Earlier today, we took a look at a 2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10. It was the insane combination of a regular old Ram pickup truck and the Viper's V10 engine, and somehow Dodge not only built just one, they also put it into series production.
You could have it as a somewhat-practical quad cab with an automatic transmission, but the one to have was probably the regular cab with the six-speed manual transmission. It weighed about 500 pounds less than the quad cab, which meant the 500-horsepower V10 could push it to 60 mph in less than five seconds. Even today that's ridiculous for a pickup truck, but back in the early 2000s, it was even more so.
While Dodge, sadly, won't sell you a new Ram pickup truck with the new Viper's engine in it, the same insane spirit that brought us a V10 pickup truck lives on. Now, it's simply called a Hellcat.
In the same way there was no logical reason to offer the Ram SRT-10, there's also no reason for Dodge to offer the Hellcat twins. Their 707-horsepower supercharged V8s are great for burnouts, and they will gladly power slide anytime and anywhere, but without all-wheel drive, turning that power into acceleration can be incredibly difficult.
Dodge is also going to put the Hellcat engine into a Jeep Grand Cherokee called the Trackhawk, which is even more outrageous. As much as you don't need a 707-horsepower family sedan, you need an SUV version even less.
Still, as nonsensical as Hellcats are, there's no denying they're also ridiculously awesome. The burnouts are addicting (if overdone), and when people realize you're driving one, they freak out. It's a car that gets people legitimately excited even if they aren't typical car enthusiasts.
Outside of the juggernaut that is Jeep, the Hellcat nameplate is probably the best thing FCA has going for it right now. Fiat's struggling to get off the ground in the U.S., and the company's had more than its fair share of issues. Plus, the LX platform underpinning both the Charger and Challenger still uses a host of old Mercedes parts, some of which date back to the late 1990s.
But with 707 horsepower at your disposal, you're not going to care that your car's front suspension is off a W220 Mercedes S-Class. You're going to care about having more power than basically anything else on any road anywhere.
Even though the Ram SRT-10 uses a different V10 engine, we can't help see a common thread of insanity drawn between it and the Hellcats of today.
The Ram SRT-10 was the first Hellcat. Think about it. You have a relatively pedestrian vehicle being given not just a more-powerful engine but one that was ridiculously powerful. It was great at burnouts and and wasn't really meant for the corners, but it was also so cool. After all, the Ram SRT-10 was a Viper-powered pickup truck with a six-speed manual transmission. Even people who don't like pickup trucks like that.
The idea to sell it was crazy, but it ended up being the kind of crazy that worked. And now, 10 years after the Ram SRT-10 ended production, we see Dodge using a very similar line of thinking and succeeding again. 2015's entire allotment of Hellcats sold out so quickly, Dodge had to . That's both awesome for Dodge and awesome for us.
And we can't help but think we owe thanks for the Hellcat success to the ultimate fish out of water (pickup out of water?), the Ram SRT-10.