Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:29:00 EST
You've got to hand it to Dodge for having the gumption to put the original Viper into production in the first place. It was, after all, much more of an emotional decision than a practical one, and a move which saw the first production V10 engine placed in a road car - long before the advent of the Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi R8, Porsche Carrera GT or Lexus LFA, not to mention the other Ford, BMW and Volkswagen Group models that used such engines.
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:57:00 EST
It's now been 22 years since the first Viper entered production and the Viper still rolls on several generations later, but we're sad to say that courageous decision has not always been met with overwhelming sales success. In fact parent Chrysler was forced to idle the Conner Avenue plant where the Viper is made back in April due to slow sales. And while production resumed again as planned on June 23, it apparently didn't do the trick.
As a result, Chrysler corporate communications chief Shawn Morgan revealed to Autoblog that the assembly line has been shut down again for another two weeks. The line was up and running for nearly two full work weeks from June 23 until the holiday weekend that started on Thursday, July 3. But instead of coming back online today as planned, it's been idled again for the weeks of July 7 and 14. That means it will be July 21, at the earliest, before the serpentine supercars start slithering down the assembly line at Conner Avenue again. Once it does, however, production is set to resume at the same pace it was before the shutdown.
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 16:37:00 EST
A raft of important production models from the last hundred years were available for me to either drive or ride in.
Dodge is 100 years old this year. So, as happened on Ford's recent centennial, the 50-year birthday of the Porsche 911, and others, the company has an excuse to trot out the highlights of its history next to its upcoming model lineup, and declare that "these are the fruits of the Dodge Boys' tree whose roots have grown strong." Or something like that. Never so hampered by marketing skepticism that I'll pass up the opportunity to burn someone else's rubber, I was happy to drive out to Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills, MI - former grand estate of the Dodge family - to hear the spiel.
Hold onto your butts. "600-plus horsepower" is what we were told to expect from the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with its 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 engine. But as we've just learned, those were incredibly conservative numbers. Dodge has officially announced that the range-topping Challenger will hit the asphalt with 707 - seven hundred and seven - horsepower, making it the "most powerful muscle car ever."
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 11:29:00 EST
Of course, 707 hp is only part of the story, as the Hellcat has also been confirmed to produce 650 pound-feet of torque. All that power will run exclusively to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission that differs from other Challengers. The new gearbox, 8HP90 (rather than the 8HP70) is "upgraded to handle the extra power and torque," says Dan Reid, SRT's manager of product design and motorsports.
We certainly hope you're prepared to spend a ton of money replacing tires.
General Motors isn't the only automaker with ignition switch problems. Chrysler is fighting it too and is now announcing a recall of 695,957 examples worldwide of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2008-2010 model years, plus the 2009-2010 Dodge Journey.
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:30:00 EST
According to a statement from Chrysler, the models have a bad wireless ignition node detent ring in the ignition switch, making it possible for drivers to appear to have the key in the "Run" position but for the spring not to fully engage. It can then slip back to the "Accessory" position and shut the car off. If this happens, the vehicle loses power steering, brake boost and the airbags.
There is some disparity about the number of vehicles affected under this recall. In its statement, Chrysler claims that it covers 525,206 vehicles in the US, 102,892 in Canada, 25,591 in Mexico and 42,268 elsewhere. However, the recall announcement posted by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists an estimated 438,109 vehicles in the US. Chrysler spokesperson Nick Cappa told Autoblog via email that the reasoning for the different figures "will become clear at a later date."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its Ram brand following a number of reports regarding the 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. According to 15 consumer complaints, the trucks' rear differential locked up while in other cases, the driveshaft separated at its connection to the diff.
Sun, 29 Jun 2014 19:21:00 EST
Nearly half of the reports claim the truck was traveling at or above 50 miles per hour, while two consumers reported that the diff lockup/driveshaft separation sent their pickups into a spin. Most troubling, though, is that consumers reported little to no sound indicating there was a problem with their truck.
We reached out to Ram for additional information, such as how many vehicles may be affected or what equipment might be fitted that could cause the issue. Unfortunately, the company wasn't willing to elaborate on specifics.
You ever hear a story and start cringing before you hear the end because you know how it's going to turn out? That could very well have been the case with the story from a few weeks ago in West Valley City, Utah, where a 14-year-old kid stole his grandfather's Hyundai Veloster and took it for a joyride - through a park full of children. But instead it turned into a heart-warming tale of heroism and a community banding together to do what's right... and then some.
Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:58:00 EST
Bryson Rowley was that hero who identified the danger and, rather than sit idly by and watch the joyrider potentially run over a child, got into his truck and drove it into the menacing runaway hatchback. The collision caused some $7,500 to his 2008 Dodge Ram 2500, but instead of getting stuck with the bill - one which his insurance may very well have refused to pay since the crash was, technically speaking, intentional - his community pitched in a helping hand.
Bryan Ellison, who owns West Valley Carstar with his brother, saw the news on television and wanted to help. So he brought Rowley a rental car, picked up his truck and brought it back to his auto repair shop. People from around the community donated parts, and when all was said and done, some $15,000 of work and upgrades were performed on the Ram that was returned to an overwhelmed Bryson Rowley better than new. Watch the video below for the full story.
The Dodge Viper may have been around now for over 20 years, but as far as racing achievements go, 2000 was its finest season. That's when it won the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the GTS class trophy at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its second consecutive title in the American Le Mans Series.
Wed, 18 Jun 2014 16:01:00 EST
Since then, SRT Motorsports hasn't quite had the same success, withdrawing from Le Mans this year and shedding the Dodge name and its emblematic red and white livery for the SRT badge and a silver snakeskin theme. But now that the Viper is back under the Dodge banner, so too is the racing team returning to its classic livery.
Starting from the six-hour race at Watkins Glen next week, both the No. 91 and No. 93 Viper GTS-Rs will wear the red base color with twin white racing stripes that its more accomplished forebears wore on circuits around the world. And with it, maybe the Viper will return once again to the winner's circle at home and abroad.
Chrysler is being targeted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a pair of actions that focus on over 1.2 million Jeeps, minivans and crossovers.
Fri, 06 Jun 2014 15:45:00 EST
The first is a "preliminary investigation" that focuses on an airbag issue afflicting the Jeep Commander built in model years 2006 and 2007 and Grand Cherokee from 2005 to 2006. In total, 700,000 vehicles could potentially be affected. It's not entirely clear what the airbag issue is, with The Detroit Free Press simply stating that the restraint systems in the affected Jeeps may be "faulty."
The other investigation is what's called a "recall query" and it covers a problem that General Motors should be familiar with. In this case, there could be a problem with the ignition switches of 525,000 vehicles, ranging from 2008 to 2010 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, to the 2008 to 2010 Dodge Journey crossover. Again, it's not entirely clear what sort of behavior prompted the 32 complaints that NHTSA has received on these vehicles.
Chrysler is issuing recalls covering roughly 31,700 vehicles worldwide due to two separate problems. In both cases the company believes that most of the affected vehicles are either still on, or in transit to, dealer lots.
Sun, 01 Jun 2014 19:01:00 EST
One recall covers roughly 10,700 Dodge Durango, Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SRT models from the 2014 model year built between January 16 and April 17, 2014. The SUVs need a software update for the cruise control. It's possible that when the cruise is on and the driver presses on the throttle, the acceleration could last a second after the pedal is released or two seconds for the SRT. Afterward, they return to the speed originally set by the driver.
Chrysler says it isn't aware of any accidents, injuries or even reported incidents of this happening in the real world. Also, in all cases, if the driver presses on the brake, the cruise shuts off. The automaker believes that there are about 6,100 affected SUVs in the US, 950 in Canada, 425 in Mexico and 3,200 outside of North America. The software upgrade will be ready shortly, the company says.
Remember the Bravado Banshee that West Coast Customs built last year to promote Grand Theft Auto V? Given away by GameStop, the woman who won it says she's better off with money to send her two kids to college than with a race car, so now you can steal buy it on eBay.
Based on a 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10, every exterior panel was redesigned to match the Banshee, and the red embroidered badging inside won't let you forget it. There's still that V10 up front that can make some kind of racket, and a SEMA-worthy stereo filling the entire trunk to make a different kind of racket. Oh, it's also got hood struts that have crapped out, so you'll notice the hood is held up with a wooden rod.
The auction ends on June 5, and you can make an offer or hit the Buy It Now button and hand over $170,000. Might be time to change the outfit and run a few jobs for some quick cash.