Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep news from Allpar

Hellcat “Easter egg?”

srt dashboard

Alex Petersen wrote to show a Hellcat-related “Easter egg” in Dodge’s press photography. The supercharged Hemi engine generates 707 horsepower; and if you look at the satellite radio station, 70s on 7, and let your eyes blur just a bit, you can see the number “707.”

NHRA standings races come down to the wire

Mello-Yello-Drag-Racers-Web
As recently as the Mopar Mile High NHRA Nationals in Denver, it appeared that the top spots in the Pro Stock and Fuel Funny Cars seasons were a done deal. Erica Enders-Stevens had a 184-point lead over second-place Allen Johnson in Pro Stock and Robert Hight led runner-up John Force by 181 points in Funny Car.

A couple of events later, the picture has changed dramatically. Enders-Stevens took a two-race break due to sponsor issues and Hight’s results have taken a real tumble.

As a result, by the end of racing at the Lucas Oil Nationals, Jason Line had replaced Enders-Stevens at the top of Pro Stock with Allen Johnson just 16 points out of first place and just seven points behind Enders-Stevens. Decent qualifying and a win at the U.S Nationals at the end of this month could put Johnson in the top spot.

In addition, Jeg Coughlin Jr. is just 76 points out and he still has the chance to pick up two Wallys – the one at the U.S. Nationals and the one that was postponed from the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Enders-Stevens and Johnson were eliminated on Sunday but Coughlin is still in the hunt and has more points to win. It’s a long shot, but Coughlin could be the leader going into the Countdown to the Championship.

In Fuel Funny Car, it’s guaranteed that John Force will replace his son-in-law Robert Hight at the top of the order. Force still has a final-round race against Ron Capps left over from the Lucas Oil Nationals while Hight was eliminated in the first round at Brainerd International Raceway. As of right now, Force is just two points behind Hight and even if he loses his race with Capps, Force will have more than enough points to take the lead. And there’s still a full slate of racing at the U.S. Nationals.

There’s an important 16-point spread in Funny Car, too. Jack Beckman is currently that many points behind Tim Wilkerson in the race for the last berth in the Countdown. He has to score 17 point more than Wilkerson at Indy to make the cut. Beckman is the only Don Schumacher Racing driver in Funny Car who has not secured a spot as Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Matt Hagan sewed up theirs before racing ended in Brainerd.

Hellcat vs ZL1, GT500

Motor Trend recently dyno-tested a Challenger SRT Hellcat and Camaro ZL1. They found that the Challenger peaked at 635 horsepower and 591 lb-ft at the rear wheels, far more than the Camaro’s 472 hp and 482 lb-ft of toque. The accompanying graphs showed the Challenger starting out higher, with the horsepower difference growing as revs went up, and the torque peaking at around 4,500 rpm (ZL1 peaks lower, at around 3,750, but is always lower than Challenger).

The numbers indicate a relatively low power loss through the Hellcat’s ZF-built eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine, fully dressed and measured at the crankshaft, is rated at 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. The tested Camaro had a six-speed manual transmission.

Edmund’s tested a 2013 Mustang GT500 and found it made 595 horsepower and 603 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. Their ratings for the ZL1 were 497 horsepower and 497 lb-ft of torque. The GT500 is only available with a manual transmission; so far there have been no publications of Hellcat manual dyno readings.

The Charger Hellcat has both beaten all other muscle cars in NHRA-certified quarter mile acceleration testing.

Chrysler 300 one of the “Most Comfortable Cars”

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The 2014 Chrysler 300 equipped with the Pentastar V6 has been named one of KBB.com’s “10 Most Comfortable Cars under $30,000.”

“For many car shoppers, comfort is among the top factors in their choice of a new vehicle, especially with so many Americans spending countless hours commuting,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.

Writing about the 300, KBB.com’s editors wrote “Chrysler’s full-size sedan combines generous room with an impressive set of standard conveniences.”

Supercharged Viper? (Updated)

With the supercharged 6.2 Hemi delivering 707 horsepower to the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper boys are reportedly looking for ways to get back on top. While the Viper may be superior on a tight racing course, the straight-line performance of Charger and Challenger, in five-seaters with all the amenities, large trunks, and automatic or manual transmissions, is a challenge for Team Viper — as is the current series of Corvettes.

2014 dodge viper

The power difference is not that large, and Viper no doubt has a major edge in low-end torque, but some people just look at the top number and say, “707 is bigger than 640 (and for torque, 650 is bigger than 600.)”

We have now had two reports of supercharged V10 engines being delivered. Either way, the supercharger would presumably allow Viper to pass 707, and quite possibly, if the block, internal parts, transmission, and body can endure it, shoot up to, say, 800. That could restart lagging Viper sales and decisively put Viper back on top of the Corvette in performance comparisons, albeit at a high development and production cost.

Why not shoot for, say, a stunning 1,000 horsepower, one may ask? Because that would require a new and expensive transmission and differential, more substantial cooling upgrades, much more incoming air, and quite possibly a new body to deal with the added stresses. Cars are systems, and upgrading the engine often requires upgrades to a large number of other components. The engineering and production costs would skyrocket.  The Tremec TR-6060 in the Viper can handle, at most, 650 lb-ft of torque — no coincidence that the Hellcat maxes out at that number (which is also roughly the capacity of the ZF eight-speed). Even the Tremec TR-9008 can only handle 664 lb-ft. Tremec does have a “Magnum XL” which is good for 700 lb-ft, but would require changes to work in the Viper.

Note: we have now had one other source say that supercharged V10 engines have been delivered to Chrysler.

Is this the 2017 Ram?

Though the Ram 1500 just had major upgrades, another refresh is due in 2017, to deal with the new F-150s and a possible Chevrolet Silverado update.

So far not much is known about these trucks, except that they will likely include the Pentastar engine upgrade, might include the rumored 5.7 Hemi V8 upgrade, and are likely to have undergone weight reduction therapy with more high-strength steel and aluminum.

JackRatchett made numerous subtle changes based on various tips Allpar has gotten. The headlights and fog lights both have LEDs; and the headlights are narrower than the current model. Both hood and grille are lower, the better to slip through the air with. The Prowler look is courtesy of Jack.

We’ve been told that Ram may well expand their wheelbase, which is a significant change. That could signal the end of the regular cab, which is no longer particularly popular despite being dominant not many years back, or an application of “cab forward” design to pickups. A longer wheelbase could help Rams’ handling and ride.

We also suspect a new tailgate setup, based on patent applications.

With the major pickup makers now competing on the basis of towing, payload (with some using questionable numbers), and fuel economy, Ram is likely in a dilemma over what to emphasize. While the diesel helps, by 2017, it seems likely that competitors will also have diesels — Nissan Titan certainly will, with the golden Cummins name attached to it. By then Ram will not be the sole eight-speed, either.


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