Sublime Thunder Hellcat Challenger
In 2015, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat changed the modern muscle game in America. There was also a Charger offered but purists and collectors alike lined up to buy the thunderous new Challenger offering an unheard-of 707hp and quarter mile sprints in 10.85 seconds (in race trim).
Consider the competition. The 2015 Camaro ZL1’s 580hp and the 435hp of Ford’s Mustang GT were a car length behind the Hellcat in both numbers and dragstrip performance. Two and a half years later, the Hellcat has yet to be knocked of the performance perch here stateside.
For nearly half a century, muscle car mavens have been as fascinated with the Dodge and Plymouth’s factory color offerings as they have brute horsepower with Sublime Green and Plum Crazy purple leading the way. Count North Carolina’s Jeremy Tornow (@sublimethundercat) among the Sublime supporters.
He first saw a Sublime Challenger in his new neighborhood and immediately texted a picture of it to his fiancé. He figured it was out of his price range but knew he would eventually own one. But things accelerated faster than he thought once he went to work for a local Hendrick Automotive dealership. Every day he would stare at a long row of TorRed, Sublime and Plum Crazy Hellcat’s and Scat Pack’s. Six weeks later, he and his bride-to-be extended themselves on a Sublime SRT 392 with three pedals. A mere four hours later he was pulled over by the local sheriff after a stop light sprint and a few drifts. He got off with just a warning.
A year later, a Sublime Hellcat was traded in at the dealership with 20k on the clock. It didn’t have a sunroof and it had red seatbelts; two options Jeremy longed for. After his manager parked the 6k-mile ‘Cat directly in front of his office window, he traded into it the very next day. Tires have been frying ever since.
The mod bug hits about 95% of new performance car owners, especially when they spend nights and weekends on forums. While Jeremy isn’t one of the 5% who leave them stock, he doesn’t see a need to substantially “enhance” a 707hp factory beast though subtle tweaks can go a long way.
“The mods are mostly visual with a slight nod towards performance,” he said. “The first thing I ever did was to have the wheels on my original 392 powder coated in a Matte Graphite Grey. I transferred the wheels over, replacing the black option common on Hellcats. Eibach springs allow for a 1.2” lower ride which greatly improves the overall poise of the car while still allowing for the active suspension adjustments. The clutch has been upgraded to the McLeod RXT 1200 which feels much more solid than stock. Power Stop Z26 carbon ceramic brake pads were installed since the stock pads would turn the wheels brown in a matter of hours! My burnout machine ate up the stock Pirelli tires in a matter of months so I’ve gone up in size from 275 to a 295 Nitto NT555 for a noticeable upgrade in grip. Cosmetically, I de-badged the front and rear, added window and side marker tint, added hash fender stripes and a classic Challenger script emblem between the taillights to round out the look.” Not many people would notice the upgrades but Mopar aficionados nod with approval and regularly ask him his approach when parked at local car shows and cruise nights.
The next mod will most likely be to three piece forged wheels but he insists he’s a fan of the factory 20’s while he searches for the new rolling stock.
After nine months of ownership and plenty of spirited drives with the “red” key fob (unleashing the car’s max potential) Jeremy has run 7.7 eighth-mile times on pump gas and street tires but will be back to run with a few upgrades coming soon.
Jeremy’s two-year Sublime journey has been fun and rewarding. His Dodge allegiance now runs deeper than ever. From here, his bond with his Hellcat will only deepen. “I’ve always loved muscle cars and my favorite color has always been green” he said. “Dodge stayed true to the heritage with this car, and it is truly the king of the street. The updates they made to the 2015 model pushed it over the edge for me and I truly do love this car. It’s also crazy fast so I really have no complaints. Well, actually just one… Auto up windows, we all want them, come on Dodge!!!”
Photos courtesy of Ian McDonald