Despite the show having its last official day on Sunday, I still have lots to bring you from the show. Today we take a look at the Dodge/Chrysler exhibt which was pretty much the home for American muscle this year. While Ford and GM had a lot to offer, they were more about economical and luxury offerings this year while Dodge/Chrysler’s approach was all about performance. In fact at least a third if not more of the cars on display in Dodge’s area were cars that they brought with them to SEMA, something that is generally unheard of when it comes to the auto show circuit.
I finally got to see the Jeff Dunham Challenger up close and let me just say it is a pure vision! I really hope you got a chance to make it out to the show to see it in person. That car alone is worth the price of admission! There was also a pretty awesome Dodge Charger with a Viper V10 swap. Although I have to say I was hoping I would see some type of new Mopar kit that would allow for the same engine swap in the Challenger.
Then, there was the SRT Viper, that beautiful elegant monster that marks the return of the true American super car. I spent quite a lot of time drooling over that beauty. I even snuck in some seat time. By “seat time” I mean I litterally sat in the seat while no one was looking. Besides finding my favorite car of the show I found myself falling in love with the Dodge Charger SRT8. Yes, the Charger is by no means new but admittedly I have not paid much attention to it until now. I never had a problem with the Charger before but it did not stand out much to me. It was just another muscle car. However, the current generation is much more fetching to me than ever.
The styling brings a much more aggressive look without being gaudy and its new lines seem to take some of the “size” away and I mean that in a good way. What really got me is the fact that the Charger SRT8 has 470HP, 470ft-lbs of torque, launch control, paddle shifting, all for a starting MSRP of around $45k! Dealer mark-ups aside, a price like that is pretty hard to beat.
On the Chrysler side things are still on the upward path. The new 300 and 200 are looking better with each new generation and are finally moving more towards that “luxury” feel. The 200 still has a way to go but I can see the 300 finally being an official competitor to the likes of the BMW 5 series and the Mercedes E class.
With the SRT Viper, Charger, Challenger, 200, and 300 the Chrysler group is definitely on its way up.
For a full gallery of the Dodge/Chysler exhibit visit our Facebook gallery.
Tags: · 2012LAAutoShow, 2012LosAngelesAutoShow, AmericanCars, chrysler, ChryslerLAAutoShow, Dodge, DodgeChargerSRT8, DodgeLAAutoShow, Events, Features, Hype, LAAS2012, laautoshow, LosAngelesAutoShow, Mopar, RalphGilles, SRT, SRTViper
Admittedly, this year’s LA Auto Show is a bit low on high performance offerings compared to previous years. This is mostly because of OEM’s move to more sustainable means of transportation; which is especially awesome for a city like Los Angeles. However, guys like me have a leaning interest towards the “go fast” cars and while there wasn’t much in that category there were a few top caliber showings. The LA Auto Show is the world wide debut of the Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series, and the Bentley Continental GT3 race car.
While both those cars are awesome, I have to say the car that had us the most excited was the new SRT Viper GTS! If you really have to ask why then allow us to explain… The SLS AMG Black Series is amazing but it is not really an evolution of the SLS, rather its an extremely limited edition high performance version of an existing car in Mercedes Benz’ line up. The Viper GTS is not only a new model but its a rebirth of something that many of us thought was dead and never to return.
The Viper GTS is also arguably the first new American mass produced super car since the Ford GT! A all new Viper is a sign that America is changing for the better. It is a sign that we are once again ready to truly compete with the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini not just in the showrooms but on the race track as well. The new Viper is also a crowning achievement of Ralph Gilles, one of the coolest CEO’s in the automotive industry. This guy went from being a designer to calling the shots for an internationally recognized brand. He also had the balls to break from traditional CEO decorum and call out “billionaire” Donald Trump when he tried to spread politically charged lies about Jeep.
For Mr. Gilles the Viper had been his baby for two years and he took care to make sure that when it came back after its painful departure, it would come correct. He refined its styling, and refined its performance as well. Not to say that the Viper was ever a slouch in the performance department but it was nothing else if not “rough”. A driver really had to know what they were doing if they wanted to tame a Viper around a race track. The new SRT Viper has been treated with a small suite of technological advances to make the car lighter, more powerful, yet more linear and accessible without neutering it.
Granted my invite to the press drives were ahem… lost in the mail. I can still imagine that the new SRT Viper is a blast to drive and a significant improvement over the previous model. It also had me more excited than any other car on the LA Auto Show floor.
For that, for what it represents, and for all that it is, the SRT Viper is officially MotorworldHype’s favorite car of the LA Auto Show. Granted, this little blog doesn’t mean much in the world of Autoblogs and Jalopniks but we still want to make it known! Thank you to SRT and to Mr. Gilles for bringing America’s super car to Los Angeles!
Tags: · 2012LAAutoShow, 2013SRTViperGTS, 2014SRTViperGTS, AmericanCars, AmericanSupercar, Events, Hype, LAAS, LAAS2012, laautoshow, LosAngelesAutoShow, News, RalphGilles, SRT, SRTViper, SRTViperGTS, SRTViperLAAutoShow, V10, ViperGTS
I normally do not discuss politics, especially not here but this story just grabbed me. For the entire election season both candidates have been firing attacks at one another that is until Hurricane Sandy came and nearly destroyed the east coast. Since then, to his credit our President has been on the scene doing what he can to help AKA his job. Meanwhile supporters of Governor Romney have been attempting to make some noise by running with a story that Chrysler is going to move production of Jeep to China, costing American jobs. Just about every member of the executive board at Chrysler have formally and politely said that is not the case and American Jeep jobs are not being outsourced to China. Even the Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has come out and cleared the record.
However, despite this Romney’s buddies continue to yell through their bright red bull horns that Chrysler is going to move Jeep jobs to China. The latest pundit to do so is Donald “My hair is the only thing real about me” Trump who took to twitter to not only continue the “Jeep moving to China” talk but to blame it on President Obama by calling him a “terrible negotiator”.
Again, a Chrysler official responded to this false story. This time it was one of the automotive industry’s youngest CEOs Ralph Gilles of SRT. Instead of going through their PR firm to prepare a formal statement, Ralph thought it would be easier to respond to Trump’s tweet with a tweet of his own…
Now, before you jump down my throat about being left or right wing let me just say that no matter what your politics are I think when someone tries to BS America they should be called out on it; especially if that someone is a politician or trying to push a political agenda with said BS. It is clear that Mr. Gilles believes the same thing and that is what he did.
So, even if you ignore the fact that he is one of the youngest CEO’s in the industry, making CNNMoney’s/FORTUNE’s “40 under 40″, as well as one of the few top auto execs who is the same color as me; the fact that he has no fear of speaking his mind to calling BS where he sees it is enough to make him one my new heroes! Good on you Ralph!
Tags: · 2013SRTViper, AmericanCars, BarackObama, Democrat, Dodge, DonaldTrump, Hype, Jeep, JeepMovingProductionToChina, JeepMovingToChina, JeepWrangler, MittRomney, News, RalphGilles, RalphGillesSaysDonaldTrumpIsFullOfShit, RalphGillesVsDonaldTrump, Republican, SergioMarchionne, SRT, SRTViper, twitter
Recently, two-time Formula Drift Champion and Dodge Challenger pilot Samuel Hubinette announced that he would be taking a break from drifting in 2012, limiting his participation to a few demos and maybe a few professional rounds. He cited his departure to his sponsors having a “change in interests” and that he would focus more on other motorsports.
There have been rumors for a while that Sam would make a full-time transition to the fast growing sport of Rally X and that Dodge may go with him with the new 2013 Dodge Dart but nothing has been announced or even acknowledged by Dodge Motorsports.
Today, I got a press release in the ol’ inbox from Chysler’s PR ninjas announcing a live webcast press conference event next monday with the CEO of the Dodge brand Reid Bigland and the CEO of Dodge’s SRT/Motorsports arm Ralph Gilles to announce a “new driver” as well as a “new venture with the 2013 Dodge Dart”.
Could this announcement confirm the rumors? Is Dodge going to take the new Dart to Rally Cross with “The Crazy Swede”?
Well you can ask the big wigs at Dodge and SRT yourself on March 26th starting at 9:30am E.T.
Tags: · 2013DodgeDart, AmericanCars, DodgeDart, DodgeDartRallyCross, DodgeMotorsports, DodgeSRT, globalrallycrosschampionship, GlobalRallyCrossSeries, Motorsports, News, rallycross, RallyX, RalphGilles, SamHubinette, SamuelHubinette, SamuelHubinetteRacing, SHR