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Weekly Recap: Things you might not know about the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcats

Sat, 16 Aug 2014

If you're an enthusiast, and you don't know that Dodge spawned another Hellcat this week, you really must have been living in cave. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is probably the biggest news for enthusiasts since the reveal of, well the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

But, there are some things you might not know or might have missed about the new Charger and Challenger Hellcats. For starters, reports that the Hellcat production would be limited to a low volume are not true.

"We have not capped the Hellcat on either the Challenger or the Charger," Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said.

A Chrysler spokesman confirmed the assembly plant in Canada and the engine factory in Mexico can handle increased demand, if Hellcats sell like infernal hotcakes. Theoretically, Dodge could sell as many Hellcats as the car-buying public wants. The Charger's pricing wasn't revealed, but the Challenger Hellcat will start at $60,990. That's not cheap, but it's not even Porsche 911 territory ($85,295), and it has twice the horsepower. For good or bad, the 707 horses of the Hellcat will be accessible to a lot of people.

"I expected these logos to be stolen." – Tim Kuniskis

If you get a Hellcat, you'll also actually be getting the Hellcat badge. Let us explain: the Challenger prototype we drove in Oregon said "Supercharged" in script lettering on the front fenders. The cars you might catch on the road being driven by engineers, writers or other lucky stiffs, are also prototypes with the same lettering. If you look closely, there aren't obvious exterior Hellcat markings on the car.

But the reveal of the Charger Hellcat was also the coming-out party for the Hellcat badge itself. Sure, we've seen pictures, but it looks much more menacing on the front fenders of a Charger. Though the reveal of the sedan this week was our first, up-close look at the badge, it will debut in production trim later this year on the Challenger, when "Supercharged" is swapped out for the Cat's menacing mug. The Charger arrives early next year.

"I expected these logos to be stolen," Kuniskis quipped.

Toyota reveals another FT-1 concept

Toyota president Akio Toyoda is a car guy. He's a racer, and he's been adamant that he wants his company to make more and better sports cars. We've been hearing whispers of a Supra replacement for years, and the company has renewed its trademark for the name. While there's a lot of circumstantial evidence something is afoot, there's no hard proof of anything, other than yeah, Akio Toyoda likes sports cars.

Now with the reveal of another FT-1 concept, this time at an event ahead of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, all signs are pointing toward some kind of new sports car. Toyota said the first one, revealed at the Detroit auto show in January, was a signpost for its sports-car ambitions, and this second one finished in graphite underscores that. The new concept will also appear in the Gran Turismo 6 video game, alongside another, more racing-inspired version that only exists in the virtual world.

It's still unclear what exactly Toyota has up its sleeve. Suggestions the FT-1 could be a successor to the MR2, Supra or 2000GT have been tossed about, but all of those cars had their own, distinct, identities. Regardless of how this plays out, it's a good thing for enthusiasts that Toyota, the world's largest and one of its most deep-pocketed automakers, has placed a premium on sports cars.

Tony Stewart may face criminal charges

The three-time NASCAR champion bowed out of the race this weekend at Michigan International Speedway, and it's the second race he's missed since hitting and killing Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint car race Aug. 9.

Ward Jr. had run onto the track to confront Stewart after Stewart spun Ward's car. No charges were filed in the immediate aftermath of Ward Jr.'s death. He could also face a civil suit in the wake of the incident.

Jaguar F-Type Project 7 shown at Pebble Beach

This car is exciting for plenty for reasons. The 5.0-liter V8 is cranked up to 575 hp, it comes in racing-themed colors and it's definitely exclusive, starting at $165,925.

There are a lot of cool low-volume, special-edition sports cars out there, but it's heartening for enthusiasts to see Jaguar emphasize its motorsports heritage with this car. Jaguar says the F-Type Project references its seven victories at Le Mans, and the car has styling references from the iconic D-Type.

So why does this matter? This salute to its history illustrates that Jaguar is working hard to keep its loyalists in the fold-and loyalists like tradition-even as the brand grows. It's also showing those wins at Le Mans, which stretch back to the 1950s, aren't just dusty trophies. Clearly, Jaguar believes its legendary past can help it sell cars to new customers in 2014.

By Greg Migliore

See also: Dodge Challenger returns to Trans Am, Jaguar F-Type Project 7 arrives Stateside for $135k*, Ranking Dodge's Charger Hellcat with the fastest sedans in the world.