We've always been intrigued by the notion of a higher performance people carrier, from back before Car and Driver magazine's Ford Windstar-based SHOStar to various shadetree high-strung turbocharged Chrysler minivans and outright lunacy like Renault's Espace-bodied F1 car.
Of course, that isn't what you're looking at here: it's what appears to be an SRT-tweaked Dodge Journey R/T, a vehicle that we want to like for its useful size and packaging, but can't because of its indifferent drivetrains and tragic interior materials and ergonomics.
Now, normally we wouldn't get too excited about something like this, in part because private owners often add badges from other vehicles in order to make them seem more impressive (we just saw an i-VTEC Chevrolet Beretta the other day), but these spy shots sent in from reader Nick Leonard appear to be the real deal – not only does the Journey in question boast a well-integrated new front fascia, but also unique wheels, a lowered stance and a quad-outlet rear exhaust surrounded by a different valance. The clincher? Michigan manufacturer licence plates.
Nick says notes that he came upon the car in the parking lot of a Best Buy in Saginaw, Michigan, and he only noted a laptop bag and a jacket in the passenger seat – no sign of any further testing equipment or interesting things on the dashboard. He further instructs that there was an AWD badge on the car (not pictured).
Now, it isn't at all clear that this is a production-intent vehicle, especially considering that R/T and SRT are usually mutually-exclusive designations in the House of Pentastar. This vehicle might be something that bored engineers cooked up for their own entertainment, for a SEMA reveal, or perhaps for a customer clinic – but who knows? It could be something, right? If so, let's hope there's some genuine chutzpah under the sheetmetal, otherwise we're looking at the decline and dilution of the SRT-branded vehicles as we know it.
Check out our gallery of images below... and thanks for the shots, Nick!