By on November 6, 2019

While this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) event was laden with utilities and pickups, American manufacturers have not forgotten models riding closer to the ground. Dodge presented the latest incarnation of its Mopar Dodge Challenger “Drag Pak” — presumably spelled poorly due to the existence of Ford’s Drag Pack cars. Unlike most vehicles at SEMA, it’s something you can theoretically own.

Normally, SEMA display cars exist to showcase individual parts. While this also applies to the Challenger, Fiat Chrysler’s parts arm is at least interested in offering a comprehensive ass-hauling package. It’s a turnkey racer, something the industry has embraced a bit more fully these last few years. Yet the Drag Pak isn’t a track car meant for curves or corners. It’s all about straight-line speed and is legally obligated to keep itself off public roads because it’s not good at doing anything else. 

If we had to guess, Fiat Chrysler probably started working on this puppy the second they heard Ford was finishing up its latest Cobra Jet Mustang. We’ll entertain the faintest possibility of Dodge delivering a slightly faster factory drag vehicle roughly one year later by coincidence. We also cannot confirm the 2020 Drag Pak is quicker in the quarter mile (a bone-stock Cobra Jet is supposed to hit the low 8s). All Dodge will say about the Challenger is that it has a new roll cage certified for ETs “as low” as 7.5 seconds.

Dodge similarly refrained from issuing any figures relating to horsepower, though such specs aren’t all that useful when dealing with a car this heavily modified. Ponies are assuredly in the quadruple digits. Hot Rod Network claim the car possesses “well above 1,500 hp,” backing up our theory that this is a revenge vehicle:

The motivation for the SRT engineers was simple: They saw what happened this past year as the Cobra Jets and COPOs ran roughshod over the few Challenger Drag Paks competing in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown and NMCA Factory Supercars classes. Forget the fact that back in 2018, Challenger Drag Paks were the first “Stockers” to break into the 7-second zone with drivers Leah Pritchett and Geoff Turk leading the charge. These two racers would also go on to claim the 2018 SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown World Championship (Pritchett) and the NMCA Holley EFI Factory Supercars crown (Turk). But all that did was make the Chevy and Ford camps work harder to submit new cars with killer engine packages to the NHRA for the 2019 season, and the latest Cobra Jets and COPOs had a distinct horsepower advantage while the Challenger Drag Pak had to run last year’s maxed-out engine combination.

The new one uses a supercharged 354 cubic-inch Hemi V8 butted against a T400 three-speed transmission with a Kwik-Shift manual. As with previous Drag Paks, weight reduction remains essential. Dodge has it equipped with a lightweight driveshaft, racing brakes, Racetech seats, and an exclusive lightweight aluminum wheel and tire package (Performance Welds wrapped in massive Mickey Thompson slicks). Suspension upgrades include a Strange Engineering rear axle assembly with adjustable coilover shocks, four-link wishbone suspension, Bilstein struts and an anti-roll bar.

Due to the vehicle’s supremely lively nature, Mopar also included wheelie bars and an integrated parachute. New fascias and a hood are borrowed from the Hellcat.

Availability will be limited to just 50 serialized units — all with unique commemorative plaques. Mopar plans to sell a variety of modular kits if you want to see how close you can get to building your own. We doubt that extends to the heritage-inspired graphics, which don’t look out of place on the model in the slightest.

While Drag Pak pricing has yet to be announced, anything below $120,000 seems implausible. Both the Cobra Jet Mustang and COPO Camaro cost more. We’ll have to wait and see what sum Dodge settles on.

[Images: FCA]

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