Tire Size in the Burnout Equation

By Christopher R. Phillip

Have muscle car tires changed that much over the last 50 years?

We sure think so.

To help us prove that point, we enlisted a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T hemi car and a 2017 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which we call the 1,000-plus horsepower HellScat.

You’d likely guess the HellScat has wider tires and you’d be right. 10-inches versus 8-inches on the classic.

What about tire height? The classic has 24-inch-tall tires. The modern Challenger has 26-inch-tall tires.

So how does tire-tread width influence the power to the rear wheels.

First the classic Challenger. Weighing in at 425 horsepower, the elephant Hemi engine has no problem breaking the tires loose in First and Second gear.

Now the HellScat … and this is where things get really crazy. Even with 10-inch wide drag radials, this king of the muscle cars will break loose the tires in all eight gears … and we’re not talking a little chirp. Put the pedal to the metal and this thing will fly.

Putting both these high performance Dodge Challengers in your garage is the next step, right?

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