Steve Saleen wanted to show us that his new company is going to be a little different than the old one. So to launch his first production model under the SMS badge, he rented out an Orange County night club and had a rave. Very unlike the Saleen launches we've attended in the past. After a couple hours of drinking and dancing, the cover was pulled off the first SMS 570 Challenger and we got to see the car in the flesh for the first time. Although the lighting made photos a little tricky, we have to admit it was a heckuva lot more fun than just seeing it at an auto show press conference.
The launch felt a bit like a wrap party, for the crowd was mainly comprised of SMS staff and Saleen family members celebrating the completeion of SMS 570 Challenger numero uno. While we would have liked to take it for a spin, we were told that the car is heading to a certain big auction in Arizona so they don't want to risk damaging it. It was honestly enough to just see it for now. The SMS 570 Challenger is mean, with revised body panels and those soon-to-be-trademark red butterfly induction hood flaps. The car was done up in a shade of purple that winks at the original Challengers of the '70s. While similar, it has a different name to reflect these more politically-correct times -- Plum Insane -- and looks great on this car.
That's where any semblance of political correctness comes to a screeching halt. The SMS Signature Series 570 Challenger takes the already potent Chrysler 5.7L Hemi V8 and supercharges it to category 5 hurricane status. The base setup raises horsepower to 500, while the top-shelf tune is good for upwards of 700 hp. There are also a host of suspension, brake, and interior changes to make the package a complete turnkey supercar. Production is set to begin at the end of January, with prices expected to be in the $60,000 to $70,000 range. 2010 SMS Mustangs and Camaros should follow later this year, according to Steve. There's a full press release after the jump and a gallery of high-res pics available by clicking any image below.