Respect your elders: The Dodge Challenger Hellcat is still epic

Chances are, you’ve heard something about the pony car trio — the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang –  not being able to take a corner. Even if that’s often the case, pony cars make up for that weakness in other areas — they’re mind-bogglingly fast in a straight line, and they can produce some of the smokiest burnouts on the planet.

But the thing is, that was then and this is now. The next-gen Mustang will finally receive an independent rear suspension and the Camaro Z/28 has already proven itself as a track-capable steed. As for the Dodge Challenger? Until now, Chrysler seemed to be lagging behind the competition because it was missing one critical piece of the puzzle missing that the Camaro ZL1 and Shelby GT500 had: a supercharger.

If I could eat my own hat, I would, because with the arrival of the Challenger SRT Hellcat, all is well in the muscle car world. Powered by a 6.2-litre supercharged V8, the Hellcat pumps out a ridiculous 707 horsepower, dominating the 580-horse Camaro ZL1 and 662-hp Shelby GT500. Straight-line speed might not be everything, but the Challenger Hellcat certainly wins us over with super-smoky burnouts.

But how does it stack up against its predecessor? Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis and the folks at Gas Monkey Garage found out by pitting the Challenger Hellcat on a dragstrip against its grandfather, a 1971 Challenger R/T with a 426 Hemi. Naturally, the Hellcat crosses the quarter-mile mark first –  10.8 seconds on a quarter mile at 186 miles per hour, to be exact, with little more than street-legal drag radial tires — but the ’71 Challenger still puts up a good fight. Don’t miss the full run below:

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