Chrysler's SEMA freak show out in force

Published: 02 November 2006

Speciality Chryslers out in force

Chrysler has unveiled a host of slammed, tuned and beefed up models for this year's Speciality Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas. Leading the charge is this dazzling drag racing take on the forthcoming Dodge Challenger, the Super Stock Concept. Click next to see more jaw-slackening takes on the Dodge Nitro and Chrysler Sebring. The SEMA show is the world's biggest automotive trade event, where tuners peddle their latest wheels, exhausts, body kits, brakes and turbos. It's Max Power heaven, in the nation where the performance tuning market is worth in excess of $30 billion a year. And as Chrysler's line up shows, car makers take SEMA very seriously too. It's a great opportunity to generate a buzz about new models, and Volkswagen and Volvo are muscling in on the act this year, too.

Dodge Challenger Super Stock

That paint job makes it look like Evel Knievel's wheels, and the Super Stock harks back to the early '70s, when the Challenger muscle car campaigned in Trans-am, Pro Stock racing and the Indy 500. Under that massive nose shaker is a 392 cubic inch HEMI engine, which is in its most potent form and kicks out 525hp. Tuners can buy the crated V8 engine to drop into their cars. With the Challenger not yet in production, Chrysler's Skunkwerks team – which created the entire SEMA line up – took the related Dodge Magnum chassis, and added the Challenger bodyshell. Designer Steve Meloche alone had to create around 100 new parts to bring the Super Stock to life.

Dodge Nitro HEMI

Like the Super Stock, this Dodge Nitro runs a HEMI. The Nitro arrives in the UK next summer, but it will take on the Freelander with a V6 diesel rather than the 360bhp 5.7-litre HEMI. The makeover also includes 22-inch Alcoa rims shielding Brembo brakes, a carbonfibre bonnet and blackberry pearl paint. Inside, you perch on Viper supercar buckets.

Dodge Nitro Panel Wagon

The Skunkwerks team also gave the Nitro the hot rod treatment, by raiding the group's Mopar parts shop. The rear doors were welded shut and paneled over, while the body was lowered by 50mm to drop the centre of gravity. Beefy wheelarches, 20-inch rims and Mopar's signature blue and white livery complete the look. Inside, the rear seats are junked to create a versatile load bay.

Chrysler Sebring Tuner

Chrysler has made the forthcoming Sebring slightly less awkward-looking with a big dose of aggression. Although that deep bodykit will make the saloon whimper in the face of speed bumps. Mesh packs the front grille, while the body was slammed by 50mm over those 20-inch wheels. Under the bonnet, the Sebring runs a 285bhp 4.0-litre – far removed from the cooking petrol fours and 140bhp diesel we've tested.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine

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