The Challenger Hellcat is out in the wild and has been for several weeks now. Dealerships are taking delivery of them all over the country, whether they are actually ready to sell or not. The Charger Hellcat will be following soon, early next year. What does this mean for you, the customer? It means that you now have the means to get behind the most powerful engine ever made available by an American brand. Stands to reason you should know what you’re getting into.
Lucky for you, Car and Driver sat down with Chris Cowland, director of advanced and SRT powertrains at Chrysler, and he gave them ten revelations about the nature of the beast. These aren’t widely known things like the performance numbers (707 horsepower, in case you need a reminder). We’re talking about the nittiest of the gritty, the secrets of engineering that turned a pachyderm into a predator.
For instance, the Hellcat might be based off other current-gen Hemis, but it is ninety percent a new engine. You can imagine that integral parts had to be redesigned and reinforced to cope with the drastic increase in power. Likewise, the cylinder block is iron instead of aluminum to provide more stiffness.
To make it work, the engineers also had to rethink cooling. A 250-watt thermostatically controlled electric pump moves 45 liters of coolant per minute through two intercoolers built into the supercharger just to cool the intake air. This keeps the air coming in through the front below 140 degrees Fahrenheit and keeps the water and antifreeze mixture from exceeding 100 degrees.
The Car and Driver post is a must read for gearheads, and is an excellent crash course for anyone who wants to learn more about engines. After you’re done reading it, feel free to call us at Chris Leith Dodge. We’ll let you know as soon as we have the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat on our lot. We might even have one already.