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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hot Wheels 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat vs. Matchbox and Hot Wheels 2008 SRT-8



Well, it was known to be coming, right?  The fierce Challenger and Charger Hellcat with its supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 that produces 707 hp. and 651 Ib-ft. of torque through an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual on the Challenger is the most powerful production coupe and sedan in its class, while making a mass confusion in the Challenger and Charger portfolio as the SRT's naturally aspirated HEMI gets shifted around.  Now while the new-age Camaro's and Mustang's have shifted around at Hot Wheels over the years with countless variations and models, the Challenger has not changed much since the SRT-8 was introduced in 2008.  For 2015 a welcome change was needed for the Challenger and the SRT Hellcat holds the key.








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As profiled before Hot Wheels was first on the new Challenger run with the 2006 Concept in 2007, then in 2008 the SRT-8 production version arrived.  Since both cars were similar confusion erupted over the two as the SRT-8 only has lower black ground effects, a rear spoiler, lack of crosshair grille, and a sunroof to differentiate itself from the concept.  Plus, it was too narrow and cartoonish with the larger rear tires.  To this day both castings are still used, and so is the confusion.  In 2009 Matchbox introduced their version of the SRT-8, mostly without the hood-mounted stripes.  The headlights and taillights require decals to get the look as there is no stamps in the toolings for the lamps.  The rear exhaust tips are part of the body, exterior mirrors, and normal-size rear tires.  The size and details are much better over the Hot Wheels version.  The interior's on both cars have sunroofs and the correct seats and dash layout, but the Matchbox version goes further with detailed seats, dashboard, steering wheel, and 5-speed automatic shiftgate.  So how do these two stack up against the new Challenger Hellcat?








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For starters the look of the Hellcat means that this new Hot Wheels Challenger casting takes more of the Matchbox look over the same-old 2006 concept casting of the prior Hot Wheels versions, even though the large rear tires remain and the dimensions are still the same.  The Challenger was also restyled for 2015 with new front and rear lights to recall the 1971 Challenger.  The front has metal sculpted headlights with LED rings for the running and signal lights, the latter allowing the high beams to now nest in the inner lenses.  The mesh grille is larger (other Challenger's get the split grille of the 1971 model), with a larger one below flanked by brake ducts and a lower chin spoiler.  To add to that is the Viper-style hood with central force-fed air scoop.  It looks very fierce at the front!  The sides are plain and simple, still without exterior mirrors, and the sunroof is gone.  Black wheels, Hellcat logo, and gascap finish the look off.  The rear has a visible antenna on the roof, black spoiler with SRT logo, LED taillights with outer glow rings, split by the Dodge letters, and a higher lower bumper sill that houses the dual exhausts.






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The sides also show off the raked look to give the front an even more menacing look, and quality control is a bit poor with sloppy graphic placement and a few chips on the paint.  The base underneath shows off the engine and rear axle details but gets clustered by the required information in the middle of the car.  One interesting thing to not is the detailed engine underneath the hood where the supercharger and part of the engine block is visible; however, in order to see this you need to drill the rivets off and pop off the base in order to see it.  Inside the Challenger gets a much-needed makeover for 2015 with a driver-shaped soft-touch dashboard with touchscreen and radio and HVAC controls familiar with current Chrysler products.  The center console also angles toward the driver with the shifter and cupholders taking shape.  The 3-spoke steering wheel is much smaller than the 4-spoke boat wheel of the 2008 SRT, while the gauges are much more in-depth and now feature a digital central information center.  The front seats have more bolstering than the 2008 SRT and feature the detailed ribbing pattern.  All-in-all it's a big improvement over the past versions!





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My review of the Greenlight 2014 Ram 1500 variations will be coming up soon, but before that happens I had to get this Hitch and Tow release out of the way.  Why?  Well only this Challenger SRT Hellcat is the only car that would fit the new cat decals on the truck and trailer.  Any MOPAR fan would love to have this combo in their collection.  The white Ram Sport revives the Challenger hood scoops with Dodge logo's on the doors and the leaping cat on the rear fenders.  The enclosed car hauler gets more as the Dodge, SRT, and Hellcat logo's also appear, as does the Super Bee on the sides of the trailer.  All of this makes for one appealing Dodge advertisement trailer!  Oh, and if you didn't know already it comes with an enclosed car hauler to transport your Hellcat in privacy.  Finally, on the SRT Hellcat the card only says "2015 Dodge Challenger SRT", the base says "2015 Dodge Challenger SRT (cat logo)", with no mention of the Hellcat name.  Was it intentional?  Did they ran out of room?  Did Hot Wheels wanted to avoid a conflict with parents on the use of the Hellcat name?  It could be any one of these scenario's, though I doubt the latter of the '71 Dodge Demon went though without a hitch, and that was a car that got a lot of criticism back in the 1970's for the Demon name use!



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I can't wait to see what other colors will be offered for the Hellcat in the future, but for now the Challenger SRT Hellcat is a big improvement over the past Hot Wheels Challenger castings despite still having a few quality control issues and those large rear tires.  And it goes great with a matching SRT truck and trailer as well!

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