Independence Day, the SRT Hellcat and Burnouts

A Challenger celebrating the holiday. Photo: Wade Little via Dodge Challenger Facebook.

In the United States today, we are celebrating Independence Day. On July 4th, 1776 we shunned our powdered wig wearing bureaucrats across the Atlantic and said we were going to go it alone. Since then, we have used this day to do things that are wholly American. Hug bald eagles. Blow crap up. Profess undying love to our muscle cars.

Earlier this week Dodge told the world that the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat would pack 707 hp under the hood and 650 lb-ft of tire-shredding torque. There are very few cars that make more power than the Hellcat. It even overpowers some heavy European hitters; the Lamborghini Aventador, the Ferrari FF and the Porsche 911 Turbo S. Dodge’s own supercar, the Viper, makes less horsepower than the Hellcat.

This year marks the 100th birthday of a company founded by the Dodge Brothers, and they seem to be on a roll. I had an opportunity to be at the first in-person unveiling of the SRT Hellcat at Road America and listen to Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge Brand, speak. He described how journalists wish the Challenger was smaller and lighter. But he told us that most of the customers prefer the larger car.

He went on to say that their solution to adding performance to a car that they know is heavy and big was something he hoped the Dodge Brothers would’ve done; add huge amounts of power.

Yes, I know the Challenger is actually assembled in Canada, but Dodge’s approach to building cars after the bankruptcy has been a very American one. Who cares what anyone else thinks? We’re just going to build badass cars.

Dodge’s official response to the critics from their presentation to investors.

How badass is the SRT Hellcat? Our friends at Car and Driver posted this video of two Hellcats, 1414 combined horsepower, doing gratuitous smokey burnouts. This is how badass it is.

What’s truly impressive about the Hellcat is that it was even built. You’d think that after near financial ruin the Chrysler Group would be looking to only build cars with mass-market appeal. You wouldn’t think they have the money, time or resources to put into something like this. Kudos to all the enthusiasts inside the company who pushed this car past the bean counters and into real life.

Whether or not a Hellcat is a car you’d buy, it’s a car you can still respect. All three of the Big 3 are building world-class performance cars these days, not just Dodge. But they are still doing it in an entirely American way with huge amounts of horsepower. Don’t think for a minute that 707 hp is the end of this madness. I believe it’s only the beginning.

*Hugging Bald Eagle Tightly*

Because. America.

Chad Kirchner

Chad Kirchner is a freelance automotive journalist with a sincere passion for the industry and helping people. He’s a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Texas Auto Writers Association. When not writing about the latest automotive news or vehicles, you can catch him at car shows around the country. Be sure to check him out on social media, including Google+ and Twitter.