2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye
When hometown heroes Van Halen learned that David Bowie was set to receive a seven-figure payday for appearing at the 1983 US Festival in San Bernardino, California, the boys did exactly what any masters of self-promotion would do: demand an additional half-million bucks and, once acquired, promptly parade "Diamond" David Lee Roth, the band's effusive stoner-philosopher front man, before the TV cameras to gloat. As any hype man worth his weight in shrimp cocktail and middle-shelf booze knows, the true victory is putting ludicrous numbers on display to be worshiped by a nation of red-blooded, gape-mouthed Americans.
This game of one-upmanship is largely the same one playing out across the entire SRT Hellcat board, the latest piece of which is the Redeye.
Dodge claims the Redeye should run a 10.8-second quarter-mile out of the box, but the best we could do was an 11.8, despite removing a shoe to finesse the throttle.
That's the same as the last automatic-equipped Challenger Hellcat Widebody we tested. Lest you forget, 797 is a larger number than 707.
You don't have to be Chuck Goodyear to figure out that the dilemma lies with the tires.
Even with the driver's-side headlamp void and an inlet near the front-left wheel liner supplementing the air supply, Dodge had to recalibrate the engine for the reduced airflow.
With each of the 3300 Challenger SRT Demons spoken for, Dodge needed to leverage its 808-hp asset (840 on race gas) in order to ensure the nation's strategic tire reserve remained on notice.
With standard three-mode Bilstein dampers at all corners, the Redeye is capable of changing direction without an executive order.
Running race gas won't get you any more grunt, as the Redeye's ECU isn't equipped to conjure up the Demon's extra 32 ponies when fed high test.
Blame the Redeye's twin-snorkel hood for its slightly reduced 797-hp output.
Pressed, it produced 0.95 g of grip and stopped from 70 mph in just 152 feet, but anyone who cares probably has a Camaro SS 1LE or a Shelby GT350 in the garage already.
Even delicate throttle inputs transform the Pirelli P Zero 305/35ZR-20 tires into smoky orbs of delight, spinning halfway through second gear and hooking up just long enough to announce the two-three shift with an authoritative bark.
The Redeye is all about big numbers and crass consumption.
And that includes its 4514-pound curb weight and the 16.7 gallons of fuel we burned in just 81 miles of testing.