Category Archives: All Mopars

This really is the 2018 Wrangler “JL”

Allpar is not the first to repost them, but here are two photos of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler “JL” which appeared on the — reprinted here with their permission.

2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Both photos are of the Wrangler Rubicon.  Allpar insiders had already noted some features you can see:

  • Roll cage similar to the current, no major shift in design although the mounting to the body is different — as expected.
  • More integrated tail lights that wrap around the body.
  • Updated Rubicon bumper and hood design themes
  • Fender vent/styling
  • Longer hood that is more flat
  • Taller, more raked windshield
  • Door handles are lower, new body line reminiscent of TJ
  • Redesigned door hinges that are still exposed on the door
  • Redesigned hood latches

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

It’s not clear, but it seems to have a fold down windshield with a fixed frame.

Overall, this iteration of the Wrangler should have a stiffer body, be safer in a rollover, handle better on and off road, and possibly lose weight — or hold steady while meeting higher safety standards — due to the new “sort of roof” superstructure.

See what else we know, other spy shots, renderings and drawings, and such, at our 2018 Jeep Wrangler page.

Red vs black keys: Real-world Hellcat performance

If you are reading this piece here on, you are probably familiar with the two-key system of the Hellcat Challenger and Charger. The black key limits the output of the supercharged Hemi to “just” 500 horsepower, while the red key unlocks the full 707 horsepower.

Challenger SRT Hellcat power with red and black key

On paper, that difference is easy to comprehend – it is a 207 horsepower drop when switching to the black key, but what does that mean in terms of real world performance?

Fortunately, the owner of a Plum Crazy 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat named Paul put together a video showing his supercharged Mopar muscle car making a series of timed 50-100 runs – first with the red key, and then with the black key.

The video begins with a humorous introduction where Paul explains what he plans to do with his Hellcat Challenger, including a quick look at the supercharged Dodge muscle car firing up when cold – and sounding awesome. After that, he zips off to Mexico where making 50-100 runs is accepted, and that is when the fun begins.

Hellcat acceleration - red vs black key

First, Paul did three runs running wide open, starting in second gear, with times averaging 4.35 seconds. He also tried starting in third, showing that it is considerably quicker to start in second and make the quick shift when you start the run.

Next, Paul made the same three 50-100 tests with the black key and “only” 500 horsepower; the average time was now 5.98 seconds.

This Plum Crazy Hellcat Challenger was just over a second and a half quicker with the red key, when accelerating from 50-100. That doesn’t sound like much, so let’s put it this way: the Hellcat Challenger is about 36% slower with the black key, than in red key mode.   Check out the video for a closer look at this scientific comparison of the Hellcat Challenger with the red key and black key.

Jeep’s concept previews

It’s getting close to Jeep’s annual foray to Moab, where, traditionally, numerous concept cars are revealed, usually showing off Mopar aftermarket parts, Katzkin leather, and custom bodywork that will never be released.

Jeep Switchback concept

This year, the company is previewing in the most teasing of ways the Jeep Quicksand and Switchback concepts, and hinting there will be more. Typically, this includes some way-out concepts and some sticker-and-stuff packages.

Jeep Quicksand preview

Chances are, observers will be examining these concepts very carefully to find hints of the Wrangler JL. Whether there are any hints remains to be seen; chances are most of the JL has been nailed down by now.

Will Trackhawk make 700 hp?

Even before the first Hellcat-equipped Dodge Challenger was shown to the public, there has been speculation on what a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a Hellcat  would be like.

(Grand Cherokee SRT shown.) At first, we were told that the Trackhawk might not even be produced, because the Grand Cherokee is an upscale car and the engine was just too noisy; but the Hellcat is quieter than it was when in development trim, and that’s no longer a major issue. Nor is the supply of key parts.

At first, we assumed that the engine was have to be downrated rather dramatically to make all wheel drive possible. How tough can you make the transfer case and still have it fit under the car? We speculated that it would end up at around 640 horsepower, based on the capacity of existing components from various parts makers.

Now, though, reliable sources have reported that the system will make a full 700 horsepower. That means either they’ve found tougher transfer cases (and other parts) that still fit in the Grand Cherokee and aren’t far too pricey; or that they’ve gone the “heavy-handed torque management” route.

Keep in mind, though, that the official rated horsepower might be lower, e.g. 680. That 700 might be an estimate, or a “roughly,” or even gross power (before accessories). Updating the drivetrain components to meet the higher power requirements also explains why it has taken so long for this vehicle to debut. Regardless, as we’ve said before, even the low-end estimate we originally had — 640 hp — would be far, far above the current, highly regarded 6.4 Hemi Grand Cherokee’s power.

There’s little sure information about the Hellcat Trackhawk for the moment. We are fairly sure that it will debut in New York City, taking its place alongside the Demon for the most powerful launch in automotive history; but we’ve seen nothing concrete yet.

What’s special about the Demon?

As the long Dodge Challenger Demon teaser series continues, some have been asking why the car is getting so much attention. There are likely two main reasons — the volume of information and leaks.

First, the volume of information is huge. There are all sorts of unique and new features of this car, designed to be a semi-dedicated drag racer that can still be driven around town. It’s not like any other car Chrysler has ever sold to the general public, and many of the features need more explanation.

Second, there were many rumors running around town about the car, and Dodge probably wanted to stay in front of the stories — and prevent expectations from getting out of hand, especially with tales of over a thousand horsepower floating around.

So what’s special about the car? Here are some highlights:

  1. The engine, already the most powerful regular-production engine sold by an American automaker, may gain 50 hp.
  2. The car will be the first to come with a trans brake from the factory for faster launches.
  3. Wheels and tires are set up for drag racing, with fat rears and narrow fronts.
  4. An after-run cooling system is built in, with control and monitoring from the telematics system.
  5. Performance data is shown on the screen.
  6. Anti-lag, or torque reserve, is built in; this disables some cylinders and lets the driver rev the car higher before launching.
  7. The most massive hood scoop in America.
  8. A 232 pound trim from other Hellcats despite added driveline strength.
  9. Extra gear for drag racers.
  10. The first street-legal car to come with drag radials.
  11. A suspension retuned specifically for drag racing.
  12. A safety bar to  make installing a racing harness easier.
  13. Wheel hop addressed by Launch Assist.

Yes, this is a very special car.


Demon has a freakin’ TransBrake

This week’s 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon teaser might be one of the most exciting thus far: the upcoming Mopar muscle car will be the first ever road-going car equipped with a TransBrake.

That’s right – the new Demon is going to come from the factory with a TransBrake built into the 8-speed automatic transmission, allowing it to get away from the line harder and more consistently than when launching strictly with the brakes.

What is a Transbrake?
When a driver launches the average automatic-transmission car at the drag strip, they pull into the staging beams, holding the brake pedal down with their left foot and easing into the throttle with their right foot to increase engine speed before the launch. This method has been used by most drag racers since the dawn of the automatic transmission, but it has its shortcomings.

The biggest issue is that as you add power to the rear wheels, you increase the chances of spinning the rear tires in place or of overpowering the front brakes, pushing the car through the staging beams with the front tires locked. This is especially true of high performance cars with skinny front tires, like the 2018 Challenger Demon, since those narrow front tires have such a small surface contact area on the ground.

Most racers get around this is by installing a transbrake, which essentially “traps” the engine power in the transmission so as they increase engine RPM, there is no power working to spin the rear wheels or push the front wheels with the brakes locked. When the transbrake is released, all of that power is instantly sent to the rear wheels and the car rockets out of the hole with far more force than launching with the ol’ two-foot method.

Demon TransBrake
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is the first car to come with a TransBrake from the factory, so when the driver pulls to the line, bringing the engine up to the desired launch RPM and keeping it there will be easier than it is with any other road car. With this system engaged, the Demon will launch at 2,350 rpm without touching the brakes, while increasing launch boost pressure by 105% and launch torque levels by 120%. This system provides Demon 40% more torque on launch than trying to launch the car with skinny front tires using only the brakes.

The Demon TransBrake works in conjunction with the Torque Reserve system which we detailed last week (some might prefer to call that a 2-step or anti-lag) as part of the Launch Control feature. When this system is activated, the driver holds down the left shift paddle on the steering wheel, engaging the TransBrake, locking the output shaft, and allowing the driver to increase engine RPM and boost while the car stays stationary – all without touching the brakes. When the driver is ready to launch, they let off of the shift paddle and all of the Demon’s power is sent to the rear wheels in roughly 150 milliseconds, which is quicker than the delivery in a car being launched with the two-foot method, for improved track times in every metric.

The problem with an old-school transbrake is that when it is released, a tremendous amount of power is suddenly applied to critical drivetrain components. The Demon TransBrake has a unique preloading feature which applies a moderate amount of power to the drivetrain, but not enough to risk spinning the tires or moving the car. That helps protect the driveshaft, the rear differential and the axle shafts, but and also allows the power delivery to happen so quickly.

To showcase this exclusive feature, the newest teaser video for the 2018 Demon is titled “Lock and Load.”

Finally, this week’s teaser image comes with more mystery math on the Demon’s license plate and this time, we get the equation of 8.3+317=534…and your guess is as good as ours when it comes to deciphering any of these numbers.

Pritchett’s Challenger Drag Pak isn’t a Demon

This past weekend, Don Schumacher Racing Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett participated in a grudge match race with the guy who owns Papa John’s Pizza. She ran a Dodge Challenger Drag Pak with the Air Grabber hood from the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, and sporting emblems from the upcoming muscle car. However, contrary to some clickbait YouTube channels, the car which ran this past weekend at the Gatornationals was most certainly not a new Demon.

Leah Pritchett drives a top fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, and while Pritchett’s dragster isn’t technically a Mopar, she is part of a factory-based Mopar team. She is also sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza; since Papa John Schnatter is a hardcore Camaro fan, Pritchett and Schnatter set up a series of grudge match races for charity. This series kicked off at the Gatornationals last weekend, with Schnatter will be piloting his modified second generation Chevrolet Camaro while Pritchett is driving a Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

The Drag Pak is a factory-built race car, engineered to participate in stock-based drag racing classes alongside the Chevrolet COPO Camaro and the Ford Racing Cobra Jet Mustang. This Drag Pak has been specially prepared for the charity series, with the supercharged 354 cubic inch Hemi providing the power — and, yes, the Air Grabber hood and an eye-catching paint job prominently display the new Dodge Demon logos.

The appearance of the car, and a YouTube video claiming that the person filming the video spoke with a “Dodge rep who stated that this was a Demon,” led to a great many people believing that this was the car which will debut next month in New York. Even so, the car which Leah Pritchett drove to victory against the Camaro was nothing more than a dressed up Challenger Drag Pak.

That is well illustrated when we look at the features of the Challenger above and what we know about the Demon so far. First, Pritchett’s Challenger Drag Pak clearly has the 1971-esque upper grille design and the lower front fascia of the non-SRT Challengers. However, we know the new Demon will have the wide-open upper grille design and the unique lower fascia of the Hellcat Challenger. Pritchett’s Challenger might have the hood, but it has the wrong grille and the wrong front fascia when compared to the 2018 Demon.

Next, the Challenger Drag Pak has brightly polished 5-spoke wheels with a deep-dish design in Hoosier skinnies up front and Hoosier slicks out back – just like the Drag Pak cars which Dodge showcased at other events. The 2018 Challenger Demon will have black wheels wrapped in special Demon-branded Nitto NT05R tires. If Dodge is going through the headache of ordering unique drag radial tires for a car, they aren’t going to swap to different tires for a high profile charity event.

Leah Pritchett’s Challenger also doesn’t have the Demon body flares, the Demon rear spoiler, or the standard UConnect infotainment system; but it does have racing bucket seats, a roll cage, and an aftermarket-style ratchet race shifter.

Finally, there are pictures floating around Facebook and Instagram showing this Challenger in the garage area at the Gatornationals with the hood up — showing a supercharged 354 cubic inch Generation III Hemi, just like the rest of the current Drag Pak cars.

Leak Pritchett’s Challenger Drag Pak might have the Air Grabber hood and the fender logos of the 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon, but this car has all of the wrong interior components, no flares, no rear spoiler, the wrong wheels, the wrong tires, the wrong front and end – most significantly – the wrong Hemi engine. It is clearly not related to the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, except for being based on the Dodge Challenger.

Still, Pritchett smoked Schnatter’s Camaro, laying down a 9.560 seconds at 148.54 miles per hour while the Camaro sputtered down the track in a losing effort. The next of the five races in this grudge match series is on April 29, during the Four Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Ram Longhorn to match trailers

Just ahead of the Dallas Auto Show, Ram announced a new “RV Match Brown” two-tone contrast color, replacing White Gold.  The new color will be used on the lower body, wheel flares, painted bumpers, and running boards, with a bright chrome grille and contrasting tow hooks.

ram towing trailer

The winner of the “Luxury Truck of Texas” title is available in 1500, 2500, and 3500 forms. The latter has over 30,000 pounds of towing ability, which is why RV Match Brown was chosen — to closely match a shade frequently used on recreational travel trailers.

2017 Ram Laramie Longhorn

The Texas-influenced truck shows off its status with a chrome metal Laramie Longhorn badge with painted accents on the tailgate, and capacity-­specific badges on the doors.

The two-tone Ram 1500 Longhorns have 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with brown pockets; monochromatic versions have silver wheels. Ram 2500 and 3500 are similar (with single rear wheels), except that they have 18-inch wheels with 20-inchers being optional; and, finally, the Ram 3500 duallies have polished silver wheels.

RV Match Brown can be paired with Black Forest Green, Bright Silver, Bright White, Brilliant Black Crystal, Delmonico Red, Maximum Steel, Pearl White, and True Blue.  Ram Laramies are also sold with an optional Bright Silver two­tone contrast and “non two tone” paint schemes.

Inside 2017 Ram Laramie Longhorn

The 2017 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 Longhorn have a new front­-end look, including a bright chrome billet port grille with chrome belt moldings. The 2017 Ram 1500 Longhorn models also gained standard Keyless Go, SmartBeam headlights, and rain­-sensing wipers. The heavy duty versions have a standard 6.4 Hemi V8; and the heavy duty 4x4s have Bilstein monotube shocks.