General Challenger

  • Development & Evolution of the Hemi Engine

    Three generations of Hemi engines have been built by Chrysler for automobiles: the first (known as the Chrysler FirePower) from 1951 to 1958, the second from 1964 to 1971, and the third beginning in 2003. Although Chrysler is most identified with the use of "Hemi" as a marketing term, many other auto manufacturers have incorporated similar designs. The Hemi engine is named for its hemispherical cylinder head. It provides an efficient combustion chamber with an excellent surface-to-volume...
  • Dual Clutch Transmissions

    Most drivers know that cars come with two basic transmission types- manuals, in which the driver changes gears by depressing a clutch pedal and using a stick shift, and automatics, which shifts using clutches, a torque converter and sets of planetary gears. But there's also something in between that offers the best of both worlds- the dual-clutch transmission- also called the semi-automatic transmission, the "clutchless" manual transmission and the automated manual transmission. In the world...
  • All About Paint

    In the early days of the automobile industry, painting was a slow process. It was applied manually and dried for weeks at room temperature by solvent evaporation. 1930 Packard Factory As mass production of cars made the process untenable, paint began to be dried in ovens. Nowadays, two-component (catalyzed) paint is usually applied by robotic arms and cures in just a few hours either at room temperature or in heated booths. (Note- That is why car paint can be waxed as soon as the new owner...
  • Drag Racing Classes

    The NHRA has a huge variety of categories and eliminators. Class eligibility is based on requirements that include type of vehicle, engine size, vehicle weight, allowable modifications and aerodynamics. Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street and Pro Mod feature a single class of vehicle in heads-up competition. Comp, Super Stock, and Stock are made up of a variety of classes equalized by a handicap starting system....
  • Entertainment Systems- from AM Radio to Bluetooth

    Over the past 97 years, “entertainment systems” in cars have evolved from primitive 6-volt dry-cell AM radios to high-tech Bluetooth units. It is interesting to take a look back to see how technology has changed over the years. Here is a brief, illustrated chronology of these devices: 1922: First radio in a Car The first radio (“Marconiphone”) appeared in a Daimler car at the Olympia Motorshow in England. 1927: First Radio in Mass-Produced Car The “Transitone” radio appeared in a...
  1. History of the Dodge Logo

    Dodge was founded in 1900 by Horace and John Dodge (The Dodge Brothers). It was initially known as the Dodge Brothers Company and used to sell bicycles, but then within two years it became a major supplier of axles, engines, and transmissions to the automobile industry. The company started by producing chassis and engines for the Ford Motor Company and Olds Motor Vehicle Company. However, with the stress and demands of the booming automobile industry, the brothers decided to tinker with the...
  2. The Origin of Scat Pack

    The Dodge Scat Pack was originally introduced in 1968 with the Charger R/T, Coronet R/T, Dart GTS, and Super Bee. In order for a car to enter the Scat Pack it had to be capable of running the quarter mile in the 14s (14.99 or faster). Mainly a marketing term, Scat Pack cars got twin bumblebee stripes and special decals. It became legendary in the enthusiast community and symbolized one of the most feared groups of street machines every to rumble from stoplight to stoplight. In the early...
  3. Challenger- Concept to Production

    The planning and design of the Challenger concept car started in 2004. At that time, Chrysler’s Pacifica Studo was given the assignment to work with the exiting LX platform (i.e., Charger, Chrysler 300 and Magnum) to develop a 2-door, rear-wheel drive concept car. Many of the designers were musclecar guys and a new Challenger was proposed to be built around the 6.1 Hemi engine. There was a lot of conversation as to how much retro design features should be built into the car. Based on a...
  4. Hood Pins

    Hood pins are used as a secondary restraint for the hood and are attached by a pin and plate drilled through the hood. They were originally made for the racetrack to keep hoods buttoned down at high speeds, but found their way onto muscle cars of the late 60s/early 70s. Hood pins (two per hood) were most prevalent on Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars of that era (e.g., Challengers, ‘Cudas, Road Runners, Daytonas, GTXs, Super Bees, etc.). They were, primarily, a styling element used to give a...
  5. Evolution of Hood Scoops

    Back in middle school science class, we learned that in order to make fire, you need three ingredients: fuel, ignition and air- or, more specifically, oxygen. You’ll also remember that cold air is denser than hot air, putting more oxygen in the same amount of volume. While the modern internal combustion engine does a fine job of delivering fuel and ignition, that cold air part becomes tricky as you try to route fresh air from outside through a hot engine compartment. In response, in the late...
  6. Evolution of Racing Stripes

    Racing stripes are usually a “must have” for owners of muscle cars. These stripes, originally called “go faster stripes,” first appeared on Cunningham race cars in 1951. Two parallel blue stripes ran from front to rear in the center of the white car body. Their main purpose was to help spectators identify the cars during races. They evolved from the traditional FIA registered U.S. Racing color of a white body and blue chassis, which dated from when racing cars had the chassis exposed. The...
  7. High Impact Paint

    In the late 60s/early 70s, Dodge was already offering some of the hottest cars of the muscle car era- awesome machines like the Hemi Challenger and 440 Six-Pack Super Bee. Designers, however, decided to rev up the cars’ visuals to match, creating a far-out assortment of vibrant exterior paint colors. These special colors (a $15 option) generated a big buzz in the showrooms and launched an industry trend. The color palettes used by all the automakers were opened up, giving paint designers...
  8. Paddle shifters

    Paddle shifters, once exclusive to race cars and exotic sports cars, like the Ferrari F430, are now becoming commonplace on performance cars with automatic transmissions. This is because manual transmissions are going away faster than the landline telephone. Critics of automatics say that they take the passion and command out of driving. Paddle shifters, however, bring some of that joy and control back by allowing drivers to manually shift an automatic transmission with steering-wheel or...
  9. Mufflers

    Since the beginning of hot rodding, enthusiasts have tinkered with their car’s exhaust system, particularly the mufflers, to get the “right sound.” A muffler’s job sounds easy enough- reduce exhaust volume to tolerable levels while allowing the sweet sounds of your ride to waft through the air. But this becomes a monumental task as horsepower increases. Engines build horsepower by pushing spent exhaust out of the tailpipe as fast as possible. As pistons furiously churn, exhaust velocity...
  10. Featured

    Tire Speed Ratings

    Tire speed ratings first originated in Europe in the 1960s, as a way to make sure increasingly faster vehicles were equipped with appropriate safe tires. These early speed ratings set the foundation for the current speed rating system used by the DOT and tire manufacturers. Every tire approved for highway use by the Department of Transportation comes with a particular speed rating. The speed rating is a letter corresponding to the maximum safe speed at which a tire can be driven, as...
  11. Dual Clutch Transmissions

    Most drivers know that cars come with two basic transmission types- manuals, in which the driver changes gears by depressing a clutch pedal and using a stick shift, and automatics, which shifts using clutches, a torque converter and sets of planetary gears. But there's also something in between that offers the best of both worlds- the dual-clutch transmission- also called the semi-automatic transmission, the "clutchless" manual transmission and the automated manual transmission. In the world...
  12. History of SRT

    Performance vehicles are a Chrysler tradition. In the 1950s, an elite team of Chrysler engineers set out to extract extreme horsepower from existing engines. The team created new manifolds featuring long-tube intake runners. The innovative design helped engines ingest more air, translating into improved performance. The new induction system was called “Ramcharger,” and the team behind the technology adopted that name. The Ramchargers’ new engine produced enormous amounts of power,...
  13. Superchargers vs. Turbochargers

    When designing an engine to pull in more than atmospheric pressure, engineers often turn to forced induction. It’s one of the fastest ways to add significant power to almost any engine, and there are two prevalent ways it can be done: supercharging and turbocharging. But, which is better? Both are different in terms of how they work, performance and cost. Both operate on the principle that the more air you can get into your engine, the more power your car will make. Supercharging is old...
  14. Why Do Hemi Engines Have Dual Sparkplugs?

    Each cylinder on a Hemi engine has an ignition coil pack over one spark plug, and a regular plug wire connected to the other spark plug. Further, the coil pack also has a plug wire attached to it that extends to the opposite cylinder bank. Each cylinder shares a coil pack with another cylinder. Each of the two plugs on a given cylinder is fired by a separate coil. One plug has a coil directly attached, and the other is fired via an ignition wire connected to a coil located on another...
  15. Slicks & Drag Radials

    Drag radial street-legal tires had their origin in racing. Originally, race cars used “racing slicks”- a type of tire with a smooth tread. The first production "slicks” were developed by M&H Tires in the early 1950s for use in contact patch to the track and maximized traction for any given tire dimension. Slicks were also used on road and oval track racing where steering and braking require maximum traction from each wheel. Slicks, however, are not suitable for use on street cars which...
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