We are approaching an inauspicious anniversary: almost a year ago, on April 1, 2021, the internet was flooded with fake news about SRT’s latest creation: the SRT Ghoul. Mopar fans following the current crop of Hemi engines LX/LC Chassis cars have had plenty of reason to be happy in recent years with cars like the Packet of droppings, Hellcat, Devil, Red eyes, Ram TRX, Jeep Trackhawk, Durango Hellcatand Dodge Super Stock. What more could you ask for from a company that has offered no fewer than 10 sub-$100,000 models with over 700 horsepower over the past eight years? Apparently, you can also want one with 1,000 hp, and that wish might even be granted, although it won’t be called the SRT Ghoul.
Much has been said recently about Dodge’s very public transition from internal combustion technology to sustainable EV technology. the return of the Fratzog logo was the first shot through the bow, and no one disputes that the Dodge promo video published here was the division’s first step in ushering its performance fans into the new era of electric vehicles with the promise of guilt-free performance, if you don’t count tire smoke emissions. The plan seems to be working, but the task Dodge faces in executing this 180-degree turn won’t be easy. He will need to ensure the smooth operation and profitability of the ICE performance vehicle pipeline while orchestrating a major change in design and manufacturing behind the scenes, in time for the next generation of stunning performance vehicles in 2024.
Plea for a 1,000 horsepower Dodge SRT Ghoul
As ridiculous as a 1,000 horsepower Dodge SRT Ghoul might sound to outsiders, it’s accessible to anyone in the know, and that includes HOT ROD readers. With Dodge’s current crop of 700- and 800-horsepower overkill, it just doesn’t make sense to stop now, given that 1,000-hp EVs are waiting in the wings. The new generation of EVs will be fast and expensive, but to bridge the gap, a powerful ICE/EV hybrid in the 1,000hp range could be an influential tool to win over older and more affluent Dodge fans of the new era, and simultaneously win a new generation of cutting-edge gearboxes.
What is an SRT ghoul?
The SRT Ghoul isn’t a real car any more than an SRT Ghoul is currently on the drawing board at Dodge. That’s the bad news. the Ghoul SRT is a 100% fabrication imagined by Jay Traugott, writer at carbuzz.comas a parody of April Fool’s 2021. We love a good April Fool’s joke, but carbuzz.com really knocked this one out of the park as it was picked up and amplified by DodgeCarUSA.comand dealers like Kendall Dodge and Dodge Briggs. (These stories are complete fiction, but totally fun if you know it.) SRT Ghoul is now one of the most searched topics and it doesn’t even exist. That said, could there be a grain of truth that something similar might be in sight? We think given Dodge’s future direction, the answer is probably yes.
All of the rumors surrounding the SRT Ghoul center around the fact that it’s powered by a 1,000 horsepower Hemi – by most accounts, Hemi would be the 1,000-hp Hellephant 426ci crate engine. This, however, is highly unlikely as this engine was designed for the aftermarket and is too dirty to pass federal emission standards today, let alone two years from now.
Nevertheless, Dodge has come considerably closer to the 840hp Demon, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine Dodge mixing its new EV technology (single motor driving one axle, producing 300hp) with the outgoing 717hp Hellcat Hemi for increase the total power up to 1000 hp. Suddenly it would do what Dodge President Tim Kuniskis clearly wanted to do from day one: to merge divergent legacy customers with younger fans of EV technology into a single product channel.
Is it the SRT Ghoul or the SRT Daytona?
If we take the 1,000 horsepower bogey for granted – and what gearhead wouldn’t? – we also have to take into account everything that comes with a 1,000 horsepower car, and that includes aerodynamics. Big power means big speed, and when you step into the thin air of 1,000 horsepower automobiles you can count on huge tires and gigantic brakes, but it’s the aero that provides the tantalizing possibility that we can see the return of Dodge Daytona-the real Daytona, not another sticker pack. That means having a wind-tunnel-tested nose and a rear spoiler big enough to make the neon-scalloped Honda Civics blush with envy.
The original 1969 Dodge Daytona was designed to win NASCARwhich he did easily before being handicapped by Bill France, who forced Mopar stock car teams to use a ridiculously small 305ci wedge instead of his born with 426ci Hemi. Today, no one seems to care that the Daytona was a one-year-old wonder. In fact, you’d half-expect any new Daytona to be exactly that: a one-year-old wonder. By coming full circle with a special-edition 1,000-horsepower Dodge Daytona Hybrid in the Hemi’s final year of production in 2024, Dodge could cement its performance reputation with two bookends in a car: a landmark bookend the end of the ICE era and another marking the beginning of the electric vehicle era.
SRT Ghoul: the end of the grid
A street-legal 1,000-horsepower production car is a laudable goal for Dodge, and more interestingly, it remains within Dodge’s reach. If you do a simple thought experiment and imagine what it would take to bring a 1,000 hp car to market for less than $100,000, you quickly come to three conclusions: it must have additional EV technology to reach 1,000 hp while remaining clean enough for Federal certification; it must have serious aerodynamics; and these aerodynamics will have to be of the static type and not active for cost reasons. Add those three things together and you have an SRT Ghoul that looks remarkably like a Widebody Redeye Challenger with a Daytona nose and fender.
First, the SRT Ghoul will lose the grille. The world of electric cars is a world without massive drag-inducing grilles in front of giant drag-inducing radiators. As the Fratzog video has already revealed, the new Dodge EV will have a toothless face, and anything that gets the hot rodder to accept grilleless cars a bit sooner will help. It turns out that the iconic 1969 Dodge Daytona didn’t have a visible grille, although it had plenty of cooling capacity and a ton of instant recognition. A Daytona-style nose (or the most aesthetic super bird nose) would help with that public transition into what could be a high-visibility halo car.
Second, stick this sucker to the ground. If you’re arguing a 1,000 horsepower car, you necessarily have to have it stick to the curb. Anyone with flat feet on a 707-hp Hellcat past the 100-mph mark in Track mode knows the tires are on fire like crazy, and that’s wasted rubber and horsepower. At 1,000hp, aero is more than a fashion statement, it’s key to surviving a drive-through and making your next car payment. The only way to get past that 200mph aero wall is to get more tire bite with downforce through spoilers, gaiters, splitters and fenders. Once again, the 1969 Dodge Daytona not only has the technical solution, but also the powerful heritage that will call all Mopar fans home. Look for the SRT Ghoul to get the The Great Wing of Daytonacantilevered backwards for maximum downforce and well elevated in the clean air above.
Is the SRT Ghoul a real thing?
While SRT Ghoul started out as a joke, there’s nothing funny about the tens of thousands of “SRT Ghoul” search queries that hit the internet each month. What started as a prank instigated by an automotive journalist barricaded in his home by the COVID pandemic may have taken on a life of its own. We give the 1,000-hp Dodge more than a 50/50 chance of happening, though that’s more than we can say for the name. While “SRT Ghoul” makes the search easier (a wise move for carbuzz.com), Dodge’s 1,000-horsepower recall would almost certainly be called the SRT Daytona, given the high probability of its aerodynamic appearance. As it happens, Heide Performance Products (HPP) designed and released a Daytona body kit for the Dodge Challenger in 2009 which we reported on here, photos of which we show in this story for comparison. Dodge is unlikely to release an all-new ICE-powered car for a model year, so if the SRT Ghoul (aka Daytona) does happen it would be on the existing LX/LC platform and take the general shape of a Charger (less likely) or Challenger (more likely). In this case, it wouldn’t stray from the HPP design pictured above, but would have the widebody treatment of today’s cars.
Look! 1969 Dodge Daytona Road Trip
Want to see a 1969 Dodge Daytona in action? Then watch this 2017 video of host Mike Musto setting off on an epic road trip across the United States, en route to Roadkill Nights and the Woodward Dream Cruise, where Musto and the Battle of Daytona crash, encounter d other Mopar enthusiasts and go head-to-head with David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan in front of a crowd of 35,000 people!