based platform on an imported vehicle will play with the Jeep fans. I expect it to fair as well as the Compass as this group is not easily fooled.

 

I am glad they built this engine as it shows the engineers are alive there but it is time for Fiat to show some real commitment to Chrysler if they can afford it. That is the real question can they afford it? With take over rumours by VW etc. I suspect things are not all that strong there. With their moves at Ferrari it is down right scary.

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The refresh of the LX cars should hold things together for now... yes, weight is an issue when compared to the Mustang (not so much the Camaro yet, but we'll see if and when that changes) but compared to segment sedans, the LX cars do really well.... enough so that I don't think weight is the biggest concern at the moment.   The 300 in V6 form is only a little bit heavier than a V6 Lacrosse (120lbs), Impala (220lbs), or Taurus (100lbs),  and about 500lbs heavier than the category lightweight, the Avalon, and yet I'd put a V6 300 up against  the V6 versions of all of them in a MPG run and the only one I think it would be a competitor is the Avalon. 

 

That's not to say that weight isn't a concern... it's just that Chrysler has the hardware under the hood so good that it isn't much of a concern right now.  If they could figure out a hybrid or diesel for the LX cars while keeping the 8-speed, they really could have a killer app for the segment. 

 

The concern right now is that Chrysler is supposed to be their mainstream family brand and they only have 3 models. 

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Expanding on what you said Drew regarding the Chrysler being their family brand, are there any concerns with the cars safety or fuel efficiency ratings?

no. The sedans crash test pretty well. The minivan doesn't, but very few minivans do crash test well. In my experience, the Chrysler V6 seems to be one of the most efficient V6es out there returning highway fuel economy numbers that would make some 4-cylinder cars jealous. The 2.4 liter 4cylinder could use some updating... it's not the most fuel efficient.

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  • 2 months later...

Expanding on what you said Drew regarding the Chrysler being their family brand, are there any concerns with the cars safety or fuel efficiency ratings?

That was my question on it as well. It is true though, Chrysler has really turned into one of those cars for sure. 

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