Holley Rendered Rides: Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Ute

06/07/2022

Holley Rendered Rides: Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Ute

06/07/2022

Ever since the famed Charger nameplate returned for the 2005 model year, Dodge has been giving its muscle sedan updates and tweaks to keep gearheads and shoppers happy. Despite the cries of critics who are quick to point out the age of the Charger's bones and the "two doors too many" crowd who believe the Dodge Charger died in 1974 and refuse to concede otherwise, the late-model example has been one of the two halo cars for the brand, standing side-by-side the Challenger coupe as a bastion of internal-combustion prowess for the enthusiast masses.


Hellcat ute nose


The current generation (body code LD) has been around since late 2015 and, in Hellcat trim, is the one that comes with the absolute hammer of an engine that is the 6.2L, supercharged Hellcat V8 under the hood. 376 cubic inches crank out at least 707 horsepower and 650 ft-lbs of torque at the ready, with even more powerful Jailbreak variants laying down a blistering 807 horsepower. Add to it monster brakes, some wide and sticky rubber at all four corners, and one of the best automatics in the business in the form of the ZF 8-speed, and you wind up with a beast of a car that can either turn the tires into a rolling fog bank at a moment's notice, or cruise down the Interstate with the engine barely taching above idle. If there is a problem with the Charger/Challenger twins, however, it falls to lack of options when it comes to a body style. You either take a two-door that brings you back to 1970 in all of the right ways, or you have a four-door sedan that can easily haul four adults around, no problem. We lament the passing of the Dodge Magnum, the LX-platform wagon that was produced from 2005-2008, but there's another body style we wanted to look at: the coupe utility, or "ute".


Hellcat Ute side profile


The coupe utility is a product of Australia. The story of how they came to be is legend: a farmer's wife wrote to Ford Australia in 1932, asking for "a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays." Ford Australia designer Lewis Bandt drew up the design and by 1934, the vehicles were in production. Australians loved them, and bought them up until Ford Australia and Holden closed their doors toward the end of the 2010s. In America, utes started to gain traction in the late 1950s with the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino. Mopar really never gave coupe utilities much thought for the North American market. While Valiant coupes (a distant cousin of the Dodge Dart) existed in Australia, the Omni-based Dodge Rampage and brand cousin, Plymouth Scamp, barely made an impact in the early 1980s and were gone in just a couple of years. A small, economical front-drive ute just wasn't going to sell to American consumers.


Hellcat ute passenger rear 3/4


But what about a Hellcat Charger ute? We asked Rotislav Prokop to design a Charger-based machine that even die-hard Aussie-only types would be hard-pressed to be against. A Hellcat Charger ute would go up against Australia's best powerhouse units like the HSV Maloo and the Ford Falcon XR8 with zero embarrassment. The wide front seats are perfect for long stints behind the wheel and there is plenty of room between the Charger's B-pillar and taillights for a useable bed...er, "tray"...for items to be stashed. Add in tie-down points and cover everything with a tonneau cover if you want, or leave the whole deal open with a roll bar/headache rack and LED lights. Leave the interior as nice as any Charger is, and put your tools, gear, parts or whatever in the back. The lower center of gravity and overall smaller profile will keep the Charger's hot rod car feel intact...not even the wild Dodge Ram SRT-10 will feel as car-like as this ute. And, if you insist on fuel economy, there's a whole plethora of engine options including the stalwart Pentastar V6 if you're of the more practical persuasion.


MoParty 2021 Super Bee Ute

This Dodge Charger Super Bee is a Smyth Kit Cars ute conversion. The rear window is from a Chevrolet Colorado, the tailgate is a Ford piece and the tail lights come from a Dodge Caravan.


How likely is it that this could be done? Well...it's already been done with the 2005-2010 Dodge Charger. Smyth Kit Cars has been selling a ute conversion package for the 2006-2010 Dodge Charger for years now, and we've seen them in person at shows...they are well-executed. Additionally, Smyth are moving on to the 2011-current Charger body, so if you are interested in actually making a car like this a reality, you can. We know that the 2011-up conversion kit will look fairly similar to what you see in the Super Bee build (above), with the Grand Caravan lights and the overall shape of the kit. But we think that there has to be a way to keep the current Charger's racetrack-styled rear light setup and overall shape. Either way, we aren't going to say no. What about you?


hellcat ute driver 3/4 rear


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