2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody: fatter equals faster

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody: fatter equals faster

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody. Photo courtesy FCA.

The team at FCA’s SRT Group have been quite busy for the past few years, as evidenced by the unveiling of the Challenger SRT Demon this spring, followed by the rollout of that model to the media just last month. Yet, in spite of that dragstrip-focused model’s incredible capability, it’s not the only thing the team has been working on. Among other things, another variation of the Challenger was revealed recently, though it may have been somewhat overshadowed by the Demon, and it’s definitely worth a closer look.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

The flares required a reworking of the marker lamp. Photo by author.

This latest offering is known as the Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody, and at a glance, you could mistake it for a Demon. But closer inspection will reveal the 20-inch wheels (rather than the Demon’s 18s) and the absence of the Demon’s wide-mouthed Air Grabber hood. Your gaze will no doubt be drawn to those wheel flares that give the Widebody its name, and in fact, they are the same ones on the Demon, along with its splitter-style front air dam.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

The absence of the Demon’s Air Grabber hood is one way to tell the Hellcat Widebody from its stablemate. Photo by author.

For the most part, the Hellcat Widebody shares its mechanical specifications with the standard Hellcat. That means a 707-hp 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V-8 with your choice of eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The differences lie with the flares, the wheel/tire package, and the power steering, which is electric, rather than the conventional hydraulic system found on standard Hellcats.

During the press introduction of the Widebody, SRT development team members explained the car and how and why it came to be. In a sense, the project was an offshoot of the Demon, or at least, it was enabled by that program.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Photo by author.

According to the engineers, the project to create the Demon involved running four same-sized drag radials, which, in turn, required extra clearance at the wheel openings in the fenders and quarter panels. An early test “mule” for Demon development was built using a former Hellcat test car, with custom-made wheels and the meaty “off-the-shelf” Nitto drag radials that necessitated cutting out the body panels to gain the required clearance. Once it was determined that the wheel/tire package was indeed going to be a part of the Demon, and that the extra clearance would therefore be a mandate, the wheel opening flares were designed.

Spending some time with the members of the SRT team revealed that most are more than just automotive engineers—they’re also gearheads and hot rodders. So, once the flares existed, those gears in their heads started turning again. The thinking was that the Hellcat’s showroom-stock performance figures were actually a bit hindered by the model’s tires. Even with the available “three-season” Pirellis, the Hellcat’s 650 lb-ft of torque can easily overwhelm the 275/40-20 tires, so acceleration times suffer. But what if they could stuff a little more rubber under there?

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

The Hellcat Widebody’s “Devil’s Rim” wheels. Photo by author.

And so, the Demon flares were pirated to do just that. Bigger tires required bigger wheels, so a dedicated set was designed that also feature new styling. The appropriately named “Devil’s Rim” measures 20 x 11 inches and mounts 305/35-20 Pirelli P-Zeroes to provide the larger contact patch the team knew would support better performance. The new wheels also make use of a split five-spoke design that really shows off the 15.4-inch, six-piston Brembos, and are said to have been designed with easy cleaning in mind as a bonus.

Now, given the appearance of the Widebody, and the type of tires it has, it would be easy to assume it had been created to provide better cornering, supported by the fact that when it was shown to the press, the driving event was held on the infield road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There, driving instructors coached journalists on the best techniques for jockeying the Widebody through the course. Having experienced this, we can say that it is fairly amazing that such a big, heavy car with so much power and torque going only to the rear wheels can be made to dance through a track formatted with plenty of tight twists. And dance it does, even when having to compensate for the lack of talent behind the wheel. Dodge says it was able to shave two seconds off lap times compared to the standard Hellcat at an unnamed 1.7-mile road course.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Remaining photos courtesy FCA.

And yet, road course duty was not the initial intent of the Widebody, and team members made clear that it was not created as a sports car or some sort of “track rat” for track day fans. Instead, it was simply that desire to make the Hellcat accelerate even faster that led to its existence. A standard Challenger Hellcat with an automatic and three-season rubber can muster about an 11.2-second quarter-mile pass, while the team tells us the Widebody can now do it in 10.9 seconds. So mission accomplished, it would seem.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

But what about the electric power steering? We’re told that using an electrically assisted steering system allowed for providing more actual assist to better handle the bigger tires, while also providing a decent level of feedback. That last bit may sound a bit counter-intuitive—electric power steering rapidly developed a reputation for being somewhat numb from behind the wheel shortly after hitting the market. But the Dodge engineers maintain that most early cars with electric steering were not actually designed to have it—they were really designed for hydraulic steering and then essentially retrofitted with the electric systems. However, by designing the car to have electric steering (other, non-Hellcat Chargers and Challengers have been using this type of system for some time), Dodge was able to dial in some of the feedback that makes the whole experience more palpable for enthusiasts. Plus, using the electric system also allows for having multiple modes, as SRT has been fond of offering elsewhere: Street, Sport and Track.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

There is a cost for these improvements, but it seems plenty reasonable: Around $72,000 for a Widebody, fitting nicely between the $65,000 standard Hellcat and the $86,000 Demon. The Widebody should now be available to order, with deliveries starting this fall.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1970 Ford Maverick

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1970 Ford Maverick

Restomodded 1970 Ford Maverick for sale on Hemmings.com. From the seller’s description:

Resto-Mod in 2003
302 V8 Engine
Excellent pearl white 1972 Sprint colors
Edelbrock 4BBL carburetor, Performer Cam and lifters
B+M Shifter w/ C4 transmission
MSD electronic ignition, fuse block, Ron Francis wiring in trunk
High performance fuel pumps and fuel cell in trunk
Ford 9” rear end with Detroit Locker
4 wheel disc brakes non-power
Thrush side pipes and Cragar Super Sport wheels
Clean New Jersey Title

Details of the restoration are as follows:

The body comes from a 1970 Maverick, 6cyl 3 on the tree manual, acquired from it’s original owner, a senior gentleman in the Denver Colorado area. The car was garage kept and had minimal rust. The Maverick shares the same undercarriage with the Lincoln Versailles. A donor Versailles with less than 50,000 miles was located for the drive train. In December 2002, all trim and windows were removed from the Maverick. The undercarriage and engine compartment were painted black. The 302 V-8, C-4 automatic transmission came from the Versailles. The 9” rear end from the Versailles bolted in without modification to the Maverick springs. Detroit Locker differential with 3:75 gearing was installed by D&R Driveline Grand Rapids, MI. The Versailles rear disc brakes were installed with new rotors and calipers and an extra leaf added to the rear springs. The front suspension was modified to use the front spindles and front disc brakes. New ball joints were pressed and welded in and the larger front sway bar from the Versailles was installed.

The interior was acquired from another donor Maverick with less than 25k miles. A fuel cell installed in the trunk along with the MSD electronic ignition and fuel pumps. The body was nicely painted to the 1972 Ford Sprint color package. The restoration took approximately 12 months. The car was driven approximately 10,000 miles in the 13-year period.

Pricetag

Price
$22,500

Location Marker

Location
Franklin Lakes, New Jersey

Magnifying Glass

Availability
Available

See more Fords for sale on Hemmings.com.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Site of former Long Island Automotive Museum sells decades after it closed

Site of former Long Island Automotive Museum sells decades after it closed

Images courtesy VanderbiltCupRaces.com.

For 37 years the quonset huts that made up the Long Island Automotive Museum, bereft of their four-wheeled inhabitants, steadily deteriorated into rusted, graffiti-covered, overgrowth-obscured relics among some of the priciest real estate this side of the East River. With the sale of the site this summer, however, the story of one of the country’s more significant auto museums finally came to a close.

When Henry Austin Clark, Jr. opened the museum in 1948 he did so more to store his burgeoning collection of antique cars and horseless carriages than to necessarily share it with others. Located on about 8 acres along County Road 39 in Southampton, on the far end of Long Island, it certainly didn’t have the flair of modern museums, but it was what resided inside that counted.

Early on, Clark tended to focus on thoroughbreds and other significant American cars of the early 20th Century. “My father amassed his collection in large part because widows wanted these hulks hauled out of their garages,” his son, Henry Austin “Hal” Clark III, told author Geoff Gehman. Hard to imagine that a Mercer Raceabout, any of a number of Vanderbilt Cup veterans, or the Thomas Flyer that won the New York-to-Paris race were ever considered dispensable, but Clark had a knack for uncovering and elevating significant cars at a time when most people just considered them old and worthless.

Later, Clark amassed a collection of fire trucks and hosted brass-era flea markets at the museum among other auto-centric events. Skip Norsic, whose family owns the property just north of the Long Island Automotive Museum’s, recalled going to those events and riding on the fire trucks as a kid in an interview with 27East.

Since 1980, when Clark closed the museum due to declining revenues – according to Gehman, he blamed the Town of Southampton for not allowing him to advertise the museum on area billboards – and sold off all the cars at auction, Norsic watched the museum crumble as property values in the area shot up into the seven- and eight-figure range. He reportedly tried to buy it a few times from the Clark family over the years, and the family even listed it for sale occasionally – most recently for $6.3 million earlier this year – but Norsic and the family weren’t able to agree on a price ($5.1 million) until this June.

While Norsic did buy the site under the aegis of Long Island Automobile Collectors LLC, thus fueling speculation that the site would once again host a museum, he told 27East that he simply plans to use the former museum property for storage for his waste hauling business. In that way at least it won’t become another subdevelopment; the site is zoned for half-acre residential and the site also had clearance for condo development.

Clark’s paper archives these days reside at The Henry Ford; his Mercer Raceabout sold for $2.5 million in 2014; and the Thomas Flyer, which resides at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, was added to the National Historic Vehicle Register last year.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

1949 Saab 92 Prototype to Cross the Block at Bonhams Chantilly

1949 Saab 92 Prototype to Cross the Block at Bonhams Chantilly

Images courtesy of Bonhams and the Hemmings archives

Saab fans from around the world have traveled to the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan, Sweden, to see the “UrSaab,” or the original Saab car prototype.

“92001,” styled by famed industrial designer Sixten Sason and built in 1947, represents the beginning of 64 years of Saab automobiles. A small number of prototypes were built between the UrSaab and those production model 92s of 1950, and Bonhams will soon offer a rare survivor for sale.

This 92, chassis number 92009, is one of three known remaining (including 001 and 004) of 20 pre-production prototypes, and it will be auctioned -with no reserve- at Bonhams’ “The Chantilly Sale” at Château de Chantilly, France, on September 10.

This two-cylinder, two-stroke, 25 hp front-driver exhibits some unique features that were not in the early production models, including a larger rear window and opening trunklid, things that wouldn’t arrive until 1953.

Described as “highly original,” and with known ownership, this car is said to be roadworthy.

It’s expected to bring between $18,000 and $30,000, which seems quite reasonable for such a historic automobile. The auction catalog listing follows:

“This car was first registered to SAAB Aeroplan AB on 19th July 1949, passing to one of the company’s aerospace engineers, Olaf Öhlander, in November 1953. It is believed that, prior to his purchase, the car was updated with an opening boot and repainted grey (from original green, still visible in places). The SAAB enjoyed a further four owners (all in Sweden) before its acquisition in September 1960 by Torsten Johansson, a farmer in the south of the country, who used the car sporadically until 1980, when it was placed in barn storage.

“The current vendor purchased ‘92009’ in April 1997, and the car has remained in the family’s possession ever since, during which time it has been maintained but not restored. The tyres have been replaced and the front wings renovated, apart from that, it has not been touched. Only a handful of miles has been covered annually. Originally the car had an external mirror on the right-hand side but has been fitted with a home-made mirror on the left side, presumably done after Sweden switched to driving on the right in September 1967.

“Accompanying documentation consists of details of all owners, Swedish registration papers, inspection protocols (1966-1980), owner’s handbook, repair manual, and five books about SAAB (1948, 1956, 1983, 1987, and 1997).”

Wouldn’t it be “so nett to own such a special Saab?

Hat tip to www.saabworld.org.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Buick’s Best Buys

Buick’s Best Buys

 

Marketing automobiles has certainly come a long way since the days prior to World War II. Back then, when a dealer wanted to get the word out about the cars that he was selling, he would either advertise his inventory in the local newspaper or have special postcards printed listing the cars in stock.

I recently found this “Buick’s Best Buys” postcard in an antique store near me; for a mere $1 I couldn’t pass it up. The dealer, Rockville Garage, lists the cars in no specific order as the years and prices are clearly not listed numerically or alphabetically.

The front side of this 3¼ x 5½-inch postcard is just that–a U.S. mail postcard with the green imprint of a One Cent postage marking featuring President Jefferson. Obviously, the postcard dates back to the late 1930s; note the three-digit telephone number.

 


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Los Angeles, 1969

Los Angeles, 1969

Date: circa 1969

Location: somewhere in Los Angeles, likely

Source: “Mannix” screenshot via IMCDB

What do you see here?


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000

1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000

From the seller’s description:

Exquisite 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000. Rare power sunroof.

Exterior: Excellent silver/blue repaint with minor cosmetic repairs in 2015. Undercoated at that time. Paint is gorgeous with beautiful finish. This was a California car and there was no apparent rust after thorough evaluation with car on lift. Doors, hood, and trunk all open and close well with proper gaps present. Chrome is in very good condition. Windows are very good with one 8″ scratch on driver side window. In 2015 fitted with 5 new Rota wheels and Pirelli tires.

Interior: New headliner. Seats, carpet, and panels are in very good condition with minor wear. Well done dash cap with no cracks. Classic Nardi steering wheel and matching wooden shifter knob.

Mechanical: The engine starts right up, idles and accelerates like an Alfa should. SPICA injection has been serviced and thermostatic activator replaced in 2016. Brand new Pertronix distributor, coil and spark plug wires installed.

Steering is tight with new tie-end rods. In 2012 new Koni shocks, red performance coil springs, engine and transmission mounts installed. Also suspension and steering bushings replaced as well as universal joint.

4 wheel disc brakes work great. In 2012 brake master cylinder, booster, and brake pads replaced. Also replaced in 2012: clutch, clutch master cylinder, water pump, exhaust system, radiator hoses, and fan belt.

All gauges function with oil pressure generally between 50-80 and engine always runs cool. Emergency flasher switch doesn’t work and there is a knob missing for panel light switch.

1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 1972 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000

Pricetag

Price
$39,500

Location Marker

Location
Gainesville, Georgia

Magnifying Glass

Availability
Available

Find more Alfa Romeos for sale on Hemmings.com.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Flipping the ‘bird(s) – a collection of 1978 Macho Trans Ams heads to auction

Flipping the ‘bird(s) – a collection of 1978 Macho Trans Ams heads to auction

1978 Macho Trans Ams

Photos courtesy Mecum Auctions.

The late 1970s were hardly a time of optimism for performance fans of the Pontiac Trans Am, but thanks to the efforts of two brothers from Glendale, Arizona, the period from 1977-1980 wasn’t as bleak as it otherwise could have been. Sensing a demand performance beyond what Pontiac offered in showrooms, Dennis and Kyle Mecham founded DKM, Inc. to build hot Trans Ams bearing the ultimate ’70s moniker: Macho T/A. Rare ‘birds today, on Friday, September 8, four of the 204 Macho T/As built in 1978 will cross the block in no-reserve auctions at Mecum’s Dallas sale.

The business began with an experiment. Starting with a new 455-powered 1976 Trans Am, Dennis Mecham and friend Mike Garrett tuned the engine, added headers and aftermarket wheels, then offered the car for sale through Mecham Pontiac, a dealership owned by Dennis’ father, Evan. It sold in three days, so Dennis and brother Kyle quickly formulated a business plan: they’d buy new Trans Ams through the dealership, tune them, then resell the cars as used inventory through the family dealership.

1978 Macho TA

1978 Macho T/A, #11.

1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA

A name for the enhanced car was needed, and as Dennis explained to Mike McNessor in an October 2008 Hemmings Muscle Machines story, “At that time, macho was the ‘in’ word in the Southwest. Everything was macho. In desperation, I said, ‘Why not call it Macho T/A?’ It was almost tongue-in-cheek. It may not be the best name, but how can you forget it?”

It stuck and, in 1977, the brother’s DKM, Inc. sold 26 Macho T/As through the family dealership in its first full year of operation. Demand for the cars was greater than supply, so for 1978 the company ramped up production to build 200 Macho T/As (ultimately assembling 204), each with a unique identification number stamped on a custom console tag. Distribution of the Macho T/As expanded beyond Mecham Pontiac as well.

1978 Macho TA

1978 Macho T/A, #104.

1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA

Performance-wise, each was built to a defined script. With the 455 disappearing in 1977, DKM focused on Pontiac’s W72 400-cu.in. (6.6-liter) V-8, and began by changing the jets in the stock Quadrajet carburetor to enrichen the mixture, altering the distributor’s curve to hit 36-degrees of advance by 2,500 rpm, opening up the Shaker hood scoop to enhance breathing, and bolting on a set of Hooker Headers and a custom 2-1/2-inch exhaust with a crossover tube and a pair of catalysts, but no mufflers or resonators. Buyers could choose between the stock four-speed manual transmission, a Doug Nash five-speed manual, or a Turbo Hydra-Matic three-speed automatic, tuned for quicker shifts.

Suspension tuning was improved as well, beginning with a 1.5-inch drop in front ride height. Koni shocks were fitted all around, urethane bushings replaced the stock rubber ones, and 60-series tires were mounted to stock wheels before DKM performed a custom alignment.

1978 Macho TA

1978 Macho T/A, #87.

1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA

The changes under-hood reportedly added about 50 horsepower to the Macho T/A, and period road tests show the car was capable of running from 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds, on the way to a 14.29-second quarter-mile at 98.79 mph. While that might pale by modern standards, compared to a stock 1978 Trans Am’s quarter-mile time of 15.2 seconds at 96 mph, it was a notable improvement.

Outside, the Macho T/As carried their name and number in fender, door, and trunk graphics, offset by contrasting paint. Roughly 24 color combinations were available from DKM, though, for another $150, customers could special order just about any color combination desired. Most other options were performance-oriented, including a fiberglass hood that saved an estimated 60 pounds, Corvette disc brakes, a turbocharger, and an oil pressurization system that prevented starvation in high-speed corners. With a starting price of $9,610, over $3,700 more than a stock Trans Am’s base price of $5,889, the Macho T/A certainly wasn’t targeted to the budget-minded enthusiast.

1978 Macho TA

1978 Macho T/A, #192.

1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA 1978 Macho TA

It isn’t clear how many of the 204 Macho T/As built in 1978 survive today, since most led hard lives and, until recent years, weren’t really perceived as collectible. Finding one for sale can be a challenge, which is what makes a collection of four being sold at the same time particularly noteworthy. The cars being offered include #104, a black with red trim example with a four-speed manual transmission; #87, a white with blue trim example with an automatic transmission; #192, a gold with brown trim example with an automatic transmission; and #11, a white with red trim example with a four-speed manual transmission. Each comes with a Mecham Design letter of authenticity, and each will be crossing the auction stage without a set reserve price.

Mecum’s Dallas sale takes place on September 6-9 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. For additional details, visit Mecum.com.


Source: www.hemmings.com/blog