Lotus produces lightweight cars. Bugatti makes hypercars. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, however, manufactures some of the weirdest models in the automotive industry.
And we mean that as a compliment.
Many often assume a car that’s unusual and doesn’t have any direct competitors isn’t worth building, but since the pre-Fiat days, Chrysler marques have proved that’s not the case. In fact, FCA brands have shown if a manufacturer knows who will buy the car, and knows how to sell to those consumers, uncommon cars often can drum up the most interest among enthusiasts.
These seven models prove FCA is better than most other automakers at making unusual vehicles that have their own unique charm:
Dodge Ram SRT-10
Before Ram Trucks was a standalone brand, Dodge made a variant of the 1500 that was unlike anything that came before it. The SRT-10 gets its name from the number of cylinders hiding beneath that scoop-laden hood, as Dodge fitted it with the 8.3-liter V-10 from a Viper.
Unfortunately, because V-10 engines aren’t in high demand, Dodge has discontinued the Viper, so we might never see another pickup quite as insane as this.
Dodge Rampage 2.2
The Rampage is at the complete opposite end of the truck spectrum compared to the SRT-10. It was made to compete with the pickup version of the Volkswagen Rabbit — now Golf — so the Rampage was a front-wheel-drive compact with a bed instead of a trunk.
The original might not have been easy on the eyes, but given how aggressive modern Dodges look, a revival of the Rampage would have people busting down doors to get their hands on one.
Dodge Charger Daytona/Plymouth Superbird
Known as the “wing cars” — for obvious reasons — the Charger Daytona and Superbird are legendary. They were some of the first cars in NASCAR designed with an emphasis on aerodynamics. As a result, they dominated, and subsequently were banned after one season.
Dodge Durango SRT
Dodge blew us away when it debuted the Durango Shaker concept at SEMA Show, but we were astounded when it announced it would begin selling the Durnago SRT in model year 2018.
Most manufacturers choose only to make performance versions of their midsize SUVs, for the same reason most boat races aren’t contested using yachts. But as we said, Dodge is a bit different.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Jeep already had a performance-oriented Grand Cherokee in the SRT, but apparently it thought 475 horsepower wasn’t enough for the midsize SUV. So, at the New York International Auto Show, Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which produces an absurd 707 horsepower, 232 more than you get in the SRT.
Dodge Challenger/Charger SRT Hellcat
The cars that used that 707-horsepower 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 in the Trackhawk are even more mind-boggling than their Jeep-branded cousin. That’s because, whereas the Grand Cherokee sends that power through all four wheels, both the Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat put it to the ground through their rear tires.
Their satanic nameplates are apt, but these beasts can’t hold a candle to FCA’s most ridiculous creation yet.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Only a company that is as adept at making odd vehicles as FCA is would even entertain the idea of making a road-legal dragster. But it did more than that, and in 2018 it will actually sell 3,000 of these 804-horsepower muscle cars to customers in the United States.
All photos via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles