Ford has the GT350. Chevrolet has the Z/28. Dodge has the ____?____.
I want to fill in the blank with “T/A”.
By: Lisa Wall, Editor-in-Chief (Photo: FCA)
Dodge, please tell me you have something planned.
Chevrolet has been tearing up the tracks with the 505 hp Z/28 for two years and it easily left its competition in the dust – because it had no competition. Ford recently revealed their “delicious” and impressive new Shelby GT350 Mustang and promises 500+ hp from its new “all-day track car”, which picks up where their Boss 302 left off
Once again, Dodge is absent in the game. Sure, we have the 707 hp Hellcat in both 2-door and 4-door versions, the Challenger and Charger respectively, and loaded with plenty of performance and luxurious amenities, the Hellcat price is right in line with that of the Z/28 and above the GT350 and delivers far more bang for the buck in all-around performance. The Hellcat is Dodge’s answer to the horsepower war among the big three, and while Dodge claims the Hellcat can be a track day all-star, there is a different battle going on – at least between the Z/28 and GT350 – for naturally aspirated road course track day supremacy.
The Challenger T/A concept Mopar brought to SEMA can be the conceptual starting point, and the end goal needs to be a street legal version of the #1 Challenger in which Cameron Lawrence recently brought home the TransAm championship. By the way, I absolutely love that Dodge is back in TransAm racing, and that is what most Challenger owners can identify with. NASCAR and NHRA are cool, but they are so extreme (both in cost and practicality) and road race performance most closely mirrors street performance.
Grab a new R/T Scat Pack, which comes with the 6.4L (let’s please just call it the 392) engine currently rated at 485 horsepower and bump it up to 515 with a more aggressive cam and improved air flow (both coming in and going out). Give us a a little bit of retro styling with a throwback T/A hood, body graphics and rear spoiler. Bring back the front splitter with stalks we saw on the concept V-10 Challenger a few years ago, to improve down force. To stiffen up the suspension, add functional front brace and rear tower braces, lower the car at least 1″ preferably with the controllable coil-over system from the Hellcat, and add its monster brakes in a carbon version while you’re there. Lighten and widen the wheels to accommodate a 305 rear tire and make sure it’s one that is capable of serious grip! Outfit the interior with lightweight racing seats, a harness bar (with harnesses) and a cross brace with firewall panel in place of the rear seat. Last, but certainly not least, drop at least 300 pounds. Then assign a unique build number to each one, and start taking orders, mine included.
Clearly, I love Dodge. You don’t start a magazine called Modern Mopar without some kind of strong allegiance to the brand. But, I hate being late (and last) to the party. Don’t get me wrong – the Hellcat was worth the wait and obliterated the horsepower and performance of the Chevrolet and Ford offerings, and there is something to be said for taking your time to perfect things to the level Dodge has with the Hellcat. But, the Hellcat is not for everyone and we have already seen the outrageous power prove too much for one new owner. So, just tell us a production T/A Challenger is in the cards for 2015 and all will be right with the world. We got it started for you.