January 20, 2016, 9:30 PM
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has enlisted the help of high-school students to design the next SRT Hellcat, which on one hand may seem terribly dismissive of the high-performance model but on the other makes perfect sense because the students probably represent the next generation of Hellcat buyers.
The Grade 10-12 students were charged by FCA with designing the new Hellcat for the year 2025, which leads us to believe the model may take on its own persona in the next generation. Currently, Hellcat is an engine designation — for the supercharged 6.2-litre V-8, which is a kinda mash-up of the 6.4-litre Hemi and 5.7-litre V-8s —that is currently fitted in Dodge full-size cars (Challenger coupe and Charger sedan) and will reportedly also be fitted in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
However, in the FCA US Drive for Design contest, the students were challenged to “design a Dodge SRT Hellcat for the year 2025.” Although that doesn’t particularly single out Hellcat as its own model, it is an interesting broad request. Still, the current Hellcats don’t have their own special design, but are rather model designations based on their engines. They don’t look basically any different than their more docile stablemates.
“The Drive for Design contest continues to be a great way for the FCA US Design team to connect with students that show an interest in art and design,” said Mark Trostle – Head of Dodge and SRT Design, FCA US LLC. “We always look forward to seeing each student’s creative perspective and hope to inspire them to explore automotive design as a potential career.”
Of interest is that only one of the designs depicted a 4-door sedan. And, it was also chosen as the top entry. It was penned by Ben Treinen from Cincinnati’s Archbishop Moeller High School.
The other three designs all took the form of 2-door coupes, all heavily skewed toward apparent racing applications. The second place design was submitted by Harrison Kunselman of Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, Georgia. It depicts a racing coupe with a high rear wing and the engine mounted midship behind the (presumably 2-seat) cabin.
Hwanseong Jang from Bloomfield Hills High School in Michigan submitted a 2-door design that is less apparent as a racing model but still features bodywork that could be better suited to the race track, with sculpted rear haunches that has the look of an open wheeled racer. It is the only design to not feature the signature Dodge crosshairs nose.
Fourth place was claimed by Andrew Gombac of Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. The sketch also features 2-door bodystyle with a high rear wing that looks to be mounted on the back of the roof, rather than the rear bodywork. It also has a neat take on the crosshairs nose, with moulded bodywork rather than the current presentation of a grille.
The four will be presented with their prizes (a 3-week summer course at the Detroit’s College for Creative Studies; a 3-day getaway to FCA’s Auburn Hills Tech centre; Autorama passes and Apple products, among them) at the 2016 version of the annual Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama that takes place at Detroit’s Cobo Centre at the end of February. The sketches will be displayed in Mopar booth during the weekend of the show.
This marked the fourth time FCA has partnered with Autorama in staging the design contest, which in its first two years was limited to Detroit area students but was opened up to high-schoolers across the U.S. in 2014.
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