America's Last Muscle Cars

Durango SRT

 by Michael Satterfield

While Ford and GM have announced their plans to phase out the gasoline engine in just a few years, Dodge has defiantly taken a different path, stuffing their Hemi V8 into almost any chassis they can. While not for everyone I am glad that these 700+ horsepower vehicles exist, in a world of electrification the Hellcat is the last standard-bearer for a uniquely American type of car, the muscle car. 

Dodge Hellcat Redeye Drag Race

Having driven all of the Hellcat variants I have to say that they have all been better than I expected them to be, from the fit and finish to the technology that allows you to take a factory street car and run an 11.2-second quarter mile on the first attempt. The Hellcat Durango and Charger even made a fan out of my wife, who loved the unexpected level of luxury and the ability to pass on demand when we were out on the Texas highways. 

Dodge has boldly decided to keep to their old marketing slogan "Dodge Different" and honestly, it is what more carmakers should be doing. Instead of pumping out four different midsize SUVs in a race to build a better RAV4, Dodge has embraced its niche and over the last five years, even with a reduction in product, their sales numbers were holding steady. The 2020 pandemic had a big impact on all car sales, but even so, the Challenger outsold the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro in the final quarter of 2020. As there are fewer choices in the muscle car world, Dodge might be able to truly become the king of the muscle cars. 

Durango Hellcat

Dodge currently offers just five vehicles, the Charger, Challenger, Durang, Journey, and Grand Caravan, of the five, three can be ordered with the Hellcat package. No word on when the last two will get their option. There is a Hellcat for everyone, from two and four-door sedans to the six-passenger Durango SUV, no matter what you need Dodge has a 700+ horsepower option. 

As far as styling the Challenger has that classic muscle car look, but if I was going to spend my money on an SRT out of pure practicality, the Durango Hellcat would be my choice. Not only does the Durango offer incredible power and handling for a large SUV, but it also has the comfort and space to handle most of your daily driver needs, be it hauling the family, or fold down all the seats and haul home some furniture. The Durango Hellcat not surprisingly is the most practical. 

Challenger Hellcat Redeye

Of all of the Hellcat-powered Dodges, the Challenger Hellcat Redeye was by far the rawest, loudest, and the least practical for a daily driver. But it looks amazing, was a blast to drive, and drew a crowd nearly everywhere we went. The backseat is small for a car this size and the truck while large also feels like it is small for a car that weighs in at around 4,000 lbs. 

The Charger on the other hand was surprisingly quiet on the highway and with four doors and a massive trunk was perfect for a long road trip down to the Texas coast. But while it seemed to be quieter than its Challenger sibling, punching the throttle brought the massive HEMI to life and it still made all the right muscle car noises. 

Dodge Charger

While we have the Hellcat, for now, it isn't hard to imagine a world where cars like this are no longer offered, many treating the electrification of cars as some form of panacea. But so long as there is gas to power them, people will be drawn to the intoxicating power, sound, and performance of the muscle car. If you have ever wanted to own a muscle car it is hard to beat the power and modern convenience of what Dodge SRT has to offer. 

Hellcat Engine