AutoGuide News Blog
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.
Fuel economy… who needs it? Luggage capacity, rear-seat legroom, creature comforts, they’re more overrated than all the bacon memes on Facebook put together and raised to the power of Justin Bieber. That’s one hell of a confusing math problem, but it’s true. Needless add-ons and frou-frou features waste more time and energy than a month-long filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Anyone up for reading the phonebook?
Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne is auctioning off his customized 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8, with the proceeds benefiting the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Top 10 Affordable Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars
Lawmakers in Washington D.C. and California are armed with a legislative battleaxe and they’re bringing it to bear against the automotive industry. Fuel-economy regulations are hitting like a war hammer, disrupting the market and crushing carmakers. In a mad dash to meet upcoming CAFE standards manufacturers are dramatically shifting their product offerings. Downsized vehicles, hybrid drivetrains and diesel engines are some of the tools in their defensive arsenals.
One unfortunate victim of this efficiency stampede is rear-wheel drive. Slowly but surely over the last 30 years automakers have made the switch to front-drive, a layout that’s more economical in a number of ways. But not everyone is content driving a Nissan Sentra, or getting by in a minivan. For enthusiasts that care about performance rear-wheel drive is king, but it’s a monarch that’s under siege. Keeping the dream alive, here’s a list of the Top 10 (reasonably) affordable RWD cars on the market today. Act fast before they’re gone in a puff of tire smoke.
AutoGuide.com’s new cars section saw a mix of browsers researching performance and practicality this week.
The first-ever online version of the Mopar ‘Top Eliminator’ program has revealed its 10 finalists, after having gone through nearly 80 entries. Fans can now vote for their favorite in crowning one lucky winner.
With the oil crisis of the ‘70s many predicted the death of the V8 engine, but it has continued to solider on. With Chrysler and Infiniti execs recently commenting that there’s no place for eight-cylinder cars in the future of their respective brands, this time, are the V8 engine’s days finally numbered?
10. Subaru WRX STI: 305-hp $34,095
One of the most wonderful sensations come when you command a whole handful of power just with the flexing of your right foot. Horsepower is an intoxicating element when it comes to driving, but that doesn’t mean that it’s saved for the most expensive vehicles out there.
The new package is a tuned Challenger SXT Plus, which comes with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, making 305 horsepower. Normally an SXT would start at $24,995 but the extra $3,750 offers a list of go-fast parts that aim to offer a more engaging driving experience.
Performance upgrades run through the chassis and drivetrain starting with a cold air intake that improves airflow to the engine. New front and rear sway bars stiffen the chassis and make the car more corner-capable. Further augmenting the cornering, the Rallye Redline edition gets 42 percent firmer monotube shocks in the front and 22 percent in the rear.
Dodge also replaced the 2.65:1 rear axle ratio with a more lively 3.06:1 unit which means acceleration will feel stronger despite having the same engine as the SXT.
Stopping power also improves with larger two-piston calipers at the front and larger vented disc brakes all around.
Playing off the package name, the car gets a centre racing stripe with two smaller lines all running parallell over the car’s length. 20-inch aluminum alloys wrapped in Firestone Firehawk all-season performance tires, which replace the standard 18-inch wheels, also have a thick red line accenting the outer edge.
As a modified version of the SXT Plus, the Rallye Redline comes with the same list of standard features as the unit it’s based on. Those include leather seating — heated in the front, bluetooth cellphone connectivity, electronic stability control and more.
GALLERY: 2012 Challenger Rallye Redline
Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk is auctioning off some of his personal goodies to benefit at-risk youth by providing them with free skateparks. Among the available items is his DUB Edition custom 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T.
The Dodge Challenger features 22-inch custom TIS wheels paired with Pirelli rubber. The Tony Hawk logo has been embroidered onto each of the headrests that also have 7-inch Savv monitors in the back. A Savv DVD player provides the entertainment while a Rockford Fosgate 200-watt amplifier provides plenty of power to a 10-inch subwoofer. DUB plates, inserts and chrome badges can be seen throughout the vehicle as well.
While the price seems a bit high, the custom package is supposedly valued at more than $15,000. We’re guessing those 22-inch TIS wheels and Pirelli tires make up the majority of that figure.
The auction will start on March 11 at 7 p.m. PST at www.thfauction.org.
[Source: DUB Magazine]
American automaker Chrysler is reportedly considering which upcoming model will replace the Dodge Challenger. The newest rumor to sneak out is that Ralph Gilles, Chrysler Design Chief and head of the new SRT division, is looking to roll out a modern Barracuda.
It is believed that if a new-generation Barracuda was to replace the Challenger, it would be lighter and smaller but will be rear-wheel drive. Presently, Chrysler and Fiat together are developing a new platform that’s smaller than the current Charger/300s. And unlike the current Challenger which was made long in order to mimic the 1970 to 1974 Challenger’s proportions, the new Barracuda won’t be such a literal interpretation of its classic models.
“Ralph’s always wanted to do a new Barracuda,” one well-placed source told Motor Trend.
It would even be more interesting to see if Chrysler brands the new Barracuda as an SRT model, like the upcoming Viper, rather than a Dodge vehicle.
[Source: Motor Trend]
Mopar Underground has unleashed their Dodge Challenger SRT8 ACR on the Las Vegas Convention Center show floor and it’s every bit as awesome as we expected. The Challenger SRT8 392 has been influenced by the Viper SRT10 ACR’s styling while the 392 under the hood packs even more punch with Mopar’s custom headers and cat-back exhaust.
On the outside, the white body has been contrasted with subtle red accents, a charcoal roof and plenty of carbon fiber on the hood, deck lid, rear spoiler and tail light surround. 20-inch black wheels were fitted to each corner that sits nicely on the rear fenders thanks to a set of coilovers.
The interior is clearly race-inspired, sporting carbon fiber door panels, red roll bars and carbon fiber racing seats that have been covered in Katzkin leather. We still hope that Dodge or Mopar will announce some sort of availability on this model but we’re sure avid enthusiasts will be able to build it on their own through Mopar’s extensive parts catalog.
GALLERY: Dodge Challenger SRT8 ACR
Developed by Chrysler Group’s Mopar Underground team, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 ACR is heavily influenced by the success of the Mopar Drag Pak Challenger and more recently, the Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR that reset the production lap time record at the Nurburgring. Based on the Challenger SRT8 392, Mopar Underground focused on paying homage to the original option-delete cars of the 1960s and 70s with the SRT8 ACR that will make its debut at this year’s SEMA Show.
On the outside, the Challenger SRT8 ACR takes design cues from the infamous Viper SRT10 ACR. The Challenger will sport a white body, charcoal-painted roof, carbon fiber hood, rear deck lid, rear spoiler and tail lamp surround, and an offset flame red stripe that runs the length of the project. The mirror caps and brake calipers were then painted red, contrasting the white while giving the Challenger a true race-inspired theme. For wheels, 20-inchers adorn each corner in a unique black-painted finish. To top off the aesthetics, red ACR fender badging was added.
The red and white theme continues onto the interior where Mopar Underground added white accents on the carbon fiber door panels, red armrest bars with white foam padding, red door latch release tethers, red painted roll bars and accents on the carbon fiber racing seats covered in black Katzkin leather.
But what Challenger SRT8 featuring the ACR badging wouldn’t have performance modifications? Mopar Underground outfitted the Challenger with a complete collection of parts straight out of a Mopar catalog. The suspension has been completely overhauled thanks to a set of coilovers, braces and brace caps in the front and the rear. A cat-back exhaust with custom headers were bolted on, giving the Challenger SRT8 a whole new note and extra horsepower while minor accessories include a Drag Pack center stack, carbon fiber bezel kit, door sill entry guards, Mopar fuel door and a short-throw shifter. The race-inspired vehicle has also had its rear seat removed in exchange for a roll bar and fire extinguisher.
Dodge did not make any announcement on whether or not they plan on producing the Challenger SRT8 ACR. One can only hope.
Penske Racing has teamed up with Pennzoil to giveaway a one-of-a-kind custom Dodge Challenger SRT8 and 175 other prizes through their Join The Pursuit game. To enter the contest all you need to do is get a qualifying Pennzoil oil change to receive your official game piece, then enter the code at the website here. Or, just visit the website without purchasing an oil change. Prizes include $50 Shell gift cards, $25 Shell gift cards, a Pennzoil/Penske Racing hat and the grand prize of a Dodge Challenger SRT8.
The SRT8 features custom paint and striping on the exterior, with a dual-finish black paint scheme with hand-applied accent stripes. A suspension lowering kit was installed to enhance handling and give the SRT8 a more menacing stance, while a set of 20-inch Forgiato wheels with Pirelli P-Zero rubber conceals the four-piston Brembo brake kit. Performance comes from a 392-cubic inch Hemi V8 with 470-hp and 470 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed transmission. Performance upgrades include a Corsa Performance exhaust system and a Getrag limited-slip differential. On the inside, a premium interior package outfits the cabin with leather seats and accent-colored stitching. In car electronics include a Kicker sound system, Media Center 730N with Uconnect and “Performance Pages” instrumentation – which displays 0-60 time, braking distance and time, 1/4- and 1/8-mile time and G-force.
[Source: Pennzoil Join The Pursuit]
The Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang together outsold all hybrids in the U.S. market for the month of May. With fuel prices skyrocketing and the cost for a gallon of gas around $4, many would think this is absurd. However with advancements in technology, the fuel economy efforts by GM, Ford and Chrysler have made these models far more efficient than in the past. And besides, Spring is the perfect season to buy a summer toy.
The 2012 Camaro lead muscle car sales in May 2011, with the introduction of the convertible model, selling 9,451 units. This is a gain of 5% over May 2010, however 10,000 Camaros were sold in April, so there was a slight decline from the previous month. The 2012 Mustang came in second place selling 4,407 units which also suffered a 36% decrease over May 2010. The 2012 Dodge Challenger came in third place with 3,418 units sold in May. Even with the slump in sales for May, a total of 19,476 Challengers, Camaros and Mustangs were sold compared to 17,852 hybrids sold in the U.S.
The Earthquake in Japan prevented vehicles from coming into the US and this needs to be taken into consideration when looking at these numbers, but it is still amazing that with gas this high, many Americans are not ready to let go of their favorite muscle cars.
[Source: Mustang Forums]
Those who are scratching their heads on what a Kowalski Edition Dodge Challenger is were probably born way after 1971, or just never heard of the movie Vanishing Point. Released in 1971, the flick was all about Kowaski, a vehicle delivery driver, that had to go from Denver, Colorado to San Francisco, California in less than 15 hours. So with a bet on the line, Kowalski hops into a white 1970 Dodge Challenger and flies through the empty highways of the West Coast.
To pay homage to the great film, a dealership out in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania has created 10 Kowalski Edition Dodge Challengers. Starting with an Inaugural Edition SRT8 (in white of course), the dealership removes the stripe, adds some custom decals and 20-inch Alcoa SRT wheels. On the inside, the seats feature a dark shade and a wood grain Hurst pistol grip shifter, attempting to look as similar as possible to the movie’s 1970 version. And of course, a numbered plaque designates which Kowalski Edition Challenger it is.
No pricing was announced, but apparently all 10 vehicles are already spoken for.