The Truth About Cars » Dodge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:28:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Dodge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Choose Your Own Adventure: The Great American Full-Size Sedan Shootout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/choose-adventure-great-american-full-size-sedan-shootout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/choose-adventure-great-american-full-size-sedan-shootout/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:13:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934954 Today was a glorious day: despite the draconian speeding laws enacted by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the unfortunate wet weather, we were able to experience the full gamut of the 2015 Dodge Charger offerings, including the Hellcat version. Driving impressions for the 2015s are embargoed until Wednesday, October 29th, but you, the […]

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Today was a glorious day: despite the draconian speeding laws enacted by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the unfortunate wet weather, we were able to experience the full gamut of the 2015 Dodge Charger offerings, including the Hellcat version.

Driving impressions for the 2015s are embargoed until Wednesday, October 29th, but you, the B&B get to choose what you want to read first: the Hellcat standalone review, or a shootout between the Charger SXT V6 and Chevrolet Impala 2LT and the Charger SRT 392 and the Chevrolet SS; the V6 and V8 shootouts will get their own articles.

The Charger R/T Hemi was on hand, but without a competitive car to drive, we skipped it. Same with the basic Charger V6. In all likelihood, we’ll be able to rent both of those cars at a later date or get them out of the local press fleet. Over to you, B&B.

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September 2014 Sales: $85K Viper Sells Like It’s March 2008 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-85k-viper-sells-like-march-2008/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-85k-viper-sells-like-march-2008/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:15:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934234 This is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?” The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow? Over the span of a few […]

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2015 Dodge Viper SRTThis is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?”

The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow?

Over the span of a few days or weeks, the Chrysler Group wasn’t going to inject a barrel full of cash into R&D for a new Viper, perform stress tests, crash tests, performance tests, complete styling mock-ups, consult the Viper-owning faithful, and begin delivering cars to dealers.

But they could drop the price by $15,000, creating a base MSRP of $84,995. Suddenly for September, the Viper was priced like it was two decades ago, adjusted for inflation.

Suddenly, U.S. sales rose to the highest level the Viper has seen since January 2009, when 127 were sold, a follow-up to the Viper’s 152-unit December 2008 performance.

The Viper topped 100 units on six occasions in calendar year 2008: in March, April, May, August, and December.

One month does not offer enough evidence for a thorough sales analysis, but the turnaround is still too distinct to ignore. August sales had fallen to the second-lowest total since the latest Viper arrived early last year. The summer season generated just 158 sales between June and August, a 21% year-over-year drop from the 200 sold during the same season one year earlier.

Can the now $85K Viper maintain this heady level of output? Assuming Dodge/SRT sell another 324 more in the fourth-quarter of 2014, the Viper will have enjoyed its best sales year since 2008, although the total in that assumed case (870 units) would be down 26% from ‘08 levels, when 1172 were sold.

Keep in mind, 2008, when sales jumped 169% year-over-year, was not an especially good time for the Viper. 1511 Vipers were sold in 2002, 2103 in 2003, 1782 in 2004, 1652 in 2005, and 1455 in 2006.

Nevertheless, the year-over-year growth achieved by the Viper in September 2014 is notable. Volume shot up 140%, a gain of 63 units. Automotive News reports that Dodge will begin building Vipers again in mid-November after the price cut began moving substantial portions of dealer inventory. By that time, Viper production will have been idled for more than one-third of 2014.

With Viper numbers ascending, we can’t ignore the upward movement from two other sports cars. Nissan GT-R sales more than doubled to a Viper-besting 159 units, a gain of 83 sales compared with September 2013. GM, meanwhile, sold 2467 Corvettes in September alone, a 197% year-over-year increase, equal to 1636 units.

Only four other passenger cars produced greater year-over-year gains than the Viper in September. Audi’s A3 (up 33,329%) wasn’t really on sale a year ago. The Mitsubishi Mirage (up 6600%) did not put a full month under its belt last September. Mercedes-Benz’s scarcely available B-Class EV was up 3150%. And the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (up 393%), with 1909 September sales, continued to teach every automaker a lesson in how to sell $94,400-$222,000 cars.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Dodge Viper Assembly To Resume Mid-November http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dodge-viper-assembly-resume-mid-november/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dodge-viper-assembly-resume-mid-november/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934754 After months of idling, the Dodge Viper will once again roll out of the assembly line to a roped-off display near you. Automotive News reports the Conner Avenue plant will start production of the supercar in mid-November after shutting down July 3. The move follows a sales increase in September, thanks to a $15,000 discount […]

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2015-SRT-Viper-Anodized-Carbon-Time-Attack-Edition-3

After months of idling, the Dodge Viper will once again roll out of the assembly line to a roped-off display near you.

Automotive News reports the Conner Avenue plant will start production of the supercar in mid-November after shutting down July 3. The move follows a sales increase in September, thanks to a $15,000 discount to help move unsold 2013 and 2014 stock, as well as an additional $15,000 off via a coupon given to over 1,000 customers that will remain good until January 2, 2018.

In the aforementioned month, 108 Vipers were dusted off and sent to a good home after buyers paid $86,880 for them, besting August 2014’s 38 and September 2013’s 45. Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis said October sales are also turning out to be strong, helping to bring inventory down to appropriate levels.

Speaking of inventory, dealers have ordered 200 2015 Vipers, which will only be assembled once more older stock heads out onto the highway. Once assembly starts, only the GT and base SRT trims will come down the line at first, with the more upscale TA and GTS trims following after inventory becomes reasonable.

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Chrysler Twins Rank First And Second Among Minivans In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chrysler-twins-ranked-first-second-among-minivans-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chrysler-twins-ranked-first-second-among-minivans-2014/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:02:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932466 Only twice in the last six years have one of the Chrysler Group’s minivans been America’s top-selling minivan. America’s best-selling minivan in 2008 and 2009 was the Honda Odyssey, which also led the segment in 2013. The Toyota Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan in 2011. Yet through the first nine months of 2014, not only […]

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2015 Dodge Grand CaravanOnly twice in the last six years have one of the Chrysler Group’s minivans been America’s top-selling minivan. America’s best-selling minivan in 2008 and 2009 was the Honda Odyssey, which also led the segment in 2013. The Toyota Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan in 2011.

Yet through the first nine months of 2014, not only is the Chrysler Town & Country America’s top-selling minivan, but its twin, the Dodge Grand Caravan, ranks second in the class, 8431 sales ahead of the third-ranked Odyssey. The Chrysler and Dodge haven’t finished a calendar year as the two top-ranked minivans since 2005. 

Granted, even during the years in which the Odyssey or Sienna led the category, the Chrysler/Dodge twins combined for superior market share. We also know that these vans are fleet favourites, assisting in the generation of volume outside of a retail environment. Moreover, competitors produce higher transaction prices, especially the Odyssey, while the Grand Caravan is geared towards value-minded family buyers.

But the news that these twins combined to finish the months of March, April, May, June, and September as the two leaders of the category is pertinent given FCA’s intentions for their Ontario-assembled vans and the recent growth in the category.

2011 Chrysler Town & CountryAfter five consecutive years of decline ending in 2009, overall minivan volume grew 7% in 2010, 3% in 2011, and 13% in 2012, then declined 4% to a two-year low last year. Minivan sales in 2014 are up 6%, meaning the category is on track for its best year since 2008, when the Odyssey’s two-year reign began.

We published a chart just last month looking at the increased market share of the twins in 2014, rising from 44% during the first eight months of 2013 to 49% this year. With three-quarters under our belt, the Town & Country and Grand Caravan now own 50% of the market, up from 45% a year ago. Town & Country volume is up 19%, a near 18,000-unit improvement. Grand Caravan sales have improved by 12,501 units, a 14% jump. Jointly, their sales are up 17% to 212,411 units, 13.7% of Chrysler Group’s year-to-date volume, up from 13.4% at this time a year ago. (Including the Ram Cargo Van, they account for 14.1% of all Chrysler Group sales.)

Resting on laurels is genuinely thought to be a bad idea. These vans are in need of an update, and their consistently held status of sales leaderboard top dogs hides the fact that so much of their appeal comes down to price. (And Stow ‘N Go!) They’re the least efficient vans in the class. Their second rows aren’t as comfortable or as spacious as the seats in, for example, the Sienna. They don’t offer eight-passenger seating.

Nevertheless, it would be easier to understand FCA’s decision to severely alter the Town & Country/Grand Caravan model structure if the trend was heading in the opposite direction, as it did in 2011, when their market share decreased to 41.7% from 45% in 2010. On the other hand, should an automaker stick to tried-and-true product plans in a category that’s declined in size by 48% over the last decade, even if that category is showing moderate signs of renewed health?

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Plymouth Champ, with Twin-Stick! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1979-plymouth-champ-twin-stick/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1979-plymouth-champ-twin-stick/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931106 The tales of the many flavors of rebadged Chrysler Europe and Mitsubishi products sold as Plymouths and Dodges remain perennially fascinating for me, what with all the Chryslerized Simcas and Hillmans and so forth, and one example of this breed that appears to have disappeared from the face of the earth is the Plymouth Champ. […]

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19 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe tales of the many flavors of rebadged Chrysler Europe and Mitsubishi products sold as Plymouths and Dodges remain perennially fascinating for me, what with all the Chryslerized Simcas and Hillmans and so forth, and one example of this breed that appears to have disappeared from the face of the earth is the Plymouth Champ. The Champ was a fourth-generation Mitsubishi Mirage, a gas-sipping front-driver that received Colt nameplates for the Dodge side of the showroom floor, and I found one a few days ago at a Denver-area self-service yard.
20 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Champ name existed for just the 1979 through 1982 model years, after which Chrysler must have decided that marketing confusion could be reduced and money saved on emblem production by selling both Plymouth- and Dodge-badged Colts.
12 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is a particularly ghastly shade of Malaise Green, which is set off nicely by the tape stripes.
05 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car features the super-cool Twin-Stick aka Super Shift transmission, which had a high-low range selector that multiplied the four forward gears into eight gears. Essentially, it was an overdrive box built into the transaxle. In practice, just about nobody drove the Twin-Stick by going through all eight gear ranges in sequence— mostly, you just left it in one range or the other and drove it like a regular four-speed.
06 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut still, the Twin-Stick was cool.
13 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the “big-block” 1.6 liter 4G32 Saturn engine, which made a mighty 80 horsepower.
07 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI was very tempted to buy this POWER/ECONOMY indicator light for my collection of weird Japanese instrument-panel parts, but did not do so.
24 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt looks to be an original Colorado car.
01 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCars don’t tend to rust much here in the dry High Plains climate, but Japanese cars of the 1970s could find a way to rust in a vacuum.
04 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s worn out, but essentially complete. How many Champs are left in the wild?

Chuck Woolery says the ’79 Champ is the Southern California mileage champ.

Another little mileage car from Japan, right?


Just don’t crash your Champ!

01 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat Delivers EPA-Rated 22 MPG Highway http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-challenger-srt-hellcat-delivers-epa-rated-22-mpg-highway/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-challenger-srt-hellcat-delivers-epa-rated-22-mpg-highway/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914234 Most customers purchasing a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat aren’t likely considering fuel economy as a reason for wanting one of the most brutal machines ever assembled. That said, the pony car is fairly efficient on the highway in comparison to more exotic fare. The lieutenant to the Charger Hellcat’s general, the Challenger Hellcat delivers […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat

Most customers purchasing a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat aren’t likely considering fuel economy as a reason for wanting one of the most brutal machines ever assembled. That said, the pony car is fairly efficient on the highway in comparison to more exotic fare.

The lieutenant to the Charger Hellcat’s general, the Challenger Hellcat delivers an EPA rating of 22 highway via its eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic, losing only a single mpg for those who opt to row their own boats through a six-speed manual. Chrysler notes the highest rating comes from the auto’s 7.03 gear ratio spread, allowing the elephant to be that efficient on the highway more often.

In comparison, exotic beasts like the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, Aston Martin Vanquish and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT deliver similar amounts of firepower to the battlefield, but only manage to put out 18 mpg to 19 mpg in so doing.

Furthermore, unlike the six-figure price tags for said exotics — of which only the Aventador comes closest in matching horsepower with the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat, the others falling just under 600 horses — the Challenger comes in at just under $60,000. Not a bad place to be, one would suppose.

Figures for city and combined mpg were not announced as of this writing.

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Kuniskis: Dealers Must Prove Themselves Worthy Of Selling Hellcat Challenger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/kuniskis-dealers-must-prove-worthy-selling-hellcat-challenger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/kuniskis-dealers-must-prove-worthy-selling-hellcat-challenger/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910074 Dodge dealers wanting to help their customers destroy wannabes with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat will themselves need to prove their worth to the brand before a single car leaves the carrier. Automotive News reports allocations of the 707-horsepower war machine will be based on the total number of all Dodges sold during the past […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat

Dodge dealers wanting to help their customers destroy wannabes with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat will themselves need to prove their worth to the brand before a single car leaves the carrier.

Automotive News reports allocations of the 707-horsepower war machine will be based on the total number of all Dodges sold during the past 180 days, according to brand chief Tim Kuniskis, with a second allocation in December will focus on the previous 90 days of such sales and the traditional 30-day inventory turn.

Further, Dodge will measure how many days each Hellcat remains on the lot after the initial allocation, with the goal of moving them off the lot as quickly as possible if more are to be delivered later on. Kuniskis acknowledges this may be a headache for those who opt to make a market adjustment similar to the one performed at a recent Los Angeles Chevrolet dealership, where a Camaro Z/28 was priced to move at $106,165:

If you want to market-adjust the car, that’s your right. But if your days-on-lot goes above what the other guys that are selling them at MSRP is, they will end up earning the allocation because their days-on-lot will be lower. Some dealers are going to have heartburn with that.

Kuniskis adds that he wants to see each Hellcat out there on the road for all to enjoy instead of sitting in a showroom “with a rope around it” like the Viper, and that his brand “worked hard” to price the beast at an attainable $60,990 with shipping included.

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Piston Slap: Why So Uncool Minivan? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:07:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908561   Josh writes: What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not […]

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1972 Ford Carousel (photo courtesy: forum.chryslerminivan.net)

Josh writes:

What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not cool. I could get a wagon though. Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?

Will minivans ever be cool to own?

Sajeev answers:

What’s the deal with minivans? From public perception, CUV popularity, fleet usage, etc. the “uncool minivan” is indeed a sad reality.  But there is plenty to love here on TTAC, from the Farago era to something brilliantly Baruthian.  My second favorite rental vehicle was the 3.6L Pentastar Caravan: it was quick and comfortable with chassis/suspension/steering components ready to play. No surprise, my fav rental was a white 2011 Crown Vic. But I digress…

Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?  Not really, even if they (kinda) ended the station wagon era. Uncool minivans are a radical rethink: eschewing the traditional notions of the family wagon and the creepster’s van with the adoption of a modern front-wheel drive layout (Aerostar and Astro notwithstanding) for maximum utilization of a traditional two box design, while adding the styling of a family sedan/wagon for curb appeal. Supposedly the Chrysler minivan’s early concepts were lifted from Ford’s work in the early 1970s: possible since Lee Iacocca famously left FoMoCo after butting heads with Henry II far too many times, and took some design staffers with him…though that’s the subject of some controversy.

Will minivans ever be cool to own? Keep in mind the Minivan was and remains an enlightened design: that will attract people. Just like so many Pistonheads go nuts over vintage wagons these days (especially with wheels you’d expect on a restomod ’69 Camaro), the uncool minivan will come back to win our hearts.

Until then, who gives a crap what people think? Go buy one and brush off the haters, no matter what they say!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Super Piston Slap: Thrifty Texans Trump Tailgate Theft? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 12:39:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907985   Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote: “Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.” Yeah, not quite… Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose […]

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Tailgate-theft-lock-it

(photo courtesy: hardworkingtrucks.com)

Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote:

“Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.”

Yeah, not quite…

photo 1

Just a little trip to my local Home Depot.

Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose clamp, but that’s for later.

Thanks to TTAC commentator, Editor in Chief of another blog and all around nice guy, Mr. Lyndon Johnson (yes, really) for planting this seed in my mind. He posted a photo on Facebook of a rusty hose clamp around the tailgate hinge of his Ranger. It instantly made sense: even if you don’t have a few of these rattling around, why the hell wouldn’t you spend $3 for these?

tailgate

Hose Clamp PROS: Cheap, easy to install, readily available and slows down a would-be thief to the point they’ll look for another tailgate to swipe. And its an extra measure of protection, even if you have a lock in your tailgate release handle. (As they aren’t too hard to punch out with a screwdriver, too.)

(photo courtesy: pickupspecialities.com)

Hose Clamp CONS: The expensive-ish aftermarket alternatives are more theft resistant. And the clamps are kinda ghetto-trashy ugly, if you care about those Vellum Venom type of design hang ups.

Here’s how to narrow the gap between the clamp and the lock: level the playing field with a bit of silicone adhesive.  You know, the stuff you already have in your garage.

photo 2

It’s not rocket science: coat the screw head and clamp’s threads in the stuff. It’s an extra level of complication, and as the night photo shows, a bit more complicated to comprehend. It’ll certainly drive a thief nuts trying to scrape that crap off.

Only to then need to unscrew the clamp. And finally lather-rinse-repeat on the other side. Or just leave my rig alone, find another Texan not wise to the hose clamp + silicone trick.

Now you know what I know: what say you Best and Brightest? Should all truckers spend $3-4 on this anti-theft modification?

 

 

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Dodge Dart 9-Speed Automatic Delayed Until 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dode-dart-9-speed-automatic-delayed-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/dode-dart-9-speed-automatic-delayed-2016/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:25:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904425 Since the launch of the Dodge Dart, the 9-speed automatic has been touted as a crucial component of that vehicle’s competitive advantage, offering unparalleled refinement, fuel economy advantages and a performance boost to the 2.4L 4-cylinder, and the less inspiring 2.0L mill. There’s just one problem: it’s vaporware. The Dart was supposed to be first […]

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Since the launch of the Dodge Dart, the 9-speed automatic has been touted as a crucial component of that vehicle’s competitive advantage, offering unparalleled refinement, fuel economy advantages and a performance boost to the 2.4L 4-cylinder, and the less inspiring 2.0L mill. There’s just one problem: it’s vaporware.

The Dart was supposed to be first in line to get the 9-speed automatic, but a string of constant delays has meant that the automotive press has largely forgotten about it. When asked about its timing., Chrysler PR reps offer only vague but honest answers, professing not to know about its arrival.

Automotive News is reporting that the 9-speed will arrive in 2016, in time for a refresh of Dodge’s slow-selling compact sedan. While this makes sense from a marketing perspective, the 9-speed has unquestionably been delayed far longer than it should have been, given the frequent bragging about the 9-speeds advantages.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer, Wait, I Mean Plymouth Colt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1989-mitsubishi-lancer-wait-mean-plymouth-colt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1989-mitsubishi-lancer-wait-mean-plymouth-colt/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889946 At the same time Chrysler was selling heavily evolved— if that’s the word— Simcas, you could walk into the same showrooms that sold Turismos and Omnis and buy yourself a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Lancer. By the late 1980s, Mitsubishi itself was selling these cars (badged as Mirages), which meant that car shoppers could choose between three […]

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08 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAt the same time Chrysler was selling heavily evolved— if that’s the word— Simcas, you could walk into the same showrooms that sold Turismos and Omnis and buy yourself a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Lancer. By the late 1980s, Mitsubishi itself was selling these cars (badged as Mirages), which meant that car shoppers could choose between three more or less identical versions of the same car, all priced within it-doesn’t-matter distance of one another: Dodge Colt, Plymouth Colt, and Mitsubishi Mirage. The owner of this Plymouth Colt, however, decided that he or she wanted to go all JDM and convert this car into a Lancer (on a shoestring budget).
19 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis would make more sense if you wanted to turn your Q45 into a President or even your Tercel wagon into a Sprinter Carib. Perhaps the association with the Lancer Evolution was the main motivator for the Colt-Lancer switch.
06 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou’ll find one in every car, kid. You’ll see.
12 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAlmost made it to 100,000 miles.
18 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s pretty easy to get the correct badges if you’re motivated.

Future project: convert a Colt into a Cyborg!

01 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Dodge B200 Landmark Van Conversion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1979-dodge-b200-landmark-van-conversion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1979-dodge-b200-landmark-van-conversion/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889482 Are you a member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society? A fan of the Malaise Era and maybe bad music of the late 1970s? If so, then today’s Junkyard Find is for you! I spotted this brown-on-brown-on-brown van conversion at my local self-serve wrecking yard a full year ago, and I’ve been waiting for just […]

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13 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAre you a member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society? A fan of the Malaise Era and maybe bad music of the late 1970s? If so, then today’s Junkyard Find is for you! I spotted this brown-on-brown-on-brown van conversion at my local self-serve wrecking yard a full year ago, and I’ve been waiting for just the right time to share it with you!
16 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is a second-generation Tradesman, turned into a luxury crypto-RV by the (apparently) defunct Landmark Vans company, which must have been based somewhere in the Midwest.
10 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s pretty well beat-up by now, but you can still catch the sense of luxury that must have prevailed in this interior, when Ace Frehley’s greatest hit was coming from the 8-track.
07 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCan you get browner than this? Nope.
01 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s some rust, sure, but nothing serious (at first glance).
03 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese conversion vans weren’t aimed at the demographic that built matching bongs for their chopped-and-pinstriped Econolines and A100s; most of these vehicles were purchased by big families for road trips.

01 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Just Off Woodward, Chrysler Reveals the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, “The Ultimate Practical Vehicle”. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/just-woodward-chrysler-reveals-2015-dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-ultimate-practical-vehicle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/just-woodward-chrysler-reveals-2015-dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-ultimate-practical-vehicle/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 19:55:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=890298 Days before the massive Woodward Dream Cruise and just a few feet off of the famous cruising strip itself, Dodge dropped the other shoe and revealed the Challenger Hellcat’s more practical four door sibling, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, also equipped with the supercharged Hellcat HEMI V8 that is rated at 707 horsepower. With a 0-60 […]

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Days before the massive Woodward Dream Cruise and just a few feet off of the famous cruising strip itself, Dodge dropped the other shoe and revealed the Challenger Hellcat’s more practical four door sibling, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, also equipped with the supercharged Hellcat HEMI V8 that is rated at 707 horsepower. With a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds, a quarter mile ET of 11.0 seconds and a top speed of 204 miles per hour, the Charger Hellcat is, without any asterisks or caveats, the fastest sedan in the world. The phrase “redefines practicality” was jokingly tossed around and it’s possible that the Charger Hellcat will outsell the Challenger Hellcat because it can be rationalized as a family car. After all, it does have four doors and seats five.

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While no pricing was announced, you can expect it to be somewhere in the same ballpark as the Challenger. The new Charger gets an upgraded butter-soft Napa leather interior and some aero tricks making it more slippery than the Challenger by 12%.  Concerning the Challenger, it was stressed that the rumors that Chrysler will be limiting the Challegner to just 1,200 units are absolutely not true and that it would be silly to make such a desirable car and then not sell them to everyone who wants them. As with the Challenger, this American muscle car is assembled in Canada, with an engine built in Saltillo,Mexico. While Chrysler doesn’t use the one-man-one-engine build process in a dedicated performance engine facility like GM has done with it’s high performance members of the LS V8 engine family, or a dedicated assembly line like Ford uses for their supercharged Coyote motors, since over 80% of the parts for the Hellcat are unique and not shared with other HEMIs initial assembly is done on a spur line, with the Hellcat V8’s joining their less powerful brandmates on Saltillo’s regular assembly line to add the final bits.

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When the Challenger was introduced, some commented on the fact that a Supercharged badge was the only indication, at least in terms of graphics, that it is a Hellcat. That was apparently because they hadn’t finished making the Hellcat character badges that will grace the fenders of both the Challenger and Charger Hellcats. Chrysler understands the evergreen value of a good brand character, cf. Road Runner and Super Bee.

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The Hellcat name was actually an internal product code for the engine but the marketing team decided that it fit the cars so well that they decided to use it as a brand name, in part because of its association with the World War II era Grumman Hellcat fighter plane, which was also supercharged, one of the last high performance piston powered aircraft. Not surprisingly, they didn’t mention that the Hellcat was also the name of a WWII era armored vehicle, the M18 Hellcat tank destroyer, as that was designed by General Motors and built by Buick.

The full press release is below and I hope to get video of the reveal and car posted later. Chrysler produced video of the reveal and press Q&As can be seen here.

New 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is The Quickest, Fastest and Most Powerful Sedan in The World
 

With 707 horsepower, an NHRA-certified quarter mile elapsed time of 11.0 seconds on street tires and a top speed of 204 miles per hour, the world’s only four-door muscle car is the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan ever
  • Supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat engine produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful V-8 Chrysler Group LLC has ever produced
  • Unrivaled four-door performance includes quarter mile elapsed time in 11.0 seconds on street tires, 0-100-0 mph in under 13 seconds and a top speed of 204 miles per hour (mph)
  • Dodge and SRT designers re-sculpt and refined nearly every body panel with functional performance cues, including heat extractors in the hood, unique front and rear fascias and dramatic LED lighting in both front and rear
  • Segment-first TorqueFlite heavy-duty eight-speed automatic transmission capable of delivering fuel-efficient street driving and maximum performance track driving with 160 millisecond shifts with rev-matching
  • New performance attributes include the largest brakes ever offered in a Chrysler Group vehicle – 15.4-inch Brembo two-piece rotors with six-piston calipers, 20 x 9.5-inch wide forged aluminum wheels with Pirelli P Zero performance tires, adaptive damping three-mode suspension and three-mode, heavy-duty eight-speed automatic transmission
  • New SRT Performance Pages allow drivers to tailor the driving experience by controlling horsepower, transmission shift speeds, paddle shifters, traction and suspension
  • Two key fobs – one black and one red. The red fob unlocks all 707 horsepower
  • New interior design elements, including SRT three-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel, 7-inch reconfigurable digital gauge cluster, 8.4-inch touchscreen, Nappa leather and Alcantara suede seating, premium materials and a choice of four new trim and color combinations
  • Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat features a slew of the latest high-tech features, including the new award-winning available Uconnect Access system, Uconnect Access Services with roadside assistance, theft-alarm notification, voice texting, new 3-D navigation and the ability to turn the Charger into a Wi-Fi hotspot

August 13, 2014 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Dodge is upping its high-performance game again with the unveiling of the new 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.The new Charger SRT Hellcat will feature the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine that produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque – making it the quickest, fastest, most powerful production sedan in the world, as well as the most capable and technologically advanced four-door muscle car in America.“For the last eight years, a large part of the Dodge Charger’s successful formula has been its many personalities. It’s a muscle car, a performance sedan, a family capable sedan; its success is that it can be any or all of those things, depending on how the customer chooses to equip their car,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO — Dodge and SRT Brands. “And now, with a NHRA-certified quarter mile time of 11.0 seconds and a 204 mph top speed, the new 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat redefines itself again, as the quickest, fastest, most powerful sedan in the world!”The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat will be built at the Brampton (Ont.) Assembly plant. Production is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2015.

Awe-inspiring powertrain; largest brakes ever offered in a Chrysler Group vehicle

The new 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is powered by the new supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 engine. Its 707 horsepower matches the highest rating of any V-8 engine in Chrysler Group’s celebrated history – that of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

The all-new supercharged V-8 engine is mated to the beefy new TorqueFlite 8HP90 eight-speed automatic transmission.

This new Hellcat engine is Dodge and SRT’s first application of V-8 supercharger technology, featuring a forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces. The result is a crank so well-engineered it can withstand firing pressures of 110 bar (1,595 psi) – the equivalent of five family sedans standing on each piston, every two revolutions. And its unique, specially tuned crank damper has been tested to 13,000 rpm.

High-strength, forged-alloy pistons, developed using advanced telemetry measurement, are coupled to powder-forged connecting rods with high-load-capacity bushings and diamond-like-carbon-coated piston pins.

The supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 has premium-grade, heat-treated aluminum-alloy cylinder heads, which are optimized for superior thermal conductivity. And its die-cast aluminum rocker covers are HEMI Orange.

Standard on the Charger SRT Hellcat is the largest front-brake package ever offered in a Chrysler Group vehicle, which were first introduced on the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat, featuring all-new 390-mm (15.4-inch) Brembo two-piece rotors with six-piston calipers for outstanding heat management and thermal capacity and longevity.

The unrivaled four-door performance numbers tell an impressive story with the quarter mile in 11.0 seconds, 0-100-0 mph in under 13 seconds, and a top speed of 204 mile per hour (mph).

All-new Drive Modes tailor the driving experience to each individual driver

Whether its on-road or on-track, Charger SRT Hellcat owners can personalize their drive experience, via the all-new Drive Modes feature. Drive Modes tailor the driving experience by controlling horsepower, transmission shift speeds, paddle shifters, traction and suspension. Drive Modes are pre-configured for Sport, Track and Default settings, while the Custom setting lets the driver customize the drive experience to their favorite settings.

  • Custom — Allows the driver to personalize the vehicle’s performance
  • Sport — Delivers increased vehicle performance capability over the Default Mode
  • Track — Delivers maximum vehicle performance capability on smooth, dry surfaces
  • Default — Activates automatically when starting the vehicle
  • Eco — Maximizes fuel economy with a revised shift schedule, pedal map and second-gear starts

The Drive Modes feature is controlled through the Uconnect system and may be accessed by performing any of the following:

  • Pushing the SRT button on the instrument panel switch bank
  • Selecting “Drive Modes” from the “SRT & Apps” menu
  • Selecting “Drive Modes” from within the Performance Pages menu

Unlocking the power

The all-new 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat comes standard with two key fobs – red and black. The red key fob is the only key that can unlock the full horsepower and torque potential of the SRT Hellcat engine; while the black key fob limits the driver to a reduced engine output.

When Valet Mode is activated, the following vehicle configurations are enabled:

  • Engine is remapped to significantly reduce horsepower and torque; limited to 4,000 rpm
  • Transmission locks out access to first gear and upshifts earlier than normal
  • Transmission will treat the manual shifter position the same as the drive position
  • Traction, steering and suspension are set to their “Street” settings
  • Steering-wheel paddle shifters are disabled
  • Drive Mode functions are disabled
  • Electronic stability control (ESC) is enabled to Full-on
  • Launch Control is disabled

The driver can activate and deactivate Valet Mode with a four-digit PIN code they create.

Sinister, functional exterior design

Inspired by its performance-enthusiast roots when Charger first launched more than 45 years ago, the new Charger successfully pays homage to past muscle cars while offering distinctly modern all-new exterior and interior appointments.

The Dodge and SRT design team builds upon the 2015 Dodge Charger’s new modern four-door fastback coupe’s already iconic exterior styling by adding a sinister-looking, unique front fascia, hood, rear fascia and spoiler.

The new exterior of the 2015 Dodge Charger is spiritually inspired by the iconic second-generation Charger from the late 1960s, and for 2015, specifically draws its cues from the 1969 model. With its rear-wheel-drive (RWD) platform and proven power, the Charger’s modern take on old-school muscle is sure to resonate with today’s enthusiasts.

Up front, the Charger SRT Hellcat receives the larger, power-bulge aluminum hood, which features a dedicated “cold-air” intake – a visual styling cue from the first Viper coupe built in 1996 – and dual air extractors to ensure effective removal of heat and reduced air turbulence in the engine compartment.

The redesigned front fascia and grille use unique, blacked out upper and lower textures to produce the menacing look that is sure to make onlookers notice the ultimate performance sedan.

An integrated front splitter optimizes airflow to the cooling modules without compromising vehicle balance.

Filling the wheel wells are “Slingshot” split-seven spoke 20 x 9.5-inch, lightweight forged-aluminum wheels with either standard Matte Black or available Brass Monkey/dark bronze finishes.

Two new 275/40ZR20 Pirelli P Zero tires provide performance for all seasons. Both Pirelli P Zero Nero and P Zero tires are Y-Plus rated to handle the extreme speeds the Charger SRT Hellcat is capable of producing.

At the rear, a single piece decked spoiler is painted in body color while the unique fascia and valence showcase the 4-inch round exhaust tips.

The Dodge Charger SRT’s signature “racetrack” LED tail lamps take on the same continuous glowing ribbon of light that debuted on the new 2014 Dodge Durango.

The center high-mounted stop lamp is relocated from the top of the deck lid to the roofline inside the back glass, allowing centering of the Charger SRT’s backup camera.

The rear styling makeover begins at the touchdown point of the C-pillar, which is moved rearward to create an even more pronounced fastback appearance combined with a shorter rear overhang.

High-performance driver-oriented interior   

The 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat’s restyled driver-focused interior features premium, soft-touch materials, a new 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable digital instrument gauge cluster and a new instrument panel center stack with the latest generation 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen media center.

New for 2015, drivers can select one of the many offered backgrounds to connect the digital look and feel with their chosen interior package. In addition, the Charger SRT Hellcat comes standard with a premium 900 watt, 18-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system.

An all-new and class-exclusive electronic shifter with an all-new driver-oriented T-handle provides the driver with intuitive gear selection and offers an Auto Stick selector gate for added control.

A redesigned SRT-branded heated steering wheel features a flat bottom and thick rim for the high-performance driver. Standard paddle shifters are located on the back of the upper spokes. The buttons to control the driver-configurable, full-color thin-film transistor (TFT) display are large and illuminated. Buttons for Uconnect and phone access now reside along the bottom edge of the horizontal spokes. Optional adaptive cruise control is configured by buttons that are symmetrically opposite on the right-hand side of the wheel. As before, the highly praised audio controls are still found on the back of the upper spokes. This new power tilt-telescoping steering wheel also has a 360-degree heat element.

The new 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat features redesigned seats with improved cushioning and more comfortable contours. For improved comfort and convenience, the SRT Hellcat includes standard heated and ventilated front high-performance seats and heated rear seats.

Charger continues to grow its market share

The 2015 Dodge Charger competes in the U.S. full-size car market, but stands alone in a class by itself as the only American-bred four-door muscle car. In March of 2014, the Dodge brand reached a significant milestone, with Challenger and Charger sales combining to sell a total of more than 1 million units in the United States.

The Charger’s combination of aggressive and youthful image, full-size functionality and world-class engineering and quality resonates with young and affluent buyers. Charger’s purchasers on average are 15 years younger than its competitors’ buyers within the segment, with more than half identifying themselves as millennials or Generation Xers.

The Charger’s appeal is attracting a high number of conquest buyers, helping drive a 62 percent increase in sales since 2009 – double the growth of the standard full-size car segment. In 2013, Charger posted its best sales year since 2007, further fueling a 3.2 percentage point gain in market share since 2009.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS
 

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Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Good For 204 MPH [Now With Gallery] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-good-204-mph/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-good-204-mph/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:37:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889906   Here’s our first look at the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, until our live pictures are uploaded later on. UPDATE: Gallery is now up. Wth a 204 mph top speed, the Charger is faster than its Challenger twin, though it won’t get the 6-speed manual gearbox. Instead, the 8-speed automatic Charger will reportedly complete the […]

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

 

Here’s our first look at the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, until our live pictures are uploaded later on.

UPDATE: Gallery is now up.

Wth a 204 mph top speed, the Charger is faster than its Challenger twin, though it won’t get the 6-speed manual gearbox. Instead, the 8-speed automatic Charger will reportedly complete the quarter-mile sprint in 11 seconds flat, .2 seconds faster than the Challenger.

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Dodge Charger Hellcat Debuts Wednesday http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/dodge-charger-hellcat-debuts-wednesday/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/dodge-charger-hellcat-debuts-wednesday/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:01:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889041 What is almost certainly the most powerful sedan in the world will be unveiled Wednesday at a special event in Detroit. TTAC’s Ronnie Schreiber will be on hand to cover the unveiling of Dodge’s “next ultimate performance vehicle”. The reveal is scheduled for 10:30 AM, so check back shortly after that for photos and information […]

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What is almost certainly the most powerful sedan in the world will be unveiled Wednesday at a special event in Detroit.

TTAC’s Ronnie Schreiber will be on hand to cover the unveiling of Dodge’s “next ultimate performance vehicle”. The reveal is scheduled for 10:30 AM, so check back shortly after that for photos and information on the 707-horsepower muscle sedan.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1975-dodge-dart-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1975-dodge-dart-sedan/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=887809 So many Chrysler A-bodies in junkyards these days, even though the last ones rolled off the assembly line in 1981 (in South America and Australia; the final Detroit-built A-body was a 1976 model). These cars were cheap and simple, and they’re still useful transportation in the 21st century, so many of them manage to stay […]

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07 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Chrysler A-bodies in junkyards these days, even though the last ones rolled off the assembly line in 1981 (in South America and Australia; the final Detroit-built A-body was a 1976 model). These cars were cheap and simple, and they’re still useful transportation in the 21st century, so many of them manage to stay on the street well into their 30s and 40s. Sadly, even the most fanatical Dart/Valiant restorer has all the affordable two-doors and/or factory V8 cars he or she can handle, and so when a made-by-the-zillions Slant-6 Malaise Era sedan craps out, it’s going to The Crusher. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’60 Valiant wagon, this ’61 Valiant, this ’63 Dart, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’67 Valiant, this ’66 Dart, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’73 Valiant, this ’75 Duster, and this ’75 Dart, and now we’re adding yet another ’75 to the list.
01 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is a California car, so there’s absolutely zero rust and the upholstery is pretty well roasted by the sun.
06 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDid it finally die?
05 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen I shot this car, it had only been on the yard for a few days. You can tell because the front brake parts, which are highly sought-after because they’ll bolt right on to B-body cars such as Chargers and Belvederes, were still there. By now, of course, the car has been shredded, dumped into a shipping container at the Port of Oakland, shipped to China, and melted down; I photographed it last October, in a yard that keeps inventory for a mere two months before scrapping it.
09 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAccording to my favorite junkyard-inventory site, there are two Darts, six Valiants, a Duster, and two Swingers in the inventory of the 90 yards Row52 tracks, which means there are many hundreds of fresh A-bodies in the junkyards they don’t cover. If you’ve ever wanted one, now is the time!

01 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Dodge Charger Hellcat Debuting At Woodward Dream Cruise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/dodge-charger-hellcat-debuting-woodward-dream-cruise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/dodge-charger-hellcat-debuting-woodward-dream-cruise/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:20:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881138   For some reason, we at TTAC expected that the Dodge Charger Hellcat would debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. We were wrong. According to multiple sources, Dodge brand boss Tim Kuniskis told a Detroit radio station that an announcement would be made about a new performance model, which would debut at the Woodward […]

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For some reason, we at TTAC expected that the Dodge Charger Hellcat would debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. We were wrong.

According to multiple sources, Dodge brand boss Tim Kuniskis told a Detroit radio station that an announcement would be made about a new performance model, which would debut at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

With a supercharged V8 Charger in FCA’s 5-year plan, and all but confirmed by the SAE, a Charger Hellcat seems like a sure thing.

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Classic Review: 1986 Pontiac Fiero GT V6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/classic-review-1986-pontiac-fiero-gt-v6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/classic-review-1986-pontiac-fiero-gt-v6/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:07:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876441 The Pontiac Fiero is one of those cars that is forever showing up on lists. A simple on-line search finds that it’s one of the 100 worst cars ever built, one of the ten cars that should be avoided by tall people, one of the worst ever Indy 500 Pace Cars and, because of its […]

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The Pontiac Fiero is one of those cars that is forever showing up on lists. A simple on-line search finds that it’s one of the 100 worst cars ever built, one of the ten cars that should be avoided by tall people, one of the worst ever Indy 500 Pace Cars and, because of its poor sales, one of the 10 greatest automotive financial disasters of all time. Other lists, however, rate the little two-seater as one of the best sports cars of the 1980s, call it one of the ten unexpectedly best cars for tall people and even rank it as one of the best choices for future collectability. Oddly enough, the Pontiac Fiero also appeared on my own personal list of potential purchases a few months ago and, despite the fact that I ended up choosing one of its contemporaries, when I recently found a wonderful, low-mileage example at KC Classic Autos in near-by Kansas city, I knew I must see it.

The history of the Pontiac Fiero is an open book. Originally conceived as a two seat, mid-engine sports car with an advanced, all-new suspension and a powerful V6 engine, the Fiero was castrated prior to its birth by GM’s bean counters who worried that the proposed car might end up stealing sales numbers from the Corvette. As a result, the new car was toned down. The powerful V6 was replaced with GM’s 2.5 liter “Iron Duke” four-cylinder, a slow-revving long-stroke iron block engine intended for economy cars, and the advanced suspension was dropped in favor of a parts bin approach that used existing bits and pieces from the Citation and Chevette. The result was rather lackluster and the media received it with mixed reactions. Motor Trend gave the Fiero a decent review in 1984 but other magazines felt that, as an aggressively styled mid-engine car, it needed to have more performance. Whatever the case, the public loved what they saw and bought almost 187,000 units in 1984.

For 1985 Pontiac addressed the critics’ need for more power by adding an optional 140 HP V6 to the line-up but sales dropped to around 74,000. In 1986, the – in my opinion – much better looking fastback Fiero GT was added beginning mid-year and sales climbed to almost 84,000 units. 1987 brought general improvements and more power to the four cylinder model but sales were definitely trending downward and only 45,851 cars left the showroom that year. In 1988, Pontiac introduced a more sophisticated suspension, based on the original design the bean counters had initially kept out of the car, and this model year is said to be the most desirable among collectors. But alas, only 26,402 were sold before Pontiac discontinued the model and today they are a might thin on the ground. All totaled, 370,168 Fieros of all types were sold over the course of five years.

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Like so many GM products before it, the Fiero is one of those cars that was killed just about the time its full potential was being realized. Initially the cars suffered from quality issues and design problems. The 1984 model year also experienced a number of well publicized fires and despite the fact that, according to Wikipedia, only 148 reports were made to the NHTSA detailing just six injuries, the Fiero, much like the Ford Pinto, has an enduring reputation for combustability. The truth is that within a couple years of the Fiero’s introduction, the car was well sorted and the 1986 model I was able to ride in is a great example of just how far the design had come.

I appeared unannounced at KC Classic Autos late in the afternoon and, after paying my $1 entrance fee to the “museum” and introducing myself, was given the run of the place. I have had the opportunity to visit a few classic car dealers over the years and this one stacks up rather well with a clean facility and plenty of interesting cars on hand that I could get up close and personal with. After spending far too much time looking at a stunning 1969 Nova SS and several other classic American muscle cars, I finally decided to ask if I could get a ride in the 1986 Fiero they had parked close to the front door. I had two reasons for choosing this particular car, first I hope to be invited back to ride in and report on more of the classic machines that were further back in the showroom and second, because I wanted to compare my little Shelby to the much better preserved Pontiac.

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I’ve already spent some time talking about my Dodge in other articles but it’s important to do so again so I can do a little comparing and contrasting. At 31 years old, the Shelby is a well presented little car that recently had a great deal of work done to it. Despite its lumpy idle and its slightly rich smelling exhaust, it runs like a top and moves out just fine when I get on the gas. Thanks to the work that has been done, on the outside it looks almost new, but the inside is another story and the car’s threadbare interior shows almost every one of its three decades plus one year of existence.

I’ll write more on it in detail in an upcoming article, but suffice to say that my little Dodge really is an old car. It buzzes, it rattles and it has strange smells, but at a time when this Pontiac was sitting safe and secure in a temperature controlled garage, the Shelby was out living its life, running errands, hauling kids and generally being enjoyed by its owner. Every scar, every tear and every rattle inside the car has a story that goes with it and although as a second owner I can never really know what happened, I can respect the fact that this car was a valued member of someone else’s family for many years. It has, I think, a real sense of having been used, enjoyed and loved.

At 28 years old, the 1986 Pontiac Fiero GT I saw yesterday is still very much a new car. With right around 20,500 miles on the clock, it still looks new inside. The carpets are unworn and the seats are still firm and flawless. The internal plastics have been unaffected by the sun and the gauge faces were are still as bright and clear as the day the car came off the line. The two-seater started instantly at the first turn of a key and burbled happily as it rolled out of the show room. It was simply stunning in the light of the afternoon sun.

Like I would do with any new car I am reviewing, I spent a lot of time circling the Fiero and looking for flaws. Although it’s used, I had no complaints about anything I saw. Panel gaps were good, the interior pieces fit together well. Of course the switchgear is clearly 1980s GM but it still looked modern and good in the car. Overall, I found it to be a pleasant, clean little Pontiac and I was eager for a chance to ride in it.

fiero 3

Why this car would appear on a list of vehicles that should be avoided by tall people is a mystery to me. In the mid ‘80s, I am sure this low slung, high belted design would have felt like sitting in an old fashioned bath tub, but compared to modern muscle cars I found the Fiero roomy, easy to see out of and I had no problems getting my sizeable corn-fed All American ass into and out of the passenger seat. Although my driver, KC Classic’s president, Kim Eldred, took it a little easy on the first leg of our drive I thought the car picked up and ran along the city streets without problems. Unlike my Shelby, there were zero rattles or strange smells and it is simply so clean that my mind cannot comprehend the fact that this is an “old” car.

As we made our turn-around on an empty back street, Kim jumped on the gas and I got a chance to see just a little of what the V6 could do. Hampered by an automatic transmission, initial acceleration was sluggish in first gear but second gear, however, was downright surprising. As it made the shift, I felt myself pushed back into the seat with enough force to put a lasting smile on my face and, although the car was not blindingly fast, it was pleasantly snappy. Overall, it was a good ride.

In the weeks since my Shelby arrived I have had to take a good long look in the mirror. I remember the 1980s with some fondness, and in my mind’s eye the colors remain neon bright, the tunes fun and happy and the cars as solid, modern machines. The idea that they, like the man who looks back at me from across the bathroom sink, have gone soft over the years and are not capable of the things that they once did so easily makes me wonder if they ever could. Were the ‘80s, I ask myself, really the way I remember them or were they simply an illusion of youth? This Pontiac, so well preserved, has put those doubts to rest. The 1980s really were good times and I know now without a doubt that the cars, even one with such a mixed reputation as the Pontiac Fiero, really were capable of the things I remember.

If my purchase of the Shelby Charger was an attempt to regain a piece of my youth by marrying the prom queen that eluded me back in 1984 now that she is now the divorced grandmother of three, this Pontiac is a true piece of history recently removed suspended animation and put on sale for the relatively reasonable price of $12,900. All it needs now is a new owner to use it, enjoy it and to love it. You perhaps?

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My thanks to KC Classic Auto for allowing me to wander around their show room and for their willingness to take me out in one of their cars for this review.

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Spied http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-spied/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-spied/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:45:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874545 Just after we got word of an SAE-certified Charger Hellcat, prototypes have been spied testing on Detroit roads. The 707-horsepower Charger will become the world’s most powerful sedan if put into production. Even though its arch-rival, the Chevrolet SS, will get a manual transmission starting in the 2015 model year, I’m becoming increasingly comfortable with […]

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Just after we got word of an SAE-certified Charger Hellcat, prototypes have been spied testing on Detroit roads.

The 707-horsepower Charger will become the world’s most powerful sedan if put into production. Even though its arch-rival, the Chevrolet SS, will get a manual transmission starting in the 2015 model year, I’m becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of an automatic only Charger Hellcat. The 8-speed automatic is not only a great gearbox, but I love the idea of perfect, launch control starts at every occassion. It’s better than the alternative: wrapping the thing around a telephone pole.

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Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Confirmed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-confirmed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/dodge-charger-srt-hellcat-confirmed/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:16:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873290 Road & Track has found evidence, courtesy of an SAE paper, that the 6.2L supercharged V8 from the Challenger SRT Hellcat, will make its way into the Charger. The SAE has apparently certified the engine’s output for both the Challenger and Charger, but R&T is left wondering whether the 6-speed manual will be an option […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat

Road & Track has found evidence, courtesy of an SAE paper, that the 6.2L supercharged V8 from the Challenger SRT Hellcat, will make its way into the Charger.

The SAE has apparently certified the engine’s output for both the Challenger and Charger, but R&T is left wondering whether the 6-speed manual will be an option in the Charger, when it has traditionally been automatic only.

Even so, the new ZF 8-speed auto, with launch control and thoroughly modern guts, is nothing like the automatics of yesteryear. A stick shift would be nice to have, but the Hellcat seems to get its best drag strip performance when equipped with the automatic. After experiencing the 8-speed in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, my own desire for a manual Hellcat is actually somewhat diminished.

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Chrysler’s Crossover Will Share Minivan Architecture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chryslers-crossover-will-share-minivan-architecture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/chryslers-crossover-will-share-minivan-architecture/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:37:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872946 What’s obvious to us isn’t always clear to the rest of the automotive world. To anyone who frequents TTAC, the upcoming Chrysler three-row CUV was destined to be built off of the minivan platform, but some other corners of the auto world didn’t seem to get the memo. Chrysler brand boss Al Gardner took the time […]

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What’s obvious to us isn’t always clear to the rest of the automotive world. To anyone who frequents TTAC, the upcoming Chrysler three-row CUV was destined to be built off of the minivan platform, but some other corners of the auto world didn’t seem to get the memo. Chrysler brand boss Al Gardner took the time to clear that up.

Speaking to Motor Trend, Gardner all-but confirmed that the front-drive crossover will share the next-gen front-drive architecture that will be utilized by the next-generation vans. A close reading of FCA’s 5-year plan, as well as Chrysler’s overall product portfolio suggests that the three-row crossover is a great way to help lower their CAFE rating, especially with a plug-in hybrid variant – which the new minvan will have from the get-go. You can bet that the CUV will get this technology as well.

According to MT, the Dodge Durango was ruled out because “simply isn’t large enough for many customers in the segment and is too aggressive”. I can’t say I agree with the former, but even so, it’s a moot point. Leveraging the front-drive architecture, with its superior fuel economy, regulatory and packaging characteristics is a no-brainer for a company that badly needs to put a dent in its CAFE ratings.

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Track Analysis: Challenger V6 Track Pack, HEMI Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/track-analysis-challenger-v6-track-pack-hemi-scat-pack-srt-hellcat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/track-analysis-challenger-v6-track-pack-hemi-scat-pack-srt-hellcat/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:45:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871714 Getting decent conclusions from very limited data is the sort of thing of which Nobel Prizes are made. What you’re about to read won’t be Nobel-worthy; however, I believe it will help you understand how fast the Hellcat and how it compares to both the other Challengers and the external competition. I got a total […]

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Getting decent conclusions from very limited data is the sort of thing of which Nobel Prizes are made. What you’re about to read won’t be Nobel-worthy; however, I believe it will help you understand how fast the Hellcat and how it compares to both the other Challengers and the external competition.

I got a total of six flying laps at PIR, a place to which I’d never been, in three different cars. I had traffic in my face for all but two of those laps, and I had no truly clear laps in the Hellcat. But let’s start with the basics. I drove these three cars in this order:

Challenger R/T 6.4L Scat Pack 6MT: lap time of 1:38.9 with a top speed of 122mph on the back straight.
Challenger V6 Super Track Pack 8AT: lap time of 1:38.3 with a top speed of 112.5mph on the back straight.
Challenger SRT Hellcat 6MT: lap time of 1:33.7 with a top speed of 136mph on the back straight.

So let’s start by eliminating some of the variables. The only clean lap I got in the Scat Pack was my first-ever lap of PIR. There’s no way I was going to turn a brilliant lap time first time out. Analysis shows I was 6mph slower going into the turn before the long straight than I was in the average of the other cars. My line in the V6 which I drove afterwards was better. After looking at the data and assuming that the Scat Pack can turn about as well as the V6, I’ve guesstimated a 1:36 at 127mph for the Scat Pack.

How did other people do: This video shows SRT’s Vehicle Dynamics Engineer Marco Diniz de Oliveira running a 1:33.0 with the same spec car that I drove. Compared to my videotaped 1:33.7 lap you can see that he didn’t have to lift for a frightened journo like I did on the front straight, and he also didn’t goatfuck the chicane the way I did. (My excuse: I was so annoyed at being balked that I held throttle too long.) I’m reasonably confident that I got about as much out of the Hellcat as I was going to in two laps. Given ten more laps, I think a 1:31.5 was well within reach. Keeping pinned on the straight is worth half a second, doing the chicane right is worth a second and a half, and I could have shortened the braking zone in back.

Another journalist whom I won’t name was kind enough to let me “run data” with them in the V6 Challenger that I drove. He turned a 1:58.3 with a top speed of 105.5mph on the back straight. That two-minute-ish lap time is approximately representative of what most people were doing out there and it’s why I kept running into traffic.

So those are the caveats. Now let’s look at some stats.

First off, acceleration. The corner before the back straight shows the Hellcat with a low speed of 43.5mph against 41.7mph for the V6. That’s the extra tire you get with the Hellcat which is only partially canceled out by the weight of the engine. As we pass the access road on the back straight, the V6 has accelerated to 87mph and the ScatPack to a corrected 93mph. How fast is the Hellcat going? Survey says: 102mph. That is brutal acceleration. More impressively, the gap widens as speeds increase. Supercharged cars often feel breathless at the top of the rev range because they are optimized to push air at low speeds and unlike turbo-supercharged (to use the old phrase) cars there’s no compound effect as the exhaust gases push the turbo faster. As an example, when I drove the GT500 at VIR I found myself dueling a Porsche GT2 on the back straight. The Shelby had legs on the GT500 in the first half of VIR’s long stretch but the GT2 picked up as speeds increased and it wasn’t all due to frontal area.

Now for braking. A similar push of the brake pedal produced a .78g retarding force in the V6, a .86g one in the four-piston Brembo Scat Pack, and .98g in the Hellcat. These numbers have to be understood in context, not as absolutes, because of the way my phone was mounted in the car and the general issues with Android accelerometers. Only the V6 ever felt underbraked in these short lap situations; it doesn’t have enough thermal capacity as supplied for two hard laps. The others were fine, with the Hellcat having a considerable edge in feel and response. My experience with the Z/28 at Thermal Club for last month’s Road&Track showed me that it’s possible to put enough brake on a ponycar, but you have to be willing to spend a LOT of money on it. As expensive as the Brembo system on the Hellcat must be, it ain’t carbon ceramic and when you’re slowing two tons down from a considerable velocity it’s worth getting the right material for the job.

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This is the V6 lap.

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This is the Hellcat lap.

Cornering isn’t exactly an open and shut case, which is why the V6 might be a satisfying track car if you could upgrade the brakes a bit via pads and fluid. Data for all three cars shows that they are capable of about the same max cornering g and speed, with a slight edge going to the Hellcat in pretty much all the corners. What the data can’t show you is that the Hellcat feels like it’s from a different class with regards to body roll control and suspension dynamics. Given enough time on a racetrack, you’d feel comfortable pushing the Hellcat harder in quick transitions and in long high-g turns. There’s a superiority of feedback that is no doubt due to better tires and higher-quality suspension. With that said, however, this is primarily a laws-of-physics thing. Big heavy cars are never eager to change direction. Unsurprisingly, the V6 is best in transitions and the Scat Pack has the lowest cornering speeds.

As I stated earlier today, you really do get your money’s worth with the Hellcat’s engine and brake upgrades. It’s also a solid handler for its size and class. Let’s do some subjective rankings as far as track-fitness goes, based on things I’ve driven recently:

Viper ACR (previous gen)
Viper TA (current gen)
Mercedes AMG SLS Black Series
C7 Corvette Z51
C6 Corvette Z06
C6 Corvette Z51
Camaro Z/28
Boss 302-LS
Boss 302
Jack’s raggedy old 2004 Boxster S with 48,000 miles
GT500 (not counting the brakes)
Hellcat
The old SRT8 392
Camaro SS
Mustang 5.0 Track Pack
Challenger R/T 6.4L Scat Pack
Mustang V6 Track Pack
Challenger V6 Track Pack
Challenger R/T 5.7 Track Pack

The higher you go up that list, the more comfortable the car feels on track, but at a cost.

I wish I’d had time to drive the standard SRT8, which has 485hp now and offers the big brakes as an option. I believe that car would feel most “balanced” since you wouldn’t be arriving at corners as quickly and therefore the brakes would hold up even better and it would be easier to select the absolutely perfect corner speed — but I’d choose to spend my own money on the Hellcat, plain and simple. There are no downsides. You can pretty much instantly turn it into an SRT8 6.4L just by laying off the throttle a bit on the long straights.

At this point I normally like to talk about what the cars do when they are “out of shape” on track. The truth is that with this little time on an unfamiliar course I didn’t spend too much effort getting the Challengers past their envelope of tire grip. I can say that the Hellcat and Scat Pack can be reliably turned on the throttle and that no Challenger has ever had bad habits on track with regards to overly quick responses in extreme handling situations. If you’re good to the Challenger, it will be good to you. If you’re bad to it, you will still have plenty of time to get things right.

Ponycars are about compromise. They’re about what you’re willing to give up in order to have the admittedly minimal but occasionally mandatory backseat. With the Hellcat, the answer is simple: you’re giving up Mustang-style direction changes but gaining more power at each trim and spec level than the not-so-small Ford can offer. It would be frankly absurd to buy a Hellcat if you primarily planned on using it at the track. But for the low percentage of owners who will try it there, their experience will be positive — even if their tire bills won’t.

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Review: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT “Hellcat” 6MT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-6mt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-6mt/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:21:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=870522 To some degree, it’s about the number, right? Seven hundred and seven. The Dodge people certainly made the point again and again about how the Hellcat stacks up to everything from the Z06 to the Murcielago. Mine’s bigger than yours. And that other number — 10.9 seconds with drag radials and 11.2 without. That actually […]

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To some degree, it’s about the number, right? Seven hundred and seven. The Dodge people certainly made the point again and again about how the Hellcat stacks up to everything from the Z06 to the Murcielago. Mine’s bigger than yours. And that other number — 10.9 seconds with drag radials and 11.2 without. That actually isn’t such a big deal; there are people out there who have put stock C6 Z06es with draggies into the tens. Still, they closed the freaking road course after just ninety minutes so the journalists could line up and try their hand at quarter-miles. I didn’t bother to do that. Nor did I get any street time in the Hellcat. What I got was this: four laps, none of them unimpeded. When you come back in the afternoon, I’ll tell you what my TrackMaster data showed about the Hellcat vis-a-vis the 6.4L. But for now let’s talk about what the Hellcat is and what it does.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat engine

Here’s how you make a Hellcat: Start with the 2015 Challenger and it’s improved interior. Add Hellcat-specific visual cues, most of them related to increasing the amount of air coming through the nose. Then drop the bore size a bit, redo the motor with “91 percent new” engineering and parts, and supercharge the hell out of the cat.

Here’s the press release, there’s no sense in rewriting it:

The 2,380cc/rev blower features integral charge coolers and an integrated electronic bypass valve to
regulate boost pressure to a maximum of 80 kPa (11.6 psi). Its twin-screw rotors are specially coated
with:

• a proprietary formula of polyimide and other resins
• nanometer-sized, wear-resistant particles
• solid lubricants, such as PTFE (Teflon)

The coating accommodates tighter tolerances between the rotors. This reduces internal air leakage and
helps deliver improved compressor performance and higher efficiencies. The coating not only can
withstand the temperatures generated by compression, it provides a superior corrosion resistance.
The new supercharged V-8, sealed for life with premium synthetic oil, boasts a drive ratio of 2.36:1 and
a maximum speed of 14,600 rpm. The drive system’s one-way clutch de-coupler improves refinement,
while allowing for precisely the kind of auditory feedback SRT customers find alluring.
The supercharger gulps air through an Air Catcher inlet port, which replaces the driver’s-side inboard
marker light and connects to a patented twin-inlet, eight-liter air box. The blower further benefits from a
92-mm throttle body – the largest ever used in a Chrysler Group vehicle.
The fuel system keeps pace with an in-tank pump that accommodates variable pressures, half-inch fuel
lines and eight injectors each capable of delivering a flow rate of 600cc/min – enough to drain the fuel
tank in approximately 13 minutes at full power.

The transmissions were re-engineered; the eight-speed automatic has bigger clutches and more gear surface throughout, allowing it to bang out 120-millisecond shifts that, on the drag strip, sound close to dual-clutch. The Tremec TR6060 has a bigger clutch, a relatively light flywheel, and stronger gears. I believe, although I cannot say for sure, that this transmission, like the Hellcat’s HEMI, is made in Mexico.

To stop the car, there’s a 15.4-inch rotor Brembo brake package with 20×9.5 inch wheels. It would appear that there are now three Brembo brake packages on these cars: the four-piston setup on the Scat Pack 6.4L with Super Track Pack, the six-piston SRT8 14.2-inch package, and this high-power six-piston setup which is optional on the SRT8 and standard on the Hellcat.

Other fun features: an available flat-black hood, a removable lower grille for track use, (“Seven screws,” we were told, “it will take owners five minutes”) deliberately plain “SRT” badging, and a track key/valet key setup that also features a user-selectable “valet PIN” to limit the car to 4000rpm. A sunroof is optional, as are a couple of different color-coordinated seat packages.

It’s good value for money; the Scat Pack with a few options runs $46k so this Hellcat at $59,995 feels like a screaming bargain. And you’re almost certain to get your money back when you go to sell, assuming you don’t take too much of a beating at the hands of your dealer.

Okay. It’s late at night and you want to know how it drives. I’ll put video up later on today, but the short version is this: It is to the GT500 as the old SRT8 was to the Boss 302. The clutch is low effort, as is the shifting. The thrust is plainly massive but there’s enough tire under it to make it controllable on a racetrack. It’s very quick, but it doesn’t feel noticeably quicker than a GT500. There’s a certain viciousness you get with a ZR1 or GT500 that is blunted by the Chally’s weight here. Big motor, pushing a big car, and as a result things feel under control. It never occurred to me not to give it full throttle in a straight line on an eighty-degree Portland day. Change this to a Kentucky backroad with accumulated oil and grit, and drop the temperature to fifty, and we’ll talk about it again.

All the Challenger SRT8 virtues survive intact to the Hellcat. It really is just an SRT8 plus power. That’s what you really need to know about it. It’s not compromised or changed in any significant manner. It’s just faster, and unlike the naturally aspirated 6.4L it’s hellaciously strong everywhere, not just when the tach sweeps past four. At 1200rpm it has as much torque as the old SRT8 did at peak. So yeah — fast, effortlessly so, like a literbike.

But it also feels long-legged through the gears in a way that the GT500 doesn’t. My impression, which I’d need to check through a bunch of a documentation to confirm, is that it’s geared longer than the Shelby or the Boss or the Z/28. There’s more room to run in each gear, which given the fact that the Ford 5.4L revs higher than this 6.2L means that it’s geared higher.

On the track, the brakes and tires proved sufficient to the task, as I’ll explain later today with numbers. Unlike the Shelby, it’s far from underbraked, for a ponycar. Don’t expect Corvette-level braking performance here. There ain’t a disc brake big enough for that unless it’s on a triple-seven Boeing. This is a big car with good solid damping and big brakes, but it’s not a Corvette.

Neither is it a Z/28, not that you expected it. The Z/28 has better brakes and a lot more tire compound and it’s a bit smaller. I wouldn’t expect the Hellcat to see the nose of a Z/28 on a track, unless you’re on Road America and it’s the first lap.

I realize it’s a disappointment to say that the Hellcat is merely a faster SRT8, but that’s a hell of an accomplishment. Power like this has never been this accessible and the fact that it’s delivered in this big, comfy package is a technical knockout. You literally give up nothing by taking the high-power option, except perhaps your home equity. The Hellcat has no drawbacks except fuel economy and price. It is fully, thoroughly, completely recommended to anyone who wants a faster Challenger. Drivers who want the on-track aplomb of a Mustang or Camaro need not apply.

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Corvette Stingray Bests Viper, 911 In Sales Through First-Half Of 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/corvette-stingray-bests-viper-911-in-sales-through-first-half-of-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/corvette-stingray-bests-viper-911-in-sales-through-first-half-of-2014/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867178 The current Corvette is doing well for itself as of late, not only moving off the lot at a greater clip between January and June of this year than last, but also besting the SRT Viper and Porsche 911. GM Authority reports 17,744 Corvette Stingrays made it to the highway during the aforementioned sales period, […]

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The current Corvette is doing well for itself as of late, not only moving off the lot at a greater clip between January and June of this year than last, but also besting the SRT Viper and Porsche 911.

GM Authority reports 17,744 Corvette Stingrays made it to the highway during the aforementioned sales period, over three times what was sold during the first six months of 2013. Meanwhile, only 354 Vipers managed to do the same — thanks to its high price and the velvet rope surrounding the one or two models available in most showrooms — as well as 5,169 of Stuttgart’s finest during those months. Nissan’s 370Z, priced much lower than the Stingray, also fared poorly against the Kentucky-built thoroughbred, 4,114 sold this year thus far.

Within the Chevy dealership, 2,723 convertibles and coupes left the lot in June, down from 3,328 in May. National Automobile Dealers Association forecasts the Corvette Stingray is on pace to hit 35,000 sold by the end of 2014, aided by the improved 2015 model and the introduction of the Z06.

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Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Pricing Leaked – $60k For 707 Horsepower http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-pricing-leaked-60k-for-707-horsepower/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-pricing-leaked-60k-for-707-horsepower/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:25:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866906 If you squint really hard, you can almost make out the $59,900 figure next to the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s 707 horsepower figure. Reddit users managed to save this image, which was apparently removed from AutoSpies.com. Our man Jack Baruth is en route to Portland to test drive the Hellcat, along with the rest of […]

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If you squint really hard, you can almost make out the $59,900 figure next to the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s 707 horsepower figure.

Reddit users managed to save this image, which was apparently removed from AutoSpies.com. Our man Jack Baruth is en route to Portland to test drive the Hellcat, along with the rest of the 2015 Challenger lineup.

The post Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Pricing Leaked – $60k For 707 Horsepower appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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