Feeding 840 Hungry Horses: Re-Imagining the Air-Grabber™ Hood Scoop

One of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT® Demon’s most striking visual cues is its massive hood scoop — the largest functional hood scoop opening offered on any production car. Positioned optimally near the leading edge of the hood, its purpose is to direct cool, dense outside air to the HEMI® engine’s 2.7-liter supercharger.  


We talked with Demon development engineer Jim Wilder to discover how the menacing scoop came into existence. He told us, “The guys responsible for the actual design are Mark Trostle and Nicho Vardis. These guys have a styling sensibility that’s respectful to great Dodge styling efforts from the past. We agreed that the hood had to make a statement and still be very functional. It had to be bold and aggressive but adhere to government regulations pertaining to outward visibility and pedestrian safety. One day Nicho said, ‘You need to come look at this thing.’ It was his rendering of what the 1968 HEMI Dart hood scoop would look like on the Demon. He managed to merge the angular, geometric lines of the original fiberglass ‘dust pan’ Super Stock scoop into the Challenger’s organic curves.”  


Back in 1968, the original scoop design was conjured to direct as much outside air as possible into the 426 Race HEMI engine’s cross-ram intake manifold and twin Holley carburetors. Constructed of fiberglass and bolted to a lightweight fiberglass replica of the Dart hood, the scoop was an instant hit. Numerous aftermarket copycats emerged and bolt-on HEMI Dart hood scoops became a must-have item among air-hungry drag racers and late-night street brawlers of every make.  


For this Demon 50 years later, aluminum material replaces the warp-prone fiberglass, and to appease driver sight-line regulations, the nearly 10-inch height was reduced. But thanks to wind tunnel validation, the end result succeeds in grabbing more air, thus the name: Air-Grabber.  


Taking things even further, the fabled Air-Catcher inlet duct first seen on the driver-side inboard headlamp of the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat has been multiplied. For the Demon, these Air-Catcher headlamps are found on both the passenger and driver sides of the vehicle. Also seen on the 2017 Challenger T/A, this double-whammy Air-Catcher setup has air molecules running scared!  


Stay tuned to Demon Confidential. The astonishing 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon has tons of cool engineering and marketing stories we’ll be sharing right here.


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