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Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango to lose color options temporarily

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 09:29:00 EST

In the market for a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Dodge Durango? Well, if you fancy a more expressive color for your new SUV, you'd better get your order in, or plan on waiting until well into 2015.
The SUVs will be limited to just four monochromatic shades - black, white, silver and gray - until at least February, thanks to an upgrade to the paint shop at the two vehicles' Jefferson North factory. For the Grand Cherokee, that means it's losing more than half its color palette while the Durango is dropping two-thirds of its color catalog.
The loss of colors is inconvenient, but the upgrade will have a slightly bigger effect on the overall supply of SUVs, as Chrysler will need to end its relentless build pace at the factory for a three-week shutdown starting on December 22. The good news for fans of the SUVs is that once the work is completed, we should see a gradual expansion of the color palettes for both the Durango and Grand Cherokee, beyond even what's offered now.

How to turn a Dodge airport tug into a trail slayer

Sun, 16 Nov 2014 19:07:00 EST

Sometimes, having a ton of fun requires takes a ton of work. Just nine days before the so-called Ultimate Adventure 2014, the folks behind 4-Wheel & Off-Road had 40 tasks to complete in order to turn the ratty truck pictured above into a machine that could excel on treacherous off-road trails while still being able to handle highway jaunts. Much of process behind the build was chronicled on the latest episode of Dirt Every Day.
The team's vehicle started life as a 1990 Dodge tug truck that spent part of its life hauling around airplanes. The builders hung on to the Cummins six-cylinder diesel, but they tossed out practically everything else for the project, with some seriously heavy-duty replacement parts for the transmission, transfer case, axles and a whole lot more. The process was certainly a ton of work, but the end result looks like a fantastic crawler.
Sure, it might have been easier to bring a truck that was already prepared, but where would the fun in that have been? Stay tuned until the end of the video for a few glimpses of the completed Dodge and peek at some of the punishment it goes through.

Why the Charger Hellcat can't be ordered with a manual transmission

Sun, 16 Nov 2014 15:02:00 EST

Fans of truly irreverent amounts of horsepower will find lots to love in the form of the 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. Both of them send 707 ridiculous horsepower to the rear wheels; the only question is whether you want your absurdity delivered with two or four doors. Oh, and whether or not you want the option of a manual transmission.
If you prefer rowing your own gears, the choice is made for you; there is no manual gearbox option available on the Charger Hellcat, or any Charger model at all, for that matter. Wonder why? Well, besides the fact that almost nobody - sorry, clutch fans, but it's true - would choose to buy a Charger with a manual transmission, that is? The answer, according to an industry insider in a post written on Jalopnik's Opposite Lock forum, is the floorpan.
It's probably not a surprise to most of our readers that the Dodge Challenger and Charger share a large portion of their chassis structure, which is codenamed LX at Chrysler, but there are still some significant differences under the skin due to the shorter wheelbase and two-door coupe bodyshell of the Challenger, as opposed to the sedan shape of the Charger. One of the differences is the floorpan, the huge chunk of sheetmetal that makes up the floor of the car and props up such essential items as the car's seats.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat en route to dealers

Sat, 15 Nov 2014 19:01:00 EST

Get ready, world: The 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has officially been unleashed. But rather than just have the big coupes quietly arrive at dealers, Dodge has released this video, showing Hellcats loading up onto car carriers at Fiat-Chrysler's Brampton, Ontario plant. And yes, that is Mötley Crüe's "Kickstart My Heart" playing in the background. Of course.
This really is worth all the fanfare, though, considering Dodge will sell its ridiculously powerful, supercharged machine for just $59,995. And if the Challenger isn't quite up your alley, just remember, there's an equally powerful, 204-mph, four-door Charger Hellcat on the way...

Chrysler almost smothered the Hellcat before it lived

Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:30:00 EST

Chrysler's 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 was an absolute sensation from the very moment it was announced, and honestly, how could it not have been? Packing 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, its numbers immediately put every other production muscle car (and many supercars) to shame. Plus, we soon learned that would be wrapped in a package retailing for around $60,000 - a pittance compared to other vehicles offering similar grunt. However, the Hellcat almost never got the chance to rumble under the hood of the Challenger and Charger.
The Hellcat was initially proposed back in 2011, back when Fiat was deciding its future strategy for Chrysler Group, according to Automotive News. At the time, the company was just emerging from its bankruptcy doldrums, and an ultra-high-performance V8 wasn't exactly a must-have item. The program didn't move forward. However, SRT engineers kept fighting, according to AN, and four months later, they received the green light to pull the project off the shelf and continue developing the Hellcat. The muscle car world is certainly better for that decision.
The work of those engineers focused on taking Chrysler's standard 6.2-liter V8 and making it reliably handle all of the extra power from the supercharger. "It came down to micron levels of changes in the crank to be able to withstand the pressures of the engine," said Chris Cowland, director of advanced and SRT powertrain, to Automotive News. The changes amounted to switching out about 91 percent of the parts to make the Hellcat, including some quite minuscule alterations. For example, the washer holding the supercharger pulley is embedded with industrial diamonds to keep it from slipping.

Mopar maneuvers into SEMA with a multitude of modified models

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:00:00 EST

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.

Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car is ready to burn rubber at SEMA [w/video]

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 19:39:00 EST

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.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car burns rubber into SEMA [w/video]

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:26:00 EST

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is showing off a completely redesigned Dodge Charger Funny Car at this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas and it's ready to blow through the NHRA timing lights next year. Initially, the shape might look like any of the other entrants in its class burning through the quarter mile, but this is the first comprehensive rethink for the racecar's aerodynamics since 2006, says Dodge.
Draped in classy red and black Mopar livery, the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car tries to share the front and rear styling with its roadgoing counterpart, plus the scallops along the side, but this racer is all about crossing the finish line first.
The major goals for the redesign included making the body stronger and lighter without sacrificing aerodynamics, and that has been done with materials like Kevlar and carbon fiber. However, engineers have accomplished even more. By moving the cockpit further back, they've increased engine clearance and improved driver visibility.

Motorweek goes retro with '80s hot hatch shootout

Mon, 03 Nov 2014 19:57:00 EST

Motorweek's decades of history on television make it the perfect medium to look back into the automotive past and see how things are different now. It recently added old road test videos to its YouTube channel of the Acura NSX and Toyota Supra, as well as the Ferrari F40. For one of its newest flashback clips, Motorweek has exhumed an affordable five-car challenge of 1986's premiere hot hatches.
By today's standards, this is an eclectic field that features fondly remembered classics like the Volkswagen GTI 16-valve and Acura Integra. However, it also throws in some nearly forgotten contenders like the Dodge Colt Turbo and Ford Escort GT. The angular Toyota Corolla FX16 GT-S rounds out the group.
It's fascinating to watch Motorweek run the quintet through the slalom, down the drag strip and on various roads. What's most striking in this clip is the difference in the definition of a performance car between then and now. With its 16-valve, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the GTI is the burliest of the contenders with 123 horsepower, but it still takes 8.8 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. By today's standards, that would make it a plain-jane economy car, and not even a particularly quick one.

An inside look at Mopar's SEMA fleet

Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:45:00 EST

Mopar is heading to the SEMA show in Las Vegas with a fleet of customized vehicles that appeal to enthusiasts of all stripes. There's a Dodge Viper ACR concept that follows in the lineage of the supercar's great road racing past, and a custom Ram ProMaster that might just be the ultimate outdoor party machine.
We got an inside look at Mopar's cars that will be on display at the show, which also include a Dodge Challenger T/A concept, two crazy Jeeps and a Ram 2500 Outdoorsman that could change the way you camp. While these are some of our favorites, Mopar is bringing plenty to SEMA, so let us know your top choices in the comments section.