The Terminator Cobra and the Challenger Hellcat are the Same Car, at Different Times

Back around 2003-04, the Ford SVT Cobra was the baddest muscle car on the road. Sporting a 390HP 4.6L Modular V8, this cobra was the baddest for its time. This SVT Cobra, unlike it’s past iterations, was special for one main reason. It was supercharged and that was birth to it’s code name, “Terminator.” Fast forward nine to ten years, Dodge in collaboration with its in house performance brand, SRT, spawned a Challenger with 707HP from a 6.2L Hemi V8. Like the Cobra, the Challenger sported a supercharger and a special name as well. The Challenger was named “Hellcat.” So, here we have two different cars, that mind you, are rivals that followed a similar formula and dominate the muscle car world. 

Like I mentioned previously, the Ford Mustang SVT Cobra “Terminator” put down 390 supercharged ponies. The 4.6L Modular V8 was built with a cast on block, 355 final drive and an Eaton roots style supercharger. Other performance add-ons include parts to handle the major power increase such as an aluminum flywheel, six-speed Tremac T-56 transmission and revised suspension components. The Terminator Cobra produces a 4.5 second 0-60 time, which was phenomenal for the time. In 2004, Ford and SVT introduced or should I say brought back, the Mystichrome color.

Fast-forward 11 years and the boys at SRT, decided to produce their own supercharged hyper-muscle car. The SRT Challenger boasted a 6.2L Hemi V8 which was modified for a supercharger. Normally, the SRT trim level featured a 6.4 L 392 “Apache” V8. The engine that was used in the Hellcat, was a 6.2L Hemi V8 boasting a supercharger. This combination pushes out 707HP. The engine, in conjunction with other performance parts that aided with the power increase, produced a 3.6 second 0-60 time and a 200mph top speed. The SRT Hellcat Challenger was so powerful, it required two key fobs, one for valet mode and the other for the full power.

So, after the history lesson, here’s the comparison between the Terminator Cobra and the Hellcat Challenger. Both, used supercharged V8s, which produced impressive horsepower numbers for their respective times. The 4.5 second 0-60 time for the Terminator Cobra was comparable to Ferraris and Aston Martins of the time. Granted, those cars were a bit faster or a bit more powerful, they were also a bit more expensive. The Terminator Cobra’s retail price was roughly $40k. As a matter fact, the Terminator Cobra 0-60 time is still respectable for today’s standards. For example, the 2016 Tesla Model S P90 does 0-60 in about 4.2 seconds.

The Hellcat Challenger’s 3.6 second 0-60 time is comparable to some Porsches and Ferraris of its time. The price difference is also similar in scale to that of the Terminator Cobra, which is roughly $70k. Cars that are comparable to the Hellcat Challenger end up being much more expensive. So both the Terminator Cobra and the Hellcat Challenger ran with cars that were twice as expensive.

Both the Terminator Cobra and Hellcat Challenger also are the epitomes of American Muscle. Even though, the old standard of American Muscle, as written in my “Is It Really a Muscle Car?” post, doesn’t involve supercharging, both vehicles are still epic straight-line performers. Both cars have 12 second quarter-mile times and have respectable handling, just remember that muscle cars are not built for the track.

It’s safe to say that both vehicles were giant killers. Outside of price and 0-60 times both, regardless of being muscle cars could perform on the track. The Hellcat Challenger runs a Nurburgring time comprable to the legendary Ferrari F50. While the Terminator Cobra was not a track monster, it’s handling was comparable to the Corvette Z06 and Dodge Viper ACR GTS of the time.

Needless to say, the Terminator Cobra and the Hellcat Challenger were basically, the same car between two different brands and two different fan clubs. The Mustang in general has it’s following and the Challenger has it’s following, but both fan clubs, have the same level of enthusiasm in their respective cars.

As far as comparing the two rides, the Hellcat Challenger has the advantage. Even with the valet key fob, the Hellcat Challenger has a 100HP advantage over the Terminator Cobra. On top of that, it accelerates slightly quicker. Even though this race would be kind of one-sided, with the Hellcat at full power, it would definitely be cool to see a stock Terminator Cobra versus a stock Hellcat Challenger. I will say this much, the Terminator Cobra has been known to be very powerful, once heavily modified. Swap out the Eaton supercharger for a Kenne Bell, among other modifications and the Terminator Cobra can easily reach an equivalent horsepower number. Not to mention, both rides would rip out epic burnouts and who can complain about that?

At the time of the Terminator Cobra, the muscle car war was on pause, leaving the Mustang (and its various iterations) as the sole pure American muscle car. That literally meant that the Terminator Cobra was directly compared to Corvettes and Vipers, not Camaros/Trans Ams and Challengers. The Hellcat Challenger, on the other hand, has to battle the Camaro ZL1 and the Mustang and it’s various iterations, along with Corvettes and the like. As a matter, fact the production of the Hellcat models aided in the Viper ceasing production.

Again, the Terminator Cobra and the Hellcat Challenger, we’re basically the same car or at least the same idea, but produced in different eras. The Terminator Cobra posted impressive numbers for it’s time. It was the most powerful, aspirated muscle car of its time. Fast-forward a few years and the Hellcat Challenger claimed that crown. Both cars were giant killers, in terms of price, performance, and cool factor. Lastly, both cars dominated their respective eras. Unfortunately, it would be hard to witness a battle between a stock Terminator Cobra and a stock Hellcat Challenger, due to being produced 11 years apart, but whoever can make that happen please do.


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