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SEMA 2006: Chrysler firing on all cylinders

Another, more practical Challenger prototype?

SEMA Challenger

Hidden underneath the new paint job of the 392-powered Super Stock Challenger are a lot of changes. Adding a B-pillar should provide extra strength for safety and cornering, also preventing water leaks, albeit removing the pillarless coupe treatment. Foglamps look more like production pieces, but the taillight is still a lighted tube, perhaps LED masked by plastic - a more production ready design. The front bumper sticks out more, it seems, most likely for crash testing. We don’t think the production cars will use the race-only crate 392 engine.

It may or may not make it to the show, but a Challenger convertible is reported to be in the works.

another sema challenger

Dodge Nitro panel van

The PT Cruiser panel van amounted to naught, but a Dodge Nitro panel may well make the cut. Built by Chrysler’s own shops and powered by a 210 horsepower 3.7 liter V6, the retro 2-door Dodge Nitro Panel Wagon began as a statement about traditional hot rodding. The metal shop welded the rear doors shut and hand-formed the panel to fill in where the quarter and rear door glass once resided. The body kit accentuates its shape by lowering the sills and fascia. The beefy flares are one inch wider per side to cover the one-off Alcoa forged 20 x 9 wheels wrapped in sticky BF Goodrich g-Force 265/50VR20s. The suspension was lowered 2 inches to lower the center of gravity and improve the handling.

dodge nitro panel van - sema concept

Deleting the rear doors and seats creates an opportunity for unique storage systems. When the rear door is opened, the cargo floor appears to be a nice, flat area with a textured material. Upon closer inspection, a set of handles, borrowed from the production version of the Nitro, unlatch and release the 400-lb.-capacity load floor that extends a whopping 36 inches. Cargo is kept from going into the front compartment by a net. Where the glass and quarter trim once lived, there are a set of custom panels designed to hold smaller stuff: tools, oil, filters, everything a hot rodder might need on the road. The front compartment remains in stock trim with the exception of the custom seats done by Katzkin, which include smooth polyurethane bolsters with a gray textured insert that mimics the cargo mat.

SEMA Sebring

The Chrysler Sebring for SEMA garnered a huge amount of praise from bloggers and Allpar’s own forums, with people saying it was what they wanted in the first place: a more aggressive looking Sebring with lots of bling. Sure, it wouldn’t sell particularly well to anyone but the kids who wouldn’t be interested in it anyway, but it does bring a lot more excitement to a solid, comfortable family / commuter sedan. What’s more, underneath all that rice-racer stuff is a car that can really scare the pants off many a "sporty" import, starting with the right engine: a full-fledged 4.0 liter V6 pushing out considerably more than it does in the Pacifica. The torquey engine, which easily spins the Pacifica's front tires, makes over 30 horsepower more in this concept: 285 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque. It’s mated to an automatic, but the right automatic, the new Chrysler six-speed with the nice low first gear. If it can get traction, this is one car that’ll leave Maximas in the dust.

The Chrysler Sebring Tuner's exterior features new fascias with floating PIAA fog lamps, sill extensions, hood with air extractors, deck lid spoiler and HID headlamps. All front openings have been fitted with custom-stamped stainless-steel mesh accented with chrome bezels. To achieve the proper stance, the vehicle was lowered approximately 2 inches and fitted with larger "one-off" 20-inch wheels machined by Alcoa. Through the mesh wheels, one sees larger 13.5-inch cross-drilled rotors all the way around with Stoptech 4-piston calipers in the front and 2 piston in the rear. The exhaust system was custom bent with components supplied by CORSA, finished off with dual 4-inch tips.

The interior features a unique combination of black with starbright silver accents creating a sophisticated and sporty environment. The more aggressively bolstered "SRT-style" seats have been leather wrapped by Katzkin and feature silver contrast stitching. The sound system has been upgraded by Boston Acoustics, with higher-output amplifier, broad-range frequency speakers, custom 10-inch sub enclosures and "My-gig" radio head unit. Driver interface has also been improved with leather-wrapped steering wheel, milled aluminum racing pedals and custom stainless steel cluster and clock supplied by US Speedo.

Hemi Nitro - or nitro on, um, nitro

purple Dodge Nitro for SEMAA purple Nitro with a modified Hemi - as though it needed more power - connected to a five-speed Tremec manual transmission is also being shown, complete with Viper Brembo brakes and 22 inch Alcoa wheels; Viper seats are also used for all four passengers.

The engine has not been worked over too much: the quoted power ratings are 360 horsepower at 5,400 rpm and 360 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm, which might be do-able with a good intake and racing exhaust.

Wrangler Unlimited - Rubicon edition

This vehicle, customized by Chrysler itself, augments a Wrangler with Tru-Lock Dana 44 axles, 35-inch Goodrich tires on 18 inch custom rims, adds a winch and AEV front bumper, and is powered by a three-liter diesel engine - possibly the engine to power the Grand Cherokee in a year or three. The engine puts out a serious 230 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque.

The interior features custom Katzkin leather seating with GPS navigation and satellite radio. A full-size spare is carried by a new Mopar performance rear bumper, and the paint is Rolex Silver.

2007 wrangler unlimited rubicon

Jeep Patriot - not even on the street yet, and already it’s being customized

Custom suspension lift raises the suspension 2.5 inches over stock-ride height and provides over 11 inches of ground clearance; 31-inch B.F. Goodrich Mud Terrain tires are fitted to 16-inch Jeep Moab rims supplied by Prime Wheel. The front fascia is replaced by a custom steel bumper designed to protect the front end while allowing for as much tire exposure as possible. There is a custom roof rack and auxiliary lighting. This particular Patriot is indeed Trail Rated, according to Jeep.

jeep patriot - SEMA modified

Hennessey Viper

Not sponsored by Dodge is the Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE) Viper, powered by a 585 CID (9.5 Litre) 810 HP normally aspirated engine and “featuring” the VenomAero aerodynamic body system upgrade for the Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe. Hennessey claims it can get to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds with a top speed of over 230 mph. The VenomAero body pack includes a front bumper and rear spoiler.

hennessey viper 2006

Hemi kits

Mopar is launching a new 5.7L HEMI Stage 1 Upgrade Kit to make the engine even hotter. Features include:

See our main concept cars page.

venomConcept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.

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