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Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat lights fuse in brand’s first behind-the-scenes holiday video

Dalvin Brown, USA Today
Published 6:00 a.m. ET July 21, 2018

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The ’17 Challenger is one of eight vehicles to earn the Mopar badge. Video courtesy Dodge

Pick any holiday, big or small, and you’ll find car enthusiasts swarming online to watch videos of their favorite Dodge revving up and rooster tailing down the road.

From the “Sprinkles Optional” short film for National Donut Day to the “Cupid’s Arrow” web commercial in celebration of Valentine’s Day, each of the Fiat Chrysler brand’s social videos are filled with enough noise and exhaust to turn your living room into Daytona International Speedway.

And for the first time, car aficionados can get a glimpse into how those videos are made. 

On Friday, Dodge gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at the making of its most recent “Light the Fuse” July Fourth video featuring the Charger SRT Hellcat. The brand released a two-minute docu-style video.

To create the film, Dodge partnered with The Racing Cowboys production company, which has also produced videos for Lamborghini and Toyota, to create movie magic.

The video seems to show the Hellcat spewing flames from the exhaust, igniting a string of Independence Day fireworks in the process. But the company revealed that the stunt was achieved by attaching small remote-control flamethrowers to the top of the vehicle’s exhaust system.

“There were (social media) inquiries asking, ‘How do you guys pull this off?’ So we thought it would be engaging to share the behind-the-scenes,” said Steve Beahm, head of passenger car brands for Dodge.

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That type of combustion setup is not exactly advised for everyday driving. The video’s director, Nicolai Iuul, said that there were pyrotechnics and fire department personnel on set to make sure everything was safe.

A team of roughly 40 people, including cops and safety personnel, worked overnight on the downtown Los Angeles video set, and it wasn’t all easy.

“Part of it was pretty tricky to do actually,” said Samuel Hubinette, a professional stunt  car driver with 25 years of experience. “I had to whip around the rear-end of the vehicle several times to get close enough to ignite the firework fuse.

“Thankfully, we walked away with the car still intact, but it was lots of pressure, of course.”

The Dodge brand creates these videos almost exclusively for their loyal social media followers.

“We …want to give fans reasons to keep coming back to our social channels to see what is next,” Dodge said in an statement.

It seems to be working.

Overall, nearly 3 million people have viewed the holiday videos so far. The July Fourth edition was by far the fan favorite, with the St. Patrick’s Day and Valentines Day videos tying for second, according to the company.

“I feel like I have the best job in the world,” Iuul said.

So, what’s next in the lineup?

Dodge is set to film in the coming weeks and is releasing a video Aug. 17 for Black Cat Appreciation Day, a holiday created to encourage pet adoption. 

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter @Dalvin_Brown 

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