Archive for the ‘srt’ Tag

The 1,000HP Gen III Hemi 1970 Dodge Challenger Dream Car

For some, Super Stock and “Super Stalk” might as well be one in the same. For others however, both are distinctly different, yet equally heroic endeavors. In NHRA Super Stock, the Big Three dumped ludicrous stacks of money to build factory ringers for bragging rights and bragging rights alone. This results in cool stuff like 9,000-rpm hydraulic roller small-blocks that run 9-second e.t.’s. By contrast, “super stalk” describes one man’s quest to chase down the exact same car for 30 years before finally convincing the owner to put it up for sale. It takes a very unique car to inspire such an extreme obsession, and the story behind Brook Niemi’s ’70 Dodge Challenger proves that the truth is indeed much more interesting than fiction.

Although people love reminiscing about how everything was better during the muscle car era, they rarely mention that it was also a time when real car guys worked at car dealerships. Imagine, for a moment, the luxury of ordering up the Mopar of your dreams with an employee discount to boot. Throw in a savvy employee’s knowledge of all the obscure option codes offered by Chrysler, and Brook’s Challenger is the result. “The original owner was a Dodge salesman in Great Falls, Montana, who ordered it as a company car,” Brook explains. “The dealership didn’t allow optioning company cars with Hemis or Six Pack induction systems, so he ordered it up with the R/T package, 440 big-block, a four-barrel carb, an A833 four-speed, and a Dana 60 rearend. Once the car arrived, he swapped out the four-barrel carb and the stock hood for a Six Pack and a factory T/A hood. The car was also optioned with the Special Edition package, which included a smaller back window, four-point seatbelts, and a console in the headliner.”

Eventually, the unique E-Body moved on to its second owner a few years later, which is when Brook first saw it and fell head over heels. “During high school in the late ’70s, the machine shop I was working at built a 500ci Six Pack engine for the Challenger. At that time it was painted white and built to look like the car from Vanishing Point,” he recalls. “I have such vivid memories of the owner pulling wheelies with the car in the parking lot. From that day forward, I always kept up with the car. The third owner purchased the car in the early ’80s and never drove it much.”

The bad news was that the Challenger’s third owner seemed to appreciate it more for its collectability than its Chevy-stomping potential. The good news was that this same lack of use kept the car in outstanding condition. “From the early ’80s to 2005, the car sat in storage. The owner at the time liked that the Challenger was one of less than 150 built with a 440 and a four-speed, but his real passion was for ’60s-era cars,” Brook says. “He planned on restoring the car back to stock someday, but he eventually had a change of heart and decided to sell it to help fund other projects. He had been sitting on my contact information for years, so as soon as I got the call that the car was available, I picked it up immediately.”

Throughout the course of its decorated history, this fine Mopar specimen had logged just 54,000 original miles. Even so, the 30-year-old paint had seen better days, so Brook stripped the car down, repainted it, and dropped the original 440 back in it. While the crew at Kindig-It Design tackled the paint and bodywork, the car revealed yet another one of its interesting secrets. “The paint code indicated that the car was originally Sublime Green. Since that made it even rarer, the shop tried to talk me into painting it the original OE color,” Brook recalls. “I understood the reasoning behind it, but in my mind the car had to be white because that’s the color it was when I first saw it as a kid. I always remembered it as a Vanishing Point tribute car, so that’s how I planned on restoring it.”

By sticking with his guns, Brook successfully re-created the car from his childhood dreams. All was good in his hood until a chance encounter with another Mopar triggered an avalanche of changes. “I was sitting at a stoplight one day when a Sublime Green Challenger R/T with a 426 Hemi pulled up behind me. It looked so good that even though I had just finished painting my car white, I decided at that moment that I had to repaint it green,” Brook says. On one hand, stripping the car back down just to repaint it seemed like an awful lot of work, and Brook was tempted to modernize the powertrain, suspension, and brakes. On the other hand, he had some reservations about throwing a bunch of non-original parts on such a rare piece of Mopar history. Ultimately, the itch to build something truly unique prevailed.

Seeking modern levels of power, driveability, braking, handling, and comfort in a 40-year-old chassis required a major overhaul of all the major mechanical hardware. Granted, a stock 440 provides plenty of scoot by most standards, but Brook wanted more power. Like three times more power. He determined that the best method of accomplishing this without increasing mass was by swapping out the big-block for a supercharged, all-aluminum Gen III Hemi. Absolute Performance (Sandy, Utah) welcomed the challenge and schemed up the perfect combination for Brook’s needs. The setup is based on an aftermarket aluminum block that’s been bored to 4.125 inches and fitted with a Callies forged 4.000-inch crankshaft, Oliver steel rods, and custom Wiseco 9.5:1 forged pistons. An Edelbrock E-Force supercharger pressurizes air molecules into a set of Thitek aluminum cylinder heads, and custom Arrow Lane headers evacuate the cylinders. The result is 426 ci of Gen III Hemi that kicks out over 1,000 hp and 1,100 lb-ft of torque. For easier freeway cruising, Brook replaced the A833 trans for a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed, which feeds torque to a Strange S60 rearend.

Of course, horsepower alone is meaningless if it all goes up in smoke, so Brook completely revamped the chassis with Reilly Motorsports hardware. Up front, the stock suspension has been replaced with an RMS K-member, control arms, sway bar, and coilovers. Out back, the factory leaf springs got yanked for an RMS four-link system. Monster Wilwood disc brakes convert forward inertia into heat, while 18-inch EVOD wheels wrapped in Nitto rubber plant the lateral and longitudinal loads to the pavement.

Inevitably, some collectors won’t take too kindly to throwing a late-model EFI motor along with modern suspension and brakes at a super rare Challenger with only 54,000 original miles. Nevertheless, from the car’s original interior to its stock body and paint, Brook has gone to great lengths to retain the essence of what the Challenger looked like when it rolled into the dealer lot in 1970. “Sure, I had some reservations about putting a bunch of modern parts on this car, but I’ve put the original engine, rearend, K-member, and suspension into safe storage. I can swap all the original parts back in very easily,” he explains.

Ultimately, Brook doesn’t have to explain himself to anyone. After patiently stalking his prey for 30 years, he’s earned the right to do whatever he wants, period correctness be damned. Despite how utterly badass Brook’s 1,000hp Challenger may be, its cool factor still takes a backseat to the incredible story behind it. Lusting over the same car for three decades, then transforming it into the ultimate E-Body, could just be the most rewarding car building experience of all time. As the saying goes, you can’t make this stuff up.

Fast Facts
1970 Dodge Challenger
Brook Niemi
South Jordan, UT

Engine

Type: Chrysler Gen III Hemi small-block

Block: Mopar Performance aluminum bored to 4.125 inches

Oiling: Melling oil pump, Milodon pan

Rotating assembly: Callies 4.000-inch steel crank, Oliver rods, Wiseco 9.5:1 pistons

Cylinder heads: CNC-ported Thitek aluminum castings

Camshaft: custom Arrow Racing hydraulic roller (specs classified)

Valvetrain: COMP Cams valvesprings, Smith pushrod

Induction: Edelbrock E-Force supercharger and throttle-body

Ignition: stock

Exhaust: custom Arrow Lane headers, custom X-pipe, dual 3-inch MagnaFlow mufflers

Cooling system: C&R Racing radiator, Spal electric fans

Output: 1,004 hp at 6,200 rpm and 1,109 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm

Drivetrain

Transmission: Tremec TKO 600 five-speed manual, Centerforce clutch, Hurst shifter

Rear axle: Strange S60 rearend with 35-spline axles, 3.54:1 gears, and limited-slip differential

Chassis

Front suspension: Reilly Motorsports K-member, control arms, coilovers, steering rack, and sway bar

Rear suspension: Reilly Motorsports four-link, Panhard bar, coilovers, and sway bar

Brakes: Wilwood 14-inch discs and six-piston calipers, front; Wilwood 12-inch discs and four-piston calipers, rear

Wheels & Tires

Wheels: EVOD Challenge 18×9.5, front; 18×10.5, rear

Tires: Nitto NT05 275/35ZR18, front; 295/35ZR18, rear

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/enthusiasts/the-1000hp-gen-iii-hemi-1970-dodge-challenger-dream-car/ar-AAcoe4U

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Ram Jam: Ram Trucks CEO Talks Hellcat, Compact Trucks, and More

Last August, longtime Chrysler executive (he’s been with the company since 1988) Robert Hegbloom took the position of CEO of Ram Trucks. Now that he’s had time to get comfortable with the reins, we sat down to talk sales numbers, EcoDiesel, mid-size trucks, and more—much more.

Car and Driver: Ram sold 395,567 trucks in 2014, placing it in fourth place in the bestselling-vehicle derby behind the Toyota Camry (396,988), the Chevrolet Silverado (471,918), and the Ford F-series (679,496). Safe to call it a big year?

Robert Hegbloom: We were up 28 percent year over year, and three points overall in the market. Basically, we look at our customers and see that they play in a number of areas: work, outdoor [recreation], motorsports, and even [just using the truck] as a family vehicle. And in those spaces, customers are looking for something unique. But the first thing with a light-duty truck is fuel economy, which is so different from where it was a few years ago. We want to deliver on fuel economy first, and then, depending on what their particular needs are, make sure we have the right package.

Might the product lineup get diluted by the staggering amount of available trims and packages and submodels? Do you see consumers being overwhelmed by the number of choices?

You know, it varies when regionalism comes into play. For instance, when you go down to Texas, the Laramie Longhorn is very popular, and there are some urban areas like Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin, too, and they like chrome. Now when you go to California, they like the monochromatic look. You go to another part of the country and they have preferences, too. So you’ll have regional differences among the package preferences, and the dealers aren’t going to stock all of them.

We know this is sensitive subject, but now that the F-150 has come out and the numbers have posted, where is Ram on the use of aluminum? Last time we talked, [Ram vehicle line executive] Mike Cairns said “aluminum is for beer cans.”

Well, we are delivering fuel economy using technology, like the EcoDiesel and the Pentastar V-6 mated to the eight-speed transmission. Then you add the enablers we put in place such as active grille shutters and aerodynamics. We still have the best aero in the segment, and we want to stay consistent there while looking for new opportunities in efficiency.

Are the guys who buy diesel Ram trucks concerned with being green, or is it just about torque and fuel efficiency?

Ultimately, it’s about delivering on fuel economy without sacrificing any capability. You get 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque and 29 mpg on the highway [with the EcoDiesel]. And to put that in perspective, consider that when we launched the 5.9-liter Cummins [in 1989], it had twice the displacement, yet made less horsepower and less torque. The 3.0-liter diesel delivers all the capability a light-duty buyer demands. Typically, consumers see a label and think they aren’t going to achieve the quoted mileage; what we’re seeing is customers writing [to us] about their EcoDiesel truck and saying they are getting 29 mpg or even better.

Gas prices are currently at the lowest they’ve been in years. Is that slowing the sales of the EcoDiesel?

Back in December, when gas prices were at their lowest, we had the highest-selling month YTD that we’ve had since the introduction of the EcoDiesel. We are at 26 days on lot with the EcoDiesel, even being a full year into the model’s availability and while we are increasing our volume. Typically we see much more fluctuation with gasoline prices than with diesel prices, so it doesn’t affect sales as much.

Is there a cap on the number of EcoDiesels you can produce?

We are trying to add 20 percent to our production. We received enough orders on this thing right out of the gate that took us almost to the model year [to have enough available units for sale]. You expect to get a big lift when you come out with something like that, but to sustain it for a year, that’s really something.

Now the big question: Hellcat Ram?

You know, we did an SRT a number of years ago, and it was something that at the time worked for a little bit. We get a few people who think a Hellcat truck would be fun, we could take it to Woodward Avenue and have some fun, but there’s not really a big appetite for that type of performance vehicle right now. Plus [Dodge chief] Tim Kuniskis wants all the Hellcat motors he can get.

ProMaster City—what’s the early feedback?

We need to get them out there. We started shipping in the end of December, and the people that have driven them have been pleased. The 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder with the nine-speed transmission surprised a lot of people, as did the independent suspension, which we were very focused on, because we wanted the driving characteristics right. All three of those are major changes compared to what is in Europe. We took a great platform and optimized it for our market. I’m pretty excited to get them here.

Is a diesel option for the ProMaster City in the cards?

They have it in Europe, and the first time I ever drove one it was a diesel with the manual. But time will tell. We have the technology, but you start getting into the cost of ownership, which is a major driver in a commercial-oriented package. Acquisition price plays a big role in that, and I’m just not sure the appetite is there for that.

What’s the possibility that a mini/mid-size truck based on the Fiat Strada will make it to the U.S.?

No plans. It’s a nice package, but to meet all the homologation requirements, you would essentially have to start over. We looked at it, it’s a 200,000–300,000 unit a year segment with a number of players in it, so unless you see some major changes there’s just not a big opportunity. [A new generation is due next year. Hmm . . . —Ed.]

As read on: http://blog.caranddriver.com/ram-jam-ram-trucks-ceo-talks-hellcat-compact-trucks-and-more/

Watch the Hellcat pound the C7 Corvette Z06

We have already seen the big, bad 2015 Corvette Z06 lose from a stop and from a roll against a Dodge Viper TA, and today, we have a video pitting the supercharged’ Vette against the most powerful American muscle car of all time – the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

The 2015 Challenger Hellcat has a pretty substantial advantage in power, packing 707 horsepower to the Corvette’s 650, and while torque levels are the same, the Corvette is a great deal lighter. To be exact, the C7 Corvette Z06 is roughly a thousand pounds lighter than the Hellcat Challenger while also being more aerodynamic than the big, brawny Mopar muscle car.

When you look at the improved aerodynamics, the comparable torque and the substantially lower curb weight of the 2015 Corvette Z06, many people believed that the most track capable Corvette ever would still hand a beating to the Hellcat Challenger, even with the big advantage in horsepower. Some went so far as to speculate that the Challenger would win in a quarter mile race with everything else equal, but it was expected that on a longer run, the weight and aero properties of the Corvette would be the winning difference.

All of those people appear to be wrong, as the first high speed race video featuring the 2015 Corvette Z06 and the 2015 Challenger Hellcat show the Mopar muscle car handing the Chevy supercar a severe beating in two separate runs. We get to see the Hellcat eating up the Corvette from two different angles and while the on-car view shows how quickly the two high performance American coupes blast away from the slow-moving traffic, they both display the same sad fate for the Corvette…beaten badly at the hands of a “lowly muscle car”.

It appears as though the most track capable Corvette of all time might be a beast on the road course, but it struggles to keep up with the mighty Hellcat Challenger on the open road.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/01/watch-the-hellcat-pound-the-c7-corvette-z06

What can we expect from the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T

The new Dodge Charger R/T is like the high-school athlete whose brothers have gone on to star in college and pro ranks. Indeed, with the formidable Hellcat V-8 and the SRT 392 hogging the spotlight, the kid brother’s credentials pale. After all, the 392 packs 485 horsepower and the Hellcat lays a 707-horse smackdown, heady numbers that could make one perceive the R/T’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 as a little tame.

Do not be deceived. Unless you have an insatiable appetite for shredding tires, the 5.7’s output—370 horsepower, 395 lb-ft of torque—will satisfy most needs for speed. Okay, the R/T is governed to a mere 145 mph versus the Hellcat’s 204, but you’ll still reach the Chinese takeout place before they pack up your food, and 5.1 seconds to 60 mph will leave most sedans gasping for breath.

Track Pack Plus

Surprisingly, given its mass, the R/T has a good dynamic résumé. The driver is aware of the substantial, two-plus-ton curb weight, but the Charger’s chassis tuning mitigates that number very well.

Thanks to a rigid unibody, the basic Charger R/T nicely manages yaw, pitch, and roll. But those who love to drive are advised to get the 29R Customer Preferred pack, which upgrades the car, as it did on our test example, to Road & Track spec. Doing so means a cornucopia of goodies including the Super Track Pak sport suspension; the Road & Track Performance Group with more aggressive throttle mapping, revised traction control (higher intervention threshold), heavy-duty brakes, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and sportier rubber (245/45 Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 all-season performance tires); and Dodge’s Performance Pages software, which allows the driver to track acceleration, cornering, and a variety of other numeric markers.

There’s a lot of other desirable stuff crammed into the 29R package, too, including nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (heated front chairs come on every R/T), a power tilt and telescope steering column, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, and heated power mirrors, to hit a few high spots. At $3000 for all the foregoing equipment, it’s a must-have bargain collection.

Augmented by all the Track Pack goodies, the R/T dances even more remarkably well for a big car, the combination of quick (2.5 turns lock-to-lock), gratifyingly accurate electric power steering and firm suspension making it easy to place the car precisely where the driver wishes. And there’s enough grip to inspire confidence in very fast cornering.

It’s also very easy to develop affection for the eight-speed automatic. Shifts in the Charger aren’t quite as whap-whap quick as those delivered by some of the very best dual-clutch automatics, but one could call them deliberate, and in manual mode the transmission will hold the selected gear against redline—no autonomous upshifting.

The eight-speed is new for this year and slightly enhances EPA fuel economy versus last year’s five-speed unit, adding 1 mpg to the car’s city rating. That means 16 mpg in urban environs and 25 on the highway, on midgrade fuel, which is pretty good for a big V-8. We averaged 18 mpg in mixed driving. Would economy go up if the Hemi were fitted with direct fuel injection? Probably. But fuel economy isn’t a high priority for Hemi fans, nor for cars operating in this performance realm.

The car doesn’t have many demerits, and those it does have aren’t deal-breakers. We’ve already mentioned mass; cutting the curb weight would further improve handling and efficiency. The suspension tuning that gives the R/T its athletic reflexes can be a little stiff on gnarly pavement, and while grip—0.86 g—isn’t exactly a weak suit, it could be improved by a set of real summer performance tires.

Such tires would probably improve the braking performance, too, as 170 feet from 70 mph is long for a car with sports-sedan pretense. We detected no real fade in the system, but the pedal did begin to go a little soft after repeated hard stops.

The Right Stuff

Considered in standard trim and before its 2015 refresh, the Charger ranked behind mainstream sedan offerings like the Toyota Avalon and the Chevy Impala in our comparison test. But for the owner who wants a strong performance component in the everyday drive, the new R/T has the right stuff for an agreeable $33,990 starting MSRP.

Our test car got expensive quickly, however. In addition to the $3000 Preferred/R&T stuff (again, don’t leave the showroom without it), it had $6975 of additional options. These included $995 for Beats audio gear; $1795 for the Technology Group (rain-sensing wipers, auto high beams, and safety nannies); $295 for Driver Confidence equipment (blind-spot and cross-path warning, exterior puddle lamps); and $695 for navigation, infotainment goodies, and a backup camera. Our car also was fitted with a power sunroof ($1195), Redline Red paint ($500), and a black-painted roof ($1500).

The grand total came to $43,965. That’s more than the cheap-speed $40,990 R/T Scat Pack, although still well shy of the $48,380 Charger SRT 392. (The wild and wooly Hellcat opens at $64,990.) In any case, there do seem to be some opportunities for whittling. Okay, the red paint is probably important, as it emphasizes the aggressive styling. On the other hand, do you really need the safety technology, puddle lamps, or the black roof?

Options notwithstanding, this Charger figures as an underappreciated performance bargain in a full-size sedan. It’s everyday useful and ready to rock every day.

As read on: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-charger-r-t-hemi-test-review

Hellcat options (with prices)

The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat follows the expected SRT form, coming with a long list of standard features inside and out. There aren’t all that many options for buyers, since the $62,295 car includes everything that you need to love every single second of driving the 2015 Charger Hellcat, including heated leather seats and a high end infotainment system. Still, you can add some unique features to make your car different from the other examples of the world’s most powerful production sedan.

First off, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat MSRP of $62,295 does not include the $1,700 gas guzzler tax or the $995 destination fee, which combine to bring the base price of the 707hp Charger to $64,990. In theory, that is the least that you can expect to pay when buying a Hellcat Charger from your local dealership before you get to cashing in favors or haggling.

The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat has seven standard (no cost) exterior colors and three premium colors that add $500 to the final price. The “free” colors are Billet Silver, Bright White, Granite Crystal, Jazz Blue, Pitch Black, TorRed, and B5 Blue, while the colors that will run you an extra half grand include Ivory White Tri-Coat Pearl, Phantom Black Tri-coat Pearl, and Redline Tri-Coat Pearl.

All Hellcat Chargers come with the same lightweight wheel design, but those who want the Brass Monkey Bronze wheels can go that direction for $395 and to wrap those gorgeous wheels in 3-season performance tires will set you back another $195. Finally, if you want the black roof treatment, you can go that route for an additional $1,500.

On the inside, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat can be compared to a high end luxury car, with standard leather SRT performance seats with Alcantara inserts in black or bright red and black. Those who want a more luxurious look and feel can opt for a Laguna leather package in either black or sepia and black, for $1,795, while bright red seat belts can be added for $95 to brighten things up.

The Hellcat Charger comes with an impressive standard infotainment system, including the elaborate SRT Pages, but adding navigation runs an extra $695, and if you want a state of the art Harmon Kardon sound system connected to the infotainment system, that will add $1,995 to the bottom line. Lovers of the clear blue sky can add a sunroof to their Hellcat Charger for $1,195.

While you can drive off of the lot with an incredible super sedan for $64,990, adding every option to the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat brings the price to $71,855 (Phantom Black Tri-coat Pearl paint, Brass Monkey wheels, 3-season tires, Laguna leather, red seats and seat belts, navigation, Harmon Kardon sound system, and sunroof, with gas-guzzler tax and destination fee). Oh, and ther’s also a black roof treatment, which would bring the price up to $73,355.

These are preliminary prices, which could change before the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat arrives early next year, but these figures should be accurate enough to let those planning to buy a 707hp Mopar sedan figure out how much they will be spending to own the world’s most powerful mass-production sedan.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/12/hellcat-options-with-prices

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat First Drive Review

There’s an insuppressible sense of buoyancy among Dodge folks of late. Certainly, it can’t be attributed to the Dart compact or the complete lack of a Dodge-brand entry in the hugely popular mid-size-sedan segment. It’s not even that the Viper sports car has been newly re-Dodged after wearing only an SRT badge in 2013–14. No, the smiles on the faces of the Dodge Boys folks are on account of one special thing, and its name is Hellcat.

By now, you’ve surely heard about Dodge’s prodigious supercharged Hellcat V-8—that it takes 80 horsepower just to run its supercharger, which can suck the air from a 10-by-13-foot room in one minute, and that its fuel injectors can fill a pint glass in six seconds. Oh, and that it produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, which turn the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat from a mere muscle car into a ballistic, five-seat supercar capable of hitting 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and passing the quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds at 126 mph, according to our first test, with a claimed top speed of 199 mph.

Now Dodge plunks that angry mill into the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat to create the world’s most powerful production sedan. Dodge says it can rocket to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds on its way to an NHRA-certified quarter-mile at 11 seconds flat (on street tires), with a top speed of 204 mph. We have not yet tested those claims with our own equipment, but after our first stint behind the wheel in rural Virginia and West Virginia, including a few hours on-track at Summit Point Motorsports Park, we will verify its ability to create huge grins.

Big, fat, shit-eating grins. While the Charger may be the more, ahem, mature Hellcat, it created the same fits of uncontrollable gasping, giggling, and cursing every time we stabbed the go pedal. Like its two-door sibling, the Charger Hellcat is seriously fast, is no joke at the track, and makes sounds best described as NSFW. Yet the Charger is a friendlier, more approachable creature, thanks in large part to a suspension tuned more for street performance—“touring,” in car speak—than for track-day or drag-strip craziness.

“The philosophy is a little bit different,” said Russ Ruedisueli, head of engineering for SRT. “On the Challenger, we wanted the car to be sprung a little bit stiffer, there to be a little less roll. On the Charger, there’s more of an emphasis on ride. It’s not to say that you’ll be embarrassed out on the track, you know, but it’s not a ‘track car.’ ” Specifically, the springs and shocks are softer, the anti-roll bars aren’t quite as thick, and the amount of slip allowed by the traction and stability control is recalibrated. These changes make allowance for the four-door’s longer wheelbase, stated 4575-pound curb weight (probably close to accurate; our scales said the Challenger weighs 4488 while Dodge claimed 4439), and its 56/44 versus 57/43 weight distribution.

Yet it hardly embarrasses itself on a circuit. After switching all chassis and powertrain settings to “Track,” we tackled Summit Point and immediately got comfortable with the car’s sharp turn-in and tidy, predictable body motions. It always drives big (because, with a wheelbase of 120.4 inches, it is big), but the steering—hydraulically assisted for the Hellcat, versus electric for other Chargers—is talkative and ultimate grip is quite high. Powering hard out of the curves, the rear end breaks away gradually and predictably yet is easily catchable with a bit of opposite lock. Driven smoothly, this is not a scary cat.

Read more at: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-first-drive-review

Get a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Before it’s too Late

Back in May Chrysler made some announcements about their enthusiast-focused SRT brand. They had spun it off as a separate division but that didn’t work out so well so they decided to reconsolidate it as part of Dodge.

But this move resulted in a lot of questions, chiefly what would happen to other high-performance vehicles in the company’s portfolio including SRT versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 sedan? Answering part of this query, it appears as though the big, bad Jeep is sticking around, for the time being at least.

Model year 2015 Grand Cherokee SRTs can be ordered by dealers, but for how long is anyone’s guess. A few months back the company filed to trademark the name “Trackhawk,” which is rumored to replace the SRT version and go on sale in 2016.

The introduction of this and other special-edition models could coincide with the Jeep brand’s 75th anniversary, which takes place in the same year. The SRT Jeep Grand Cherokee starts at around $65,000 and features a 475-hp, 6.4-liter V8 engine.

Read more at: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/10/get-a-jeep-grand-cherokee-srt-before-its-too-late.html

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

Classification of vehicles in the auto industry has become a messy business. All sorts of new products blur the lines between SUVs and crossovers, compacts and mid-sizers and so on. But the SRT Grand Cherokee stretches into two categories that rarely cross, SUVs and sports cars.

This is the only domestic vehicle of its kind, and the only real competitors in this tiny niche segment come from Germany. Trying to wear many hats all at once, the SRT-tuned Jeep Grand Cherokee makes very few compromises in its goal of delivering tight-track handling along with the typical duties of an SUV, namely towing and hauling people and cargo.

STRAIGHT LINE SPEED

Powered by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that makes 470 hp at 6,000 rpm and 465 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm, the SRT Grand Cherokee is capable of a 0-60 mph sprint in 4.8 seconds according to the brand, though our time with GC SRT at a drag strip elicited times just north of 5 seconds. The powertrain is responsive, and matched to an eight-speed transmission that doesn’t miss a beat. Downshifts come quickly, and hammering the throttle from a stand still is met with fast upshifts that are nicely timed, after the initial blast of torque rips you off the line.

The immense powertrain combines to make this Grand Cherokee feel much lighter than it actually is, carrying a 5,150 pound curb weight. Just because you don’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not there however, and all those extra pounds being carried around prods the powerplant to drink an excessive amount of gas.

GAS HOG

Officially rated at 19 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg combined, we averaged 13 mpg, which is also the SUV’s city mpg rating. Now, if a fuel efficient SUV is what you are after, the Grand Cherokee can be had with a 3.0-liter diesel. If, however, you want the ludicrous speed of the SRT, dismiss all notions of saving fuel. Not that you can’t drive slow, of course, but the burst of speed and agility that comes when the throttle is depressed is so addictive that it is hard to keep out of it.

It seems that the folks at SRT were also having so much fun hammering the throttle, that they installed a feature specifically designed for straight line speed. A button located beside the gear shift initiates launch control, a system that optimizes the SRT’s all-wheel setup along with the powertrain to deliver the fastest 0-60 mph sprint possible and it couldn’t be easier to use. Simply hit the button, and the information screen provides step-by-step directions on what to do. Step 1: fully depress brake. Step 2: fully depress throttle. Step 3: release the brake, and try not to soil yourself when this mammoth jumps off the line like a jackrabbit.

STICKS LIKE GLUE

But that’s enough about speed because frankly, sticking a massive engine in an SUV isn’t this SRT’s greatest feat. That would be its handling. Coil springs along with a Bilstein adaptive damping suspension is found all the way around, along with front and rear stabilizer bars. Cornering is flat and planted while understeer is suprisingly minimal.

On the race track when speeds are higher, you can feel this sports SUV start to push a bit in the corners, but the speeds at which it can be flung around a track are mind bending compared to its heavy set nature.

Thanks to the Bilstein adaptive suspension setup, the Grand Cherokee SRT offers five different drive modes: auto, sport, tow, track and snow. Track mode, being the most hardcore, offers optimized performance for racetracks, but we found that the stability control system was still a little too intrusive.

LUXURY INTERIOR

Despite us gushing about performance, the SRT Grand Cherokee isn’t only about asinine speed. The insides of this beast are stylish and comfortable. Real carbon fiber accents along with soft-touch materials and real chrome adorn the dashboard and center stack, building on the already lush Grand Cherokee interior. The SRT model has a bit more of a business feel to it than some of the wood-trimmed cabins offered in the line. Importantly though, the sort of feeling you want from something that costs over 60 grand is well represented here.

One point of contention for us is the gear-shifter found down to the right of the driver, which can be finicky to operate. Attempts to go straight from drive to reverse almost always ended up with the SRT in park, as the motions used to control the gears must be precise.

Another complaint, albeit more of a personal gripe, has to do with the steering wheel. The button and paddle layout is well done, but the overall girth of the wheel is a little too chunky for our tastes.

GERMAN COMPETITION

As mentioned above, the only true competition for the SRT Grand Cherokee comes from German brands, specifically Mercedes-Benz and Audi. From Benz, we have the ML63 AMG with a starting price of $97,250, which makes 557 hp. Audi brings us the S Q5, which undercuts the SRT with a starting price of $51,900, but performance lacks with only 354 hp.

The SRT Grand Cherokee starts at $64,990, which actually makes it a fairly good value when you put it next to its competition. The interior is nice enough to make even Mercedes-Benz loyalists smitten, and the performance is not lacking in any area, with the ML63 and the SRT Grand Cherokee even sharing the same 4.8 second 0-60 mph rating.

THE VERDICT

While still expensive, the SRT Grand Cherokee offers good value in its segment and it is absolutely riotous to drive. It is truly a statement to what can be achieved against the odds. A small, sleek sports car already has a lot going for it when engineers set out to make it handle well, but a 5,000-lb goliath of an SUV has all of the traits that sports car buyers hate. And yet somehow, SRT merges two worlds that never should have met, defying convention to bring us a great product.

Read more at: http://www.autoguide.com/manufacturer/jeep/2014-jeep-grand-cherokee-srt-3753.html

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Auction Actually Raised $1.65M

he Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat that sold over the weekend actually raised more money for charity than first reported. . . a lot more!

After crossing the block at the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction for an incredible $825,000, Dodge has announced that the Engelstad Family Foundation has matched the auction pricing bringing the total amount raised for charity to $1.65 million. With the generous donation, the grand total means the Challenger SRT Hellcat has raised more money for charity than any other car in Barrett-Jackson history. As icing on the cake, Barrett-Jackson waived all bidding and consignment fees so 100 percent of the sale price will go on to benefit Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit organization that serves people with significant intellectual disabilities in the Las Vegas area.

The winning bidder of the auction was none other than Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and several Chrysler Group dealerships. The auction package included a 6.2-liter supercharger engine cover and a HEMI Orange painted base presentation box with a VIN0001 electronic vehicle build book and a video documentary on an iPad Mini that shows the step-by-step build process of the car.

“The $1.65 million raised by auctioning this one-of-one Dodge Challenger Hellcat at this year’s Barrett-Jackson auction means the most powerful muscle car ever will also have a very powerful impact on the people who benefit from the services of Opportunity Village,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO, Dodge and SRT Brands, Chrysler Group LLC. “The VIN0001 muscle car was not only one of the hottest cars that rolled through the Barrett-Jackson auction lanes, it is also the ultimate collectible 2015 Dodge Challenger as Dodge is ensuring there will never be another one like it.”

Read more at: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/09/2015-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-auction-actually-raised-1-65m.html

Dodge defines itself

After one hundred years, the Dodge brand has issued a definitive vision of its future, and it’s about as far from its origins as it can be.

A recent press release stated, “With the purification of the brand and consolidation with SRT, Dodge is getting back to its performance roots with every single model it offers.”

When Dodge gained its “performance roots” is a matter of opinion; the early Dodges were slow, even by the standards of the day, but sturdy and relatively safe. The first “fast” Dodges came with the Hemi engines, but they were kept below Chrysler levels. In reality, Dodge’s “performance roots” probably began with the 1956 Dodge D-500 package.

The press release continued, “Dodge is the ‘mainstream performance’  brand … SRT is positioned as the “ultimate performance” halo…”

This slots Dodge right in the position John DeLorean put Pontiac into — a position Pontiac had never been in before. Under Mr. DeLorean, the “old folks’” brand became GM’s performance brand, and sales skyrocketed. Pontiac was finally shut down after years of cars whose main differentiator was extra body cladding, followed by a relatively brief “clean look” period.

When Fiat first took over, leaders said they intended for Dodge to be a modern sports-car brand, emphasizing handling; this approach, used by the Dart, did not work, but the 707-horsepower Hellcat Hemi has garnered a great deal of attention and interest from potential buyers. As a result, it appears that Dodge will be aiming at traditional American views of sporty cars.

The strategy could backfire in years when gas prices zoom upwards, but not if Dodge is counterbalanced with Chrysler on the economy side, and resists the temptation to buy sales with economy cars. Over ten to twenty years, if the company sticks to the strategy, Dodge may find itself with a clear reputation among buyers, and a larger hard core of return customers.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/09/dodge-defines-itself