To find out, the company came together on December 15, 2017, at the Continental Tire Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. If that name sounds familiar that’s because it’s the same location where HPE ran its first Mustang to a top speed of over 200+ mph (207.9 mph to be exact) with Jay Leno behind the wheel in 2015. Later it was the location of a similar top-speed run, though with a heavily Hennessey Performance-modified sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro, which achieved 202 mph in 2016.
With this attempt of finding exactly how fast a Christmas tree can go, they simply took one of the fastest production vehicles on sale today: a bone-stock 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody. Then, they strapped a large Douglas Fir to the top, and set off.
Before we get to the answer, as a refresher, the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody ain’t no ordinary Challenger. It’s the second most powerful Challenger ever behind the 808 horsepower SRT Hellcat Demon, with a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8, serving up over 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated solely to a Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual or an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic. The result is a 0-60 time of just 3.4 seconds. More importantly however, is its 195-mph top speed. Do a standing quarter-mile run, and a Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody will gobble it up in just 10.9 seconds.
So how fast can a Christmas tree travel when it’s strapped to the top of a Challenger Hellcat? Well, it seems the fastest they were able to get it at the proving grounds was 174 mph before running out of room. Without the tree, the Challenger Hellcat only achieved a top speed of 177 mph. Both turns were with Brian Smith at the wheel, Ford Performance Racing School’s director and the man responsible for achieving the world’s fastest convertible top speed of 265 mph in a Venom GT.
It appears sticking a tree on your roof really affects the vehicles dynamics, being the lead cause of the four mph deficit from the trial runs.
But either way, if you just realized that you forgot to actually pickup a Christmas tree for your holiday celebrations, give Hennessey a call. They might be able to rush one to you.