Dodge Challenger goes to the races

  • 11-Dec-2008 11:44 EST
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The factory-built Challenger will be certified in three stock NHRA eliminator classes: Stock, Pro-Stock, and Competition.

In a rare move, but one that harkens directly back to the glory days of the muscle car, Dodge is releasing a small batch of specially lightened Drag Race package Challengers. A minimum of 100 will be built, each differing immensely from the normal production version, although none will ever be street-legal.

Eliminated are the body sealer, sound deadener, undercoating, windshield wipers, HVAC system, airbags, rear seats, power steering, exhaust and underbody heat shields, side impact beams, rear bumper beam, and rear spoiler.

“Our ultimate goal is to get 1500 lb (680 kg) out. They’ll have an 8 ¾-in rear axle. We’ll ship with the least cost parts we have to keep the cost down; the customer is just going to throw those bits away,” said Chris Nowak, Lead Engineer of the Challenger. The customer will be able to choose between the 6.1 L Hemi, 5.7 L Hemi, and 5.9 L Magnum Wedge crate engines, as well as between automatic or manual transmissions.

Customers will be provided with a build book as well, explaining how best to further reduce weight and prepare the car for racing. The engine was repositioned, the wheelbase shortened by 0.5 in (13 mm), and the front cradle was revised with a bolt-in crossmember and solid engine mounts.

­As well as simply removing unnecessary items, some lightweight parts were specially made for the package: a composite lift-off hood with functional scoop, polycarbonate door windows, lightweight cooling module, manual rack and pinion steering, cable-operated truck release, lightweight front brakes, and cable-operated throttle linkage and pedal assembly.

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