When it comes to ridiculously high-powered muscle cars, the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang tend to get the most tuning attention, but that’s changing. SpeedFactory has gotten their hands on the 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 and they’ve cranked the dial to 11.
Based out of Morrow, Georgia, SpeedFactory offers a pretty complete line of Dodge Challenger tuners. They offer a Stage 1 model that is essentially the stock car outfitted with a cold-air intake system that boosts power by a mere 25 horsepower, and they range all the way up to a Stage 6, which features a massive supercharger capable of pumping out 1,000 horses.
Since the SpeedFactory line of Challengers is just getting underway, particularly the higher Stages, there’s still a bit of leeway when it comes to specs and parts. For example, the Stage 5 is provisionally outfitted with a 6.4-liter engine swap that has a supercharger attached, but there’s also a stroked out 7.2-liter all aluminum V8 that the company can get through Dodge. This beast has the higher displacement over the 6.4 and, because of its aluminum construction, actually weighs in at about 250 pounds lighter. Not a bad choice when that amount of weight can be the difference between an 11 second quarter mile and a ten second run. Still, the Stage 5 with the 6.4 puts out 700 horses at the crank, so that certainly isn’t bad.
Regardless of the engine setup, the SpeedFactory Challengers have a couple aces up their sleeves. Whenever you get into the 500+ horsepower range on a muscle car, the main issue becomes putting that power onto the road. For example, the Shelby Super Snake Mustang has over 700 horsepower, but if you’re not careful coming off the line, you’ll end up melting your tires off before you go 100 yards. One of the methods that the Challenger uses to get more grip is the tire choice. Outfitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE070Rs, the Dodge has grip to spare. These same tires are used on the Nissan GT-R and are about as high-performance a tire as you can get that’s still road legal.
Helping the rubber out is a statistic that would at first seem a drawback: vehicle weight. Even in stock form, the current Dodge Challenger is a fair bit heavier than its competition, the Camaro and Mustang. And, even when some parts are replaced with lighter versions, the tuner Camaros and Mustangs have done the same, so it doesn’t really provide an edge. However, that extra weight does push the tires onto the road, lending more grip. It’s one of those odd cases where more weight and less horsepower really can make a car faster.
As far as body and interior modifications are concerned, the SpeedFactory Challenger doesn’t stray too far from the example of the stock vehicle. And what changes are made only enhance the details of the car. The Challenger is definitely the most old school of the current crop of muscle cars. The Challenger rides high and is pretty long (thanks to the fact that it shares a chassis with the Chrysler 300, which has high rear shoulders, so the Challenger had to be stretched to maintain a proper aspect ratio in the profile). This results in it having dimensions very close to the original, while both the Mustang and the Camaro stray noticeably from their roots. And the end result is that the Challenger has more of a classic feel to the ride and driving characteristics. Depending on your personal mindset this can either be great, or dismal, but fans of the old Challengers, flaws and all, certainly won’t be disappointed.
Which brings us to the main summation of the SpeedFactory Dodge Challengers. They take the basic layout of the stock Challenger, and add more. They don’t mess with the formula, they just multiply it. The Challenger incorporates new technologies, but it doesn’t let them get in the way of the style and heritage of the model. And that’s just fine by me.