Horsepower: 1,000 or 1,200 hpTop Speed: UnknownQuarter Mile: 9.14 seconds @ 152 mph (HPE1000)0-60: 1.9 seconds (HPE1000)Braking Distance: more than 97 ft
It’s easy to imagine John Hennessey, owner and founder of Hennessey Performance Engineering, performing multiple spit-takes when the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was announced at the 2017 New York Auto Show. Here was a car built from the ground up to be the fastest production drag racer ever made. Hennessey is a small custom tuner company that specializes in adding ludicrous horsepower to already ludicrously powerful cars.
It was, quite simply, a match made in heaven.
Shortly after Dodge made their big unveiling, Hennessey went to work. They’d already made several upgrade packages to the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat which brought the already powerful muscle car above the Demon’s 840 hp and 770 lb-ft of torque. Some might even say that Dodge was inspired to make the Demon based on Hennessey’s HPE850 Hellcat upgrade which brought the total power for the Hellcat up to 852 hp.
But making a better Demon wouldn’t be as simple as making a better Hellcat. Hennessey couldn’t just toss away a rickety old air induction system and replace it with one of their own to generate an extra hundred horses. Something of the Demon’s caliber required more drastic measures.
And when Hennessey gets drastic, it almost invariably means a supercharger that’s bigger than Idaho.
Hennessey actually makes two upgrade packages for the Demon: the HPE1000 and HPE1200. In keeping with Hennessey’s numbering conventions, the HPE1000 makes over 1,000 hp, while the HPE1200 makes over 1,200. The HPE1200 is still light on details, so most of our discussion will be limited to the HPE1000 upgrade, which is still plenty powerful.
Most of the car remains pretty much stock, with the same 315/40R18 Nitto NT05R drag radial tires and the same TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission you’d get by walking down to the Dodge dealer and asking for their finest Demon, if you please.
Where Hennessey starts to get frisky is in the engine. It’s the same 6.2-L HEMI V8 as it was born with, but the 2.7-L supercharger has been replaced by a 4.5-L version. Other upgrades include a new supercharger pulley, throttle body, stainless steel long tube headers, high-flow catalytic converters, high-flow fuel injectors, a high-flow air induction system, and a boost-a-pump fuel pump upgrade to keep up with the new fuel requirements.
Hennessey doesn’t bother posting the HPE1000’s fuel economy figures. You don’t buy a Demon for efficiency, and you don’t bring it to Hennessey unless you can pay the gas guzzler tax several times over.
Once all the mechanical work is done, Hennessey takes it to their test track for final calibration and engine tuning. From its original 840 hp and 770 lb-ft, the HPE1000 upgrade now gives the Demon 1,035 hp and 948 lb-ft of torque. From a quarter mile time of 9.65 seconds, the HPE1000 now does it in 9.14 seconds at a blistering 152 mph.
Zero to sixty is done in 1.9 seconds. That’s hypercar speeds. We don’t even know what the new top speed is--Hennessey has never tried to find out.
Although Hennessey is still calibrating the HPE1200 upgrade, we do know a few things. They recently posted a dyno test video showing the peak rear wheel power at 1,013 hp, while peak torque is 954 lb-ft. That’s a power loss of about 15% from the expected 1,200 engine horsepower, but it’s still an insane amount of power.
Quarter mile time is expected to be under 8 seconds. In order to be even remotely safe, Hennessey is fitting all HPE1200 upgrades with an NHRA legal roll cage and a parachute.
Despite the new power figures, Hennessey does nothing to improve the Demon’s brakes, which are 4-piston slotted Brembos. You’d think that something with hypercar amounts of power they’d want to give it hypercar amounts of control, but that’s never been Hennessey’s way.
Just as with the Demon’s top speed, we have no idea how long it takes for the HPE1000 upgrade to stop. One would imagine it to be longer than the standard model’s 97 feet, which means it could range from “decent” to "outright terrible".
From the test videos, the Demon’s adaptive damping suspension seems to hold up well in a straight line just as it was designed to do. Don’t even bother cornering--the Demon was never meant to turn at speeds over 60 mph, and to try might mean an amusing number of rolls followed by a not-so-amusing hospital bill.
On the outside, Hennessey adds some HPE1000 and 1200 badges, while on the inside there’s a serialized plaque and some Hennessey floor mats. The Texas-based tuner has a surprisingly light touch when it comes to the Demon, leaving most of the original badging and Demon logos as-is--a mark of respect for an already iconic car.
Getting your hands on one of Hennessey’s upgrades is a tricky proposition. Only 3,300 Demons were made, and Hennessey announced a production run of only 50 upgrade packages. We don’t know how many have already been sold or what their price is, but you can bet your next paycheque it’ll be well into the six figures including the $85,000 price of the Demon, and that’s if you can find a Demon still on the lot. Used Demons are selling for close to $150,000 on eBay.
All-in, the HPE1000 or HPE1200 is likely to be a $200,000 muscle car that can drag race like a hypercar. If all you want to do is go fast in a straight line, then this is the car for you. If you even want to think about turning the steering wheel without winding upside-down and on fire, a fancy Porsche or McLaren might be more your speed.