Michael Cole’s 8-Second Hellcat Is Surprisingly Stock
Words/Photos Rod Short
If cars have names meant to reflect their character, then you can expect that Michael Cole’s Hellcat is no pussycat. Yet when you hear that he’s closing in to breaking into the 8.50’s at the track with this car, you could say he’s raising more than just a little hell.
When Dodge brought back the Challenger in 2008, it helped open an all-new chapter in the muscle car wars that began in the 1960s. The cars got even sweeter with the SRT 392, the Hellcat, Hellcat Widebody and then the Demon.
With stock horsepower figures approaching 500 and then breaking 700 with the Hellcat, old school muscle was suddenly back in vogue.
Many new owners headed straight for the drag strip where groups such as Modern Street Hemi Shootout formed to provide a place where these cars could compete on equal footing. Of course, readers know that didn’t last long as power adders, race-prepped Powerglide and Liberty manual trannies began to be retro-fitted into these cars.
One person who didn’t follow the crowd was civil engineer David Cole who has been determined to see who could claim the quickest and fastest Hellcat – with a basically stock car. An 8.68 at nearly 162 mph gives him a legitimate claim to that title when photographed.
“We’re running out 2015 Hellcat within the original parameters of the factory Hellcat drivetrain,” he said in talking to us over the phone. “It still has the same 6.2L Hemi, crank, heads, blower and drivetrain with the A8 automatic and 2.62:1 rear gear. It even still has the factory ECM!”
“We push this stuff hard to find what the limits are. There’s no playbook and blueprint to follow with what we’re doing,” he continued. “It’s not the quickest currently, but our goal is to eventually get there.”
In true AFX fashion from 50 some years ago, Cole has done everything to optimize his Hellcat’s performance while staying with the original drivetrain. Smaller brakes, 15-inch racing rims, M/T radials, stronger rods/pistons, nitrous, E85, tweaks to the blower, an intercooler and – of course – some serious tuning wizardry. The application of these basic hot-rodding tweaks has seen a steady drop in times as Cole and his team get more time with the car.
“We push it, spin the blower too hard, throw too much nitrous in it and occasionally blow it up, but we’ve learned from breaking stuff,” Cole said candidly. “She’s a big, heavy girl and it runs too quick for what it is. Extreme Muscle Performance (EMP) in Freeport, NY, Swamp Yankee Performance and Kurt at Injected Engineering in Kennesaw, GA have helped tremendously through this process.
“We kinda don’t fit in anywhere and it’s been a magnet for haters,” he continued, “but it’s all been a lot of fun.”
That’s what it’s all about!