Drive Type: RWD
Model: Ram 3500
Trim: Base Standard Cab Pickup 2-Door
Pembroke, Kentucky, United States
The Dodge Charger R/T is all set to rocket down the drag strip in NHRA Funny Car competition with a completely redesigned body debuting at this year's SEMA Show. While only the front decal, side scallops and rear logo really signal this racer as a Charger, that doesn't take away from its promise of hitting absolutely ludicrous speeds.
The engineers' biggest tweak to the body was moving the cockpit further back. This created more clearance under the hood, and the change came with added advantage of giving the driver better visibility out of the car. Composites like Kevlar also helped make the one-piece shell even lighter, while not sacrificing strength.
The new design has already undergone extensive time in the wind tunnel and real-world runs to make sure that none of the changes negatively impacted the aerodynamics. With those tests out of the way, the Charger R/T Funny Car will have the first chance to truly prove itself in NHRA competition at the 2015 Winternationals from February 5-9 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA.
The fact that the Dart's launch has been a pretty dismal affair isn't what we'd call secret. Judging by its mounting inventories and poor critical reception, Dodge's successor to its unloved Caliber has struggled since it hit the market. And while both of those are difficult problems to address, at least their cause is well known - the powertrain.
Even Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has acknowledged that the powertrain options in the Dart are substandard, admitting at January's Detroit Auto Show that the powertrains are "less than ideal." Leading with the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Fiat 500 Abarth left a bad taste in the mouths of consumers thanks to the laggy engine and dead throttle response (to say nothing of the manual and dual-clutch gearboxes that needed more refinement). The addition of the 184-horsepower 2.4-liter Tigershark in the Dart GT has helped matters some, but apparently Auburn Hills doesn't think it's quite enough.
If rumors are to be believed - get that salt ready - a possible solution may be in the works. A report from Allpar is claiming that Dodge is considering fitting a Pentastar V6 into the Dart's engine bay. As the Mopar-obsessed website points out, the critically acclaimed Pentastar is available in three different sizes - 3.0 liters, 3.2 liters and the original 3.6 liters. We don't get the 3.0 here in the US, but the 3.2 can be found in the new Jeep Cherokee and the 3.6 has been seemingly fitted to every model Chrysler can shoehorn it into.
The Las Vegas Convention Center has plenty of space for aftermarket companies and automakers to show off their wares, and it looks like Chrysler is taking advantage of the spacious floor plan. At next month's SEMA Show, Chrysler will have a full 20 cars from its six brands decked out with Mopar gear.
As a hint of what is to come, Chrysler released a handful of teaser sketches showing glimpses of modified Jeep Cherokee, Ram 1500, Fiat 500L and Chrysler 300 concept vehicles. The automaker will also use the venue to show off a new line of Jeep Performance Parts offered by the all-new Mopar Off-Road Division. In addition to the images, Chrysler also issued a brief press release - posted below - breaking down some of the "industry-first features" that Mopar has offered in recent years.