The 840-horsepower 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT® Demon has the highest horsepower of any production car*. In fact, as magazine and online headlines the world over proclaim every day, Demon is even more potent than the previous muscle car champ, the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
And as any hot rodder will tell you, there’s more to a successful ride than just the engine. It takes a well-matched package of related mechanical components to ensure the power gets to the tarmac over and over again. To see what was involved in bolstering the Hellcat’s driveline to keep pace with the Demon’s added 133 horsepower, we chatted with Dodge performance engineer Jim Wilder.
Before we continue, it’s often said that history repeats itself. Well, Wilder happens to be an avid drag racer who campaigns a hard-charging 1965 Plymouth in Midwest nostalgia super stock and muscle car shootout events. Going back to the first muscle car era, a similar scenario played out in 1958 when Dodge employees formed a club called The Ramchargers. By 1962, the team of weekend drag strip warriors (which included names like Tom Hoover, Jim Thornton, Mike Buckel, Tom Coddington, Dick Burke, Dan Mancini, Dick Jones, Dick Maxwell, Herman Mozer and others) were designing Dodge high-performance street and strip packages like the 413 Max Wedge, 426 HEMI®, 440 Six Pack and more. Today, Wilder’s weekend race activities continue the legacy of Dodge engineers who literally take their work home with them every night and weekend.