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Super Stock Dodge Challenger (including video)

(Standard 2008-2009 Dodge Challenger)

dodge challenger 1320

The car above is the Dodge Challenger 1320 concept car, shown at SEMA in 2009; it’s a street-legal version of the Super Stock Dodge Challenger (Drag Pack). (Also see the V10 Drag Pack.)

The Dodge Challenger 1320 uses Mopar’s 426 cubic-inch aluminum Hemi crate engine, pushing out 556 horsepower with long-tube headers. Electric cutouts allow the exhaust to bypass the muffler system, which exits through custom side pipes for added rumble at the dragstrip. Power is put to the ground via a six-speed manual transmission through a custom Dynatrac rear housing with Mopar Dana 60 internals and a selectable, ARB locking differential. Mopar police wheels are widened in the rear. A four-corner, adjustable coil-over kit is provided by Mopar as an option for the Dodge Challenger, to improve the handling under loads of 556 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft. of torque. Carbon fiber weight-lowering components are the hood, front spoiler, and grille panel/headlamp surround.

The design team layered the 1320 in Acidic Hue. The interior has Dodge Viper seats, a sport steering wheel, and a Hurst shifter, with no rear seat, center console, or radio.

SEMA Challenger

Mopar® announced the new Dodge Challenger Drag Race Package Car at the 29th Annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, on Sunday, July 13.

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Judy “Miss Mighty Mopar” Lilly were behind the wheels for their inaugural track run. Based on the Challenger SRT8®, the prototypes were finished in Stock Eliminator configuration. They ran in June 2008 as proof-of-concept and for NHRA certification. Mopar dropped around 1,000 lbs. off the production Challenger SRT8; composite, polycarbonate and lightweight components designed for drag racing will be part of the new Package Car program.

The engine was repositioned to improve driveline angle and weight distribution. The wheelbase was shortened by ½ inch. They also feature a front cradle with bolt-in crossmember and solid engine mounts.

Mopar will build a minimum of 100 Challenger Drag Race Package Cars to meet NHRA requirements. The modern factory-prepped Challenger Drag Race Package Car begin as a special Body-in-White (BIW) from Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario, Canada, assembly plant. The body sealer, sound deadener and undercoat are eliminated along with windshield wipers, the HVAC system, airbag components, rear seats, power steering, exhaust, underbody heat shields, cross-car and side impact door beams, rear bumper beam, and rear deck lid spoiler. Unique components include a composite lift-off hood with functional scoop, Viper-style front seats, polycarbonate door windows, lightweight cooling module, manual rack and pinion steering, cable-operated deck lid release, lightweight front brake assembly, and cable-operated throttle linkage and pedal assembly.

The drag racer has three engine options—6.1-liter or 5.7-liter HEMI or 5.9-liter Magnum® Wedge—as well as manual or automatic transmission. The Challenger Drag Race Package Car will be eligible to run in three Eliminator categories—Comp, Super Stock and Stock—and potentially 40 classes. Depending upon the configuration, the U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the Challenger Drag Race Package Car program will range from the low to mid $30s. Each car will carry an identification plate with sequential serial number.

A build book/owner’s manual will be provided to document the modifications made to the Challenger SRT8 and to provide recommendations to finish the Package Car for Stock Eliminator competition.

The Challenger Drag Race Package Car will be available for order in late August to early September. A toll-free number will be designated for ordering. Details will be posted on www.mopar.com.

John P. Matterazzo, Challenger Super Stock Team Leader, wrote about the creation of the concept version:

tachometerThe origin of the [2006 concept] Challenger Super Stock starts in a most unusual place, on my cubicle wall. For years I had this article from the May 1990 issue of Muscle Car magazine. In an article entitled, “Nine-Seconds over Detroit”, the magazine did homage to the 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda, HEMI-powered, “Super Stocks”, dubbing them “the fastest of the fast.” For years I’ve wanted Chrysler to build another one of those tremendous ground-pounders. But with all the attention to trucks, motorized shopping carts, and micro-motor machines, there wasn’t much hope for that.

Chrysler’s own release:

NHRA drag racers and drag racing fans have been eagerly awaiting the launch of the Dodge Challenger drag race package car from Mopar announced at the 2007 SEMA Show. And they may not be waiting much longer.

Mopar’s new factory-prepped cars harken back to the heritage of the ’68 HEMI®-powered Dodge Darts and Plymouth ’Cudas. The ’68 package cars represented a significant moment in Mopar’s history and the sport of drag racing. And were also a major milestone in the evolution of the second-generation HEMI POWERPLANT. Some of drag racing’s biggest names drove these crowd-favorite ’68 package cars.

40 years later, Mopar’s drag race package car is ready for competition and victories off the Tree. It’s not for the faint of heart — or the streets. An announcement of its world debut is coming shortly from Mopar.

Ordering guidelines

Potential Dodge Challenger Drag Pak buyers have to apply in writing to buy one; all orders are reviewed by Mopar before allocating vehicles. The application form is on mopar.com, and has to be given to a dealer who signs and faxes the form over. Orders are done as first-come, first-served; the buyer should ask the dealer for a fax confirmation to document the date and time of submission.

The owner or driver “is recommended” to have a current competition license or sanctioning body affiliation before ordering, and is encouraged to put the vehicle into competition within a reasonable time after receiving it. (This indicates to us that Chrysler is losing money on these vehicles, and is building the Drag Pak vehicles as a publicity measure; or that production capacity is limited. Otherwise, it probably wouldn’t matter to them if buyers were putting them into storage as investments.)

Customers will have to pick up their Dodge Challenger Drag Pak cars at the factory in the Detroit area. (The fact that the factory is in the Detroit area may simply be a way of saying “in Ontario” but it is more likely that there is a facility which is taking partly assembled Challengers and finishing them as drag cars.)

Dodge Challenger Super Stock — Back Story

The following is from an article by John P. Matterazzo:

In 2006, Matterazzo had gotten to know Ralph Gilles, and he proposed to him a Super Stock Charger, showing a sketch done by Al Zifillipo and Duncan Wright. He appreciated the idea, but there had been too many Chargers done for SEMA, and it was dropped — until Ralph Gilles called Matterazzo and asked if he’d be interested in doing a Super Stock treatment for the Challenger. The main impetus was a new crate engine from Mopar®, and the need for an attention-getting display for it. Mopar provided components and two employees - Jon Clark and David Hakim - and the group was able to work on overtime as needed.

sox & martin team truck

The group was able to work on a sister to the orange show car, made by Gaffoglio Metal Crafters in California. They thought it would be a full car, but in reality they got a full sized plastic model of the body shell, without wheels, interior, floor, or much else. They needed a ground-up build, and pulled in Chris Riddick and Mike Patyi to fit the engine in, Mike Grote and Mark Kownacki to handle fuel, Tom Staniszewksi (former Viper engineer and respected brake expert) for brakes, Joe Crowley for chassis design, and intern Clint Chadwell, who worked on lighting and other components. Two Chrysler retirees were also brought in - Ron Mancini, known for his transmission expertise as well as his drag racing (he won two national events and drove one of the benchmark Super Stock cars), and Jon Rasbach, who engineered racing structures in the 1970s.

dodge super stock challengerRalph Gilles’ assistant Devyn Ostrand found numerous parts and a Magnum to use for the underbody; Pat Geyer’s crew stripped the car in a single day. The metal shop was not just cooperative but actively helpful, and veteran show car builder Roger McCallum led a team which adapted the Magnum in just 29 days. This included shortening the underbody, bonding it to the shell, strengthing the chassis and installing a roll bar, and straightening the plastic body (which had changed shape due to heat). The Plastic Shop, led by Hank Kuhn, helped to close gaps and make numerous plastic parts, using molds from the wood shop headed by Ken Ryntz; these included the hood and both front and rear spoilers, which may be made available as aftermarket parts (from the same molds). Guy Woolcott and the Paint Shop painted the car using Sox and Martin’s colors.

After Ronnie Sox died of cancer, Tom Staniszewksi and PDO created a window decal in his honor along with Ron Mancini Jr., the champion drag racer (and son of Ron Mancini), who died in a traffic accident — that’s the RJM in the lower right of the decal.

The independent rear suspension was swapped out for a live rear axle design using a Dana 60 axle, which is better suited to drag racing; an A999 transmission with a manual valve body was used because the production five-speed automatic was too heavy (Mopar® now has a kit to make this swap easier). The final drive was 4.56:1; the differential was a Spicer Power Lock model, the axles were from Mark Williams, and all four brakes used four-piston calipers. the front double-wishbone suspension used height-adjustable coil-over springs.

Sox & Martin Duster

A new accessory drive that skips the compressor was added. The twin hood scoops were judged too small and a single large scoop was used along with a ram air system. Goodyear supplied tires (29 x 10 slicks), American Racing supplied 15-inch Trakstar wheels with bead locks, Turbo Action provided the shifter and high-stall-speed torque converter, and AEM supplied headers that dump through straight tubes (a legal street/strip cutout exhaust was originally intended, but there was no time to do it). Clint (with George Irwin) set up a LED lights to cover the entire rear, including the backup lights. Windows were all Lexan, made and installed by the Plastic Shop.

Some interesting notes and problems include the false B-pillar, which covers up differences in the curves in the side glass; and the search for a starter (which was modified to fit) because the transmission required a left-side starter but the engine was designed for a right-side starter, and the steering column took up the space needed for a starter on the left.

another sema challengerFor final assembly, the team had to go outside of Chrysler because of the timing; Ron suggested using real race car chassis builder Mike Pustelny Racing (MPR), which had Super Stock experience. MPR quickly installed the front cradle, narrowed the rear axle to fit, and installed the 525-horsepower, 510-lb-ft, fuel-injected 392 Hemi. Seats are from the police package with Katzkin covers and summit five-point belts.

The end result was a stable, driveable, and possibly raceworthy car built in surprisingly little time and close to the original budget. For the rest of us, there will be 1/18 scale die-cast models available. The drag-strip goal was an 11 second quarter mile; it has achieved 11.5 seconds, flying straight as an arrow down the drag strip, with very little wheelspin. Weight came in at 3,588 pounds (target was 3,600).

As John wrote: “Regardless of what happens to the car, a bunch of engineers, technicians, and craftsmen/women came together to resurrect an icon, pay homage to a high water mark in automotive history, honor the drag racing
heroes of Chrysler Corporation, and had tons of fun doing it. There’s not much better than that!”

(Here’s what happened to the car so far: it was repainted on Ralph Gilles’ orders for the 2007 Detroit AutoRama, then sent to California for conversion into a drift competition car. The planned factory Super stock Challenger may have been dropped — as are many other programs.)

Standard 2008-2009 Dodge Challenger

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