Jimmy Psomias’s Rare Furious Fuchsia Challenger SRT8

IMG_0528If you’ve hung around any Mopar show, or are familiar with any of Mopar’s history, there’s an immense possibility you’ve heard the name Norm Kraus. More specifically, Mr. Norm and his famous dealership in the 1960’s, Grand Spaulding Dodge. Mr. Norm was a pioneer, or a mad scientist depending on your point of view, in the Mopar community. He took it upon himself to do things that they said couldn’t be done. Before 1968, the concept of a big block in a Dodge Dart was looked at as ludicrous. But with other brands stuffing large cubic inch engines into their smaller production vehicles, Norm knew he had to take matters into his own hands. His GSS special edition packages became something of legend on the street. 383s, 440s and even the stump pulling elephant, the 426 HEMI found their way into these lightweight rides offering up blurring performance at a reasonable price. The best thing about the Grand Spaulding Special edition cars is that most people didn’t know what they were getting into, until they saw the taillights. The GSS package cars were very limited edition, and still hold their value to this day.

IMG_0637With the release of the new Challenger in mid-year 2008, the term “retro” took on a whole new meaning. When 2010 rolled around, it seemed logical that some form of 40th Anniversary edition would be released. While it did happen, it wasn’t something that was publically announced. A quiet window of ordering was generated and a small production run was built. Jimmy Psomias of Queens, NY, received a phone call from a friend who works at Chrysler Headquarters informing him that the window to order these limited edition cars would be from March 1st to March 31st of 2010. Jimmy got his order in on the 2nd and took delivery on the 29th of September 2010. Everyone at the dealership came out to see the car, as the Furious Fuchsia is such a unique and eye-searing color, they all took notice. On that fateful day, Jimmy took delivery of his 2010 Dodge Challenger Mr. Norm’s GSS Special Edition SRT8 – Serial #0002. The fact that Dodge only built 400 SRT Challengers in the Fuchsia hue makes it a rare bird on its own, but factor in the addition of Mr. Norm’s nameplate, and you’ve got yourself a unicorn.

IMG_0585Jimmy wanted to personalize his rare Mopar to suit his personality, but not do anything to jeopardize the value of the car. The exterior of the Challenger was pretty much left alone. The fuchsia paint guaranteed Jimmy would never lose the car in a parking lot. A set of chrome side marker light trim was added to harken the look of the 1970’s cars. Performance-wise, the 425 horsepower 6.1L HEMI received a Mopar Performance cold air intake feeding through a PowerAid throttle body spacer. For some rumble, a Mopar Performance exhaust by Corsa expells the HEMI’s gasses and is finished off with the factory 1970 inspired “quad” exhaust tips.

IMG_0521Under the hood was treated to some really nice custom touches. A complete engine cover set was ordered and shot in the factory Furious Fuchsia. This included the ABS cover, coolant and power steering reservoirs and the firewall cover. The 6.1L engine half covers were left polished, but accented with the letters ‘HEMI’ in fuchsia. If you recognize the little cartoon character on the fuse box cover, that’s the Pink Panther. The fuchsia was as close as they would come to the old ‘Panther Pink’ option in 1970 without arousing the eyes of the Warner Bros legal team. Further dressing up the engine bay is a complete billet engine cap kit in a nice contrast of blue. All of the engine caps were engraved with the iconic Mopar logo and the radiator support inserts received the Mr. Norm’s GSS. To help bang through the gears, a Hurst shifter was installed and since the new manual transmission cars are known for that annoying first-to-fourth “skip shift”, a call went to Speedlogix for one of their skip shift eliminators, insuring Jimmy would have full control of the Challenger in any gear. While the SRTs are really nimble from the factory, Jimmy upgraded the handling with a set of front and rear Mopar Performance shock and strut tower braces.

IMG_0593The interior of Jimmy’s SRT8 came in a gorgeous pearl white, the first time white was offered from the factory on the Challenger. The accent stripe in the supportive seats is a matching fuchsia. But being that this is a Mr. Norm’s build, the ‘GSS’ logo was embroidered on the seat’s headrests and custom ‘GSS’ embroidered floor mats were included with the car. A personalized serial plaque reading #0002 is prominently displayed both on the dashboard as well as under the hood. Back in the day, cars that were build by Mr. Norm received his ‘Sport Club’ decals and a pair went onto Jimmy’s Challenger and another decal was placed across the top of the windshield. Custom touches in the interior include a white shifter boot with the Hurst logo stitched in, a Mopar interior lighting kit, Mopar ‘Challenger’ door sill protectors and the interior trim and knobs were hydro-dipped in a carbon fiber weave.

IMG_0063Jimmy’s Challenger is shown regularly and has received numerous awards and accolades. The car came with a Certificate of Authenticity that he has framed for display as well as a letter of congratulations from Norm Kraus. Jimmy also made sure to have his Challenger logged into the “Official Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge Registry” and was even fortunate enough to have met the man, Mr. Norm himself who graciously autographed Jimmy’s dashboard. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Jimmy! Modern Mopar Magazine hopes you’re still holding the title to this fine piece of history in another 40 years!

IMG_0471IMG_0496IMG_0474By: Shawn Kaufman