Thanks to rogue engineers, the Hellcat isn’t the pansy Dodge originally intended it to be.
Those who think that the auto industry has gone soft and lost it’s edge in these modern times were quickly and promptly proven wrong when Dodge decided to go nuts and unleash the 707 horsepower Hellcat duo onto the world. Thing is, that 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that gives the Hellcat its heart, soul, and winning personality wasn’t always going to be the engine that we know today. The Detroit Free Press recently uncovered the steps that the team took to get the car to make its seriously silly performance numbers.
When FCA tasked director of SRT powertrain development Chris Cowland with bringing the Hellcat to life, his team had one goal in mind: make this a muscle car unlike anything else on the market. Initially, the target was “only” 600 horsepower in order to keep the engine reliable and cling onto some semblance of fuel efficiency. However, those plans were quickly scrapped when the team found out that Ford was planning a 600-plus version of the Mustang GT500. To Cowland, it wasn’t enough to match the Mustang, his project had to leave it in the dust by a country mile. To do so, the power rating was upped to 675 horsepower, but the team had to make this happen with no extended deadline and while keeping to the original fuel economy targets.
What Cowland didn’t tell his superiors was that in reality, his team had set another target; that magical 707 horsepower number that the Hellcat is famous for today. To keep us pesky journalists from finding out, Cowland kept that target a secret buried so deep that product planners and FCA executives were left in the dark. The Hellcat team even went as far as to hide the results of dyno tests. Impressively enough, Cowland and his team were able to hit their own targets while preserving engine integrity and even attaining a 22 mpg highway rating. The results speak for themselves, and with high horsepower numbers flying out of many of today's new cars, it seems that Cowland’s efforts to keep the Hellcat special have paid off.