Hey! Remember that great idea that Audi and BMW and Ford and Hyundai and Kia had about getting you to buy a turbocharged four-cylinder in a relatively expensive car instead of a V-6? Lee Iacocca had it first. But he never had it like this.
For just a little less than five grand, an experienced Mopar mechanic can take delivery of a 300 horsepower ’87 Town&Country wagon. The 300 horsepower comes courtesy of an SRT-4 swap. While some percentage of you will, at this point, throw up your hands and mutter something about a Turbo III being able to easily put out that kind of power, the SRT-4 swap makes sense because it’s simply less fragile and easier to source from junkyards.
The Town&Country wagon is, rather amazingly to the modern mind, well under 3000 pounds. Say 2800 with the swap. That means that its power-to-weight ratio is pretty much exactly what you get with a new Chevrolet SS or BMW 550i. Road noise, center-stack telematics function, and offset-crash safety will likely lag behind the modern competition, however.
The 2.4L SRT-4 engine was, in many ways, the all-time hero of modern turbocharged fours. My ex-wife’s SRT-4 with the Stage 2 kit would walk away from my Porsche 993 on flat ground and with the dial-a-boost turned down you could get 35mpg on the freeway. None of the current crop of boosted quads match it, save perhaps for the pin-pulled grenade you can buy in a CLA45. The “world engine” found in the Caliber SRT-4 sucked and blew by contrast.
Wouldn’t it be great to have the option of a 300-horsepower turbo four in the Charger? Sure it would. But you still won’t be able to get a wagon, and you definitely can’t have fake wood trim. If you want that, you’d better make the call before someone else does.