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SEMA 2008 show report: Dodge Challenger

Published: 06 November 2008

Chrysler may have its back against the wall, but that hasn’t stopped its SRT skunkworks team churning out what is easily the most politically incorrect – and, as a result, wonderfully desirable – Challenger SRT-10.

Holy tyre smoke! That’s a mean looking Dodge Charger…

Yes, and with an 8.4-litre 600bhp V10 Viper motor shoehorned into the Dodge’s engine bay, there’ll be plenty of tyre smoke! Developed in house by Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology department, this is the hottest of Challengers. The all-aluminium engine pumps its 560lb ft of torque through the Viper’s Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission, complete with torque-sensing aluminium rear limited-slip differential.

And it looks the daddy, with that ‘shaker hood’ that tips its hat to the 1970 HEMI Cuda, big forged 20-inch alloys, trick Pirelli rubber, carbonfibre bonnet, front splitter and rear wing and Tornado Red paintjob. Inside, you get SRT’s Reconfigurable Display – a system that records 0-60mph, 60-0mph, braking, g-forces and 1/4-mile times. Nifty. There’s no mention of any stability or traction controls…

So it goes, but can it handle corners and stop?

SRT didn’t simply plumb in a bigger engine – it went to town on the suspension and brakes. Bilstein mono-tube shocks are fitted at all four corners, the front suspension cradle is fitted with hydroformed steel tube side rails with a stamped box section lateral member for an ultra-stiff anchor point for the multi-link layout.

At the rear, the multi-link layout gets a fatter anti-roll bar, heavily uprated springs and stiffer bushings. SRT fitted vast two-piece 390mm vented discs up front and 355mm vented rotors at the rear, all gripped by six-pot Brembo callipers, and the brake recognises lateral acceleration and effectively primes itself, anticipating the next brake application.

I like it – is that wrong?

Hell no! ‘The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT-10 concept resurrects the authentic American muscle car for the Dodge brand,’ says SRT boss Kipp Owen. ‘SRT has engineered a superb example of performance engineering capability with a resourceful and creative flare.’ It may not be the car that will save Chrysler, but we can’t help admiring its ballsy attitude for giving this concept the greenlight…

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars