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2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody
Hemi: Since 1953
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
The first time a Hemi engine sat under the hood of a Dodge was back in 1953. This Red Ram V8 continued until 1957. Many of those engines found their way into hot rods and dragsters of the 1960s.
The Hemi engine reappeared in 1964 as the 426 race Hemi used in NASCAR for only one year. It was so good it was banned because it diluted the competition. However, it was the engine to beat in sanctioned Super Stock and Pro Stock drag racing for many, many years. It’s still today!
Dodge introduced the “Street” Hemi in 1966 in a slightly milder state of tune than the race Hemi. That engine continued to dominate the streets into the early 1970s.
The third-gen Hemi came along in 2002-2003, found under the hood of Dodge cars and trucks. Further development by the SRT engineering team gave us the 485-hp 392 Hemi and then outrageous 707-hp supercharged Hemi Hellcat in 2015. Then to everyone’s jaw-dropping surprise the 808-hp Challenger SRT Demon limited production wide-body street-legal drag racer was introduced in 2017.
Fast forward to today and new for 2021 is the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody. With a 797-hp supercharged 6.2-L Hemi pulled from the Challenger SRT Demon it’s capable of a top speed of 203 mph, making it the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world. Widebody exterior is standard with integrated fender flares adding 3.5 inches of width.
New 20 inch X 11-inch wheels fitted with Pirelli 305/35ZR20 tires make the grip. The induction air box has three fresh air sources…a functional hood scoop, a mail slot grille opening and an opening near the front wheel liner. Launch assist and line lock launch controller help get the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody down the quarter mile in 10.6 seconds at 129 mph.
The Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody is yours with its base price of $78,595.
What is amazing to consider is, anyone can visit a Dodge dealer, plunk down the money and drive away with this production “hot rod”—I call it a street-legal race car. On the weekend load up your family for a visit to your local drag strip. You can make a few passes in sub-11 seconds covering the quarter mile just as quickly as the pro drag racers in their purpose-built Super Stock Dodges did in the 1960s and 1970s. Technology has come a long way.
The Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody has much more capability than just driving in a straight line. The very robust engineering, high performance competition chassis tuning, adaptive suspension, Brembo brake system with 6-piston calipers, performance wheels and tires, all make for great track capability.
Last Fall, on the invite of Dodge, I participated in a Dodge product briefing program, held in a city that celebrates the sport of auto racing, Charlotte, North Carolina. Dodge opened up Carolina Motorsports Park for a long afternoon running laps around the 2.28-mile 14-turn road course. Accelerating along the straights to 125 mph, braking heavily, making the turn-in and rolling into the throttle to accelerate again was done repeatedly over many laps. The balance and refinement is evident and rewarding in the complete performance package of this variant of the Charger.
True performance, ultimate performance, American performance, as well as fast and powerful very accurately describe the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody.
My most recent drive experience reinforced the streetability of this Charger. It seats five, has a big trunk, is loaded with the latest tech for comfort, safety and driving enjoyment. Alcantara, suede and carbon interior trim bring a premium finish and feel. Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto, 6-speaker Alpine audio system, Uconnect 4C navigation system all make for great road-trip comfort and enjoyment.
The Hemi’s throttle will get you going very quickly. The exhaust rumble and the whine of the supercharger are music to the enthusiast’s ear–plus, they turn some heads. The widebody look and the Hellcat Redeye badge will get you some thumbs up. If you’re easy on the pedal you can get 21 mpg or even better cruising the highway.
Cars aren’t dead. Sedans, coupes, convertibles and station wagons will continue at about 20-25% of the US market. The muscle car segment is not very large, but buyers are all fulfilling the “want” in their brain with Dodge cars. It’s all about wants v. needs.
Looking to the future, Dodge acknowledges that it will need to grow with the times for its products to remain relevant, adapting to emission and CAFE standards and adding more offerings to its current vehicle lineup. But for now, Dodge’s strategy seems to be working.
Lastly! Want some track time? Dodge is the official sponsor of the Bondurant High Performance Driving School in Chandler, Arizona, where guests get behind the wheels of the fastest street-legal cars in the world with professional instruction and time on the track. Customers who buy a new SRT model receive one full-day session as part of the Dodge//SRT Package and have the opportunity to learn how to get the optimum performance from their new vehicles in a controlled environment. For more information, visit dodgegarage.com/track-experience.
© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy