Sometimes at media events, you will get a surprise from the manufacturers.
Dodge brand CEO Tim Kuniskis arrived on the lawn in front of Lola’s Restaurant at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart, Lake, Wisconsin during the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s Spring Rally. Kuniskis stood in front of a hundred journalists to show three of cars: a 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, a 2015 Dodge Challenger 392 Scat Pack and a mystery car shrouded under a red cloth. The shape of the red draped car looked vaguely familiar. Some of the hundred or so on hand had a suspicion what it was, but we had never seen it up close. Our group was curious whether this was indeed that car we saw on our feeds two days ago. You could sense the excitement and curiosity coming from witnessing that red draped car.
The Dodge team ripped the red cloth off of the mystery car. There sat before our very eyes was the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT. This is the first product wearing the Street and Racing Technology badge since it was announced that SRT will became part of Dodge back in May.
It retains the 1970s retro feel of the current model with some very angry details. Up front is a grille is different from the 1971-esque standard Challengers, a bolder mesh in black. The inboard second front light has been replaced with more air induction setting the tone for its angry look. The hood has a massive scoop and a duet of air extractors extenuating the absolute power that lies underneath it.
It under that new hood is what makes the Challenger SRT the baddest car within miles of its roar. The new 6.2liter HEMI V8 has a supercharger inducing somewhere over 600 horsepower. It comes with an appropriate name: Hellcat. It is one of those names that will supersede any official name you give it. This engine will come with the new eight-speed automatic that could manage all of that power. For those who rather clutch than anything, you can still get a six-speed manual gearbox to row with the Hellcat. Drive modes will be part of the SRT package – including Track, of course.
It is not every day when you could wake up, have breakfast with about 100 or so folks and hear the roar of a Hellcat, as switched on by Kuniskis. The Hellcat is the internal name chosen by Chrysler for the new engine because it simply sounds like an untamed beast bent on pouncing and destroying its prey. You could hear this throughout the resort. That exhaust note is a call to action for the fearless driver to take it at full speed anywhere you want it to be.
I just wished I had better photos of this beast…given mixed natural lighting, the crowd, and so forth. My apologies, readers.
It is also not every day you get to see a brand new piece of machinery before the enthusiasts could even get close to one. In particular, getting to view one in the flesh that would entertain even the most jaded of writers.
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Photos by Randy Stern