Elegant. Refined. Classic. A car fit for royalty or James Bond. None of these are what the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat are. In fact, this car was so out of place in this episode that it was hilarious (which clearly was the whole point). But I can’t say too many bad things about this car, because I absolutely love it.
Violent. Crass. Obnoxious. Powerful…these are words that more closely describe the Hellcat. It’s an obscenely overpowered car that more than represents America’s need to be the biggest and baddest. I own a Mustang, and in my mind, the Mustang is the quintessential American car, but even I have to admit that there is no better ‘Murica car right now than the ludicrous Hellcat, and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s entire existence is simply ridiculous.
Which explains why Richard has an affinity for it, I suppose. To paraphrase Jeremy, Richard is the one who owns a Harley, a Mustang, a Stetson, and puts cheese on everything. He’s essentially an American, which makes perfect sense why he rolled up in a loud, crass Hellcat when the boys were supposed to go on a grand tour of Italy.
However, I have one bone to pick with the episode.
I get it; James is the educated, cultured, laid back one, Jeremy is the loud, opinionated one, and Richard is the “American” one. But the episode played up the American part WAY too much…almost to the point where it felt forced. The hilarious sponsor stickers felt very clearly scripted (though not as much as “Penis” and “Arse Biscuits,” I suppose), and Hammond revving every two seconds and performing donuts every stop was funny, but only the first few times.
We get it, he’s in a loud, obnoxious, powerhouse of a car that has no business being a part of a grand tour of Italy alongside an Aston martin DB11 and Rolls Royce Dawn, but we don’t need to be told that every two seconds. It’s like telling a joke then explaining why it’s funny; at that point it isn’t funny anymore. In fact, it reminds me a bit of how The American is portrayed.
With that rant aside, let’s focus on the car for a bit. I have been in a Hellcat, and thing is nothing short of amazing. You look at it and think to yourself “Yeah, it’s got 707 HP, but it weighs a ton, clearly handles like a boat, and probably couldn’t turn a corner to save its life.” Well, you would be wrong.
As shown in the episode when the boys were at Mugello (poor James), the Hellcat can more than hold its own around a circuit with a bunch of corners. It’s obscenely powerful and heavy and wide, but it sure can handle. That supercharged 6.2 liter HEMI engine may seem to pump out more power than the car can handle, but SRT has also made sure to pay attention to the suspension as well, with a three mode active suspension that can be toggled between Street, Sport, and Track. In short, this baby can handle!
As Richard demonstrated in the episode, the Hellcat is also not hurting on features, as it comes with a variety of gadgets and toys. Pretty much any gauge or reading you can think of can be displayed, kind of like a beer swilling, rodeo going Nissan GTR, if you will. It’s also extremely comfortable to sit in, as I can personally attest to.
Maybe then, the Challenger SRT Hellcat DID have a place alongside the other two? It may not look the part, but it satisfies all the criteria and held its own. It’s kind of like the meathead at the gym grunting and wailing with every rep, annoying all the other patrons and acting like he owns the place, but then turns around and discusses quantum physics with you.