Last of the Dinosaurs

Muscle Monday with the Dodge Challenger Hell

Millions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the world. Then a meteor hit and they all turned into gas for our modern day convenience. One big recipient of this selfless act is something of a dinosaur itself: The Dodge Challenger Hellcat. The Challenger was first seen as a concept in 2006, with the production car coming in 2008. It was built on a modified version of what was then Diamler Chrysler’s LX platform that underpinned the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. The Challenger has soldiered on with a few upgrades, the most notable being the 6.2 liter supercharged Hellcat motor. Despite riding on an aged platform, the Challenger has bucked the normal sales trend of cars like this in that its sales have increased over the years. In the year that shall not be mentioned, the Challenger still sold double what it did in 2009.

If you want a model of the Challenger, Maisto did the concept years ago, and Highway 61 did the early production model. Solido makes the Hellcat widebody, as does AUTOart, but AUTOart makes 392 Scat Pack and Demon versions as well. When AUTOart announced they would be making the Challenger, I knew I would have one, but Solido’s later announcement put that on hold. The budget friendliness of the Solido was appealing, but not having access to the engine that gives the car its name was something of a disappointment. Fortunately a sale at Replicarz resolved this issue for me.

Being from Aa, the car is of plastic construction, but don’t let that bother you. Sure it can flex in ways diecast can’t if you intentionally try to do it, but in normal handling you would probably never notice. As usual, all the mesh on the car is of the open photo-etch variety. The use of photo-etch continues to the brake rotors, which sit within the obligatory red Brembo calipers. AUTOart has been branding their tires of late and the Challenger is no exception. I’ll also give them bonus points for putting the steering axis of the front wheels within the wheel, giving them more than the 2 degrees of angle so many models have.

The hood opens nice and wide to reveal an excellent rendition of the Hellcat motor, but I find it a bit curious. From above the casting is deep and well detailed, and the same can be said from below. But AUTOart did not make it as a complete separate unit, which to me would have been easier. The interior is done to AUTOart’s typically good standard, and I like how they replicated the suede trim of the seats and door cards. But I wish they went with a color other than black. It’s not so bad with the Destroyer Grey interior of my example, but some of the other color offerings would benefit from a different color interior.

The Autoart challenger is a fairly recent release and is still widely available online. Normal pricing for this model puts it anywhere from 3 to 4 times more expensive than the Solido. That’s quite a bit of coin to just get engine and trunk access, but if you have the means it is worthy of your consideration. Plus it would be a fitting tribute to those dinosaurs of old. After all, plastic is oil based, right?

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Comments (2)

  • I’m really tempted to get Solido’s take on the Hellcat Challenger, but I feel like this is a car that requires popping the hood

      2 months ago
    • It's definitely a tough call. Of course the Autoart brings more than just the engine to the table, but still that extra $130 or so is tough to justify.

        2 months ago