Chrysler showed eight ultra vehicles at the 2007 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. These were designed for SEMA by the Mopar Underground design team, a group of in-house automotive enthusiasts who donate their time to the SEMA project vehicles.
According to a Foresight Research report conducted last year [commissioned by SEMA's Research and Information Center], more than 1,700 full-size truck owners revealed that 50 percent had spent or planned to spend $500 or more on accessories – with a high of 63 percent for Dodge Ram owners (most likely to accessorize). And 20 percent of that group said they bought their trucks at a particular dealership because of the availability of accessories.
Overseen by Ralph Gilles, Vice President of Jeep/Truck & CFM Design, the Mopar Underground design team was created in 2002. “It’s the usual ‘enthusiast’ suspects from our union shops [plastic, paint, metal and wood], Product Design Office, SRT and Mopar Performance Parts and engineering,” said Gilles. “Every year, we push the boundaries of conventional thinking – customizing with no limits to creative expression and freedom, just the power to imagine. We want to build customized concept vehicles for SEMA that flex the potential in our platforms, show that Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles are indeed designed for customization and keep the Mopar spirit and passion alive.”
After the SEMA show, the customized Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge SEMA vehicles will be displayed at events throughout 2008 including Easter Jeep Safari, the Miami Auto Show, and others.
Off-road enhancements include:
Jalopnik broke this story early. The press release isn't even on Chrysler’s site yet, though the photos are. It uses the new 392 Hemi crate engine and a steel reproduction of a 1927 street rod body. For nearly two years, Chrysler's Mark Allen and Ralph Gilles planned to build the SR 392 Roadster as a SEMA stunner with Michael Chetcuti of Quality Metalcraft (QMC). Allen is chief designer, Jeep®/Dodge Truck Studios and Gilles is Vice President of Jeep/Truck and CFM Design.
Allen said, "It was important to convey the car's theme as an homage to Detroit - the cool Detroit with its unique artistic community, music and gritty vibe. We used durable materials and let the mechanicals show to reflect the industrial backbone of the city. We wrapped it all up in a high-gloss black-and-chrome wrapper to evoke Detroit's cool attitude."
The project was assisted by Chetcuti's QMC since the company has tooled, designed and now stamps the first-ever steel reproduction of a 1927 street rod body -- the Shadowrods XL-27 Roadster and Lakes Modified bodies developed by hot rod legend, Jon Hall.
With the car's extremely low stance, Shadowrods was asked to build a custom frame using a unique staggered truss concept. For the final build of the SR 392 Roadster, QMC turned to longtime concept- and show-car builder Wheel to Wheel Powertrain of Madison Heights, Mich.
The Jeep Wrangler Ultimate suspension was enhanced with a 3-in. lift to clear the massive 35-in. BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires mounted on custom, polished Alcoa Forged 18-in. wheels. The exterior is chromed out courtesy of Mopar, with chromed fuel filler door,
tubular side steps,
hood hinges, and
fascia overlays. The exterior was coated in an experimental ‘Liquid Charcoal Pearl Coat’ paint.
Taking cues from rugged adventure sports bags and accessories, the team created a high style and detailed interior compartment with durable orange mesh fabric and dark slate gray Nappa/Province leather seats. Instrument panel details are treated to an Argent Pearl/Satin Silver paint combination. There are DVD screens for passengers in the front and rear. To provide authentic performance on the trail, the team also dropped in a 392 HEMI crate motor.
The interior of the Jeep Wrangler All-access has premium materials and paint. To give it “trail and off-road” credibility, the designers used Mopar performance parts including Rubicon Express 4-in. suspension lift, front and rear bumper with tire carrier, rock rails, cold air intake and Warn 9500ti winch. American Expedition Vehicles supplied its new Pintler sheels. The Wrangler All-access also features 35-in. BFG Mud Terrain tires. In 2008, the Wrangler All-access will be seen at Easter Jeep Safari [Moab, Utah] and Camp Jeep®.
“Built for towing,” the Dodge Ram BFT is also one “big fast truck.” The design team placed a standard cab on a 160-in. Dodge Ram Heavy Duty wheelbase frame so the 9.4-ft chopper fits snuggly in the 10-ft. box. The dually setup uses a 6-in. suspension lift kit from Superlift and Alcoa’s 22.5-in. 10-lug semi wheels. The BFT also features full-length polished bed and step rails. The Ram BFT has a Banks-enhanced 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine that is mated to an automatic transmission.
The Dodge Avenger Tuner – Stormtrooper was inspired by the technical, yet organic nature of the Stormtrooper costumes from Star Wars inspired its execution. Smooth power is unleashed by the digitally-tuned 4.0-liter V-6 engine, all-wheel-drive, and a six-speed automatic gearbox with AutoStick steering wheel paddle shifters and KW custom coil-over suspension that is tuned for ride-height and damping. The 20 x 9 custom Alcoa Forged rims come with die-sub custom graphics and Michelin 245/35R20 Pilot Sport PS2 tires. It also features a StopTech six-piston front and four- piston rear big-brake package, Xenon HID projector head lamps, Umnitza Predator halo lighting and Challenger fuel filler cap.
Exterior custom modifications on the Avenger Stormtrooper include:
The Alcantara suede-lined interior features four black and white Dodge SRT8 bucket seats with red stitching and stripes to carry the driver and three lucky passengers for the thrill ride of their lives in style. The instrument panel, doors, headliner and pillars are swathed in this performance material. The custom Dodge "rim-shell" steering wheel and shifter paddles are constructed of black leather, white suede and red accent stitching and centering stripe. The centerstack/console features triple gauge pod and glossy pearl white finish.
There are two Azentek mobile PCs installed with 1.8GHz Intel Core Duo processors, one in the front dash and one in the rear seat center console. ETAS’ INCA software digital interface to the engine controller could allow the driver to have the capability to control its tuning and read vitals. The owner could even order parts or download engine calibrations through Mopar Performance Parts and could communicate in forums and chat rooms. The driver could adjust fuel maps (as opposed to static flashing) and even download Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) from a Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge dealership as he or she drives by. A Mopar gauge pack shows what's going on under the hood.
The Dodge Caravan R/T has:
The interior features seats trimmed in dark slate leather with fire-red stitching and perforated suede inserts and dual DVD system. The Swivel ‘n Go™ seat system’s second-row seats that swivel 180 degrees rearward and the removable table installed between the second and third rows completes the RT R/T’s interior.
This motocross-themed concept is a cooperative effort with Scott Waraniak, a design student at College for Creative Studies in Detroit and AMA District 14 motocross racer #936 who races for KTM North America and Seattle-based Jones Soda. Motocross is run on natural-terrain dirt tracks. Forty racers compete in two 20-minute motos. The outdoor motocross season runs from April to September, while the indoor supercross season runs from January through April. The sport continues to grow in popularity.
Waraniak provided his race-prepped bike for the project. He’ll use the 2008 KTM 450 SX-F in 2008 motocross season competition. He designed the graphics for both the bike and the Dodge Dakota MX Warrior.
The design team let Waraniak loose to design his “splatter” theme. The bold O21orange and battleship gray vinyl wrap is provided by Image Quest Graphics of Wixom, Mich. The Dakota/KTM 450 SX-F graphics integrate the podium performance of Dodge, Mopar and KTM Motorsports with Waraniak’s sponsors and the motocross industry’s leading icons and lifestyle companies.
The suspension was raised four inches, with 20-in. chrome wheels from Mopar wrapped in 31-in. tires. TRX-4 fender flares cover the meats to keep the “splash” graphics fairly clean. To protect the front and rear, the Chrysler metal shop fabricated custom steel bumpers and an integrated warn winch mounted on the front bumper. There are also custom steel rock rails. The taillamps and bed extender were provided by Mopar. The steering wheel was provided by Grant Products. The Surf Blue paint with dark neutral metallic accents is courtesy of the Chrysler paint shop. Air was fed to the 4.7-liter Magnum® V-8 engine through the custom hood with one-off intake scoops fabricated by the Chrysler plastic shop.
The Chrysler Town & Country Black Jack draws its inspiration from the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. It sits on one-off 20-in. wheels with new bright finishes built by Alcoa Forged, tucked around Brembo SRT brakes, with an adjusted ride height. Covered in a custom Amber-Black Pearl paint, the hood features a ghosted “Black Jack” logo and pin stripe provided by Jim-Tech. Chrome accents complement the billet-style grill.
LED lighting, provided by OSRAM-Sylvania Group, was crucial to the application of Las Vegas allure. To give it an “after hours lounge bar” setting and atmosphere of light and shade, the team created dual panoramic-style roof openings. After relocating the gas tank, light-sensitive “scintilla” provided by Sensitile was used. Scintilla, made entirely of acrylic, transforms the way in which the surface interacts with interior lighting.
A leather- wrapped curved bench replaces the third-row seats. The passenger seats are wrapped by Katzkin, and feature Vogl satin black leather, custom embroidery. Seat inserts feature perforated suede with silver backing and a suede headliner. The centered dealer’s seat required removal of the second-row pilot seats. The “black jack” table is constructed of light-weight carbon fiber. Creating seamless construction, it’s bolted to the translucent center mount that flows into the translucent floor. The adjustable lighting and table placement contribute to the players’ comfort.
The entertainment system features two KICKER Audio 10-in. L7 sub woofers tied to a 1250-watt amplifier. Two pairs of 6-in. speakers and a four-channel 700-4 amplifier provide the “boom” factor. The rear-mounted 37-in. LCD flat screen and two 7-in. overhead monitors are connected to three hidden overhead digital cameras so there are “eyes” on the dealer’s and players’ hands. The Azentec head unit – the Atlas 1000 – serves as a high-powered laptop radio head unit.
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