Chrysler

SEMA 2017 | Ten cars we want to ‘Hellcrate’ right now

The announcement that Mopar is offering a 707hp Hellcat engine ‘off the shelf’ has got us thinking. What better day than Halloween to come up with some Frankenstein-esque creation. 

If you can find $19,530 (£14,800) you too can add a 6.2-litre supercharged HEMI engine to pretty much whatever you want. This got us thinking about what should people be shoehorning the epic Hellcrate motor into, and we came up with these ten suggestions.

All of the ten cars here have Mopar family connections, avoiding any of those awkward brand-mixing moments. We’re taking a liberal approach in terms of technical possibility, with the attitude that with enough money and perseverance anything is possible.

1969 Dodge Polara HardtopHellcrate Hemi Ideas

We had already mentioned this one yesterday, and it’s naturally the first port of call on our list. Produced in various guises between 1960 and 1973, the Polara was a vast full-size land yacht offered in a range of bodystyles. However, it’s the 1969 model year with Dodge’s ‘Fuselage Look’ styling that really catches our attention, especially in two-door hardtop guise. A Hellcat engine would be a perfect swap for the 440-cubic inch (7.2-litre) V8, creating a subtle but terrifying cruiser.

1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘CudaHellcrate Hemi Ideas

Produced for just two years, the Hemi ‘Cuda was the high-performance version of the Plymouth Barracuda. Trying to pick between the 1970 or 1971 versions is tough, but we prefer the ’70 model due to the lack of gills behind the front wheel arches. The most impressive ‘Cudas featured a 426-cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8 with 425hp, but an extra shot of nearly 300hp can only be a good thing, surely.

1972 Imperial LeBaronHellcrate Hemi Ideas

As some of the biggest production cars ever built, Chrysler’s Imperial LeBaron models were unashamedly huge. Measuring almost six metres in length, and tipping the scales at over 2,200kg, the LeBaron was a leviathan of the highway. Adding the Hellcrate engine could provide some much-needed propulsion for the LeBaron, and certainly couldn’t make the fuel economy any worse. (more…)

Detroit Auto Show 2016 – Hefty Trends

As the first big event of the year, the North American International Auto Show offers the chance to spot trends we might see for the rest of the year. It also has the potential to prove if the US market is still obsessed with making the biggest stuff possible. 

2016 Detroit Auto Show

Pickup trucks are getting more outrageous
If there’s one vehicle that sums up the US automotive market in one fell swoop then it’s the pickup truck. But 2016 seems to be the year that manufacturers have truly gone XXL with their offerings.

Ford’s latest version of the F-150 Raptor was launched at the Detroit show a year ago but, twelve months later, it’s already been tweaked. Now there’s a SuperCrew version of the 3.5-litre EcoBoost powered machine so you can fit even more people or stuff inside. Although persuading people to get in the back as you make use of the new Terrain Management system in mud, rock or even baja mode might be a challenge!

Not to be outdone, Nissan premiered the Warrior concept version of its Titan X.D truck, again just one year after showing off the regular production version. With a 5.0-litre Turbo Diesel V8 engine, race-derived suspension parts, and a smattering of carbon fibre body panels it’s a formidable sounding proposition. Whether it becomes a reality remains to be seen.

Not quite as dramatically-styled as the Ford or Nissan, Honda is concentrating on practicality with the all-new Ridgeline. With a design that focuses on things which really matter to pickup buyers, like hauling sheets of plywood or drywall flat in the loadspace, or a 540 watt sound system mounted in the truck bed to improve your tailgating experience. Could it just be a little too sensible for its own good?

The big saloon isn’t dead!
2016 Volvo S90

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Friday Video – Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Yes, this feels a little bit like deja vu we know. But to accompany the release of the Dodge Charger Hellcat, there’s a “sizzle” video that features Motley Crüe again.

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

In fact it’s almost identical to the one Dodge used for the Challenger Hellcat but, quite frankly, we don’t care. It’s a 707 horsepower saloon (or sedan) doing burnouts and going sideways. What more do you want?!

707 BHP 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – News and Photos

You know what they say; you wait for one 707 horsepower muscle car to come along, and then two appear within weeks of each other. Actually, they don’t say that at all, but with the new Charger SRT Hellcat, Dodge now has two ridiculously powerful production cars in its lineup.

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Initially we were a little unsure of the Charger Hellcat. Part of the Challenger Hellcat’s appeal was the uniqueness of featuring such a massively powerful engine in a normal production car. Now there’s two models sharing the same engine. Diluting the impact? Maybe, but we remembered this is exactly what happened in the muscle car heyday of the late 1960s and early ’70s. Back then, Charger, Challenger and a whole host of other – to quote Springsteen – “Hemi-powered drones” would “scream down the boulevard” using the same 426 cu in engine, so it’s hardly a new concept for the company.

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Oh, and we also looked at the press pictures of the Charger Hellcat, and instantly forget about brand dilution or anything else, because it looks awesome. Dodge and SRT have left virtually no panel untouched from the regular Charger, with a unique front bumper with integrated splitter, bonnet with functioning air intake and vents, wide rear spoiler and those wonderful 4″ exhaust tailpipes.

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Hidden Desires #3 – Chrysler Crossfire

Sometimes there are cars you harbour a fondness for, despite all the sensible parts of your brain telling you it’s wrong. The Chrysler Crossfire is one of those vehicles featured here as part of our Hidden Desires series. 

2004 Chrysler Crossfire Coupe 001

Cast your mind back to 1998, and the merger between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corporation, forming the DaimlerChrysler company. What was dubbed a “merger or equals” turned out to be a marriage which was only equal in that it seemingly served no benefit to either party involved. The nine years of the DaimlerChrysler merger produced very little to show in terms of automotive synergy. Perhaps the only real legacy of that time is this one car; the Crossfire.

2004 Chrysler Crossfire Coupe 003

Built on the first-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK platform, the Crossfire shared almost 80% of its components with the Merc convertible. However, at its time of the Crossfire’s launch in 2003 the R170 chassis was already 7 years old, and due to be retired by Mercedes. The Crossfire was therefore hardly cutting edge, but that was at least in keeping with the retro-influenced styling.

2004 Chrysler Crossfire Coupe 002

Clarkson once described the rear as akin to a dog squatting to take a dump. Other commentators were slightly kinder, suggesting that the Crossfire was reminiscent of the American Motors Rambler Marlin with its fastback appearance. (more…)