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As the aftermarket and performance arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Mopar has a duty to extract everything from the company's models that it can, and there's no better place to show all of its work off than the annual SEMA Show.
Dodge really gets in on the act this year with several customs to show off different parts of the brand's performance heritage. Perhaps the most interesting among them is the track-prepped Viper ACR Concept (pictured above). It wears a custom body kit to produce even more downforce, thanks in no small part to a monstrous wing at the back. To shed weight, most of the interior is stripped out, as well. Next up, the Challenger T/A Concept takes inspiration from '70s Trans-Am racing in a livery of Sublime Green and matte black paint. The center scoop in the hood keeps the 6.4-liter V8 fed with cool air, and the special's 20-by-9.5-inch matte black wheels keep it planted in the corners.
Also getting the once-over from Mopar is the Charger R/T. It wears the division's body kit, and under the hood, a cold-air intake keeps the 5.7-liter V8 breathing. The suspension is retooled to hold the road better with a coil-over kit, upgraded sway bars and strut tower braces for the front and rear. The company is also showing off a snazzy blue Charger with a mean look. The final Dodge getting work from Mopar is the Dart R/T Concept with bright, O-So-Orange paint and a matte black hood with a scoop hooked directly to the air intake. The performance-oriented design is finished off with a coil-over suspension and big brake kit, as well.
Including all-wheel-drive models, there are ten versions of the 2015 Dodge Charger. The tenth variant - better described as the ten-tenths variant and the topmost model - is this Charger SRT Hellcat.
Superficially, you already know what it is: take the massively powerful Hellcat engine that's Frankensteined into the Dodge Challenger and stitch it into the recently facelifted Charger sedan.
Oh, but that would be superficial knowledge indeed. Russ Ruedisueli, vehicle line executive and head engineer for SRT, claims the Charger Hellcat is, "The industry's most irreverent four-door supercar." We looked up the word "irreverent" in the Oxford dictionaries, and it turns out the word doesn't mean "707 horsepower," nor "650 pound-feet of torque" nor "3.7-second 0-60 time, and seats five adults." It does mean, "Showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously."
As if driving the old Dodge Viper (not the fancy new SRT model) isn't intimidating enough, imagine trying to wrangle that V10 beast and then suddenly having the airbags deploy. Yikes. That's apparently what could happen to some 3,660 Viper models from the 2003 and 2004 model years, and as such, Chrysler has issued a recall.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the car's airbag control module may fail, causing the bags or seatbelt pre-tensioners to deploy without warning while the vehicle is in operation. That's a dangerous scenario in any car, let alone one offering insane horsepower a near-total paucity of safety nannies should things get squirrely.
Owners will be notified this month about the recall, though a remedy is not expected to be available until later this year. Scroll down for the full NHTSA statement.