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The true story of the Demon’s blue wheels

by Patrick Rall on

Over the past few weeks, photos of new Demons and widebody Hellcat Challengers with ill-fitting blue wheels have brought up a controversy over whether these were actual production wheels. We spoke with Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis about them to get the full story.

The reason that I wanted to speak with someone from Dodge about the odd blue wheels is that some folks who plan on buying a Demon or Widebody Hellcat are planning to attempt to buy a set when their car is delivered; but the odds are good that they will not succeed in doing so.

The reason for the odd-fitting blue wheels on the Demon and the widebody Hellcat is simple – the wheel and tire combination on these Dodge Challengers is too wide for the tracks on the assembly line.

The Brampton line which builds every new Challenger and Charger  have previously only had to accommodate the 275mm-wide wheels on the Hellcat cars, but the Demon tires are 315mm wide and the Widebody Hellcat tires are 305mm wide. That difference might not seem like much, but the wheel tracks on the assembly line are designed to keep every car in the same place, with very little wiggle room. As a result, those tracks have a snug fit on the tires; so while the Demon and Widebody Hellcat tires are only an inch to an inch-and-a-half wider, they won’t fit.

Rather than modifying the assembly line or risking damage to the tires of those high performance Dodge Challengers (or the line itself), the plant uses Hellcat wheels which did not meet company standards. These are basically junk Hellcat wheels, but to make them easier to distinguish from “good” Hellcat wheels, they were painted this unique bright blue.

These wheels don’t have good tires or wheel centers, since buyers will never see the wheels which carried their Demon or Widebody Hellcat down the line.

welding at Brampton

After the cars roll off the assembly line with the blue production wheels, they are loaded onto the hauler and shipped to an upfitting center — not the dealership. There, the Demons get their 18” wheels with Nitto drag radials, and the widebody Hellcats get their new 20” wheels wrapped in 305mm Pirelli rubber.

The cars are then shipped to a distribution center, and then trucked to dealerships around the country. In the meantime, the blue wheels are removed and shipped back to Brampton, for use in the production of more supercharged Mopar muscle cars. The bright blue makes them impossible to mix up with other wheels.

Buyers will never have the chance to talk their dealership into including the blue wheels, because those wheels don’t make the trip to the dealers.

Dodge plans to build 3,300 Demons and an unlimited number of Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody cars, but they don’t have anywhere near enough of the blue wheels to sell them with the cars. Demon production alone would require 13,200 blue wheels, and the company most certainly doesn’t have that many blue painted shipping wheels at the factory.

In the long run, wanting to keep the blue wheels because they carried the 2018 Demon or Widebody Hellcat Challenger down the assembly line is little different than wanting to keep the white protective paper on the paint or the blocks of white foam stuck to the door jambs (which some buyers do want). FCA has no plans to sell any of these rough, blue wheels, but the good news is that these are really just Hellcat “blemish” wheels painted bright blue. With that in mind, Demon and Widebody Hellcat owners who want to cruise around with odd-fitting blue wheels can just buy a set of 2015-2016 Hellcat wheels, remove the wheel centers, and paint them blue – although it makes far more sense to enjoy the actual production wheels which are added at the upfitting center.

Images provided by an anonymous source.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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