• Jul 30, 2009

Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Cuda Convertible - Click above for a high-res image gallery

With Chrysler's woes leaving plenty of room to go gangbusters with Dodge Challenger variants, Florida-based Mr. Norm's Garage is determined to fill any gaps that need to be filled, particularly high horsepower and convertible models. The legendary Mopar performance shop unveiled the 426 Hemi Challenger and Cuda Convertibles at the Chryslers at Carlisle event in Carlisle, PA last weekend, both painted in a custom yellow hue.

When the phone call came letting us know that both cars would be in Southern California for a few days, we didn't need much convincing to go check them out for ourselves. While the retro overdose might be too much for some, there's no doubt that each of these modern day muscle cars was built with the utmost attention to detail. For instance, the Cuda's shaker hood scoop is the exact dimensions as the original, the rear fenders have been reshaped to mimic the classic lines, and the rear end features genuine '71 taillight assemblies and 'Cuda badge. Did we mention both have also been converted into ragtops?

Fortunately, both cars have the power to back up their looks. Under their hoods is the SRT8 Hemi V8 that has been bored and stroked to 426 cubic inches and then supercharged to produced 725 tire-melting horsepower running through a Dana 44 rearend. Sound like your idea of fun? Browse through our high-res galleries of both cars below or read about the full list of upgrades after the jump.




Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.



PRESS RELEASE:

Introducing the new 2009 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles from Mr. Norm, the name that's synonymous with the most incredible high performance Mopars ever built and offered to enthusiasts. Based on the Challenger SRT-8, the Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles echo the styling and performance of the original, iconic, E-Body muscle cars that inspired the creation of these vehicles. These drop tops mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of two legendary muscle cars that spans nearly 40 years.

The compelling presence of the original 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda can be seen in the appearance of these vehicles. Both are the result of impeccable breeding, a pedigree with genes handed down from their celebrated ancestors that can be appreciated by enthusiasts of all ages. Design cues recall themes and details readily recognizable by aficionados, and have been carefully selected and refined to imbue these mighty Mopars with the same sensation of raw excitement that set the original 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda apart from their contemporaries when they were new, and still continue to dazzle enthusiasts today. They're bold, brash, in your face and exactly what you would expect from Mr. Norm.

Supercharged 426 Hemi Power...and More

Complementing their unforgettable appearance, the Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles deliver overwhelming performance matched with superlative handling and braking in equal proportions. In doing so, they set a new benchmark for all muscle and performance cars in their category and beyond.

The Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles are a showcase for the latest in Gen III Hemi performance. Each of the engines is equipped with a new reciprocating assembly that includes a forged crank, rods and pistons that increase engine displacement to 7 liters, or the magic Mopar number; 426 cubic inches. Far stronger than the factory cast rods and pistons, these components provide the ultimate complement to the Mr. Norm's Signature Kenne Bell 2.8 liter twin screw supercharger that pumps up the volume of the Hemi engines to a whopping 725 pavement melting horsepower.

Backing up the performance of the thundering supercharged Hemi engines on both convertibles is the Mr. Norm's Hi Performance Rear Suspension System that replaces the stock components. The Mr. Norm's Rear Suspension System utilizes the beefy Viper SRT-10 spec Dana 44 differential that's mated to a significantly more robust driveshaft and half shafts. In addition, the 426 Hemi Convertibles also feature the Mr. Norm's Chassis Bracing Upgrade that includes frame connectors and additional bracing for a stiff unibody structure. TTI manufactured the low restriction cat back dual exhaust system that produces an aggressive exhaust note that befits a blown Hemi. Balancing out the awesome power is an AFCO fully adjustable coil over suspension system that provides great stance and handling without compromising ride quality.

Accentuating the bold stance of the Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles is a set of classically inspired Mr. Norm's "Thrust" custom wheels that are sure to turn even the most jaded enthusiast green with envy. Inspired by the mag wheels that were popular when the first Hemi Challengers and Hemi Cuda's ruled the streets, these new forged, multi piece, 20 inch wheels evoke all of the nostalgia of the originals, with the added benefit of 21st century design and engineering. Complementing the wheels is a set of ultra high performance Pirelli tires that provide the new Mr. Norm's Hemi cars with the kind of grip that puts the bias ply wide boots of yesterday to shame.

Authentic Design

The appearance of the Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles doesn't merely hint at the rippling Hemi power beneath their sensuous skins, it conveys it loud and clear. Authentic E-Body influenced themes resonate through every inch of the Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles.

The front of the Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Cuda sets the tone for the entire vehicle with its bold '71 Hemi Cuda inspired grille and dedicated 'Cuda Shaker hood that features a recreation of the exquisitely proportioned original Hemi Cuda Shaker by Mr. Norm's Garage. Remaining faithful to its 'Cuda heritage are new 2009 Cuda quarter panels, also by Mr. Norm's Garage, that feature the correct horizontal character line that completely differentiates it from its Challenger stable mate, matched with bold Hemi billboard graphics and bright trimmed 'Cuda Fender Gills. The attention to detail continues in the rear, where Mr. Norm's Garage incorporates actual 1971 Hemi Cuda tail light assemblies that flank a custom tail panel with genuine '71 'Cuda script. Hemi Cuda exhaust tips exit conspicuously from the rear fascia, calling attention to the consistent detail and design continuity that this vehicle conveys. The Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger showcases the same attention to detail with its dedicated Challenger Shaker Hood, body side graphics and Hemi Challenger exhaust tips.

The interiors of the Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles feature glove soft Katzkin black custom leather and suede covered seats that are accented with yellow top stitching that complements exterior colors and graphics. Mr. Norm's embroidered logos grace the seatbacks and the custom carpet mats, a subtle reminder that these are very special vehicles. And in keeping with their ultra high performance theme, each of these 426 Hemi cars is equipped with a real pistol grip shifter for the six speed manual transmission, the essential component for those who revel in the thrill of shifting for themselves, and demand authenticity in their Mopars. Designed to appear like the original trendsetting Pistol Grip Shifter, these new shifters by Mr. Norm's Garage feature a carbon fiber or wood grain handle that's a mirror image of the original, mounted on a chrome plated arm.

Names that Honor a Great Legacy

Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda. No-nonsense names for no-nonsense ultra high performance vehicles. One look at them, and you know that these are two muscle cars that are not to be trifled with. The Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda pay homage to the heritage of the original Hemi Challenger and Hemi Cuda. In an era of generic look-a-like cars that have as much personality as an angry kitchen appliance, the Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles radiate the kind of charisma that cause young and old alike to stop and stare, while creating a burning desire to own one.

The Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda represent the renaissance of the breed of automobile that is uniquely American. Without question, the beauty, strength and power of these vehicles can be seen in even their most subtle nuances. The Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles are much more than ordinary high performance cars. By sheer virtue of their genetics, these are vehicles that link the past to the present while signaling the direction of the future.

Writing the Next Chapter in History

Pose the 2009 Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda side by side with the originals. You can easily see the resemblance between them. The bold body of the latest generation and its aggressive stance, coupled with the supercharged Hemi power that rumbles beneath the shaker hoods truly mark the next step in the advance of the classic American, big bore V8, high performance rear wheel drive muscle car. While they pay homage to the original Hemi Challenger and Hemi Cuda, these vehicles are totally modern. The new Mr. Norm's 426 Hemi Challenger and 426 Hemi Cuda Convertibles were created to ignite the passion of hard core performance enthusiasts who grew up with their legendary ancestors, while singing their siren song to a new generation who have yet to experience the excitement these vehicles offer.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      desteele66
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just what Ive been looking for .True MOPAR at its finest.Ive worked for Chrysler for 27 years,and have been waiting for this.I bleed Chrysler blue.Dont listen to these other ********,they probably drive jap ****.This country's awash in chinese japanese,dirty knees and what are these crap.Personally,I support my country.Probably suits 20 somthings, that there are no jobs they dont want to work anyway.Can you say Riceburners.Thats why.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Back in the day, I always preferred Barracuda styling to the Challenger. This is a nice blending of the two. I do miss the barracuda emblem though
        • 5 Years Ago
        I submit that these cars are 100% badass. I think I've seen one too many Mustangs (and I own one!) and entirely too many [broke-down] Camaros lately. I was beginning to wonder if these LX rides took either took the dirt-nap route or had been wrapped in blankets kept in secret warehouses, stocked up for Barret Jackson 2025...
        The details on the 'cuda make it for me. Of course it's got to have the nuts & bolts for serious HP, etc... the taillights really kick this one off for me. I would have maybe liked to have seen a little different bumper cover on the 'cuda version.

        Oh and stop buying your yellow paint at costco, one is enough...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I missed in the text how many are they going to produce and what is the price?

      Pretty neat idea. I don't see the crease line in the quarters that the original 70+ Cuda had (they mention it in text but quarter is all soft and non-descript) and I don't like the Ram on the front and steering wheel (is this the new Ram Truck brand Cuda?).

      Again, I like the idea, and would really like to see what it looks like with the top up.

      Did I ask how many they gonna make? How rare will this Cuda be?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wonderful niche customs, but relative to the market at large, fairly irrelevant. Very few people under the age of 40 are even remotely interested in owning a reborn dinosaur Dodge or Plymouth, and only a fraction of those could afford these. I have a sincere respect for these marques and really love it when people recreate the old nameplates, but today's performance car has to be much more than a straight-line scorcher. Moreover, subtlety in styling makes more points than garish look-at-me graphics. This may be high-dollar stuff, but it's low-brow nostalgia.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Wonderful niche customs, but relative to the market at large, fairly irrelevant. "

        Uh, you don't say. That's why they're "custom."

        "Very few people under the age of 40 are even remotely interested in owning a reborn dinosaur Dodge or Plymouth, and only a fraction of those could afford these."

        What's your point? It's precisely the people are above 40 who both want these and can afford them. That's not an insignificant market.

        "I have a sincere respect for these marques and really love it when people recreate the old nameplates, but today's performance car has to be much more than a straight-line scorcher."

        Hint: anyone interested in one of these doesn't give a crap what you think a performance car "should be."
        • 5 Years Ago
        Geez Jim, given that I'm a 30-something car enthusiast with a legitimate interest in old iron, you've merely successfully targeted and shot down an ally. I'm only pointing out the fairly minuscule market for such cars, and the relatively irrelevant priorities on which they are based (straight-line performance and flashy looks). If you prize such characteristics, I'm not knocking them, I'm just saying that in today's market overall performance (acceleration, handling, fun-to-drive, fuel economy) outrank flashy stoplight drop-clutch brutishness.

        I own four cars from the 60s, one from the 50s, and one from the 40s. I understand the allure of old-school performance. Yet I refuse to pay current Porsche-level prices for old-world performance that I could easily build myself. If you're stuck in the 60s, then feel free to pay six-figure prices for old blueprinted Mopars or whatever Norm is charging for twice-baked Dodges. I'll enjoy my old-school cake and eat the new tech too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Whoever designed this car must be a big dude with a bad temper that's known for hurting people physically.
      Seriously, they must be afraid of the guy, to not have told him how horrifically bad the rear quarters make this car look.

      Sometimes i really wonder how through all the processes that a car goes through in design, that nobody takes a look and says "WTF did you do?"
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very smart. Giving a car more power with the same rigidity of rubber.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't really care for the convertible or the "Cuda" mods... but that pistol-grip shifter is awesome!!!

      I just wish the Challenger was Mustang sized... it would already be in my driveway. But alas, I have to wait until Camaro prices come down from their high throne... or the 5.0L Stang comes out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wait about another six months, and you'll be able to get your 5.0!
        • 5 Years Ago
        My buddy has a '99 Mustang Cobra with a similar shift. What goes around...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well I've always been a fan of dodge and plymouth muscle and in fact own a 72 cuda. I honestly think that both are fine looking vehicles that they've created(except for the dodge emblem on the cuda). I mean it's better than your dime a dozen woman's mustangs and trailer park trash camaro's. I'm only in my mid 20's and these cars definitly market to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      725hp.. pistol grip shifter.. 'gasm..
      • 5 Years Ago
      A convertible for fans of BBW if ever there was one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Personally...I'm not feeling it. Then again, I'm not really fond of convertibles period. It just seems very "unnatural". The shape of the Challenger doesn't lend itself to a nice looking convertible treatment. I think if Dodge meant for this to be a convertible, they would've designed one.

      However I do like the 'Cuda grill treatment. Very nice update.

      Okay, let's get one thing straight. We're not 5 y/o anymore, yellow paint (for the most part) is no longer acceptable. To me Yellow paint is the new brown, evergreen, and beige.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just seems like blasphemy to me.....it's just not a Cuda. :(
        • 5 Years Ago
        Keeping the Dodge badge on the 'Cuda is especially bad form.
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