American Muscle: The 10 Fastest Dodge Cars
It’s impossible to talk about American performance cars without focusing on Dodge. Throughout its history, the brand has had an almost consuming obsession with performance — which has led to some of the most formidable muscle cars ever built.
In the 1950s, there was the Hemi-powered D-500, a preview of what was to come in the following decade. Then the ’60s arrived, and between all the high performance Chargers, Coronets, Darts, Daytonas, Super Bees, and Super Stock cars offered, the brand came to the forefront of the performance car movement. The ’70s brought the Challenger, the ’80s the Shelby GLH-S hot hatch; the ’90s gave us the Viper, and well, let’s just say Dodge has been very generous in the 21st century too.
So where do they all land? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the fastest Dodges have come from the past 17 years. But the list of all-time fastest is a little more varied that you might think. The outgoing Viper dominates the conversation; but then again, with performance that can compete with Lamborghini, BMW, Audi and even Ferrari, we wouldn’t expect anything less.
Excluding the concepts, one-offs, third party modified cars, and track-only racers, here are the ten fastest Dodges of all time, along with a look at the brands’ next act.
10. 2017 Charger SRT 392
The Hellcats may reign supreme in the Mopar hierarchy (for now), but the SRT 392 is anything but a consolation prize. With a 6.4 liter Hemi V8 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the brawny Charger makes due with 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for a top speed of 175 miles per hour, and a zero to 60 time of 4.3 seconds. Not bad for as sub-$50K family sedan.
9. 1996 Dodge Viper RT/10
It’s impossible to overstate the impact of the Dodge Viper on the automotive world in the early ’90s. Developed with help from Carroll Shelby, the Viper was a spiritual successor to the Cobra in almost every way, and was the most brutal performance car to come out of Detroit in decades. By its first refresh in 1996, the RT/10 cranked out 420 horsepower and 480 pound-feet from its massive 8.0 liter V10. Zero to 60 came in just 4.1 seconds — and if you didn’t treat the nose-heavy Viper with respect, that’s about how long it would take to send you spinning.
8. 1999 Viper GT2
The most exclusive Viper on this list, the GT2 is a street-legal version of the GTS-R, Dodge’s endurance racer that saw action in endurance races all over the U.S. and Europe, and won the FIA Manufacturer’s Championship in 1997 and ’98. With 100 roadworthy cars needed to meet homologation requirements, the GT2s were eagerly snapped up by racers and collectors alike. We can see why — on top of its iconic American racing livery, 460 horses and 500 pound-feet of torque got the GT2 from zero to 60 in four seconds flat.
7. 2010 Viper SRT 10
Moving right along the Viper evolutionary ladder, the fourth-generation car (now called Viper SRT 10) is the first vehicle on our list to crack the four second barrier on the zero to 60 run, clocking in at 3.9 seconds. The 8.4-liter V10 engine makes all the difference, cranking out 600 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. Despite its supercar performance, the Viper would take a two year hiatus after the 2010 model year.
6. 2010 Viper ACR
The ‘American Club Racer’ Viper further blended the line between track car and street car, boasting a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds. The ACR used the same 600 horse, 560 pound-feet 8.4-liter V10 as the standard Viper, but was aided by no-holds-barred aerodynamic and design tweaks to set it apart. Track-focused suspension modifications and a sizable carbon fiber spoiler helped too.
5. 1968 Dodge Dart LO23
It wouldn’t be right to leave off some classic-era muscle, though this may be one you may not have heard of. For 1968, Dodge partnered with Hurst to create the ultimate drag car. Using the already light Dart as a base, Dodge and Hurst replaced sheetmetal with a fiberglass hood and fenders, dipped the doors in acid to shave off precious grams, and used thin-gauge steel for bumpers.
Inside, everything from sound deadening to window cranks to heaters were thrown out, a 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 was dropped in, and the car, known internally as the LO23, was offered by the company to drag racers across the country. Rated at 425 horsepower (but probably putting out well over 550), the LO23 wasn’t advertised or listed in Dodge catalogs, and cost as much as a Corvette. With just 80 built, Dodge never released official numbers. But according to multiple sources, the cars could run the quarter mile in the low 10 second range, and could make the zero to 60 sprint in around 3.5 seconds. This one is being offered by Mecum Auctions. It’s expected to fetch over $250,000.
4. Challenger Hellcat
Two model years in, the Challenger Hellcat is still the fastest muscle car of all time, and there’s still nothing else quite like it. Thanks to its 6.2 liter supercharged V8 cranking out 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the Hellcat has a top speed of 199 miles per hour, and flies from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds. That time drops to 3.9 seconds if you opt for the six-speed manual transmission, but in our opinion, it’s worth it.
3. Charger Hellcat
As bonkers as the Challenger Hellcat is, it isn’t helped much by its blocky aerodynamics. The Charger Hellcat doesn’t have that problem; in fact, the 707 horse 6.2 liter mated to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic makes it the fastest sedan in the world. Top speed just barely bests its two-door cousin at 204 miles per hour, and zero to 60 comes in a lightning-quick 3.4 seconds.
2. SRT Viper
After 2017, the Viper will be no more. So it’s only appropriate that the final base car (if you can call it a base model) is one of the most powerful cars Dodge has ever built. The SRT Viper has a top speed of 206 miles per hour, and posts a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds. The V10 now makes 640 horsepower and 600 pound feet of torque, giving it the ability to run with some of most powerful cars in the world. We’re going to miss the Viper once it’s gone, but at least it’s going out doing what it does best.
1. 2014 SRT Viper TA
The TA is nothing less than the ultimate production Viper. The TA (or Time Attack) was Dodge’s final attempt at making the ultimate track-day car, and the company pulled it off beautifully. It makes the zero to 60 sprint in 3.2 seconds, a full tenth of a second faster than the SRT Viper and SRT Viper GTS. While it TA uses the same 8.4-liter V10 engine as those cars, some key aerodynamic and engineering tweaks give it that extra drop of performance. And with just 159 examples produced, it’s almost as exclusive as the ’90-era Viper GT2.
Bonus: 2018 Dodge Demon?
With the Viper now a thing of the past and Chevy and Ford now gunning for their own Hellcat fighters, what does Dodge’s performance future look like? Well, Demonic.
Based on the Challenger, the Demon is slated to be the ultimate Dodge performance car. The company is keeping a tight lid on the car (it’s slated to be unveiled in April), but current rumors point to 900 horsepower from a supercharged V8. If those turn out to be true, then the Demon could put the Viper TA to shame, and stay at the top of this list for a while.