Dodge makes some of the coolest and most desirable muscle vehicles on the market, from the last true muscle car in the form of the Challenger to the absolutely ridiculous monsters that are the Durango Hellcat and RAM TRX.
Dodge was originally founded in 1900 and is still one of the most popular automakers in the US. With Chrysler’s help, the company grew into one of Detroit’s American ‘Big Three’. Over the years, the manufacturer designed and sold muscle cars, family cars, sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks, throwing in a random car. After the energy crisis of the 1970s and 1980s, Dodge plunged back into high-horsepower vehicles and built a V10-powered sports car called the Viper. In 2015, the company once again stunned the world with the release of the Hellcat engine, a factory giant producing 707 horsepower. To the delight of almost everyone, Dodge puts the engine in almost every model they produce.
It’s this absurd stubbornness to see all the other automakers downsize their engines and then do the exact opposite that makes the Dodge brand a target for modifiers and customizers alike to make even more awesome vehicles. With that, here are ten Dodge models designed to be stepped up.
10/10 Challenger Hellcat
The Dodge Challenger made its revival in 2008 after a 25-year hiatus. The model was built on the same platform shared with the larger Charger and Chrysler 300C. While the car became an almost instant hit, the customization potential increased dramatically with the 2015 facelift – which introduced the . introduced hellcat engine.
Since then, the Challenger Hellcat has seen adjustments left, right and center — not just from aftermarket stores like Hennessey Performance and Liberty Walk, but even from Dodge itself. The Challenger is currently on its Last Call (wink) and the upcoming electric version is unlikely to offer that much customization.
The Dodge Durango is the American brand’s more sensible, family-oriented, seven-seat SUV. It has a relatively good V6 and a more powerful V8, but also has an SRT version to give the daily commute an extra kick. Dodge then did the Dodge thing and stopped the hellcat into it, resulting in the fastest sports SUV in the world – in short.
The Durango is a comfortable vehicle and its supercharged V8 allows it to keep up with most supercars on the highway. Multiple companies have modified the Durango to produce around 1,000 horsepower, turning it from an already scary monster into a vicious beast. The Durango Hellcat returns one last time for the 2023 model year.
8/10 RAM 1500 Power Wagon
The RAM 1500 is one of the three most popular pickup trucks sold in the US, along with the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado. The RAM comes with a few different engine choices — but the best of the lot is the Power Wagon trim.
The Power Wagon is equipped with the 6.4-liter V8 from the Dodge Challenger and Charger Scat Packs, resulting in a little more growl when towing or carrying cargo in the bed. The most popular modifications include adding a lift kit and huge off-road tires to the truck, giving it a handling like few others.
7/10 Charger Hellcat
Like the Challenger, the Charger was reintroduced in the 2000s, but this time it had two more doors than the original from the 1960s. The Charger received more significant updates than the Challenger, receiving two extensive facelifts between 2005 and 2015. Like the Challenger, the Charger got the amazing hellcat V8.
The charger shares most of the Challenger’s powertrain and can get much the same power with the same modifications. Hennessey Performance offers their HPE850 and HPE1000 packages, making the Charger Hellcat a pretty fast competitor to the Bentley Flying Spur Speed - for less than half the money.
6/10 Magnum SRT
The Dodge Magnum was an interesting vehicle. Built on the same platform as the re-introduced Dodge Charger, the Magnum shared about 90% of the same parts – except for the longer roof and larger trunk. Dodge even sold an SRT model with the famed 6.1-liter HEMI V8 under the hood.
Like the Charger and its brother, the Chrysler 300C, the Magnum became a popular vehicle to modify because it looked great and drove great, but it could still swing the tail right out. While some of the tweaks – like scissor doors, hydraulics and massive sound systems – are a bit frowned upon, the performance upgrades available make it a fantastic sports car.
5/10 1969 Dart Swinger
The Dodge Dart – before becoming a front-wheel drive compact sedan based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta – was a smaller version of the massive Dodge Charger. It had the same size engines, including a 7.2-litre V8, but was seen as the more fuel-efficient option with its smaller Slant-6 straight-6 engines.
The Dart saw many owner modifications, including bolt-on superchargers, and has turned into quite a desirable pony car. The Swinger trim added some nicer interior and exterior parts that gave the car a more luxurious look – adding to its appeal. It is currently quite popular to restomodate the Dart, causing many vehicles to surpass the modern muscle cars.
4/10 1969 Charger R/T
The late 1960s Dodge Charger is probably the vehicle first thought of when mentioning the Dodge name. The Charger has been featured in multiple movies and TV shows over the decades, from the great bullitt and Dukes of Hazzard series to the climax end of the first Fast & Furious movie (and in most that followed).
The late 60s Charger saw some pretty amazing modifications including bullbars and superchargers and even got a carbon fiber body and the hellephant engine. There’s no doubt that the Charger will forever remain an icon – not just in the muscle car world, but throughout the automotive industry.
3/10 1969 Challenger R/T
The first generation Challenger was specifically designed to rival the Ford Mustang, even though it was a few years late. The Challenger, along with the Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, neatly divided pony car sales into three streams, resulting in the now famous “Big Three.”
Like the Charger, the Challenger has gone through many changes over the years, with owners eager to restore their own rides. More recently, the Challenger has gained a following after Richard Rawlings hellcat V8 in his Challenger R/T.
2/10 Neon SRT-4
The Dodge Neon really wasn’t the most exciting car ever in the auto industry. It had a relatively bland design and had one of the dullest steering wheels ever mounted on a production car.
However, this opinion changed when Dodge created the SRT-4 performance version, as it officially produced 230 hp and 245 lb.ft of torque, enough to rival the Chevrolet Cobalt SS. Independent testers found that the vehicle actually produced these numbers at the wheels, leading to speculation that it actually produced about 260 horsepower and 270 lb.ft. The SRT-4 can be easily modified to produce over 300 horsepower, resulting in a pretty awesome sports sedan for little money.
The RAM TRX is a behemoth of a truck. The TRX is currently the fastest and most powerful production pickup with an internal combustion engine and it constantly itches to be driven fast. The truck features the famous supercharged hellcat V8, which produces a ridiculous 702 horsepower and shoots the 6800 lb beast from 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds.
With such a sample available from the factory, what could even be done to modify it? Hennessey Performance answers this question with their Mammoth 900 and Mammoth 1000 packages, increasing the power to their respective package name amounts. A 1,000 horsepower, Baja-ready full-size pickup truck that seats four comfortably and has plenty of room for all their luggage? Where do we register?