We’re used to cars with big petrol engines falling by the wayside here in Europe, but over in the US, it’s far easier to sell such vehicles. In the Dodge stable, for instance, there are still all sorts of options with the 6.2-litre supercharged ‘Hellcat’ V8.
That said, even in The Land of the Free, the eight-cylinder silliness has an expiry date. The Durango Hellcat](Durango has already dropped off the line-up with Dodge electing only to produce it for the 2021 model year due to emissions reasons, and next for the chop are the Challenger and Charger Hellcat.
We do have some time before that happens, though. “I will have this car, this platform, this powertrain as we know it through the end of ‘23,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis told Motor Authority at the LA Auto Show, adding, “There’s two more years to buy a Hellcat, then it’s history.”
The reason is, again, related to what comes out of the tailpipes. “You can still meet emissions with these cars. [but] You’re going to pay a lot of compliance fines,” Kuniskis. At some point, the fun has to stop.
The core Hellcat models will have enjoyed a good run by the time of their demise, having first been introduced in 2015. That Kuniskis is specifically referring to the Hellcat models gives some hope that lower-powered combustion Challenger and Charger models might continue beyond that date. But by then, both cars will be sat on a 20-year-old platform, and Dodge’s main focus will be electrification.
A production Dodge electric ‘muscle car’ is set to debut in 2024, previewed by a concept version expected next year. The former will be the last of 26 ‘garage doors’ on ‘24 Months of Muscle’, a sort of advent calendar for Dodge fans. Four of these have been opened already, including one involving the resurrection of the ‘Direct Connection’ performance parts catalogue and another for the Jailbreak Charger/Challenger Hellcat Redeye Models.
So, while the end of Dodge’s traditional muscle cars looks to be nigh, these old-school vehicles still have plenty of work to do.