Dodge CEO says no Viper Hellcat in the works – The Grand Rapids Press –

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014

ROYAL OAK, MI-Sorry, Viper fans. Don’t expect Dodge to be offering a Hellcat engine in the supercar anytime soon.

Dodge officials, including CEO and President Tim Kuniskis, say there are no plans to put the 707-horsepower engine from the 2015 Charger and Challenger Hellcat models into the Viper.

“I can’t go and take the Hellcat engine and put it in there,” Kuniskis told MLive Saturday at Dodge’s elaborate Woodward Dream Cruise display in Royal Oak. “I would just change the dynamics of the car. I’d also add 200 pounds to the nose of the car.”

Chatter about the engine coming to the Viper started pretty much immediately after Dodge unveiled the 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat for the Dream Cruise Wednesday at Vinsetta Garage in Berkley.

Numerous Viper owners when asked what they thought about the Hellcat models Thursday at a Viper Club Car Show were already talking about combining the venomous vehicle with the Hellish engine.

Dodge-Woodward-Dream-Cruise-display.JPGThe Dodge display at the 20th annual Woodward Dream Cruise drew a large crowd. Richard Rawlings from the Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas and Discovery Channel’s “Fast N’ Loud” TV show took to the stage to recount his first Dream Cruise, where he drove the new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat on Friday and Saturday.  

“700-horsepower, wow! This is 500,” said Tom Gerard, as he points to his 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10. “Somebody was saying sooner or later they might be doing some sort of Hellcat version of a Viper.”

Jack Barbat, also owner of a 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10, said he wishes “they could put that much power into a Viper,” adding they probably will in the near future.

Kuniskis said comparing the Hellcat models and the Viper purely based on horsepower isn’t a fair comparison. It’s the power-to-weight ratio and uniqueness of the supercar, he said, that makes it special.

“Nobody is realizing power-to-weight ratio,” Kuniskis said standing by a new Viper. “The power-to-weight ratio of this car is superior to the Challenger. It’s superior to the Hellcat.”

The power-to-weight ratio of the 2014 Dodge Viper SRT, which weighs roughly 3,378 pounds, is 5.28 lb./hp. The 2015 Charger Hellcat, weighing in at  4,575 pounds, is 6.47 lb./hp. The 4,439-pound Challenger Hellcat is 6.28 lb./hp.

The 7.2-liter Hellcat engine produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. The Viper, powered by an 8.4-liter mid-front V10 engine, delivers 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. torque

Mark Trostle, Chrysler head of SRT and motorsports design, also said the V8 supercharged Hellcat engine goes against what the Viper has always been since launching in 1992.

“The Viper is V10. It’s got to stay V10,” he said at the Viper car show Thursday in Royal Oak. “To wear the Viper badge it has to have a V10 in it. Right now, the Hellcat is perfect in the Charger and Challenger.”

And don’t expect the Hellcat name to be taken to a V10 engine. The name was originally the codename for that particular engine project.

Kuniskis, during the Charger Hellcat unveiling, didn’t completely smash the idea of offering the Hellcat engine in other models, but didn’t offer any details about where it might be going.

“A couple people asked me if we’re going to put it in the Dart, no,” he said. “Right now it’s in the Challenger and the Charger and that’s all we’re doing with it and all we’re going to talk about.”

The Challenger Hellcat is expected to arrive in dealerships in September with a starting price of $59,995. The Charger Hellcat is scheduled to be available early next year. Pricing has not been announced.

And don’t fret too much Viper fans, Chrysler has continued to refine the supercar every year, adding new technologies and power. There are other options to topping 700-horsepower besides dropping in a Hellcat engine.  

Michael Wayland covers the automotive industry for MLive. Email him at & follow him on Twitter @MikeWayland or Google+.


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