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Long-term test: 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

by Patrick Rall on

I am proud to announce for that for the first time, Allpar will be doing a long term test drive. We have chosen one of the greatest Mopar muscle cars of all time – the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Unlike the average long term test vehicle from some large publications, this vehicle has not been provided by the automaker. After spending time in many of the top performance cars on the market, my wife and I went out and bought ourselves a 2017 Hellcat Challenger in Go Mango, and this 707 horsepower machine will be the subject of my long term test drive over the next year.

My goal is to bring to the Allpar readers the experiences of living with a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. This is not a toy for us, this is my new daily driver, and while we also have a Hemi Ram that we will use when the snow falls, this car will be driven in most conditions throughout the year. As I live with the most powerful full production muscle car of all time, I will talk about the ups and downs, as well as discussing any projects performed on the Hellcat Challenger along the way.

For example, my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat will soon be ceramic coated by a professional detailer. I have read about many people online ceramic coating their cars with great results, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be? We will soon find out, and you will be able to read about it here at Allpar.

So, I am sure that some of you are wondering why we decided to buy a 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, but I imagine that other Hellcat owners already know why. In the past three years, I have been fortunate enough to drive a great many Hellcat cars, as well as the new Demon, and frankly, I have fallen in love with the supercharged Mopar muscle car. I grew up driving a 12-second Dodge Mirada, dreaming of someday owning a classic Mopar muscle car like the 426 Hemi Challenger. In the meantime, my wife and I acquired a beautiful 1972 Dodge Demon 340 10 years back, but when the Hellcat Challenger was introduced – it instantly achieved dream car status for me.

While other kids grew up with posters of Ferraris on their walls and the dreams of someday owning an Italian supercar, I have always been drawn to the style of the American muscle cars. They are big, ostentatious machines which make no apology for their downsides. When the Viper was introduced, Mopar lovers like me had a supercar to love, but when the Hellcat Challenger was introduced as a muscle car which would overpower some of the best supercars, I instantly fell in love.

Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to test the Hellcat Challenger and the Hellcat Charger on a handful of different tracks, as well as spending time with each of them in my driveway while testing them at home. Every time I got to spend a week with a Hellcat Challenger in my driveway, it was like living the dream of owning the baddest American muscle car ever. However, those cars all eventually had to go back and I continued to dream of someday owning a machine like the Hellcat Challenger.

Over the past few months, unbeknownst to me, my wonderful wife had been doing some research and thanks to end of year pricing, the opportunity to get a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat of our own had become possible. During that time, she occasionally made small talk about the Hellcat Challenger, asking things like which colors I liked the most and which options I thought made the most sense. I figured that she was just making small talk, but she was actually doing research for what would be the ultimate surprise.

When I returned home from the media first drive of the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, she picked me up at the airport and as we were headed home, she swung into our local Dodge dealership without any explanation. We were there to pick up our new Go Mango Hellcat Challenger. While we hadn’t ordered the car, it literally has every option which I would have ordered, so after handling all of the paperwork – we drove away from the dealership with my dream car.

Over the next year – maybe longer if the series proves to be popular – I will talk about what it is like to live with the 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. We won’t be driving it in the snow, but other than that, this car will serve as our daily driver and I will bring you a close-up look at what it is like to own this Mopar dream car.

The first step is working through the 500-mile break-in process, which includes a great deal of gentle driving while the various components are gradually introduced to each other. 500 miles of gentle driving is proving to be difficult, as having power like this at my fingertips and not exercising it is tough – but I want to do everything that the engineers who made this machine possible suggest for the best long-term results. I will go into more detail when the break-in is complete, hopefully sometime early next week.

So, Mopar lovers, stay tuned for the first long term test drive of the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, as written from the perspective of a fellow Mopar lover who actually owns the vehicle.

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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