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09 RT Challenger auto
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Before I get rolling I want to thank Chrysler / Dodge / SRT and there event staff and crew. You guys did a great job. I will also thank the members here at CT the Admin, AutoGuide and the vendors for all of your support. This forum got me there and the strangest events that followed.

What’s strange on this whole testing event is this. One, I was told I had this chance on the day my father died a year ago, shortly after I was testing the Hellcat on his Birthday.

There you go, he purchased new a 1971 Challenger convertible, 383BB auto ca, power windows with A/C. This is where my passion came from as a boy growing up in that car. The car is in storage ready for a new factory interior. Right now, I have a Hellcat to test.

My start of the whole trip was to our local airport. That’s always a breeze. I check in and I was in the air within an hour. Landed in Denver International, jumped onto another flight and was in Portland international a couple hours later,
The Travel company Dodge used had everything lined out and went perfect. At my arrival to the airport I was met by the Dodge event staff for a ride to the hotel. Holding up a sign I knew she was my ride. We gathered up 4 others and in a van we were loaded.
The hotel wasn’t but half hour away so we were there in no time. As we pulled up my door was opened, my bags fetched from the back then the hotel door opened. You don’t have to carry anything. If I started to sweat, someone had a towel on my forehead. I’m talking great service, A1 by Dodge.
I was greeted by Dodge, Mike and Jeff right in the lobby coming in. I then received my package with instructions for the event and signed waivers.

Great people, treatment was spot on. Everything was paid for, food, room service, including the fully stocked room bar. Snacks, wine, water, and chocolates were in the room.

Food was excellent. I had the 4 different oysters they have that were all native to the area. I will say some of the very best oyster I’ve ever had. It goes to the Bay oysters in Portland. They were small, but I’ll tell you what freeking sweet sweet oysters. You gotta like them to know. I had ordered them 3 times I like them so well. Most all the food they served was of good quality excellent. Hotel had a cool hood with a live fire under cooking steaks.

The night before testing was sleepless as was the night before, now I’m there to fire up with maybe 3 hours sleep.
Morning came and I was up and ready to roll. Breakfast was ready at 7 and the crew consisting of around 32 was ready to go. Again the vans were rallied.
Doors were opened and closed for me as an umbrella was used because yes it started to sprinkle, how about that service, huh. Like I said the Dodge event staff knocked it out of the park IMO

A short 15min ride and we entered a fenced parking lot with a large brick building and behold in the parking lot was Challengers of every flavor. I slobbered down my shirt as I ripped a camera out and started snapping. Within 5 min it was time for the presentation, which took some time as they explained what they did for us.
It was really cool to hear what then had been doing all this time. Reading ChallengerTalk for one. They listened to what we wanted. They really did in so many ways. The whole line up has gone through some changes. They claim the Challenger is still evolving. Huh ok.
SRT exterior design supervisor was telling me a story that the original front end and grill designer was still alive and well. He had seen the new Challenger front end and grill. Then with a smile, mentioned how come you young guys stole his front end…..Glad those old timers are still with us.

Once it was over, we were instructed to go out and pick a car….Hell ya… Where’s the cat keys ?? WTF not in the car. So I and another guy invited by name of Danno. He secured the gray slate SRT the only SRT I jumped in to keep out anyone who may have tried to take it, while we looked for cat key.
The only cat there was reserved. WTF lost out on that one. Ol Sleazy it was reserved for, Funny small world. So off to the only 392 SRT that was there for the road trip. Same as the cat with a 392 at 485hp.
It has the 8 speed and the same brake package as the Hellcat.
Just meeting this guy Danno was cool, cause he wasn’t scared of the way I wanted to test. Hehehe and I weren’t scared to let him beat on the SRT either.
With map in hand we had 48 miles there and 48 miles back, twisty curvy roads and some highway. Remember, it’s raining on and off and I signed a waiver. We all signed one.

Super Moderator
09 RT Challenger auto
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Page 2

Off we went. One way his ride, one way back my ride.
I found the handling of the SRT to be far superior to anything we got so far. Even with some of the aftermarket stuff, or anything else out there. I have been in many older challengers and many vets over the years. What comes on the car wins hands down. Its way different now. As you change performance mode moving on the fly!!!! All through the on dash screen and its software. It’s something you notice and can feel change. Not a placebo feel something either. All butt dynos will see and feel it all change according to mode.
You can feel the steering wheel change. It takes more resistance to move it, the suspension goes to a more stiff ride and is very responsive, the trans goes from shifting in 400mlsec to shifting in 250mlsec.
The paddle shifters are awesome, and in a great location. When you hang at 10 and 2 o’clock the steering wheel ergonomics are perfect finger wrap with the paddles in the right place. I never used the T floor shifter again… Period, NO BS. And I’m a hard core old school guy. I have paddles on my wifes MDX and I use the floor shift, never the paddles.
But with the new SRT no way Jose. It was all fingers for FlatTop. I also noticed my shotgun rider and driver he used the paddles 100% of the time,
It’s just so easy to use and get comfortable with using the paddles. The SRT steering wheel ratio and firmness is all adjustable in the tune of the “use” modes tailoring your ride to what you want.
All the goodies like the side early warning system; we tested it using a semi. As soon as you get to the center line and just cross it,Ding Ding,Ding, telling you to move over. And it shows an arrow in the side mirror, neat feature I liked. I didn’t like the rear view mirror. Seemed to always need moved or adjusted. The right rear quarter panel was blind to me more than normal to me. Could have not been used to the set up also. Gas and brake pedal no problems. Seat got to my comfort position easy. There seems to be less room in the front passenger seat side on floor, can’t spread feet out as far as before like in the older models.
This is due to the larger 8 speed transmission tunnel.

The braking system was tested by me, as a driver and as a passenger. Let me tell you guys, this tar at speeds at 80 to 100 mph in the rain and then do a panic stop. Had to see how the car pulled any or not. It didn’t go right or left. Just square to the road. Nose drops some and ass end comes up then starts to squat as it gets to a forward force of just about stopped, then rocks back. The car will stop on a dime, and give back 9 cents!!!! Love that one.
The new 15.4 inch brakes 6 piston 2 piece braking system with all the stability and traction control will bite down and you will kiss the windshield if you’re not strapped in. You will have bloody lips or a fat eye. That freeking car didn’t waiver, slip, break loose, or skid in any way. ZERO!!!! No BS it just stops…..Square and solid. Yes in the rain wet roads and I did mine at 80mph and big Danno ahhh was well over 100 mph. I didn’t say we were smart. We were testing. Oh, let me do say now before I get flamed up. NOBODY was around us to hurt them. It was all us and the car to get hurt. We both agreed if we die it was for a good reason, Right. And we signed a waiver too, So all was good.

Well well, so how does it handle in the corners, now we know how it stops. Let’s see how it turns in the rain. The course chosen was a twisty road like through a conservation area, Yes people are around sightseeing, Screwing up my testing. So, I watched far ahead while he was at the wheel and when I was behind the wheel he watched way ahead for cars. And we beat it and beat it and tore around corners.
The SRT handles again, so much better than anything we have had from our other Challengers. The traction control system works so well it’s kinda hard to get the car to drift.

You have to force it to do so. Really work at it by using more MPH to get it to slide. Course, with more MPH also comes with bad things happening faster. Like the guard rail and the edge of the asphalt comes at you so damn fast at the higher speeds.
We gave the car high marks for holding a line. It would tear around wet corners very well. Very little side tip in the car.
By setting the car up going into the corner we were able to get around it and power throttle out of the corners without pushing the front end. The cars weight really helps here in the wet conditions.
On the highway, I know some of you will frown, Don’t forget, Nobody around us.
We tested at very high speeds in the rain. We were at speeds over 120 plus, big plus. WOT throttle mashed far as you can push it. Buzzing the motor 6300 and fingering another gear. That’s the way it got tested. The car didn’t break the tires loose with 485 hp !!!! Traction Control works very well in the new electronics system. It was at WOT in the rain. The car handled very well. The tires are a great match. The really shed the water, even at high speed. Again the weight made it feel very safe. With the traction and stability control and the brain of the TC system work very well.
At high wet raining speeds the car went around highway curves without slipping at all. We did slip once when the car got on the paint stripe changing lanes, Yes,,it made an ass puckering move.
There was one point on the highway Danno was wheelin and a vet came along side to play. He didnt have the nads or his TC didnt work as well. He was left after 15 18 seconds of pull. Bet nobody did that testing. Id bet I was the only one who tested it in a 360 along the way also. Oh you can 360 it pretty easy if ya wanted to.
Keep it mashed.
Course, our test consisted of checking the 485hp 392 would pull. So we did get a few spots where we had no rain and was semi dry, like when we rolled out. Without using two lanes to keep the car under control it was manageable to drive in most any conditions.
In the rain using the traction control we could mash the gas letting it down shift on its own and then paddle it up at 6200rpm shifts it didn’t slip once. Down shift and pull like a train past 100 mph. The traction control works great.
Power, comes from the 392, Its 485hp and feels like it too. Really a torque motor it is. With the 8 speed trans this is more like a supercar feel. It just stays in the power band. Pow, Pow, Pow, 2nd 3rd 4th 5th that hellish.. The SRT It’s going to be a runner. Course the Cat is 707hp and it even get better..
All the colors all the other specs are already printed all over the net. Im giving you the real details of how it really runs and handles. We did have some dry roads. Not for long. On dry pavement you can roast the tires from a roll with the SRT and the 392 with TC off, right into a Smokey burnout. As I look through my notes the car is rated at 24mpg with the 392 SRT and we were getting 11.2 during the testing in the rain. Tells ya how hard we tested the SRT, hahaha At 60mph the tach yielded 1500rpm. I notice the hood looks smooth as there no squirters on the hood anymore. Really has snappy throttle response unlike my RT when I purchased it. My lawn mower revs better than my RT did.

Super Moderator
09 RT Challenger auto
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
page 3

The Hellcat.
We all know why it has its name. We all have heard its hp, functions and selling price.
What we haven’t heard was from FlatTop.

After all the big boys got to test out the Hellcat a week ago ahead of us at CT so much of the information is already out there and posted. You’re going to get how it really handled and what we could gather in the rain. In the short time we all were there. I have taken the time to review the tapes, pictures, and notes I had taken and compiled these findings.

Everything is out for information at this time from brake rotor size to blower speed and technical, it’s already in print. So I’m going directly into performance, handling, style, creature comforts the stuff that matters. What did I exactly find in the Hellcat and the rest of the lineup. Here it goes like it or not, I’m calling it as I see it.

From sitting in at the introduction of the Hellcat and other new models, SRT and Dodge made some changes. Once you look at the front end and rear you will see what I’m saying, As SRT had mentioned, they spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel. Once you see the front end you will know it’s been reshaped, however holding its Challenger look. The Grill taking shape from a 71 Challenger as you can see the resemblance. SRT used the grill to cool oil cooler trans you name it they went on to use the drive light for the blower air intake. They divert a lot of air to cooling ducts.
Once you look at the rear of the car, again you see the 71 come out and the subtle changes.
The cat testing finally came once the test drive was over with the SRT. I was now in front of my very own cat. Hell Ya !!!! It comes with a pro wheelman. Not a weekend racer. This dude does stunt driving and is a paid wheelman for a few different classes.
Sitting in the Hellcat the seats are so much better as they grab you ass and hold you in well being buckled up. I would prefer to have a 5 point harness as the lap shoulder belt didn’t hold me as tight as I wanted. Oh sure the belt locks up fine but when you mash the brakes to get into a corner it lets me slide too much. But guess if you don’t race into the corners you won’t need any more than is provided.

No BS the pro wheelman, drove so hard around the track into the corners across track bumps my kidneys are sore from being beat on the seat sides I ended up with bruised kidneys !!!
Should have had a kidney belt. I told the dude, run the piss out of it. In the tape I can be heard telling him. I’m not scared to get into a wall, or on the roof. So run the nut off it….so he did.

This guy put the hellcat into a wet corner so hard he pulled .72g. On the dry he said the car pulled little over a 1.0g yea it has a gauge. Next to the boost and A/F gauge. It has most everything you want for gauges to go racing. You don’t have to go and upgrade nothing. Its already done.
What was nice is we also got a dry track for my first 2 laps with the pro driver. Then it down poured, never in the world I thought I would be in a car pulling .79g in a WET Corner!!!! Turning left. Btw Blower screaming… can really hear the blower from the front. And the headers open when wot is amazing growl.

Super Moderator
09 RT Challenger auto
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
page 4

As I watched the gauges the motor went 6200 to 6400 rpm right in there at shift point. The blower was at 10psi. The A/f at 6200 would go to 10.9 fat. As it varied from 11,2 11.6 then back to 10.9 but that’s where it was running at. The driver who has run road courses with mustangs and a couple cart cars and he said himself. With all that he has seen and driven said. The wheel man said the Hellcat is a car you need to be proud of. In his opinion the Hellcat is able to compete as it sits, at any road course. Feels it will be very completive. Words right from a paid wheel man.
I was glad to feel the cat with the red key. For a while the black key was used, but when the wheelman got in I got the red key. So my first runs were semi dry track after the sun came out at the very end. My last chance, so what I felt as far as ¼ mile run was this.
We got to start our track runs at the starting line. We had to ease out 80-ft and Nail it. Rules. So I ran from a 30mph roll to red line in every gear till I ran past the finish line, then I had to brake hard and paddle downshift to get around the first corner. It never broke the tires loose when it got rolling to around 50 to 60mph and you ease roll into the throttle. TC again worked all way down the track.
I was able to push the 120 130 mark before braking. The car feels very strong in the 1000ft as I ran the Hellcat from a roll. Through the gears of the 8 speed made it feel slightly different than my car. It stays way up in the rpm range using the 8 speed. It feels like it might run high 10s to low 11s. It does pull hard. Smooth. Real Real smooth. Something that I don’t have any more in mine.
I see the rpm climb and the boost would go to 10psi fast and a/f goes from 12.5 then 11.9 or so right to 10.9 wot. See that over and over during the straights.

And the sound of the Hellcat is really good. When it comes by and you’re in the stands you can hear the blower whine coming at ya. As it goes by, the bad ass sound of open exhaust is a wow.
Again I cannot stress the onboard computer system it has. Launch control, trans shift points and firmness, just so many gadgets to enhance the Drag race or road course experience.
All I can say is. It all works as it’s supposed to. Gauge panel and controls all seem to be within reach in good locations. A/C worked great nice and cold air.
Thats right I was running the AC.
I did have trouble seeing around the pillar on the left hand corners. You had to look way and ahead while racing in the big corners to get your path picked out. I had to look around through the front windshield or tip the head back and use the side window to see where you’re going way ahead on the long sweeping curves.
Freeking wild stuff. For 59,900.00 as a base,,, wow what a car at a great price.

The new brakes won’t allow us to get no 17in rims on the cars no more guys. With rotors coming in at 15.4inches it’s not going to work on the Hellcat or the SRT or anything with the new Brembos.
The Hellcat or the new challenger with the auto 8 speed trans is a lot bigger bell housing. So what I found to be less of it seems in a negative way.
The room for your feet is less cause the larger trans tunnel to support the larger bell housing so we have less foot room. Can’t spread legs open as far as our older Challengers.

Interior of the new line up is outstanding. I got in one with tan leather, wow it had the look and feel of an Italian car interior. Yummy…

The other Challengers were all great cars. The SXT having the new handling package really handles extremely well, and to be honest the v6 felt good with the power output. In 1971 the BB 383 only had 300hp. So there is a great car right there.
Pictures should go up very soon and I will have some updates coming also. I do have an interview coming soon with the chassis man and 1/4mi driver for SRT. It will go in to be edited Monday.

The trip back was seamless as the trip there. Again Dodge did a great job getting me back to NWA.
All in all it was a great experience to test such a line up of cars and the Hellcat. I only wish I could of hit the ¼ mile track for some hits. Rain, Rain. Nothing I could do. But the best I did do.
That was all the time the was. Always some hater out there. Always one who always thinks his time frame or ideas are the ones to follow. More hate out there these days its a wonder we can enjoy whats in front of us now. Lets try


Super Moderator
09 RT Challenger auto
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

I will be downloading more pics soon. Got this many more from the track ect. Plus video of interview coming soon.

Ok guys More Pics

I wanted to get under the car as some asked for under the car shots of drive line. I didnt see anyone nowhere in there testing and pic taking of anything under the car, so here ya go.

As I said NOBODY been under the car....

Pic above is the new resinators. Bottle type. Cant wait to cut one open and see the inside.

Lets get back inside the car. I like the shifter position and the whole new console.

From me behind the wheel of any of the line up, its easy to see all the gauges, speedo ect.

Remember what I said about not as mush foot room. this is what Im sayin. The tunnel took more room.

I love this interior. Really rich and soft looking and feeling. Smooth as frog hair.....

This below showing window buttons ect. All in reach all seems in order, still love the color

More interior shots.

Packed the tire well full of sound producing electronics

Still a roomy trunk. It will hold two bodies.

Cat cut away of the 6.2

You want to see the foot control placment. Here it is.
Carpets taking wear next to the gas. On the trans tunnel. There is less room there to me.

Click the above link for a 4 min interview with SRT chassis man and him testing the 1320 no snake oil involved.

FlatTop Testing the Hellcat on road course in the rain.
The End, Last drive.

I will be adding the next video here. This is a read only. Make it easy if you want to give out a link to somone who may want to read only and not go through a zillion pages in the testing thread. I will be there to answer questions and make posts.
Thank you again everyone. \ FlatTop / Gene
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