The performance-partsgasm that is Las Vegas' SEMA Show may be down on fuel this year because of the state of the economy, but that isn't stopping the Chrysler Group from unveiling four concepts based on the models in its lineup that are arguably the most endearing to the aftermarket. To that end, the company's Mopar devision has lavished a bunch of custom bits on everything from a pair of Jeep Wranglers (one of which is fit to sleep in, and the other looking fit enough to climb a wall) to a streetable 556-horsepower Dodge Challenger, and a dolled up Dodge Ram 1500.
Perhaps our favorite vehicle of the lot is the Wrangler "Lower Forty" - an imposing rig that uses a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine to churn its massive 40-inch tires. If it looks familiar, that's because it was first shown at the Moab Safari in April. Interestingly, the huge running gear upgrade has been applied to a standard ride-height two-door Rubicon – no suspension or body lift has been fitted. What has been screwed on, however, are new fender flares that ride four inches higher than stock, and they're an inch wider, too. Other trick bits include a new integrated roll cage, a relocated spare tire, a new drop-down tailgate with an old-school stamped Jeep logo. Did we mention the slick three-inch chop and the extra ten degrees of rake applied to the windshield?
Follow the jump for more details on the three remaining Chrysler SEMA show vehicles.
The second of the two Jeep Wrangler concepts is the Overland, an off-road camper that reminds us of a (potentially) less-expensive Earthroamer XVJP. The Jamboree-ready Overland includes a roof-mounted two-man tent from ARB with awning, a weatherized interior, and a three-inch suspension lift kit from AEV that helps clear the 35-inch tires. In typical Jeep fashion, there's the usual "get out of trouble" gear like a Warn winch, desert-running-ready lighting, and a snorkel kit to ensure you don't sleep with the fishes.
The Challenger 1320 started off as a Mopar Drag Pak car, but it's been civilized (sort of) for street life. It features a Hemi crate motor displacing 426 cubes, an engine that is made even more attention-getting by a pair of exhaust cutouts that allows the mufflers to be bypassed for that extra intimidation factor. Other bits include a beefed-up driveline (Dana 60 rear-end, ARB locking diff, etc.), widened Mopar police wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompsons, and a coilover kit. Naturally, the interior has been tweaked on the "less is more" drag racing theme, including a pair of Viper front chairs, Hurst shifter, and a sportier steering wheel. Dead weight like the rear seat, center console, and so on has been jettisoned in the search for lower ETs.
Finally, Dodge's Ram pickup has had a bunch of luxury trappings lashed on to create the Bianco. In this case, luxury translates to 22-inch wheels, Arctic Ice pearl paint, two-tone Katzkin leather seats, various trim bits done up in piano black and Arctic Ice, and a big Kicker audio system.
Check out the official release below for full details.
Chrysler Group LLC to Showcase Four Mopar Image Vehicles at 2009 SEMA Show
Auburn Hills, Mich., Oct 15, 2009 -
A 556-horsepower Dodge Challenger, a Jeep® Wrangler that transforms into a mobile campsite, a luxury Dodge Ram 1500 and a go-anywhere, do-anything extreme Jeep Wrangler with 40-inch tires. It must be SEMA season.
Four Mopar-customized vehicles will steal the show next month at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. Mopar's in-house team of creative customizers developed a slew of high-performance image vehicles that feature the brand's innovative performance parts and accessories.
"Our Mopar vehicles demonstrate this company's passion and enthusiasm for the automotive aftermarket," said Pietro Gorlier, President and Chief Executive Officer – Mopar Service, Parts and Customer Care, Chrysler Group LLC. "We will gauge reaction to these vehicles and explore new directions as we develop Mopar performance parts and accessories for our vehicles."
"The aftermarket is not an after-thought in our design studio," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO--Dodge Car Brand and Senior Vice President--Product Design, Chrysler Group LLC. "Our vehicles are designed and built by the same passionate automotive enthusiasts within our company who are designing and engineering new Mopar parts and accessories for vehicles in our product pipeline."
Led by Mark Allen, Head of Jeep Design, Chrysler Group LLC, the Mopar design team developed four head-turning vehicles for next month's SEMA show.
Mopar Dodge Challenger 1320 Image Vehicle: Exploring a Street-legal Drag Pak Challenger
The Dodge Challenger 1320 began life as a Mopar Drag Pak Dodge Challenger. The current Drag Pak option is a light-weight, stripped-down, race-only, special-order version of the Dodge Challenger designed for competitive drag racing.
For the street-legal design, Mopar's design team took the vehicle back to its roots with styling reminiscent of vintage Mopar muscle, updated with today's technology. The Dodge Challenger 1320 image vehicle, named for the 1,320 feet on a quarter-mile drag strip, features Mopar's 426 cubic-inch, all-aluminum, HEMI® V-8 crate engine that generates 556 horsepower. The engine is equipped with unique Mopar-designed valve covers and a dress-up kit. Mopar's long-tube headers and exhaust system allow the cubic inches to breathe. Electric cutouts allow the exhaust to bypass the muffler system, which exits through custom side pipes for added rumble at the dragstrip. Power is put to the ground via a six-speed manual transmission through a custom Dynatrac rear housing with Mopar Dana 60 internals and a selectable, ARB locking differential. Mopar police wheels, widened in the rear, are strapped with Mickey Thompson street-legal drag radials to provide extra grip at launch. A four-corner, adjustable coil-over kit is provided by Mopar as an option for the Dodge Challenger. This system improves the handling of the vehicle under extreme loads of 556 horsepower and 540 lb.-ft. of torque.
Following Mopar's high-impact color heritage, the design team layered the 1320 in Acidic Hue, a non-metallic yellow paint and added matte black graphics. The body is lightened with the following carbon-fiber components from Mopar's design team and Seibon:
• Bulged hood with HEMI scoop
• Front spoiler
• Grille panel/headlamp surround
The interior is equipped with bare necessities--Dodge Viper seats, a sport steering wheel and a Hurst shifter. The rear seat, center console and radio have been removed in order to reduce vehicle weight and maintain the 1320's no-nonsense theme.
Mopar Dodge Ram Bianco Image Vehicle: A Stylish, Luxury Pickup Truck
The Dodge Ram Bianco started life as a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. The Dodge Ram is modified to reflect an upscale feel and appearance with the aid of Mopar performance parts and accessories. Colors, textures and accessories are combined in a manner that showcases the sophisticated side of the Dodge Ram 1500.
Exterior modifications include a Mopar hard tonneau that adds a classic, sporty appearance. The inside of the truck bed features Mopar's bed rug--a plush, yet washable carpet. For the exterior, a Mopar body kit and modified Mopar fender flares give a unique, sophisticated look. The stance is aided by a Ground Force lowering kit that not only lowers the vehicle, but also provides excellent ride and handling. The Dodge Ram Bianco is layered in several coats of Arctic Ice pearl paint that give it a rich appearance. Holding true to the upscale theme, Mopar's 22-inch wheels are painted in a matching, high-contrast design. Performance upgrades include a Mopar cold-air intake and a throaty Mopar dual exhaust with just enough growl to let you know there is something powerful under the hood.
The exterior theme continues through the interior. White and black Katzkin seats with matching door trim set the stage for a high-class ride. Piano Black and Arctic Ice accents add to the luxurious theme. For sound, Mopar contributed a Kicker audio system consisting of an audio amplifier, a powerful subwoofer and upgraded speakers.
Mopar Jeep Wrangler Overland Image Vehicle: A Stop-anywhere, Camp-anywhere Jeep
The Jeep Wrangler Overland is perfect for those craving travel and adventure. The Mopar design team took a 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon and turned it into a mobile "on-the-go" self-contained campsite.
To increase cargo capacity for hauling gear, the Jeep Wrangler Overland's rear seats are replaced with a large, flat, rubberized utility floor. Mounted to the cargo rack is an all-new ARB two-person Simpson II rooftop-mounted tent and touring awning. The interior of the Jeep Wrangler Overland features water-resistant Mopar front-seat covers, rugged Mopar slush mats, a Daystar dash bin and lower switch panel that powers added accessories.
Enhancing off-road travel is an American Expedition Vehicles' (AEV), Nth Degree, 3-inch suspension lift and a Full Traction rear sway bar. The lift allows aggressive 35-inch tires mounted on 17-inch steel Mopar winter/off-road wheels to fit under the Jeep. Additional off-road protection at the front and rear is provided by AEV steel bumpers and for added security, a Warn 9.5ti winch.
In order to prepare the Jeep Wrangler Overland for desert duty, an AEV Jeep Wrangler heat-reduction hood and snorkel kit is fitted to the vehicle. Mopar windshield-mounted off-road lights and Daystar bumper-mounted lights provide additional lighting for nighttime and off-road driving.
Mopar Jeep Lower Forty Image Vehicle: An Extreme Trail Rig with 40-inch Tires
The Jeep "Lower Forty" takes the Jeep Wrangler platform to a new extreme. The vehicle is equipped with massive 40-inch x 13.5-inch tires mounted on Mopar's 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels. Mopar added aggressive wheels and tires to a stock, two-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon without the use of a suspension lift. The team's goal was to achieve added ground clearance without dramatically altering the vehicle's center of gravity. The team removed copious amounts of body metal in order to provide room for 40-inch meats. Three inches are chopped from the windshield frame and a 10-degree rake is added.
Custom front and rear fender flares are 1-inch wider and are located 4 inches higher than a stock Jeep Wrangler. A new one-piece carbon-fiber hood with a Jeep CJ-like power dome and an all-new drop-down tailgate stamped with the "Jeep" logo are added to complete the exterior design.
On the interior, an all-new roll cage is neatly integrated into the body tub and tied directly into the frame rails. The spare tire is relocated to the cargo floor and a custom cargo rack, supplied by Poly Performance, holds extra gear. Once all body modifications were completed, the exterior received a fresh coat of Red Eye No. 3 paint, a custom color developed by Mopar.
Custom touches throughout the interior include a color-matched center console and instrument panel. Seats are re-covered with Mopar's Katzkin leather package in a two-tone scheme. Replacing the carpet is a durable, spray-in truck-bed liner. Rugged Mopar floor mats complete the theme.
Mechanical upgrades came directly out of the Mopar catalog. The Jeep "Lower Forty" features an all-new 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine and a Getrag 238 six-speed manual transmission. Powertrain installations were handled by Burnsville Off-Road using an AEV 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 conversion kit.
The Mopar-supplied Dana 44 front axle and a Dana 60 rear axle, fitted with 5.38 gears and ARB air lockers, were assembled by Dynatrac.
Mopar distributes approximately 280,000 components in more than 90 countries and is the source for all original equipment parts for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles. Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Car and Dodge Ram vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide.
More than 70 Years of Mopar
When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It also was widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960's – the muscle car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "special parts" for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.