These 7 American Cars are more capable than a Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye and cost lessby Dim Angelov, on
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is, without a doubt, a very quick representative of the modern American muscle car. Its 6.2-liter, supercharged, pushrod V-8 puts out 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet (959 Nm) of torque. That said, when it comes to American performance and muscle cars, there are others that match or even surpass the Hellcat Redeye’s performance capabilities and at a lower cost too.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (2013-2014)
Although the new, 2021 Shelby GT500 can also compete with the mighty MOPAR, it actually costs slightly more, at $72,900 versus Redeye’s $72,295. Of course, the difference is insignificant, but it’s still there. That said, the 2013 Shelby GT500 is a bit easier on the wallet, since they start at around $49,000 on the used market with very low mileage.
With the previous GT500, you get the 5.8-liter, “Trinity”, supercharged V-8, which pumps out 665 horsepower and 631 pound-feet (855 Nm).
Unlike the new GT500, you get a six-speed manual gearbox. Back in 2013, it was the only option for the GT500.
Although the engine tends to overpower the chassis, the car is still capable of impressive figures. If (that’s a big “if”) you get it right, the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint happens in 3.5 seconds. Meanwhile, the GT500 is also capable of over 200 mph (322 km/h).
|0 to 60 mph||3.5 seconds|
|Top Speed||200 mph|
Read our full review on the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR-1 (2009-2013)
Say what you will about the interior of the Corvette C6 ZR-1, but there’s no denying it’s a quick car.
Its 6.2-liter supercharged LS9 engine, codenamed “Blue Devil”, is capable of 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet (819 Nm), out the box.
Thanks to incredibly long gearing the car is capable of reaching 60 mph (97 km/h) in first gear and in just 3.3 seconds. As was the case with the GT500, the C6 ZR-1 only came with a six-speed manual.
The Corvette C6 has always been among the lightest cars in comparison tests and even the ZR-1 weighs in at 3,349 pounds (1,519 kg). The car is also capable of 206 mph (330 km/h). Although they are still far from attainable to most people, clean examples can be found for around $65,000. This makes the C6 ZR-1 one of the most (if not the most) attainable cars with over 600 horsepower.
|Engine||6.2-liter supercharged LS9|
|0 to 60 mph||3.3 seconds|
|Top Speed||206 mph|
Read our full review on the Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR-1
Ford Mustang RTR Spec 3 (2018-present)
The S550 generation of the Ford Mustang brought many changes to the iconic Pony car and also made it a global model. This also meant a design that was less American for some. Regardless, the car still had the most important ingredient – a V-8. The 5.0 now develops 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet (569 Nm), which is not enough to run with the Hellcat Redeye. Luckily, there are plenty of companies that can change that, while retaining the total cost under that of the Redeye. RTR is one of them and their Spec 3 treatment turns the already quick Mustang GT into a MOPAR slayer.
All you need is a Mustang GT, which starts from $36,120, go to RTR and spend another $21,000 for their Spec 3 package.
The package includes a lot of exterior and interior upgrades, but most importantly, it pumps the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 up to 750 horsepower and 670 pound-feet (908 Nm). This means that the Mustang is now capable of reaching 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds.
The Supercharger kit is actually developed by ROUSH, which also offers a similar treatment for the Mustang GT. All parts of the RTR package have been track-tested by Drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. Moreover, the RTR Mustang Spec 3 will set you back “just” $57,120, which is over $15,000 less than what a brand new Hellcat Redeye costs.
|Engine||5.0-liter Coyote V-8|
|0 to 60 mph||3.6 seconds|
Read our full review on the Ford Mustang RTR Spec 3
Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06 (2014-2019)
The C7 Corvette is considered the peak of front-engine Corvettes. With the new C8 being mid-engine and way quicker, pound for pound, C7 prices are expected to drop. That said, the C7 Z06 still holds firm at around $70,000 with some examples close to $80,000.
The C7 Z06 is equipped with the LT4 engine, which is a 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 659 horsepower and 650 pound-feet (881 Nm) thanks to a 1.7-liter Eaton R1740 TVS supercharger.
Back when it was on sale, the C7 Corvette Z06 could be had with three different levels. Although the C7 Z06 is capable of over 200 mph (322 km/h), it only manages 185 mph (298 km/h), with the Level 3 aero package, due to the amount of downforce generated.
Regardless, the last front-engine “Vette” Z06 is capable of hitting 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 3.1 seconds. The C7 is also the last generation of the Corvette, which gives you more than one gearbox to choose from – a seven-speed manual or GM’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.
|0 to 60 mph||3.1 seconds|
|Top Speed||185 mph|
Read our full review on the Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06
Dodge Viper SRT-10 (2008-2010)
The Dodge Viper production came to an end after five generations in August, 2017. From the beginning, the Viper got a reputation for being a widowmaker, but it is the fourth generation, in particular, that fits our list. While prices have sky-rocketed over the past few years, the roadster version has remained relatively affordable.
You can still find good examples for under $60,000 and you will be rewarded with one of the most visceral driving experiences you could get from a car.
No forced induction here, just massive displacement. The Viper’s 8.4-liter, naturally aspirated, pushrod, V-10 is as simple as it is potent. In the fourth-generation Viper, it develops 603 horsepower and 560 pound-feet (759 Nm), most of which you get from idle. All that fury is sent to the rear wheels through a robust Tremec six-speed manual gearbox. If (once again, a big “if) you get it right, 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) can happen in as little as 3.4 seconds. Flat out, the venomous snake will reach 202 mph (325 km/h).
|Transmission||Tremec six-speed manual|
|0 to 60 mph||3.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||202 mph|
Read our full review on the Dodge Viper SRT-10
Ford Mustang ROUSH Stage 3 (2018-present)
Earlier, we mentioned that the RTR Mustang’s performance parts are developed by ROUSH – the outfit behind Ford’s NASCAR racers. ROUSH will sell you the same TVS supercharger kit, but with their own suspension, exterior, and interior modifications. As with the RTR Spec 3, the ROUSH Stage 3 bumps power up to 750 horsepower and 670 pound-feet (908 Nm).
As before 0 to 60 mph happens in 3.6 seconds, while the quarter-mile time is 11.2 seconds. The ROUSH Mustang is also capable of 1.07 g lateral acceleration. The ROUSH modifications come with a five-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and a three-year/36,000-mile body warranty.
ROUSH also gives you a custom leather interior new body kit for improved aerodynamics and heat dissipation, lightweight wheels, and a set of stripes on the sides. The ROUSH treatment goes above and beyond, which is why they are asking $24,995. With the car include, it all comes to $61,115.
|0 to 60 mph||3.6 seconds|
Read our full review on the Ford Mustang ROUSH Stage 3
Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray (2020-present)
The C8 Corvette doesn’t need an introduction. It’s the first mid-engine Corvette to enter into production and although we are still waiting for more hardcore versions like a Z06 or a ZR-1, the C8 has already proven to be an immensely capable platform. Its 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 engine is the most rev-happy pushrod engine currently on sale. It makes its peak power of 495 horsepower at 7,600 RPM, while peak torque is 470 pound-feet (637 Nm).
You no longer get the option of a manual, but all is forgiven since the eight-speed DCT automatic helps the car reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 2.9 seconds. Moreover, the C8 Corvette starts at $59,995, which is almost unreal in this day and age. This effectively makes the C8 Corvette the fastest mid-engine car that can reach 60 mph in under 3.0 seconds. Moreover, cars like Emilia Hartford’s “orange beast” prove that the platform is capable of way more.
|Engine||6.2-liter LT2 V-8|
|Transmission||eight-speed DCT automatic|
|0 to 60 mph||2.9 seconds|
|Top Speed||194 mph|
Read our full review on the Chevrolet Corvette C8 Stingray