ONTARIO, Canada, the year 2040—
Little Ronnie: Hey, Great Grandpa Bleakney, can you pull out your old scrapbook and tell me some more stories about those noisy infernal combustion cars you drove when you had teeth?
GGB: Well, sure, Ronnie. They were called internal-combustion cars, and just before they were banned, some manufacturers went all out and made the craziest things imaginable. Oh here’s a good one! The Dodge Challenger Widebody Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak. That had to be the best middle finger ever waved to that goddamn herd of electric cars. What an exit, I tell you. Went off into the glorious sunset in a haze of tire smoke and CO2. And the noise that the 807 hp supercharged 6.2L V8 made! Like a stung hyena tied to a moose in love. I can still hear it.
LR: Ooh. Tell me more, great-grandfather.
GGB: Like I said, Dodge had jumped in at the deep end. By then the Challenger was old, but it didn’t matter. People kept buying them, so the unhinged SRT engineers at Dodge kept raising the bar. Wider bodywork, bigger tires, outrageous paint colors and, of course, more power. But this big old boat was lovable and managed to combine everyday comfort with true Depends-filling acceleration. Hit the merry pedal at 60 mph and the jailbreak would spin its tires and get looser than a ten-gallon hat on a bald squirrel. Ha! And launch control. Good God! They should have called it launch-your-lunch control. My friend in the backseat almost threw up. I think I should have warned him…
LR: What is a happy pedal? What is dependent?
GGB: Watch out, son. This gets complicated. If I recall correctly, the Jailbreak option was $1,295, and only applied to the Hellcat Redeye Widebody, and it increased horsepower from 797 to 807. It also unlocked a number of factory-customized options, including paint colors, striping , seats, badges, and wheels. Do you see this in the picture? That stripe cost $1,245, the seats were Hammerhead Gray and the paint was called Smoke Show. I remember putting on a really good smoke show thanks to Line Lock, which locked the front brakes so you could spin the rear wheels until those expensive 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P Zeros turned into vaporized rubber.
LR: Why would you want to do that, great-grandfather? That sounds stupid and youthful.
GGB: And your point is? Haha! But seriously, there was nothing bad about the Dodge Challenger Widebody Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak. It was a glorious, rolling cartoon character that made no sense, which is why we loved it. That, and its 807 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of tire-shredding torque.
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LR: But because the prison break was so big and heavy and built on an antediluvian albeit continually updated Mercedes-Benz platform, this muscular throwback was just a dumb straight-up dweller, or managed to display a bit of enthusiasm as the tarmac hit. twisted?
GGB: What do you say?
LR: Could it handle?
GGB: Surprising, yes. Sure, it wasn’t as sharp as a Mustang or Camaro, but it was well sorted, with a balanced chassis, tight turns and a nice steering feel. The Widebody received adaptive competition suspension. Factor in the powerful brakes and excellent eight-speed ZF gearbox, and the Jailbreak made for a thoroughly enjoyable package. Plus it looked seriously bad.
LR: How much did all this wickedness cost, great-grandfather?
GGB: Watch your language, son. Ha! All this madness didn’t come cheap. The base price for the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat was $81,265, and this Jailbreak came in at $126,370 after the $27,295 Widebody package, the $4,495 Laguna Leather package, and a bunch of other stuff. But damn, I wish I had bought one. In fact, I wish I had bought ten of them. Do you know how much these things cost now? Mother of pearl, I’d be rich, I tell you. Empire!
LR: One more question for your nap, great-grandfather. Why did this car have such a long name?
GGB: Well, Ronnie, in reference to the aforementioned happy pedal, if you pressed it really hard, by the time you shouted “Dodge Challenger WTF Widebody Hellcat Jeeezuz Redeye I Want My Mommy Holy Snappin’ Turtles Jailbreak!!!” you could be arrested, tried, jailed and, with luck, broken out.
LR: What does “WTF” stand for, great-grandfather?
GGB: Eh, ah – “Broad tires fried!”