Hemi-Swapped 1971 Challenger Has The Looks, But 2022 Hellcat Has It By The Balls
The 2022 Dodge Challenger is one of the hottest performance cars on the planet, as evidenced by thieves’ obsession with trying to steal them.
But the third-generation pony car owes much of its style and muscle car character to the original Dodge Challenger built between 1970 and 1974. Obviously the fastest factory version of the new car will run rings around a stock example of the original when it comes to accelerating, braking and cornering, but what happens when you even the fight by giving the old timer a restomod makeover and a more modern Hemi V8?
The RestoMods YouTube channel lined up a freshly updated 1971 Challenger and its 2022 equivalent to find out, and from the moment the video opens it’s a tough call to say which car looks hotter. Both look equally evil in their black coats and although the new car’s bulging hood scoops and fenders make the original car’s look small by comparison, you can’t help but drool over the vintage model’s tighter lines or the way its aftermarket rims fill the arches.
And it’s not all for show. The ’71 machine has been treated to a Hotchkiss suspension, four-wheel disc brakes with Wilwood six-piston calipers up-front, modern air conditioning and a Silversport overdrive transmission to make sure it drives and feels like a much newer car. But in this battle it’s still fighting with one torsion bar behind its back because even with a new-ish 5.7-liter Hemi V8 under the hood it’s giving away a ton of horsepower to the 2022 car.
The 5.7-liter version of the third-generation Hemi has been available with various different power outputs since its launch in 2003 ranging from 345 hp (350 PS) to just under 400 hp (406 PS). That kind of muscle should make the original car pretty rapid, and it will have a weight advantage over the 2022 car.
But that advantage is more than compensated for by the supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat’s 717 hp (727 PS), as we see when the two cars are finally lined up on and runway and let loose. The original Challenger actually gets a good launch in each race and takes a decent lead over its modern namesake for the first few yards, but the Hellcat quickly reels its ancestor in and disappears into the distance.
Which would you take if you could only have one?