will soon be filled with tire smoke.
Dodge is at the end of 2023 and launching the electric Charger Daytona SRT next year.
The performance-oriented brand is sending off the engine configuration with a “Last Call” model being revealed in Las Vegas on Monday night that’s expected to be the most powerful and quickest American muscle car ever.
Dodge hasn’t released any details about the car ahead of the event, but it has posted online suggest it will be able to run on high octane E85, accelerate through a quarter-mile in less than nine seconds and hit a top speed of 215 mph.
It marks the end of a V8-powered era that started in the 1950s and has included historic engines like the 426 Max Wedge, 440 Six Pack and of course the legendary Hemi motors.
“Those were workhorses for Dodge, industrial vehicles, trucks, cars, everything,” Dodge historian and valuation expert David Wise told .
Dodge Hemis arrived in the early 1950s with 140 horsepower. Today Dodge sells one without a car that’s rated up to 1,100 horsepower, which has been featured in amazing custom builds commissioned by the likes of comedian Kevin Hart and Dodge head designer Ralph Gilles.
The Hemis take their name from the hemispherical shape of their combustion chambers, which allow for less heat loss, higher operating pressures and larger valves for the pistons to breathe through that add up to more power per cubic inch.
The first Dodge Hemi was known as the Red Ram and debuted in the 1953 Coronet as an upgrade from the standard inline-six-cylinder. It had a 241 cubic-inch displacement and was rated at 140 hp. Modified versions went on to become a favorite of stock car racers, including Lee Petty.
Dodge and its sister Mopar brands, Plymouth and Chrysler, stepped things up in 1964 with the introduction of the 426 Hemi, which was nicknamed “The Elephant” and originally developed with NASCAR in mind, but went on to become a favorite on the growing drag racing scene.
“That really put Mopar on the scene,” Wise said. “They just continued to level up their performance and street credibility.”
The cars got wilder as the decade wore on, none more than the 1969 Charger Daytona designed for NASCAR homologation with an aerodynamic nose cone and high rear wing that was so good it led to rules changes to make it obsolete.
It wasn’t much of a commercial success. Just 503 production cars were built that year and only 70 had the Hemi, but the survivors are among the most sought-after collector cars today and one this January.
“The largest consumption of Hemi muscle cars was in the Rust Belt and they sold in much smaller numbers than the Fords and GMs, making them rare today,” Wise said.
Increasingly strict emissions regulations and rising fuel prices led to the Hemi’s demise in the early 1970s, but it made a triumphant return to Dodge cars in 2005 with the launch of the Magnum station wagon, which featured a modern 5.7-liter version.
The Charger sedan followed in 2006 and brought with it a 6.1-liter V8, while the lineup was expanded with the 2008 Dodge Challenger coupe, which is the same basic car that’s on sale today.
Dodge decided to blow the world away in 2015 with the launch of the Challenger SRT Hellcat, which was powered by a 707 hp 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that made it the most powerful mass-produced American car ever up until then.
It upped the ante in 2018 with the limited edition Challenger SRT Demon, which had an 808 hp version of the engine that could also produce 840 hp when running on race gas
Rumor and speculation about the new car’s engine ranges from a 909 hp version of the Hellcat motor to a factory-equipped Hellephant, but the truth won’t be known until it is unveiled at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at 6 p.m. local time.
As for the electric cars that will follow it, Wise, whose family has run and sales for over 70 years, isn’t sure the old guard will come along for the ride, but says Dodge is on the right track.
“It’s a generational thing. Dodge fans in their 50s and older are probably mostly dyed in the wool gas car fans, but electric performance is outstanding and I think it’s here to stay,” Wise said.
“Nearly my entire family worked for Chrysler, and we’ve always been around muscle cars, but my daughters love electric.”