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Challenger has the perfect name


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Dodge has it right calling their new retro a Challenger, because that is what they are the challenger not the champ. I will say body looks nice, but too big and a Mercedes auto trans just does not make. What I dont understand is how they could build it for 4 or 5 k less than the Shelby. They seem to have a nicer interior with more standard options than ours. Where did Ford get the extra cost from???? Glad they are finally here because now I know for sure I made the right choice with the Shelby.

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Dodge has it right calling their new retro a Challenger, because that is what they are the challenger not the champ. I will say body looks nice, but too big and a Mercedes auto trans just does not make. What I dont understand is how they could build it for 4 or 5 k less than the Shelby. They seem to have a nicer interior with more standard options than ours. Where did Ford get the extra cost from???? Glad they are finally here because now I know for sure I made the right choice with the Shelby.

 

The local dealer is a Ford/Dodge dealer and the Challenger is sitting in the rain while the Shelby is in the showroom. I think the interior is very plan and looks like every other Dodge.

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It could be because:

 

• The Challenger shares several components with the Mercedes E-Class. At least they saved some $$ from the development cost.

 

• It shares the same line as the 300 and the Charger. Maybe there is cost savings there.

 

• It's possible that the Challenger cannot get as much as the Shelby, so they have to price it lower.

 

Anyone else?

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Here are some possible reasons GT500s cost more:

Our engines are hand built with forged internals.

The supercharger hardware.

Our dual disk clutch set up.

The heavy duty 3rd member hardware (TracLoc, forged 31 splines and HD case).

 

 

Does anyone know if the Hemi has forged internals even?

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First of all, we have SHELBY's, not Dodges - so, we pay the price of admission. Dodge took the Chrysler 300 and chopped some length off it to make the Challenger, and basically kept the same interior, so that saved them lots of money. Comparing to the GT500, the Challenger engines are not hand built. Comparing to the Shelby GT, the car is not shipped to Shelby in Vegas and the final car assembled and prepared by Shelby personnel, which adds costs. The Chally is all chopped, robot-built and spit out like most cars, the least expensive way. Finally, we don't know, in reality, if Chrysler is losing money on these currently or not by selling them at this price.

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Here are some possible reasons GT500s cost more:

Our engines are hand built with forged internals.

The supercharger hardware.

Our dual disk clutch set up.

The heavy duty 3rd member hardware (TracLoc, forged 31 splines and HD case).

 

 

Does anyone know if the Hemi has forged internals even?

 

I'd have to agree with the above. I think you're making an apples to oranges comparison here really between the Challenger and the GT500 as they come from the factory.

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I made a special trip to the Dodge dealer to FINALLY see a Challenger in person. I was really surprised at how big it really was, Charger big. The auto only option for 09 really turns me off too, come on Dodge, get with the program :headscratch: I'm sure that the Hemi 6.1's & even the R/T's will be quick, but won't pull like our 500's.. :burnout:

I was over on a Challenger forum just lurking around last week and had a good time just reading all the unrealistic crap that they were posting on how they were all going to smash Shelby’s & Zo6's as soon as they got all set up and modded.. :kuko: one fella even stated that he owned a GT 500 as well as his SRT 8 Challenger "and the Challenger pulls a lot harder than the Shelby 500" BULLS*#T!! Another great thing to consider is the fact that we (Shelby’s) have a fantastic assortment of aftermarket parts to choose from, and we have a full 2 year head start in this area. Remember that our 5.4's are built for boost, those Hemi engines (respectful in their own right) are high compression power plants, so don't think that bolting on a blower and tune is going to result in the impressive gains that we are getting...need I say 4 valve heads (or lack of??) :rolleyes:

 

Don't get me wrong, I think the Challenger is a good looking car, and there will be a few out there in the near future that will be putting down some real impressive #'s, but they will have to spend BIG :spend: to get there. We on the other hand are in a completely different league, where I stand now the only thing that I really fear on the street are:

Blown Vipers

Heavily Modded Zo6's

ZR 1's

Heavily Modded Exotics :spend:

 

Challengers cant say that... :spiteful:

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I think it is great they are making the Challenger. Love the look. I had a 70 Cuda thru high school and college.

 

But performance wise?

 

Just consider the numbers:

 

GT500 3820 lbs/590 crank HP (JLT/EVO tune) = 6.47 power to weight

Challenger 4100 lbs/425 crank HP (stock #s) = 9.65 power to weight

 

Even the 2010 Camaro has better numbers.

 

Camaro SS 3860 lbs/416 crank HP (stock #s) = 9.10 power to weight

 

Need I say more?

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• It's possible that the Challenger cannot get as much as the Shelby, so they have to price it lower.

 

Anyone else?

 

Actually, the average ADM on the Challenger is $30,000. While there are dealers selling them for less ADM and a couple selling for sticker... they are being hiked up just like the Shelby.

 

 

Here are some possible reasons GT500s cost more:

Our engines are hand built with forged internals.

The supercharger hardware.

Our dual disk clutch set up.

The heavy duty 3rd member hardware (TracLoc, forged 31 splines and HD case).

 

 

Does anyone know if the Hemi has forged internals even?

 

No, the Hemi is not forged. But the 6 speed will have a dual clutch as well.

 

Keep in mind also the superior brakes and suspension. Brembos all the way around, and a suspension setup that requires pretty much nothing... and no wheel hop!

 

 

and basically kept the same interior, so that saved them lots of money.........

 

Comparing to the Shelby GT, the car is not shipped to Shelby in Vegas and the final car assembled and prepared by Shelby personnel, which adds costs. The Chally is all chopped, robot-built and spit out like most cars, the least expensive way.

 

The interior is not the same as any other SRT8 currently made. The only similarity is the steering wheel and the shape of the seats (but still stitched differently).

 

As far as I knew my Shelby was assembled by Ford 100%. When did it go to Vegas????

 

 

I made a special trip to the Dodge dealer to FINALLY The auto only option for 09 really turns me off too, come on Dodge, get with the program :headscratch:

 

 

 

one fella even stated that he owned a GT 500 as well as his SRT 8 Challenger "and the Challenger pulls a lot harder than the Shelby 500" BULLS*#T!! Another great thing to consider is the fact that we (Shelby’s) have a fantastic assortment of aftermarket parts to choose from, and we have a full 2 year head start in this area. Remember that our 5.4's are built for boost, those Hemi engines (respectful in their own right) are high compression power plants, so don't think that bolting on a blower and tune is going to result in the impressive gains that we are getting...need I say 4 valve heads (or lack of??) :rolleyes:

 

 

1) The 08 is an auto-only option. All 09's have the option for the dual clutch 6 speed.

 

2) The SRT8 line does actually "pull harder", but only in the way power is delivered. This is not a knock against the Shelby in any way, but they do drive very differently. I noticed from the 1st test drive that the Shelby has a way of very smoothly ramping up the power... you almost don't know how powerful the car is by the feel. On the other hand, when you floor an SRT8 (especially if it IS modified to run comparable HP/TQ) it quite literally throws you back in the seat and your head sinks into the head rest. My wife was shocked when I brought the Shelby home and took her on the first drive, she thought it felt a lot slower. But in a side by side race she saw the cars were pretty much even although the SRT8 "feels" quicker. (Bear in mind that mine is modified, not stock)

 

3) Within 4 days of delivery, one company had already strapped on a supercharger and WITHOUT a proper tune had pulled out 600hp from the Challenger. So yes... simply bolting on a blower will indeed bring out great performance. Does it deliver from the factory as impressive as the Shelby does in the power department... nope, but few cars really do honestly. Also keep in mind the price differences... a fully loaded Shelby is $49k or thereabouts, and a fully loaded (with MANY more options mind you) SRT8 Challenger is $41,675... so you still have plenty of mod money to throw at it.

 

Since the Challenger shares so much with the current SRT8 line, there is already a nice aftermarket for them from heads to cams and the works. You could realistically build an 850hp Challenger within weeks of delivery if you wanted to.

 

Also Dodge has already announced that they will be offering a crapload of performance parts from heads to superchargers all with factory warranties, so there will be a lot of corporate support for this car.

 

Saleen is already working on custom versions (like what he has offered for the Mustang), and Foose is doing the same as he is ready to build his version of the 'Cuda.

 

 

Is it an out of the box threat for the GT500? Nope. Heavier and less hp. Can it be a contender? Absolutely. Will it carry the same collectibility down the road? That remains to be seen, but I would only assume collectibility on the individually numbered 08's and not on the rest.

 

I love my SRT8, but I love my Shelby more. Would I trade my Shelby for a challenger? NO... that's why I'll own both at the same time and enjoy each for their individual strengths.

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Actually, the average ADM on the Challenger is $30,000. While there are dealers selling them for less ADM and a couple selling for sticker... they are being hiked up just like the Shelby.

 

 

2) The SRT8 line does actually "pull harder", but only in the way power is delivered. This is not a knock against the Shelby in any way, but they do drive very differently. I noticed from the 1st test drive that the Shelby has a way of very smoothly ramping up the power... you almost don't know how powerful the car is by the feel. On the other hand, when you floor an SRT8 (especially if it IS modified to run comparable HP/TQ) it quite literally throws you back in the seat and your head sinks into the head rest. My wife was shocked when I brought the Shelby home and took her on the first drive, she thought it felt a lot slower. But in a side by side race she saw the cars were pretty much even although the SRT8 "feels" quicker. (Bear in mind that mine is modified, not stock)

 

 

Okay. First let me start by calling bull :censored: on the "pulls harder" comment. :redcard: My wife has a 300 SRT8 and I drove a brand new Charger SRT8 over the weekend; neither of which had any "pull" to them at all. I doubt that the Charger could pull a string out of a rat's a$$! As far as "throwing" my head back, more bs. I was actually surprised by how SLOW both cars "feel".

 

Do I like my wife's 300? YES. Is it a nice car in my opinion? YES. Does it or any other SRT8 that I 've driven remotely compare to the Shelby's performance or "feel" more powerful, NO. Just my .02

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Actually, the average ADM on the Challenger is $30,000. While there are dealers selling them for less ADM and a couple selling for sticker... they are being hiked up just like the Shelby.

 

 

 

 

No, the Hemi is not forged. But the 6 speed will have a dual clutch as well.

 

Keep in mind also the superior brakes and suspension. Brembos all the way around, and a suspension setup that requires pretty much nothing... and no wheel hop! ...

 

Don't misunderstand I like the Challenger, but...

 

The original point was about the difference in MSRP, so ADMs are a moot point.

 

The forged internals account for a higher MSRP and much higher potential.

 

With the addition of a 6-speed and dual disk clutch there will be a commensurate hike in price, again referring to the original point.

 

We'll see about wheel hop when they reach over 500 HP with the manual setup. Either way easily cured on a GT500 with a $135 set of LCAs. A chimp could do it in two hours. It took me a little longer! :huh:

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What is the base MSRP on the Challenger ? I saw one last sat @ a cruise and the exterior looked great but big and very high.The trunk lid was even with the top of a Porsche next to it. The front seats look like they were meant for a fatty . Lazyboy comes to my mind. One guy asked where the other doors were. It really is the size of most 4 door sedans. It did get alot of attention , but like me it's the first one out so you gotta look. I think in time it will begin to bore the car fanatics.

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Dodge has it right calling their new retro a Challenger, because that is what they are the challenger not the champ. I will say body looks nice, but too big and a Mercedes auto trans just does not make. What I dont understand is how they could build it for 4 or 5 k less than the Shelby. They seem to have a nicer interior with more standard options than ours. Where did Ford get the extra cost from???? Glad they are finally here because now I know for sure I made the right choice with the Shelby.

You are right, but did you know that back in the 70's they never won a Trans-am race EVER. Some heritage a loser not a challenger.

 

But if you are Dodge fan it's not a bad car,just don't compare it to a Shelby GT , GT500 and never ever a KR

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Okay. First let me start by calling bull :censored: on the "pulls harder" comment. :redcard: My wife has a 300 SRT8 and I drove a brand new Charger SRT8 over the weekend; neither of which had any "pull" to them at all. I doubt that the Charger could pull a string out of a rat's a$$! As far as "throwing" my head back, more bs. I was actually surprised by how SLOW both cars "feel".

 

Do I like my wife's 300? YES. Is it a nice car in my opinion? YES. Does it or any other SRT8 that I 've driven remotely compare to the Shelby's performance or "feel" more powerful, NO. Just my .02

 

 

Might wanna get your wife's car tuned then because I have had mine for almost 3 years and it has always pulled hard.

 

Like I said, that's nothing against the Shelby (no need to get so overly defensive), they just deliver the power differently. Stock for stock, no SRT8 will touch a Shelby, this is true.

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OK, the 08 is the Auto option only, so hurry up and get a 6 spd in it already, although its a no brainier :finger: that there should have been a manual since this really is a niche car. But on to other arguments....

 

I'm sure the SRT 8 pulls differently, its a NA car, ours come alive when the blowers come on, and that’s all about how you drive em.. :peelout:

As far as a company bolting on a supercharger and getting 600 hp without a tune??? :redcard: I'm going to have to see that for myself, sure it is possible, but longevity and street ability come to mind. Keep in mind that all internet hot rodders have 10 second street cars...:talkhand:

Yes the sticker will be lower once the ADM stops, but to still get into our power territory more money will have to be spent, no question, lets use some historical examples..... :spiteful:

Heavily modded Zo6's

600rwhp GTO's

Both these cars must swap out engine internals to get big gains, which equates to big :spend: , oh, not to mention loss of street ability. Yes you will be able to bolt on a blower and a tune and see some respectable #'s, but not to our comparably modded 500's. IMHO... :snake: As far as corporate support for mods, look no further than FRPP, they have been doing great things for years for our community.

 

Yes I have been reading about the Saleen & Foose Challengers (Cudas), and yes they will be cool, all I can say to that is "come get some baby" But they better perform a bit better than the current crop of Saleen & Roush Mustangs... :poke:

Don't get me wrong, I like the cars, and I'm even excited about the eventual arrival of the Camaro :lurk: , but again I still don’t feel that these cars will be in the same league as the 500's, and there are many of us that will be out there to prove that fact beyond a shadow of a doubt, no matter what “car & Driver” writes… :soapbox:

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OK, the 08 is the Auto option only, so hurry up and get a 6 spd in it already, although its a no brainier :finger: that there should have been a manual since this really is a niche car. But on to other arguments....

 

I'm sure the SRT 8 pulls differently, its a NA car, ours come alive when the blowers come on, and that’s all about how you drive em.. :peelout:

As far as a company bolting on a supercharger and getting 600 hp without a tune??? :redcard: I'm going to have to see that for myself, sure it is possible, but longevity and street ability come to mind. Keep in mind that all internet hot rodders have 10 second street cars...:talkhand:

 

 

I don't have any reason to fabricate anything.... http://www.lxforums.com/board/showpost.php...mp;postcount=28 as you see they got just under 500 to the wheels. After you adjust the numbers for parasitic loss of the auto tranny you're at over 600hp at the flywheel.

 

I personally prefer the auto transmission honestly. I always have at least one car with an auto just for ease of driving in heavy traffic, or if I'm just flat-out too lazy to drive one of my manual cars. I also prefer the consistency of an auto. I enjoy rowing through the gears in my Shelby, but if they had an option for an auto with shift paddles on the wheel and instant shifts... I would have gone that route.

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I have a friend in the Philippines who was interested in a Challenger so I looked into the car for him. So to the OP's original question this is how I recapped the MSRP difference to him:

 

GT500 Advantages

1) supercharger w/intercooler (this is worth thousands of $$)

2) forged pistons, rods, crankshaft (again worth thousands of $$ with labor)

3) 5yr/60,000 mile warranty (put your own value on this; SRT is only 1yr/12,000 miles)

4) manual transmission available (available in 09 for Challenger)

5) bigger rubber on the front and rear (my understanding is the Chally is max'd @ the stock size but not 100% sure)

 

Challenger Advantages

1) better brakes especially on the rear

2) IRS (not necessarily better but definitely cost more; i.e. solid axles generally better for drag racing; IRS better for road racing)

3) more cubic inches

4) more nonperformance bells & whistles (push button start, 0-60 timing device etc)

 

So place your own $$ value on the above measurables and see which gives you more for the money. Of course for some people looks alone outweigh everything listed above :headscratch:

 

As far as a company bolting on a supercharger and getting 600 hp without a tune??? :redcard: I'm going to have to see that for myself

 

Yes, a tune was required with the S/C per their website for a Stage 1 S/C setup

 

 

a suspension setup that requires pretty much nothing... and no wheel hop!

 

Within 4 days of delivery, one company had already strapped on a supercharger and WITHOUT a proper tune had pulled out 600hp from the Challenger. So yes... simply bolting on a blower will indeed bring out great performance.

 

You could realistically build an 850hp Challenger within weeks of delivery if you wanted to.

 

True, suspension probably requires mo mods @ stock SRT power level but the half shafts are well known to break on Chargers as crank HP ramps up (similar to 03-04 Cobra)

 

I'm not surprised that the S/C 6.1 is able to put out 600HP but that is as far as the stock motor will safely allow. 5 to 6 PSI of boost is safe max on stock motor

 

I agree that you can build a 850HP Challenger but not unless you replace the rods, crankshaft, stronger pistons with dish feature or head modification to lower compression. You can throw big $$$ at any motor and see huge HP increases

 

Not trying to hate on the Challenger. I'm glad it's here to provide some competition and at least it looks like a muscle car unlike though fugly GM attempts with the GTO and G8 and soon to be Camaro. But for me, since I have neither the time, skill or tools to crack open the motor, the GT500 allows me to mod to my heart's delight with my average skill & resources.

 

Ultimately, the Challenger has more upside potential than the GT500 if someone does go to the time, effort and $$$ to rebuild the engine cuz there's no replacement for displacement and the 5.4L GT500 will suddenly be the underdog to the 6.1L SRT8. But at that point why not just buy a crate engine and be done with it.

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Might wanna get your wife's car tuned then because I have had mine for almost 3 years and it has always pulled hard.

 

Like I said, that's nothing against the Shelby (no need to get so overly defensive), they just deliver the power differently. Stock for stock, no SRT8 will touch a Shelby, this is true.

 

BanditSRT8, You were right. Got my wife's car tuned and wow what a difference! It's feels faster than the Shelby now! :hysterical::hysterical::hysterical:

 

Look, I'm not being defensive, just REAL. I think the SRT8 line is a great line. Compared to most other cars in their classes they ARE powerful. Compared to the Shelby, they are TURDS. Not being defensive, just being real.

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Know thy competition.The 6.1 Hemi as in the SRT version has a forged crank,Sodium filled exhaust valves and hollow intake valves,Billet camshaft,Cylinders honed with torque plates,Oil squirters to cool the pistons.Actually it has quite a bit of potential,In the right(Read lighter)Car.Reinforced block and a few other goodies as a raised camshaft position,Same as in the 5.7 Hemi,for an easy stroker.

Not quite as advanced as the 5.4 in the Shelby but a nice package for sure.

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Know thy competition.The 6.1 Hemi as in the SRT version has a forged crank,Sodium filled exhaust valves and hollow intake valves,Billet camshaft,Cylinders honed with torque plates,Oil squirters to cool the pistons.Actually it has quite a bit of potential,In the right(Read lighter)Car.Reinforced block and a few other goodies as a raised camshaft position,Same as in the 5.7 Hemi,for an easy stroker.

Not quite as advanced as the 5.4 in the Shelby but a nice package for sure.

 

Oh, I agree fully, both those powerplants are very respectfull in their own right, and with some "love" they will pull some respecfull #'s. But again you hit it right on the head, "not quite as advanced as the 5.4" Ford did us proud with the GT''s and then they rolled that right into the 500's. :rockon:

Back to boost, they wont be able to push even close to 16 to 20 lbs into those Mopars Slowpars like we can with our 500's. MHO..

As far as crank hp & parasitic loss....please, :glare: give me rwhp, thats why I spend so much time and $$ on the dyno..... :poke:

 

Oh, and just to set the record straight, we have raised a family in a Dodge, a 98 Durango in fact. I will be the first to say that I love that truck and I think it is one of the best looking SUV's ever made, we just hit 125,000, with nary a problem, and I pull all sorts of shit with it all the time.

BTW, this is one of the most interesting threads that has been started on here since I joined TS... :stirpot:

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Dodge has it right calling their new retro a Challenger, because that is what they are the challenger not the champ. I will say body looks nice, but too big and a Mercedes auto trans just does not make. What I dont understand is how they could build it for 4 or 5 k less than the Shelby. They seem to have a nicer interior with more standard options than ours. Where did Ford get the extra cost from???? Glad they are finally here because now I know for sure I made the right choice with the Shelby.

 

 

Not to slam Mopar too much, but the two Chrysler products I've owned were both 'bought' back by Chrysler after some well placed phone calls to Michigan. A Dodge product in 1991, and a Jeep product in 2007. I think I know how they control their costs......

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Actually, the average ADM on the Challenger is $30,000. While there are dealers selling them for less ADM and a couple selling for sticker... they are being hiked up just like the Shelby.

 

 

 

 

No, the Hemi is not forged. But the 6 speed will have a dual clutch as well.

 

Keep in mind also the superior brakes and suspension. Brembos all the way around, and a suspension setup that requires pretty much nothing... and no wheel hop!

 

 

 

 

The interior is not the same as any other SRT8 currently made. The only similarity is the steering wheel and the shape of the seats (but still stitched differently).

 

As far as I knew my Shelby was assembled by Ford 100%. When did it go to Vegas????

 

 

 

 

 

1) The 08 is an auto-only option. All 09's have the option for the dual clutch 6 speed.

 

2) The SRT8 line does actually "pull harder", but only in the way power is delivered. This is not a knock against the Shelby in any way, but they do drive very differently. I noticed from the 1st test drive that the Shelby has a way of very smoothly ramping up the power... you almost don't know how powerful the car is by the feel. On the other hand, when you floor an SRT8 (especially if it IS modified to run comparable HP/TQ) it quite literally throws you back in the seat and your head sinks into the head rest. My wife was shocked when I brought the Shelby home and took her on the first drive, she thought it felt a lot slower. But in a side by side race she saw the cars were pretty much even although the SRT8 "feels" quicker. (Bear in mind that mine is modified, not stock)

 

3) Within 4 days of delivery, one company had already strapped on a supercharger and WITHOUT a proper tune had pulled out 600hp from the Challenger. So yes... simply bolting on a blower will indeed bring out great performance. Does it deliver from the factory as impressive as the Shelby does in the power department... nope, but few cars really do honestly. Also keep in mind the price differences... a fully loaded Shelby is $49k or thereabouts, and a fully loaded (with MANY more options mind you) SRT8 Challenger is $41,675... so you still have plenty of mod money to throw at it.

 

Since the Challenger shares so much with the current SRT8 line, there is already a nice aftermarket for them from heads to cams and the works. You could realistically build an 850hp Challenger within weeks of delivery if you wanted to.

 

Also Dodge has already announced that they will be offering a crapload of performance parts from heads to superchargers all with factory warranties, so there will be a lot of corporate support for this car.

 

Saleen is already working on custom versions (like what he has offered for the Mustang), and Foose is doing the same as he is ready to build his version of the 'Cuda.

 

 

Is it an out of the box threat for the GT500? Nope. Heavier and less hp. Can it be a contender? Absolutely. Will it carry the same collectibility down the road? That remains to be seen, but I would only assume collectibility on the individually numbered 08's and not on the rest.

 

I love my SRT8, but I love my Shelby more. Would I trade my Shelby for a challenger? NO... that's why I'll own both at the same time and enjoy each for their individual strengths.

 

 

Thanks for the info from someone who owns one. I intend to get a Challenger SRT8 myself. I've yet to see one on the road. It may pull harder off the line because of the gearing. It would be great to see a side by side pict with your Shelby for a size comparo! :happy feet:

 

KC666

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Thanks for the info from someone who owns one. I intend to get a Challenger SRT8 myself. I've yet to see one on the road. It may pull harder off the line because of the gearing. It would be great to see a side by side pict with your Shelby for a size comparo! :happy feet:

 

KC666

 

 

He actually has a Magnum, not a Challenger; just to clarify. My wife has a 300 SRT8. Maybe the gearing is different in the magnum versus the 300?

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Yes, I own a Magnum. Soon the Mag will be gone with the Challenger in its place.

 

Here is a cool article on the Challenger. Maxed out at 173mph, not bad for the size and weight...

 

Article: http://blogs.motortrend.com/6267069/europe...wood/index.html

 

 

I follow with photographer Brian in tow and take advantage of Angus' run before me. We're able to get on the throttle sooner and longer and take better advantage of the straightaways. As with our previous attempts, the big Dodge responds without complaint -- surging ahead to 140 mph, then 150. The climb past 160 mph takes a few heartbeats longer, the needle arcing slowly past the penultimate number on the speedo: Next stop, 180 mph.

 

"...161...<click>...163...<click>..." calls out Brian as he snaps off shots of the digital speedo from the back seat.

 

My eyes don't leave the road ahead, though I probably could take at least one hand off of the wheel -- so stable is the Challenger at this speed.

 

"...165...<click>...168..<click>."

 

There is no lightness in the steering, no harmonic speed wobble or front end lift to indicate instability. The only evidence of our stunning velocity is the roar and blur of the outside world through the glass. Very impressive.

 

"...171...<click>...173...<click>"

 

Ahead is the same set of gentle sweepers for which Angus had to lift, so I do the same. Gently off the gas, I cover the brake pedal but do not depress it. We coast smoothly -- at well over 160 mph -- through a gentle right then left. Unfortunately, there's not enough roadway left for another attempt, so 173 will have to do; our high-speed run has put us behind schedule.

 

News of our 173-mph run lightens everyone's mood. Says Angus: "Amazing. Ten years ago, if you did 170 in an American car you could only be talking about a Corvette or Viper. You know -- a proper sports car -- not a big coupe."

 

dodge-challenger-srt8-speedo-readin.jpg

 

 

 

Now it's my turn. I strap in and try to remember the lap with the test driver. Apparently the key with banked tracks is to avoid the natural inclination to turn the steering wheel. The road ahead arcs quickly to the right -- but because the track is banked so steeply -- the car shouldn't need any steering input. It should behave as though you're driving straight into a continuous bowl. I bring the Challenger rapidly up to speed, easy to do with the 425-hp HEMI under the hood.

 

 

At 50 mph, the right half of the car suddenly falls away and takes the pit of my stomach with it. It feels as though the Challenger is hanging by the driver-side door, but there's no sensation of sliding toward the bottom of the track -- in fact, the car feels even more stable than it did on approach. With the suspension fully loaded, I can feel the g forces start to work on my head and neck. Keeping my head up and eyes looking straight out the windshield requires extra effort, but I'm rewarded with a concave horizon -- no sky, just the onrushing road ahead. I relax my deathgrip on the wheel as the horizon straightens out, and I go for two more laps. By the end of the third lap, which I take at nearly 70 mph, I understand what Angus means. I'm feeling queasy. Still, it's easier than I thought it would be.

 

 

 

dodge-challenger-srt8-on-untertu-2.jpg

 

 

 

dodge-challenger-srt8-on-unterturkh.jpg

 

Photography by Brian Vance

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am actually in the process of trading my '07 SRT8 Charger "Super Bee" in on a GT500, and I'll tell you why. Yes, the 6.1 Hemi is a nice muscle car engine and Dodge makes a nice car, but it simply costs too much to make any decent numbers with. Everyone can talk all the numbers they want, but the bottom line is, the engine is just the tip of the iceberg of weak points. Anything over 500HP with a 6.1 Hemi and you're talking quite a few thousand dollars in drivetrain upgrades to hold that kind of power (ie: half shafts, torque converter, transmission rebuilds). This is after the several thousand dollars it takes just to make any significant horsepower, the average supercharger alone for an SRT8 is $6,500+ and that will only net you about 120HP gains, since you're only able to run minimal boost pressure. If you want any real significant numbers you're talking a stroker conversion which averages about $11,000-$15,000 total for a 426ci and slightly less for a 392ci conversion. But even with $20,000 in upgrades under your hood and another $4,000 in drivetrain upgrades you will only be as strong as the weakest link which in the STR8's case, is the transmission.

 

So as you can tell, the idea of giving a call to Steeda or Evolution Performance for one of their performance packs that can make 120HP for less than $1500 bucks is what has me wanting a GT500 in my garage.. Not to mention, with roughly $6,000 and a call to Kenne Bell or Whipple you're talking 800-1000HP with the stock engine, a beefy driveshaft and some race fuel, you're absolutely stupid to spend upwards of $20,000+ building an SRT8.

 

Just my $0.02.

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