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SEMA 2015 - AWD Challenger & other LX Models in Mopar Display

Nov 03, 2015 - 9:13 AM - by MagnumClub
By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff

There are 3 Moparized LX-based cars in the gigantic Mopar display at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, with the most significant show car on hand being the beautiful Dodge Challenger GT AWD. That’s right – an all-wheel drive Dodge Challenger packing Hemi power.

The Dodge Challenger GT AWD is a concept built by Mopar, which was built on a 2015 Challenger R/T. Mopar added a Scat Pack Stage 3 setup to lift the output from 375hp and 410lb-ft of torque to 450 horsepower and 454lb-ft of torque, along with a heavy duty braking setup from the Charger Pursuit and a set of wide wheels wrapped in sticky rubber. There is also a custom widebody package to house those huge wheels and a sport suspension setup, but the real news is – of course – the all-wheel drive system.

The Mopar crew used parts from existing (unspecified) Dodge all-wheel drive vehicles and after modifying the transmission hump, this hand-built AWD system was installed into the widened, lowered Dodge Challenger. The result is an incredible muscle car with 450 horsepower, 454lb-ft of torque and the ability to put all of that power to the ground with an advanced all-wheel drive system.

The Challenger GT AWD could be a game changer if it should happen to make the transition from being a SEMA Show concept to a production reality. This car looks awesome, but as the first all-wheel drive muscle car produced by an automaker, we could see the next big thing for the mighty Challenger.

Next up is the Deep Stage 3 Charger, which started its life as a Dodge Charger R/T. Mopar added the Stage 3 Scat Pack setup to add an extra 75hp and 44lb-ft of torque with the cold air intake and catback exhaust system of Stage 1, the camshaft package of Stage 2 and the cylinder heads, the exhaust manifolds, high flow cats and the unique tune of Stage 3. This Charger R/T was then fitted with a sport suspension setup, a big brake package, a body kit, custom 22 inch wheels wrapped in high performance rubber and the whole package is finished off with a unique silver, black and blue paint scheme.

The Deep Stage 3 Charger was designed to rock the drag strip with Mopar parts and without doing away with any of the versatility of this roomy, full-size sport sedan.

Finally, we have the Chrysler 300 Super S, which began its life as a Chrysler 300S with the 5.7L Hemi.... [Read More]
  11 Replies | 1,924 Views

Say Goodbye to the Viper for Now – Not Forever

Oct 26, 2015 - 10:28 PM - by MagnumClub
By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff

If you are involved in any way in the Mopar world, you have surely heard by now that the Dodge Viper will cease production at the Connor Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit sometime in 2017. This information was revealed via the newly ratified contract between the Chrysler Group and the UAW, and in that paperwork, there is no mention of Viper production being moved elsewhere – nor is there mention of anything else being built at Connor Ave. This has led many to believe that after 2017, the Dodge Viper will be dead and the Connor Avenue plant will be shuttered.

While I don’t know what the future holds for Connor Ave, I truly don’t believe that the Dodge Viper is dead and gone forever. Instead, with the Viper selling so poorly and the Hellcat cars selling so well, I expect that 2017 will only mark the end of the modern Viper and in the future, we will see a new Viper that will be as groundbreaking as the first Mopar supercar back in the early 1990s. Thanks to the Hellcat Challenger and Charger, Chrysler can take the Viper out of the lineup for a few years and still have a performance car (or two) which will keep up with the best in the world.

First off, the Dodge Viper isn’t profitable, but that really doesn’t matter. Chrysler didn’t invent the Viper back in the late 1980s to make money. The Viper has always been and will always will be a halo car – selling in low volumes but contributing to the good of the company in other ways. A car like the Viper gets people talking about the Dodge brand and although most of those people who love the Viper will never own one, the attraction to the Viper gets them interested in the Dodge brand.

The problem for the Viper right now is that it isn’t the Dodge car being talked about by the masses. Instead, the 707hp Hellcat Challenger and Charger are the vehicles bringing massive brand recognition and best of all – the Hellcat cars are selling like crazy.

There were 7,168 Hellcat Challengers and 1,334 Hellcat Chargers sold for the 2015 model year. If every Hellcat Challenger was sold at the base price of $60,000 (just for the sake of discussion) and every Hellcat Charger was sold at the base price of $65,000, there were $430 million worth of Challengers and $87 million worth of Chargers sold. That is a total of $517 million dollars worth of sales from just the Hellcat models of the Charger and Challenger. The Hellcat Challenger and Charger are built at the same Canadian facility as the rest of the Challenger and Charger models, and through September, the Brampton plant had built at least 121,000 examples of the two rear wheel drive cars.

On the other hand, there have been 503 Vipers sold through September and there were only 760 sold all of last year. If every one of those 1,263 Vipers were sold at $120,000 (which is highly unlikely), the Viper only contributed around $152 million in the last two years. The Viper is the only car built at the Connor Ave facility, so that production facility isn’t making any other impact than the Viper – and at this point, the Viper isn’t having the sales impact or the marketing impact that it needs to in order to exist. Furthermore, some reports indicate that the Viper plant is worth more than $5 billion, so it is hard to... [Read More]
  11 Replies | 1,369 Views

Don’t Say Goodbye to the HEMI Just Yet

Oct 21, 2015 - 8:34 AM - by MagnumClub
By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff

There has been a rumor floating around the internet for some time now that the Hemi will be gone in 2019 and that has many Mopar fans concerned that the Hemi V8 will be replaced by smaller engines due to heightened emission laws. However, the massive advancements in vehicle technology made over the past few years and the next generation of technology coming down the pipeline – both in engine design and in chassis/body development – should allow future Chrysler Group cars, trucks and SUVs to come with V8 engines.

These rumors insist that the current generation of the Hemi engine, including the supercharged 6.2L Hellcat Hemi, will meet their demise in 2019. Unfortunately, I believe that these rumors could be right, as the current generation of the Chrysler Hemi engine is more than 10 years old at this point. Although we have seen new versions of the Hemi architecture, including the addition of the 6.1L, the 6.4L and the 6.2L engines following the original 5.7L V8, we have never seen a massive change in the Hemi architecture. In much the same way that the Hemi engines that we know today replaced the previous Magnum V8s, I expect to see a new lineup of V8 engines replacing the current Hemi family, but with the Hemi cylinder head design proving to be so ideal in terms of performance and efficiency, I strongly believe that the current Hemi engines will be replaced by a new generation of Hemi engines.

Figure that the 5.7L Hemi in the Charger, Challenger, 300 and a handful of trucks and SUVs was first introduced in the 2003 Ram 1500. That makes it 13 model years old. Sure, the engine has been upgraded over the years, but the engine hasn’t been substantially upgraded in all of that time. This is still the same basic engine design created with sparse help from Mercedes Benz, so the time has come for the Fiat-run Chrysler to roll out a Hemi V8 of their own.

So, yes, the current Hemi engines could be gone after 2019, but I don’t believe for one second that Chrysler is planning for an immediate future without V8 engines.

CAFÉ Doesn’t Mean V8 Death
While the green initiative would never admit this, the stricter CAFÉ laws coming in the future aren’t going to crush the V8 engine. If the CAFÉ laws require a figure of 50mpg, that is across every car sold by the company, so high volume models like the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart have a much bigger impact on CAFÉ numbers than do lower production models like the Hellcat Challenger. Figure that for the 2015 model year, Dodge sold 7,168 examples of the Hellcat Challenger, but Dodge sold that many 4-cylinder Darts in almost any given month during the same period of time.
Because of this, lovers of high performance cars should embrace new, super-efficient vehicles from the Chrysler Group brands, as the more high-MPG cars sold, the more the company can compromise fuel economy for performance in vehicles like the Challenger and Charger. When the company sells 100,000 cars that get over 40 miles per gallon, a 707hp vehicle that “only” gets 22mpg with just 7,100 units sold has very little negative impact on the CAFÉ numbers.

  1 Reply | 1,069 Views

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