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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The 2011 Formula Drift season is just around the corner, and competing vehicles are out in full testing mode. Samuel Hubinette hasn’t been at the top of the podium for a couple of years now, but it looks like this year his two-car team will be something to look out for. He’ll be behind the wheel of his Dodge Challenger, while Dean Kearney of Ireland will be piloting the infamous Dodge Viper SRT-10.
Both cars are sporting new looks for the 2011 season, welcoming sponsorship from Dodge, V-LEDs, BFGoodrich and Federal Tires. Dodge will be the primary sponsor of Hubinette’s Challenger, while V-LEDs is the primary sponsor of Kearney’s Viper. Interestingly enough, it looks like Hubinette will be driving on his traditional BFGoodrich rubber while Kearney will be burning off Federal Tires.
Kearney captured the 2009 European Pro Drift Championship, and with the experienced Hubinette by his side, it’ll be an interesting year to see how these two battle it out with the rest of the field. We’ll be looking forward to the season opener on April 8-9th at Long Beach, California.
Check out the video of Hubinette testing his Challenger after the break, along with the official press release.
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering has finally released a supercharger package for the 08-10 Dodge Challenger, taking performance to 500-rwhp and 450 ft-lbs of torque on the 6.1L HEMI. That’s good enough for a 12.03 second quarter mile blast at 120-mph.
The supercharger upgrade is available for both the 5.7L and 6.1L HEMI engines and comes with a Magnuson TVS2300 supercharger, powdercoated black. An upgraded thermostat, fuel injectors and intake system are also included in the performance package.
Lingenfelter will also install the supercharger upgrade package for those interested, and it comes with Lingenfelter’s 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty.
GALLERY: Lingenfelter Dodge Challenger Supercharger Upgrade
Here’s some more American-tuned muscle that will be making its way to the SEMA show floor next month. Built by CULT Energy Drink, this Dodge Challenger SRT8 sports a menacing flat black profile, one-off custom fabricated widebody kit and a supercharged 6.1-liter V8 HEMI.
Clearly the goal of CULT was to get plenty of attention with their Challenger project, and getting these awesome photos done by Webb Bland is a good start. We’re loving the smooth widebody conversion, menacing red lights, massive brakes and the big blower popping out of the hood.
We don’t have many other details on the car, but we’ll be sure to check it out in person at SEMA 2010. One thing’s for sure, we’re pretty impressed by the work on the vehicle from bumper to bumper, and how not a single piece of the car seems gaudy or tacky. It’s all very tastefully done and clearly the fabrication work is high quality. Hell, even the minimal sticker placement by CULT is acceptable.
Check out the amazing photos after the jump:
At the end of August, we caught wind that DropTop Customs is working on a convertible Cadillac CTS coupe. Now DropTop Customs has teamed up with Petty Garage to bring on a Dodge Challenger RT convertible for all the die-hard Mopar fans out there wanting to breathe the open air.
Even though they’re in early development with no release date, a look at the teaser photo reveals quite a bit of work is being done to their demo car. A new front bumper, side skirts and hood (featuring an air scoop) outfit the aesthetics while a set of wheels and suspension upgrades are obvious. We’re not sure what they have planned underneath the hood and whether or not DropTop Customs will be offering just the retractable top to the public (we’re assuming so) but we’ll keep our eyes out for the finish project. It’s looking pretty good so far!
SpeedFactory is all about performance out of Chrysler-brand automobiles. They take the stock and mundane, albeit powerful foundations, and convert them to customized and thrilling driving adventures. A brief drive-by on their website reveals a fine collection of Dodge Challengers, Dodge Chargers, Dodge Magnums, Chrysler 300s, Ram trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokees available for sale, fully modified with several stages to choose from.
With the Dodge Challenger being the affordable, hot performance vehicle from Dodge’s line it’s no surprise that SpeedFactory offers a plethora of upgrade choices to the vehicle. From naturally aspirated to supercharged packages, horsepower can range anywhere from 475-hp to 700+ depending on your budget and desires.
Their most recent creation is the 6-speed, SF600R Dodge Challenger that’s priced for at $73,900. For a car with an MSRP that starts at $23,460, that’s quite the increase. So what do you get with a hefty chunk of change from SpeedFactory? Well for starters, you’ll be behind the wheel of a stroked 7.0L Hemi block that pushes out a guaranteed, dyno-proven 595- to 605-hp. The motor is completely reworked from bottom up along with bolt-ons in the form of an air intake and Corsa stainless steel exhaust.
Other modifications include a Centerforce clutch and a Getrag IRS to get the power to the ground safely and reliably. Performance springs and sway bars help balance the handling while front and rear strut tower braces tightening up the chassis. Last but not least, the Challenger receives some stylish points with a set of 20-inch BBS Black Edition CH-R wheels wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires.
While the horsepower figures are incredibly impressive, offering plenty of power in a properly-built motor, we have to think that you can get the same set of modifications, engine build and more for the difference in the price. But hey, those with hefty wallets that don’t have to think twice – SpeedFactory is your choice.
The official press release is available after the break.
GALLERY: SpeedFactory Dodge Challenger SF600R
Are Viper loyalists perhaps mourning the death of the venomous snake too soon? Maybe, as Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced that as a part of Fiat’s 5-year plan he intends to position Dodge internationally as an “American performance brand,” anchored by the Charger, Challenger, and Viper.
Marchionne mentioned that the Charger and Challenger’s platforms will not be touched, but may be recycled for future Alfa’s, Lancia’s, and Maserati’s. Interesting, since the Charger and Challenger platform is already recycled from the, now 2-generations old, Mercedes E-Class. We can’t imagine Fiat is really planning on tarting up this platform again with a Maserati badge, because if they did, it would make the use of the jarring F1 gearbox in the first-gen Quattroporte seem like a minor quibble by comparison. The most frightening statement though, is that the “Viper will end up as a quasi-Ferrari.”
So, first Ferrari eliminates manual transmissions, then they plan to position the Viper as a “quasi-Ferrari?” We’re not holding our breaths for this one.
GALLERY: Dodge Viper Final Edition
Dodge returns to drifting with a Challenger and Viper for 2010
2009 was an up-and-down year for Samuel Hübinette who has been a two-time Formula DRIFT champion and Hollywood stunt driver. Notorious for ripping it up in a Mopar-backed Viper SRT10 for many years and nicknamed The Crazy Swede by fellow competitors, Hübinette had a difficult start with his Mopar-backed Charger in 2009; and then mid-season Mopar was forced to back out of their sponsorship altogether due to difficult economic times.
As if the 2009 season couldn’t get any more tumultuous, Hübinette’s NuFormz team owner, Shaun Carlson, tragically passed away in October. Question marks were raised everywhere as one of the most talented drivers in the Formula DRIFT series seemed to be without a full ride. But talent always prevails, and Hübinette has finally announced his big plans for 2010.
Now factory-backed by Dodge, Hübinette will be campaigning his all new Dodge Challenger while teammate Andrew “ACP” Comrie-Picard (new to Formula DRIFT) will be swinging sideways in the familiar and championship-winning Viper SRT-10. Samuel Hübinette Racing also welcomes back the partnership of BFGoodrich tires. Hübinette looks forward to a strong and successful 2010 drifting season and we wouldn’t be surprised if he’ll be back in championship form with all his expertise and experience over the years.
We’ll be sure to keep an eye on both drivers, when the season kicks off in Long Beach, CA on April 9-10.
The official release is available after the jump.
What’s the best way to make a car (any car) cool, to give it immediate interweb fame and ensure it becomes a highly searched item in Google Images? Why, turn it into a police cruiser of course!
Such a thing has just been done by the blue and white (er… green and white?) at the Broward County Sheriff’s office in Southern Florida. The car is a shiny new Dodge Challenger R/T and it looks even more intimidating with that big light-bar up top and the county sheriff’s white and green paint scheme.
Check out the gallery of photos below and try and remember (as hard as it might be) to keep your speed down while traveling along southern Florida’s flat and straight highways. Otherwise, you might get to see this R/T up close.
GALLERY: Broward County Sheriff’s Office Dodge Challenger R/T
Dodge has announced that for 2010 it is resurrecting the Plum Crazy paint color. The eye-catching shade of purple will be available on Challenger SRT and R/T Classic models, which will also get black dual wide side stripes or optional white stripes. All Plum Crazy R/T models will get Plum stitching on the seats, while SRT models will get a Plum seat stripe. The package can be had for $225 on the R/T and $500 on the SRT model.
In addition, for 2010 the R/T manual transmission models get the option of a Super Track Pack that delivers Goodyear 245/45/20 tires, an upgraded suspension, upgraded brakes and he ability to completely turn ESP off. This package can be had for just $400.
With the introduction of Plum Crazy Dodge has also ceased the limited run of the Detonator Yellow and B-5 Blue colors.
Shifter experts now offer Challenger package with factory paint colors
Those shifter experts at Hurst have just announced that they will offer a new modification package for the Dodge Challenger… and the real surprise is that it is available for Challengers of all colors.
Hurst is well-known for its either white/gold or black/gold paint schemes, but that certainly limits the company’s customer group. This new setup, the Competition/Plus package, will be available for any Challenger, be it B5 Blue, Hemi Orange, TorRed or any other color.
Along with appealing to a broader audience, the new kit is designed to offer performance at an affordable price. It includes Eibach springs, a Magnaflow exhaust, 20-inch Hurst wheels, color-matched leather seat inserts and stitching and a Competition/Plus shifter with a classic white shift knob ball.
Hurst just announced the new Competition/Plus package for the Challenger at the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, CA.The Competition/Plus package is available for the RT and SRT8 Dodge Challenger at Hurst Dodge Dealers at cost of $18,495 above the factory Challenger price.
[Photo Credit: Drew Phillips]
GALLERY: Hurst Competition/Plus Challenger
Forget the Fusion and Avenger, the 2010 Ford and Dodge NASCAR racers will be mean street machines and real pony cars. That’s right, the Mustang and Challenger.
Both cars are expected to be closer to stock than any car in recent history, but that’ s not saying much.
The move was made by the NASCAR governing body in an effort to help the series. In the past both GM and Ford warned that the current Cup cars would turn NASCAR into a spec-racing series with every car not only being similar but looking the same. This, they argued, would in turn lead to a lack of brand identification and, therefore, a loss of interest in the series.
It seems they were right.
NASCAR has suffered a significant drop in not only attendance figures and souvenir sales, but also in TV ratings – indicating that the problem is in fact a lack of interest and not a lack of funds.
The new cars actually won’t be all that different, but they will look different, something that NASCAR is most likely hoping will be of interest to manufacturers looking to capitalize on some marketing.
Despite the move by Ford and Doge, GM will continue to run the Impala SS rather than the 2010 Camaro. Also, Toyota is continuing on with its Camry, mostly because it doesn’t have anything else. The sole Japanese automaker in NASCAR recently dropped the two-door Solara from its lineup.
[Source: Fox Sports]
New for 2009 is the Dodge Challenger SE Rallye model, which comes standard with a long list of exterior updates and, more importantly, a five-speed automatic transmission.
The new tranny is the same unit found paired to the V8 HEMI engines in R/T and SRT8 models. It’s no surprise then that it offers an aggressively short first gear for increased performance. Surprisingly, fuel-economy takes a bit of a hit with city mileage dropping from 18mpg to 17mpg. Highway mileage remains constant at a decent 25 mpg.
The new transmission also features Dodge’s Auto Stick feature, which allows for manual shifting through the gears.
Exterior highlights of the Rallye car include 18-inch wheels, a chrome fuel cap door, a body-colored rear spoiler, as well as dual hood and trunk stripes with outer accent stripes.
The interior also received some added details with what Dodge calls “micro carbon” detailing.
The 2009 Challenge SE Rallye will be offered in seven colors with pre-specified stripes: Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl with Dark Gray dual stripes and Red accent stripes; Bright Silver Metallic with Dark Gray dual stripes and Red accent stripes; Deep Water Blue Metallic with White dual stripes and Red accent stripes; Inferno Red Crystal Pearl with Black and Dark Gray accent stripes; TorRed with Black dual stripes and Dark Gray accent stripes; Dark Titanium Metallic with Black dual stripes and Red accent stripes and finally, Stone White with Black dual stripes and Red accent stripe.
The 2009 Challenger SE Rallye is currently available to be ordered at Dodge dealerships with production beginning in April. Pricing is $26,490 (including the $725 destination fee).
GALLERY: 2009 Dodge Challenger SE Rallye
More after the jump:
Retro-inspired Challenger retails for $34,005
It looks like something Dodge had on display at the 2009 North Americna International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit will actually go into production. No, it won’t be a forward-looking electric car but rather a retro inspired version of the all-new Challenger.
Available as of today for $34,005, the Challenger R/T Classic gets a long list of “classic” design cues to bring back memories of the good old days.
For starters, the Challenger R/T Classic gets two wide side R/T stripes and old-school Challenger heritage badging. It also gets retro-inspired 20-inch chrome wheels, an egg-crate grille with an R/T badge, a body colored rear spoiler and a chrome fuel door. On the hood can be found two functional hood scoops!
Dodge will offer the Challenger R/T Classic in Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Bright Silver Metallic, Stone White, as well as three Dodge heritage colors: HEMI Orange, TorRed and B5 Blue.
Of course, the R/T Classic comes with the latest version of Dodge’s 5.7-liter HEMI engine, which produces 376 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque – enough to ensure a sub six-second 0-60 mph time. A performance exhaust is also a part of the package so you can hear that baby rumble.
A six-speed Tremec manual is standard equipment with a 5-speed auto optional. The six-speed gets a precision-shift “pistol-grip” shifter, Hill Start Assist and a 3.92 differential and both models come with a Track-Pak that includes special pedals, four-wheel disk brakes and stability control with a traction control system that can be shut off.
Inside the retro theme continues with a trapezoidal theme for the door-panel cover and gauge cluster. A dark headliner, slanted shifter console and “four bomb” gauge cluster are also inspired by the origial.
Dodge Challenger R/T Classic:
Official release after the jump:
It’s just a concept… for now
Most manufacturers displaying at SEMA gave a few different tuner shops their latest and greatest car and let them go wild on it… but not Dodge. And with an in-house group of experts like the ones at the company’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) division, who needs to.
SRT engineers were tasked with building a high-performance variant of the new Challenger and they did not disappoint. As though the Challenger SRT-8’s stock 425hp, 6.1-liter HEMI engine were not enough, the SRT team decided to stuff the Viper’s big V10 under the hood. Making 600hp and 560 ft-lbs of torque, this is one badass machine.
But the boys over at SRT didn’t stop there.
The Challenger SRT10 gets a Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission with Viper gear ratios, a four-inch steel drive shaft mated to an aluminum differential with a 3.73:1 final drive and a limited slip differential.
Handling has been improved due to Bilstein shocks and the rear of the car, in particular has been firmed up with a larger sway bar and 20 percent stiffer springs.
The SRT team is known for producing vehicles with exceptional braking capabilities and the Challenger SRT10 is no exception. It has six-piston front calipers with 15.4-inch rotors and four-piston rear calipers with 14-inch rotors. On interesting feature is that SRT engineers designed a system that senses lateral acceleration and will prime the brakes in anticipation of a braking zone.
The Challenger SRT10 also gets an aggressive new look with 20-inch wheels, a carbon fiber hood and a carbon rear spoiler. That spoiler and the front lip have been designed to give incredible amounts of useful downforce – something the SRT team figured out when building the Viper ACR.
While the Challenger SRT10 is only a concept it is likely to see production. After all, Dodge built the Ram SRT10 didn’t they?
Official press release and PHOTO GALLERY after the jump: