October 30, 2012 , Las Vegas, Nev. – As part of Mopar’s 75th anniversary celebration and the 2012 edition of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, Mopar and the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team collaborated with comedian Jeff Dunham and his crew from Palmer’s Customs of Camarillo, Calif., to create a custom 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8. Mopar, SRT, and Dunham revealed the modern-day hot rod, dubbed Project UltraViolet, today at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.
Dunham is a lifelong car enthusiast and well-known comedian who premiered his fifth special, “Minding the Monsters” on Comedy Central earlier this month and will launch his new “Disorderly Conduct” tour next month in Canada.
“It’s a major understatement to say that I’ve been looking forward to the SEMA show this year, as we’ve had an awesome time creating this one-of-a-kind Challenger,” said Dunham, who touts the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda “as my favorite muscle car of all time” and recently purchased a 1970 numbers-matching four-speed convertible ‘Cuda as proof.
As for his unbridled enthusiasm for all things Mopar, “having a project like this is the kind of thing you dream of being able to do as a kid,” Dunham noted. “And to be here today to reveal UltraViolet is the kind of fun that would be tough to match.”
Dunham, along with Alan Palmer, owner of Palmer’s Customs, worked closely with Mark Trostle, Head of SRT, Mopar and Motorsports Design, Chrysler Group LLC, on Project UltraViolet to transform a manual transmission Dodge Challenger SRT8 and help guide the design and customization process to complement the attributes and pay tribute to the heritage of the vehicle.
“It was great to work closely with Jeff and create a remarkable, one-of-a-kind 2012 Moparized Dodge Challenger SRT8,” Trostle said of Project UltraViolet, which takes its name from the two-tone paint scheme chosen for the Dodge Challenger that combines an ‘ultra’-violet body color with a black upper half. “The project shows the possibilities of what customers can do to customize and modify our vehicles with more than 150 quality-tested performance Mopar parts and accessories for the Dodge Challenger.”
Under the Mopar T/A hood with functioning air scoop, is the most noteworthy change to the vehicle – a new Mopar 426 crate engine, with 515 horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque. The project also takes advantage of the new engine tuning capabilities performed by Arrington Engines, based in Martinsville, Va., which currently has Mopar-authorized tooling and software to create performance calibrations for select 2011, 2012 and 2013 model-year Chrysler Group vehicles.
Following drawings and design suggestions from Trostle and the SRT team, Dunham, Palmer, and crew went to work on the vehicle’s visual transformation.
“Alan and his guys do some of the best work my car buddies and I have ever seen,” Dunham said. “That’s why I chose them for this job. Everything from absolutely perfect body lines, to custom-built aluminum panels and parts, to paint work that’s unmatched, this is no ‘looks great from 10 feet away’ custom job. And believe me, the first rock chip I get is going to make me weep.”
Changes and details on the customized Challenger are extensive. The vehicle is lowered 1 inch and equipped with 22-inch HRE brand performance wheels sporting a matte and semigloss black finish. The rear end is wider, and larger more dramatic wheels flares are added to both front and rear to widen the body 4 inches and create a muscular, more sinister appearance.
Numerous handmade parts and pieces include a new rear diffuser, dive-planes, new front splitter, all-new rocker panels, new lower-rear spoilers, new deck-lid spoiler and custom aluminum side sills with the exhaust exiting in front of the rear wheels. Bumpers are modified to flow with newly designed fenders. The team also added a new slightly larger grille, created with a water-jet cut out of .25 inch plate 441 aluminum and moved it forward 2 inches to match the new placement of the front bumper. Headlamp lenses are added along with tinted taillights.
The interior features handcrafted full-grain Nappa leather with color-keyed accent panels, premium-grade color-keyed accent stitching and computer-controlled custom embroidery. Seats are custom-built one-offs supplied by Lear, plus a tuned exhaust with stainless steel tips further customized by Palmer, and a Hurst brand short-throw shifter.
When looking under the hood, the new engine is tricked out with the final “cherry on top” ornamental valve covers with “UltraViolet” molded in to colorfully blend the entire scheme of the car together. All of these new elements create an old-school muscle-car look, and contribute to the machine’s aggressive design.
Dunham’s Moparized Dodge Challenger SRT8 Project UltraViolet will be on display along with other unique Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram, SRT and FIAT brand vehicles outfitted with more than 500 Mopar performance parts and accessories at the Chrysler Group’s 15,300-square-foot exhibit at the SEMA show from Oct. 30–Nov. 2 in Las Vegas.
A three-part webisode series called “Project UltraViolet” documents the collaborative effort and transformation of the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 and is available at www.youtube.com/jeffdunham on Dunham’s YouTube channel.
“The guys worked tirelessly night and day in a very short six-week window, and completion took right up to a couple of days before this reveal at SEMA,” Dunham added. “We’ve done the dyno work, but nothing actually on the track yet. After we get her back home, this is one I’m looking forward to sticking my foot into… and will likely be included in the third and final webisode.”