Around the middle of the 2010s, Dodge was in the process of shedding its normal passenger cars in favor of a lineup that revolved around muscle cars as the American marque tried to reposition itself as a performance brand for the masses. In 2015, the Avenger was gone, the Dart was on death row, and a pair of brutish machines from Dodge came on the scene, touted as the most powerful muscle cars in the world.
I’m talking, of course, about the SRT Hellcat variants of the Dodge Challenger coupe and the Charger sedan. Affordable used Hellcats seemed so far in the distant future way back when they were the new hotness. These cars shared a supercharged Hemi V8 engine that made an astounding 707 horsepower rating when it first came out — a number that is still very impressive five years later. When they first came out as the top trim of their respective models, they carried a price tag that started around the $60,000 mark, which is a lot for a Dodge but reasonable considering what you’re getting.
Today, five years after they were introduced to the world, there are some fairly low-mile, unmodified examples of both the Charger and Challenger Hellcat in good condition for sale on Autotrader for less than $40,000, knocking about $20,000 or more off the price of a new one.
I’ve labeled this message as a “warning” for two reasons. One — if you’re a bargain-hunting muscle car enthusiast who likes the idea of having 707 hp for about the average new car transaction price, then you may be about to make a car purchase that you weren’t really planning for. Send my apologies to your bank account.
The second reason is that the mighty Hellcat dropping into the $30,000-40,000 range means it’s more likely to fall into the wrong hands now that the cost of entry has dropped as low as it has. The irresponsible second and third owners that we were all worried about since the Hellcats were first introduced are coming, and they’ll be slamming into walls and telephone poles from ill-fated burnout attempts in no time. The Hellcat may soon replace the Mustang as the car to look out for when they’re exiting your local cars and coffee.
About two years ago, I made the bold accusation that the Hellcat wasn’t cool anymore. I still think that was true at the time. The Hellcat was only the second most powerful Dodge muscle car in the era of the Demon. Back in 2018, the car wasn’t old enough to be affordable to a lot of drivers on the used market quite yet. However, seeing Hellcats below the $40,000 mark is making me reconsider the coolness status of used Hellcats in 2020. After all, what could be cooler than a good value? Find a Dodge Challenger for sale