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I took delivery of my 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat at Ron Carter Dodge in League City. Bobby Pate and the entire Ron Carter team made the buying experience painless. Thanks, guys! It was worth the nine-month wait to get a new Challenger Hellcat at sticker price.
My Hellcat is Phantom Black Tri-coat Pearl with a black interior. The car has the six-speed manual transmission and UConnect. Yes, I know the eight-speed automatic is faster, but the manual transmission provides a level of enjoyment that must be experienced to be appreciated.
My original intention was to write daily about my experiences with the Hellcat, but I have been having too much fun with the car.
The first 100 miles required incredible self-control to keep the car under 55 mph and engine speed under 3500 rpm. The difference in the driving experience after 500 miles was – and I am only exaggerating a little – life altering!
The Red Key
To paraphrase Morpheus in The Matrix, "You take the black key, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red key, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."
The black key is in a place where it will stay until the red key is snatched from my cold, dead hand. The red key is the only key. The red key is "The Key." All 707 horsepower are available with the red key. You can lower the horsepower to only 500 using the SRT pages, I have heard, but why?
I have driven the Hellcat in bumper-to-bumper Houston traffic in red-key mode. I have driven the Hellcat in the pouring rain in red-key mode. I have driven the Hellcat to the mall, to the grocery store, to the movies, and to Killen's Steakhouse in Pearland for a 100% Japanese Wagyu steak from the Kagoshima Prefecture. (It was a birthday present from my son. My money goes into the gas tank of my Hellcat.)
Just for fun, I used the SRT Pages to put the car in valet mode. For those of you who do not know, valet mode limits the horsepower to: oh, hell! Who cares? The car felt like the parking brake had not been disengaged.
I have heard rumors that the Tremec six-speed transmission has a 1-4 skip-shift feature. My Hellcat has never been subjected to this travesty.
Questions, questions, and more questions
Q: How much over sticker did you have to pay?
Q: What kind of gas mileage do you get?
Q: How did you ever talk your significant other into letting you buy the Hellcat?
A: I didn't ask.
Q: Are you going to keep it in the garage and sell it in 45 years for a billion dollars at Barrett-Jackson?
A: No. The Hellcat is my only car, and I am 62 years old.
Q: How fast have you gone in it?
A: Never faster than necessary.
Q: Now that the GT350 is out, do you regret not waiting for it?
A: I have had many regrets in my life, but buying the Hellcat is not one of them. I drive my Hellcat on the street. It will never be on any track that has turns. Plus, 707 horsepower is more than 526 horsepower.
Q: Has your significant other driven the car?
Q: So, how much money would it take for you to sell your Hellcat?
A: A ludicrous amount of money would be required.
As you can see by the picture, I am serious about my 'Cat being a daily driver. The snow fell 10 minutes after I had driven the 'Cat a thousand miles – stopping only for gas.
I kept it in 707-horsepower mode for the duration of the 2300-mile road trip. However, I did start in second gear when I left the parking lot.
Make no mistake about it. Every time I jump on the throttle, I hear a still, small voice in my head saying, "I will kill you if you do not respect me." I lift... I laugh... I live to drive my 'Cat another day.