Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Cuda Convertible - Click above for an image gallery
We can't help but think what could have been with the Dodge Challenger. Had Chrysler developed the car before rising gas prices and the economic downturn, we might have seen all sorts of variants. Perhaps a top-of-the-line model with a 426ci Hemi V8 could have challenged the Shelby GT500 as the king of the road. Those in warmer climates surely would have loved a droptop version, and since we're day dreaming, we could even imagine a Hemi Cuda version if Plymouth was still around.
Enter Norm Kraus. The legendary owner of Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago known as "Mr. Norm" has filled in the gaps by Chrysler and unveiled a 426 Hemi Challenger and Cuda Convertible this past weekend at the Chryslers at Carlisle event in Carlisle, PA. Mr. Norm's Garage, now based in Hudson, FL, will be producing a limited run of these convertibles.
Like their coupe siblings unveiled at SEMA show last year, the droptop Challenger and Cuda share styling cues from E-Body ancestors from the early 1970s. The Cuda version is modified with a new grille inspired by the 1971 model year, a shaker hood system, Hemi billboard graphics, straightened rear quarter panels, and '71 Hemi Cuda taillight assemblies. The interior gets custom leather and suede seating, a pistol grip shifter, and custom mats.
Backing up the look is a 426ci Hemi V8 underneath the hood complete with a forged rotating assembly and a Kenne Bell supercharger that produces 725 horsepower. To compensate for the extra thrust, Mr. Norm has fitted each car with a Viper-spec Dana 44 differential, a fortified driveshaft, frame connectors, and a fully adjustable coilover suspension system.
We don't have any live photos quite yet, but you can read all about them in the press release after the jump.